Herb Butter

The Troutdale Dining Room, the very first restaurant in a list too long, opened on April 13, 1976. The sign as one approached Troutdale, Virginia, was a beautifully weathered old gray door with letters my father and I sawed out of wood and painted white.

Neither my partners, Barry and Carol Serber, nor I had ever been in the restaurant business. We just loved food and, as it turned out, others loved our food.

We made our own ice cream, baked our own bread. Barry caught and cleaned rainbow trout in nearby Cedar Springs. Carol was an incredible cook. (Her chiles rellenos, while rarely on the menu, were the best ever!)

Every day there was a big bowl of Herb Butter, room temperature so it was easy to spread or dip into to season the vegetables which had been blanched earlier. Right up there in terms of usefulness.

Herb Butter

Drop two or three cloves of garlic in the food processor with the blade whirring. Add a pound of softened butter, some salt if you are using unsalted butter, and process until thoroughly combined, then add a few tablespoons each of chopped parsley and chopped chives. A few pulses to incorporate but don't purée unless you want it to be green.

A frequent staff lunch was a big slice of our bread, spread generously with herb butter, topped with thick slices of tomato, salt of course, and Swiss cheese. Under the broiler just long enough to melt the cheese.

More uses to come.