Friday, March 16, 2012

My New Oldie but Goodie...and Butter

Like I'd imagine most women with blood in their veins, a pair of fallopian tubes, and atleast a moderate interest in food, I've always wanted a pretty new stand up mixer. Which part of this desire is practicality and which part pure girly consumerism, I can't be entirely sure. Whatever the case is, I have not yet been able to justify being able to bake enough from scratch to want to shell out $300 for one these housewive's wet dreams. However, wanting to get more creative in the kitchen, I recently picked up this girl from Ebay. She is a $20 and change (including shipping!) vintage 1940's Sunbeam mixer, complete with a few attachments and two very lovely original milk glass bowls (my favorite part). I'll admit, she isn't the most polished thing, but like me running late to work on a Monday morning, she sure gets the job done. I think I'll keep her.

Itching to make something new with my 'new' appliance, I made like it was 1890 and whipped up some homemade butter with heavy cream on a recent Saturday morning. It was surprisingly easy and while not exactly money saving (buying butter vs. making it will cost you about the same ounce for ounce), it will win you a few cool points in the kitchen. Even if you end up serving Pillsbury dinner rolls at your next dinner party, try impressing your friends with a dish of homemade butter to slather on them. It'll work. Oh and did I mention you can save the by-product, buttermilk, and use it for what I'm guessing would be very tasty buttermilk pancakes?

As for the super simple butter recipe (if you want to call it a recipe. It's one ingredient, two if you count the few dashes of salt I added because salted butter rules ), I used this recipe. Besides taking a little longer than I expected to finally "seperate" (the coolest part of the process), it was easy as cake. If it's your first time making butter like it was mine, watching a video first might give you a good idea of what to expect before you start. 

The result: creamy delicious butter.

I then went on to try a few variations of my homemade treat. The rest of the weekend included a big loaf of crusty french bread and a lot of grubbing for Casey and I. Of course, I had to Instagram the festivities:

Pumpkin butter: Mix together softened butter, canned pumpkin, honey, and pumpkin pie spice (or just a bit of nutmeg if that's what you have). This was so delicious with a cup of English breakfast tea. Also, depending on the pumpkin to butter ratio you decide on, it can be a pretty healthful (and fiber-riffic) option.

Honey butter: Butter and honey. Enough said. This stuff is heaven incarnate, in spreadable form.

Bacon butter: Mix together butter, crumbled crispy bacon (I used turkey bacon to avoid being a total fatty), oregano, and freshly cracked black pepper. I made the tastiest garlic bread with it (and a little parmesan cheese) on Sunday night and this one was Casey's favorite. I'd imagine it being delicious on a baked potato too. 

The verdict: Vintage mixers, butter, and overloading on carbs once in awhile are all good things. If you are interested in getting your bargain on with a vintage mixer, check out local thrift shops, where you will probably get the best deal. If you are not blessed to be living around lots of good thrift stores and are impatient (like me), check out eBay, where they go for pretty cheap if you get lucky. Be sure to look out for ones with the most accessories as possible, since finding extras for them will not be particularly easy. Also, make sure the description says that it's in good working order and avoid any that have cracked cords, which can be a fire danger (eek, scary I know). For some cool history and information on different models of vintage mixers (and neat photos like this. That's my model!), check out this site. And if you are in the mood for more butter, you can find an overwhelming amount of butter recipes (like citrus herb butter. Mmm. I think?) here! Don't say I didn't warn you. Happy weekend and happy mixing!

Top image: Etsy
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  1. Love it! I'm going to dazzle my loved ones with some honey butter and homemade bread this weekend!

  2. I've been wanting to make butter too! Mmmmm.

  3. Dear Rita,
    I loved your post. And true - homemade butter vs. store-bought are at best something every cook should try once. It's a good feeling to make something from scratch - that would normally be bought off the shelves in the supermarket.

    I love the idea of mixing the whipped butter with the different flavors. I'm loving the idea of bacon butter, honey butter - and what about garlic??? I love whipped butter with cinnamon and sugar.

    The best place to get a kitchen aide is at yard sales or thrift shops. The mixers definitely hold their value - they were around $300 almost 20 years ago - and never went down in price. I was lucky and received mine for free because my mother wanted a better mixer - so she handed me her castoff.

    I had no idea how wonderful a kitchen aide could be - I use mine for making homemade bread (I can create four loaves of dough at the same time) - and it is wonderful to make meatballs/meatloaf. I also use it to make Christmas cookies (I can triple the batch) - which is impossible with a handheld mixer.

    A lot of people buy it - put it away and never use it. I have seen them at yard sales many times over the years. I keep mine on top of the fridge - where I can reach for it whenever it's needed.

    Things that enhance what little culinary skills I have are the kitchen aide, crock-pot and food processor.

    Have fun with your mixer. Thank you for writing such a beautiful article and your ideas and photos are fantastic.

    Love Aunt Marguerita oxoxooxm

  4. Thanks Aunt Marguerita and I agree! I'm not really into fancy kitchen gadgets but the crockpot, food processor, and stand up mixer are definitely the holy trinity of cooking helpers. Some of the best things I have made recently came out of the crockpot you got me. I am looking forward to having a real Kitchen Aide one day and I'm sure I will be able to find a decent deal, but for now this will do. Even with the larger bowl, I can only do so large of a batch so upgrading one day will be fun! Love you xoxo.