Mary asked Lauren:
Is there a substitute for the butter in your Mushroom Soup Concentrate? I can’t use butter. I’d love to find something interesting to use (to serve) instead of butter with dinner rolls, too. Thanks so much.
Mary, you can use extra-virgin olive oil, instead of butter, in the Mushroom Soup Concentrate. As far as serving a butter substitute with bread, I always keep a fabulous concoction that I call Garlic Confit in the fridge. Simple and extremely versatile, this is a mixture of whole, unpeeled garlic cloves that have simmered, over the lowest heat, until the garlic meat is meltingly tender and the oil is robustly flavored with GARLIC! We often use this as a spreadable alternative to butter, with dinner. All you do is gently squeeze a cooked garlic nugget out of its papery skin and then schmear it right onto a slice of fresh crusty bread. And, the garlic-infused olive oil is not only great as a dip for bread, but it also gives a fantastic flavor boost to vegetables, meats and fish, before pan-searing, grilling or roasting. Sometimes, I’ll also add to the mix some hot red pepper flakes, a pinch of herbs de Provence and/or cracked black peppercorns. Before using the garlic oil as a baste, I’ll also often add some additional minced fresh garlic since, after simmering, the taste of the cooked garlic becomes sweet with less of the kick inherent in raw garlic. That’s also when I might also add some minced fresh herbs, like thyme and rosemary.
For best results: To protect the integrity (composition, thus flavor) of the oil, it’s important to cook this over very low heat. If your stove is electric, or if you’re gas burners don’t have a simmer mode, use a flame tamer.
One more thing: Do yourself a favor and, once the garlic cloves start simmering, set a kitchen timer. One time, I left the kitchen and logged onto the computer. When I came back to the kitchen, there were garlic cloves stuck to the ceiling in my kitchen. (I learned, that day, that after too long in the hot oil, the little buggers explode!) Click here for my recipe for Garlic Confit with Cracked Pepper and Herbs.