Archives for: July 2004, 11
Some of you have asked why I don't use ghee instead of butter. The answer is that I do use my own version of ghee, but I call it butter because my family doesn't want me embarrassing them by blurting out "Pass the ghee," when we have company for dinner.
Way back in the 70s health food advocates knew that margarine, with it's hydrogenated oil, was bad for you, but the medical community was still pushing margarine over butter. I came across a recipe for a buttery spread using butter and safflower oil that was lower in saturated fat than butter, but no chemicals or hydrogenated fat like margarine. I made it for years. Often when the menu was planned for a gathering of family or friends, someone would say, "Have Suzanne bring homemade bread and that butter of hers.
The BTD brought that to a screeching halt. Butter was a Type A avoid; safflower oil was a Type O avoid. The first time I made ghee, I realized it was just the fancy melted butter that they serve with crab or lobster in seafood restaurants. But when I put it in the refrigerator, it turned hard as a rock. This was not a practical butter substitute.
The second time I made ghee, I mixed it with olive oil the way I had in my old recipe. I got comments like, "Why is it a funny color?" "It doesn't taste the same," and "What are those specks in it?" It took several more tries, but I now have a recipe that spreads like margarine, tastes like melted butter, is easy to measure for recipes, and melts quickly on vegetables.
I start with Dr. D'Adamo's instructions for making ghee. You can find them at this link, or put the word ghee in the search engine at the bottom of his column.
Strain the ghee into a container with a cover. I have a porcelain covered metal bowl with a plastic lid that works great. I'm sure Tupperware or Glad Ware would also work. I strain with a metal strainer. A coffee filter or cheese cloth might even be better. Straining removes the blackened salt and milk solids. If your family isn't squeamish about specks, you could skip the straining.
Stir in Â¼ cup light olive oil for every stick of butter you used for the ghee. If you used 1 lb of butter you would use 1 cup of light olive oil. I use 3 sticks of butter, so I use Â¾ cup of light olive oil. Light olive oil does not distract from the buttery flavor of the ghee. Extra virgin olive oil, which I use for everything else, has a strong flavor that over powers the butter, plus it gives a slightly green tint.
Refrigerate the buttery spread and use it exactly as you would soft spread margarine.