4.04.2010

A Stick of Butter

When my mother died in July of 1988, I set out within a few weeks to collect, edit and create a book of her recipes to give to my father and siblings for Christmas that year.  For me, it represented the ultimate memento of her life, as she was always in the kitchen preparing amazing meals for us morning, noon and night.  These days, when I feel a bit blue, I flip through the pages of the original manuscript much like one would visit a loved one in the cemetery.  I open the book and there she is there on every page, in every recipe.  (For your information, my father resides in my checkbook... I visit him once a month when I balance it to the penny!)

I remember very little about putting together Mom's cookbook other than the computer had a black screen with green words.  Proofreading was impossible without massive headaches.  French accents were also impossible at that time.  And Courier was the font of choice... well, the only font available.  Considering the recipes, one thing that didn't strike me then but is so obvious to me now is that there is one reason so much of my mother's cooking was so good.  Butter.  Yep, butter.  As I retype all these recipes, I am stunned at how many recipes begin with "a stick of butter."  I now understand fully why: a) I struggled with my weight all my life, and b) why I am addicted to butter.

So, as I continue this cookbook project, fully expecting to test each recipe with its original ingredients, I know that I will: a) gain weight, and b) spend a fortune on butter. But, what am I to do?  (Please don't answer that question with some ridiculous notion that I should try the recipes with less butter!  Really, a reduced-fat scone is nothing more than a hockey puck with jam.  But maybe that is the butter addict talking...)

Now, there were a few recipes within that were basically healthy.  I am not sure where they came from but I am glad they are there – they are the intermezzi, or the palate cleansers, between all the butter-laden dishes.  This swordfish has to be one of the simplest in her book yet one of my favorites.  This was last night's intermezzo between the salmon pâté I made last weekend (cream cheese added to thin the butter...) and the blue cheese baked chicken ("Melt a stick of butter...") that I will make next weekend.  Enjoy!

– David




Marinated and Grilled Swordfish

4 6-ounce portions swordfish
extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Put about 1/4-inch of olive oil in the bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan.  Add the juice of the lemon and season with salt and pepper.  Whisk together with a fork and then add the swordfish.  Turn immediately to coat and cover.  Refrigerate for 4 hours, turning every hour.

Preheat the grill for 10 minutes at its hottest setting. When hot, brush grill lightly with olive oil (use a wadded up paper towel and tongs).  Put on the swordfish and cook 3-5 minutes per side, depending on the thickness.  Serve with lemon wedges and fresh parsley.

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