Flavor Starters

Cilantro-Lime Flavor Starter

Flavor Starter Cube by somethingwewhippedup.com

What’s for dinner tonight? Or breakfast tomorrow for that matter? I’ve always got an answer in my back pocket when I’ve got a stash of flavor starter cubes in my freezer. My most recent batch came together after I found myself with an abundance of cilantro. Instead of letting it wilt away, I blended the leaves up with some garlic, salt, pepper, lime juice and olive oil and filled an ice cube tray with the mixture.

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Cilantro-Lime Flavor Starter Cubes (somethingwewhippedup.com)

The frozen cubes are a great way to get a quick meal started. Around our house, we use them most often to whip up a delicious batch of scrambled eggs that are anything but ordinary. Simply put the frozen cube in your skillet, heat and let melt. Once it’s melted, swish the herb and olive oil mixture around your pan and add eggs. Cook your eggs as you normally would and you’ll enjoy a refreshing flavor that goes way beyond just seasoning your pan with a bit of butter or oil.

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Adding a frozen flavor starter cube to a skillet (somethingwewhippedup.com)

In addition to eggs, you can use flavor starter cubes to season a pan before searing chicken or cooking up some vegetables. I’ve even used one to add a little something extra to a classic grilled cheese.

Cilantro-Lime Flavor Starter Cubes

Makes about 12

  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 large bunch cilantro (about 3 to 4 cups)
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

1. Place the garlic in a blender or food processor. Pulse until well chopped. Add the cilantro, lime juice and olive oil. Blend until well combined, adding more olive oil if necessary to get a liquid consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.

2. Pour herb mixture into an ice cube tray. Freeze then transfer cubes to a zip-top bag for extended storage.

SWWU Tip 1: I don’t always fill the each well of the ice cube tray to the top. Smaller cubes are great when you’re making something for one person. Experiment making your cubes different sizes and see what works well for you.

SWWU Tip 2: Have other herbs on hand? This recipe works equally as well if you substitute parsley, basil or more. The lime juice can be substituted with lemon juice or left out entirely.

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Butter Me Up

Homemade butter is one of those special indulgences that I rarely make. It’s always creamier and richer than store-bought butter and makes anything you put it on—from a piece of crusty bread to a stack of pancakes—taste so much more decadent. This past weekend I wanted a special topping for some sweet summer corn, but we were at the farm house and I didn’t quite have the time or patience to make a batch of homemade butter. I was however able to grab some fresh cilantro from the garden and combine it with a few other ingredients we had on hand to jazz up some plain, store-bought butter.

Cilantro-Lime Butter by somethingwewhippedup.com

Cilantro-Lime Butter by somethingwewhippedup.com

It took hardly any effort and the result was beyond delicious. It’s really quite amazing how so few ingredients can really transform a dish so much. We used the butter to top some grilled corn, but I also think it would be a great way to grease a pan before making eggs, to coat the outside of a grilled-cheese sandwich or to prepare fish with.

Cilantro-Lime Butter

Makes about 4 tablespoons

  • 4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • pinch sea salt
  • pinch table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice

1. In a small bowl, combine the butter, garlic, cilantro, both salts and lime juice. Mix until well combined, taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

2. To form into butter rounds: Lay out a small piece of plastic wrap on a work surface. Place the butter mixture in the middle and fold the edges of the plastic wrap over each other to form a cylinder. Gently roll the butter back and forth, like you would a rolling pin, to smooth and lengthen the log of butter. Once your butter has reached the desired size and is uniform in thickness, twist the ends of the plastic wrap closed. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until firm.

3. Once firm, remove butter from the plastic wrap and slice into thin rounds.

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Going Green

My secret ingredient for adding a little something special to my homemade pizza is a bit unconventional. For me, nothing perks up a pie quite like a sprinkle of fresh cilantro leaves. Yes, I know the taste of this herb can be very polarizing, with many people claiming to “hate” the ingredient. But I think this versatile herb deserves a bit more credit. The leaves can instantly add freshness to the dishes it’s added too and it provides an unexpected burst of flavor.

Fresh Cilantro (somethingwewhippedup.com)

Fresh Cilantro (somethingwewhippedup.com)

But you know what? I’ve never had a problem with any of my friends clearing their plates—and they usually go back for seconds—when I serve my now-famous Summer’s Bounty Pizza. It’s topped with all the goodies currently tempting you at your local farmers’ market (including cilantro) so this is a pie you can feel good about eating.

Summer's Bounty Pizza by somethingwewhippedup.com

Summer’s Bounty Pizza by somethingwewhippedup.com

Summer’s Bounty Pizza

Makes 1 pizza

  • 1 round premade pizza dough
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound summer squash (we usually use a mix of pattypan, yellow and green), cut into a 1/4-inch dice
  • 1/4 cup jarred tomato sauce
  • 1/2-pound fresh salted mozzarella, diced
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

1. Peheat oven to 475°F. Roll out the prepared dough onto a pan (I usually make our pizzas sort of rectangular, but you can form dough into any shape you like) and brush with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook for 6 minutes or until lightly browned (pop any bubbles that form with a fork). Remove from oven.

2. Meanwhile, place garlic and remaining olive oil in a pan and heat over medium for 1 minute. Add the squash and cook, stirring occasionally for 10 to 15 minutes or until browned. Set aside.

3. Top the pizza crust with the tomato sauce, then evenly distribute the cooked squash. Evenly top with the mozzarella and tomatoes and sprinkle with cilantro.

4. Cook for 7 to 9 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from oven and let sit for 3 to 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

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