14 May 2012



So I have been meaning to post this for a while. Since Easter exactly. But everything just seems to always be happening all at once. Work got extremely busy, the commute is starting to wear me out and I keep having trouble focusing, on anything. But now thats all about to change. Everything is going to change. This past week has been eventful. So last Saturday morning, while I was staying up at my Grandma's to help her out while my Grandpa was in the hospital, I got a phone call. Fairly early in the morning. It was about a job that I applied for two week ago. After a bit of a chat, a date and time was set and up to St. Helena I would go. About an hours drive from where I live.
So I went up, interviewed with the Chef and by the end of the meeting, a date and time was set for me to come back and bake them a fair number of things.

The next day and a half was spent frantically practicing all that I would need to bake for them that day. Many variations of the same thing, trying to find what was the most delicious.
So the day came, the drive up there was spent me furiously yelling at every other car in the massive pile up of traffic, thinking that would help to not make me late. Luckily I made it on time. And away I went, baking for them for the next 6 hours.
'Well at least I got the experience' I thought (the thing you say to yourself when you really want the job but immediately rethink everything you did once you left)

But a phone call the next day put my heart at ease, I got the job!! Good bye San Francisco, hello St Helena! I couldn't be happier. This new job will be a lot of hard work but I couldn't be more excited to start. A challenge is always good.
So one more week of cupcakes and then on to something new!

So hopefully I'll be able to find a little studio apt in the St Helena/Napa area so I don't have to commute. Recommendations always welcome ;)


Homemade butter. I never realized how simple it was and how amazing the results can be. The deep yellow color, the creamy smooth taste, my normal butter will never taste as good. I used a cultured butter recipe, letting the cream sit with a bit of yogurt for a few hours to ferment. The flavor is intensified, especially when you knead in a bit of fleur de sel at the end of the process. Smeared on a piece of homemade herbed bread, it was possibly the best thing.


I loved the color of how the butter turned out. So yellow, deep and rich, not the anemic white butter that I buy in bulk from certain warehouse store. While that butter is all well and good for baking, it need brings much flavor to a piece of bread. After making a few batch of butter, the most obvious is true to getting an amazing color and flavor in it. Use really high quality cream! Well of course, it's the only things its really made of. But I just kind of thought, whatever cream is cream and cheaped out on my first batch. I used he grocery store brand cheap cream. The butter was good but looked kinda like the butter I buy.

But them I remember seeing Strauss cream in those amazing little glass bottles at whole foods. Everything Strauss has always served me well, so I thought ill make on expensive batch of butter. Completely and totally different from using the other cream. This butter came out so yellow and so flavorful, you have to go get he good stuff if your going to make butter. It's a world of difference. 

Cultured Butter
from Not Without Salt
1 pint high quality heavy cream
2 tbsp plain whole milk yogurt
1/4 tsp fleur de sel

Pour cream into bowl of a stand mixer. Add in yogurt then stir gently until well combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm spot for a few hours. (I let mine sit for 4 hours)

Remove plastic, place in stand mixer and beat with whisk attachment until the buttermilk separates from the fat. Continually pour of the liquid (save it for other baking needs, its buttermilk) and keep beating, getting out as much liquid as you can. 

When you think you have gotten all that you can out, pour in 1/2 cup cold water and mix on low. Pour off liquid and repeat until it's nearly clear.

Take out of stand mixer, but leave butter in the bowl. Preferably with gloves, knead butter by hand as you would dough. Pour off any liquid that comes out. Knead in the salt. Add more salt if you are like me. 

You now should have amazing butter. 


I also chopped up some thyme and just mashed it in with the butter!


Do you remember the Dutch Oven Bread recipe I posted a bit ago?
I had wrote about how I longed for a Le Creuset big dutch oven but never seemed to be able to pull together the funds to buy one. Or at least be able to justify all that gas/bridge toll money on a dutch oven. 

So the next day after I post, I got a phone call. I didn't recognize the number, and I normally don't answer if I don't, but this time I did for some reason. And I am sure glad I did. It was a gentleman from Marketing at Sur La Table, telling me how they saw the post and wanted to send me a Le Creuset, so could they have my address? My mind went blank. 'Umm are you serious?!? Of course you can have my address' I was totally shocked. I always just have those 'Blah no one really reads my blog' thoughts. But I guess all us bloggers get that way sometime. Anyways, it was seriously the best phone call that I had gotten in a long time. A few days later, a big box showed up at my doorstep and this wonderful thing of beauty was in it and a lovely handwritten note from the kind people of Sur La Table. 

I am forever grateful they sent this to me, I completely love it and can't wait to use it once my life gets a bit less hectic. 
I want my first recipe for it to be epic.





julie - eab designs said...

Congrats on your new job! Enjoy your new Le Cresuet dutch oven. I use mine all the time and absolutely love it!

Sophie said...

oh my gosh that is amazing! I love the colour! well deserved.

Sue/the view from great island said...

I love homemade butter, and I love the idea of culturing it with the yogurt, I will try that. Sur la Table is the best, and your new pot is awesome, lucky duck!

Laura said...

Woop! Congratulations to you. Starting on new and rewarding work is a truly great privilege in life. Loving that snazzy piece of Le Creuset too.

Sarah's Fab Day said...

You are so cute. Seriously. The part in this post about the Le Creuset, so honest and sweet. I don't know if I've ever commented but your blog is one of my favorites. Your blog name, perfection. Butter is my favorite food too. I've been dying to try cultured butter and still haven't. I'm getting it tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

wow congratulations on the job. and the dutch oven! the butter photos are beautiful.

Natashia said...

That's so funny! It's only the other week I was whinging to my mum about how much I wanted a Le Creuset pot, then she gave me hers! I've made bread in it a couple of times and it is by far the best cooking item I have. :)

AMCutler said...

I love your blog! Especially your photos. Good luck in your new job, I hope it doesn't keep you away from your blog too long. I wish I had a Le Crueset pot too!!

Heather said...

Congratulations on the new job! Also, on the Le Creuset. :)

Alicia said...

I love this blog! Congratulations on your new job and the Le Creuset!

Jennifer Michie said...

Congratulations on the new job! What an adventure, I can't wait to see what you get up too! And the Le Creuset piece was just an added bonus!

A Plum By Any Other Name said...

Wow! Congrats on the new job ... and gorgeous new purple Le Creuset. I love mine! (They are so easy to clean too!) I'm also right with ya on the butter. I stopped buying it (except when baking pastry) and I've never looked back. Cheers!

Fleaing France & French Shopping Tours said...

Congratulations!!!! The job will be a great learning experience and how bad can it be living in the wine country? I miss my day in the Bay Area....

Oh and the Le Creuset? Very nice!

madhu said...

OMG This post gave me the goosies! Congratulations!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the blog and the dutch oven! I have dutch oven envy! So excited for you and your new adventure!

WinterSundays said...

CONGRATS!!! You are on a well deserved roll! There is nothing like good news (new job offer!) and pleasant surprises (Le Creuset!) Sweet!

Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner Heather said...

Congrats on your new job and the Le Cresuet dutch oven is a dream. I love the color! What a great week for you! I am gonna have to try your butter recipe and pick up some good creme next time I am at Whole foods.

Crunchy Creamy Sweet said...

Congratulations on your new job! The butter recipe - love it! How fun would it be to make your own butter? I can't wait to try this! Enjoy your new dutch oven - it's gorgeous!

Beth Kirby | {local milk} said...

You probably hear it all the time, but your photos are inspiring. They do what good food photography should do: inspire me to cook what's in the photo and to get out there and take better photos myself. There are so many food blogs, but for me, yours is in the top 5. Maybe my favorite, actually. It's the one I come back to look at again and again. As a blogger & self taught baker and photographer, you're teaching me more than you know! I've recently shifted careers and am starting a job as a baker mid summer... but I've never done it before. It's so exciting and a little intimidating. I'd love to hear what you baked to get the job. So, truly congrats and good luck!
Oh.. and what a rad Le Creuset color! I'm aubergine with envy.

Meesh1957 said...

Congratulations on your new job!!! Hope your Grandfather is home, and I hope you will be living closer to them.
Auburgiene Le Creuset! Free! Awesome!!!
Good luck on the housing hunt!


Unknown said...

Wow qu'elle belle nouvelle ! Félicitations ¸.•*´ ♡
Merci pour le partage de cette très bonne recette encore une fois ^_^
Je te souhaite de trouver un joli studio dans ta nouvelle ville !

Anonymous said...

Me llamo Xesca y te escribo desde la isla de Mallorca.
Mi más cordial enhorabuena por tu nuevo trabajo y por tu nueva Le Creuset. Yo tengo varias y no sabría vivir sin ellas.
Felicidades por todo!!!

Clear Pink said...

Congrats on the new job.

Funny that you posted about butter, I have been on a cultured butter making kick for the last month. It really is worth making.

Anonymous said...

Sorry- wait...
This blog uis one of the most beautiful ones, i know!!!
Abd: you deserve the le creuset ;-)
Although I envy you just a tiny mini mini bit :-)
So many warm greetings from germany!

the vanilla bean blog said...

I have butter on my mental to-do list, but you've officially inspired me. And, congrats on a new job! Very exciting. {And a PLUM Le Creuset? Dreamy. Good for you!!}

Unknown said...

Wow! Great new job! New Le Creuset dutch oven to have fun with! And a beautiful post about homemade butter. Congratulations! I have only ever fluked butter when I over beat cream but I have never intentionally made butter starting with special really good cream. What a good idea. I think my children would really enjoy helping me with this!

TheresaSea said...

So jealous!

Anonymous said...

This is so great! How lovely of Sur la Table!

MoonFaCe said...

Congratulations on your new job and the dutch oven :) Will you still blog after you take that hard job ?

I am so gonna make this butter recipe. I like making thing from scratch more than anything else .

Good Luck!

lamb and blonde said...

Congratulations on your new job, and on scoring that Le Creuset pot! Homemade butter sounds wonderful. Thanks for sharing yet another delicious recipe. Best wishes to you!

Katerina said...

WoW! So glad to stumbled on your blog!!! It's absolutely amazing dear.. The photos, the recipes, the words, all!
Great job--Congrats!

dobrya said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pru @ Perfecting Pru said...

Congratulations on the new job!

Jenny @ BAKE said...

I've never thought about making butter before what a brilliant idea! gorgeous photos too, and I have some mega le creuset envy right now!

Robyn said...

ohhh-you lucky lucky lucky duck!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Congrats on the new job!

I have one Le Creuset and love it, I use it a lot and the tomato sauce made in it is absolutely amazing. Mine is blue - I love the color of yours!

Mike @TheIronYou said...

Homemade butter + thyme = winner!

sarah {edible living} said...

homemade butter, what a treat! And with thyme. heavenly. congrats on the new job. I hope St. Helena welcomes you with open arms.

Our Youth said...

Oh wow, the butter... this looks very promising :)
New job? Congratulations :)

Aimee said...

I have never thought to make my own butter. This looks like it would be super fun though. Also, I just love all of your photos. I could get lost in their pure beauty.