Herb Salt! part 3

Cucumber Pie Crust "Sandwiches," seasoned with...Yes! Herb salt!

Herb Salt! part 2

Powdered herbs and salt with the mortar and pestle.

Herb Salt!

Dehydrated parsley, cilantro, dill, and arugula.

Dinner Out

Last night, John and I took ourselves out on the town. We saw a show at the Cherry Lane Theatre and afterward strolled through the West Village to Blue Hill Restaurant. I've wanted to go to Blue Hill for years, but have never managed to actually walk through the door. That part of my life ended yesterday, and Oh! My! am I so, so happy. From the moment we entered the serene restaurant, 30 minutes early for our reservation, until we left almost three hours later, we were treated with gracious warmth. Blue Hill reminded me of what restaurants and hospitality should aspire towards, and caused me to develop some aspirations of my own. There were three items that I can't stop thinking about, and am determined to try and recreate at home.

The first was an arugula salt. Arugula salt! Dehydrated arugula, powdered, and then mixed with salt. Easy if you've got a dehydrator, and as the fates would have it, my friend Christine just got one for her birthday! I think I may start turning everything into salt. Or sugar. How about rhubarb sugar? Or carrot and mustard green salt? The possibilities make me giddy.

The second offering which made me smile and clap my hands was a garden greens gazpacho with a creme fraiche sorbet. I don't know what was in the chilled soup, but I am going to attempt to make it anyway. I think I'll start with parsley, cilantro, and chives. Puree them with some arugula and garlic. Add some water and maybe some dill. And radish greens. Puree a bit more. Taste. Wish me luck.

Finally, I ordered This Morning's Egg with English peas. So deceptively simple, I may never be able to conquer this dish. A poached egg nestled in a pool of green bliss with a smattering of peas and tiny bits of cured pork, this dish feels like home...a home that has turned its back on canned products and packaged meats, and embraced the bounty of the back yard garden. I crave that home, and this egg and pea pairing made me believe that it's possible.

Thanks to Emily and Kate

Its been a while since my last post, and my sister Emily and my friend Kate weren't afraid to tell me to get my act together and put up something new. I'm pretty sure they were tired of looking at my burnt lips, and who can blame them? Its not a good look.

I've fallen in love with hibiscus tea (also known as flor de jamaica). It is tart, refreshing, good for you, and so so pretty in a glass. Go buy some of the dried blossoms, put a handful in a pitcher of cold water, and in an hour or so you'll have a delicious beverage to sip away the heat of the day. Just don't forget to strain the blossoms out first.


Stupid Me

My mouth is on fire. Not because of spice. Because I was a total idiot. I was making smores over the gas burner, using a fork to roast the marshmallow. Once the marshmallow was melted, I slid it onto the waiting chocolate, and decided I COULDN’T let the marshmallow that remained on the fork go to waste, and yes! I put the red. hot. fork. in my mouth.

I heard the sizzling before I felt the burn.

Can you see the tine marks?


The Power of Soup

Its funny what sticks in people’s memories, and what doesn’t. For example, I remember Athena’s blue leather shoes. We were 7, and her shoes had a flower design cut out at the toe, and buckles. Athena remembers my mother’s potato soup.

Last fall, we were sitting in a Lower East Side bakery, shivering every time the door opened and a gust of bitter wind swept down our collars, when Athena asked about my mother’s potato soup. “Which one?” I replied.
“The thick brown one, with cheddar in the bottom of the bowl.” The perfect soup on a cold, dark night-- thick, and rich, with chunks of cheddar, minced onion, and a drizzle of apple cider vinegar. I had completely forgotten about it. Athena had not.

Two days later I called my mother for the recipe, and made the soup. It’s easy. Start with 5 or 6 medium sized potatoes, and enough water to completely cover them in a pot. While the potatoes are boiling, make a deep brown roux using a stick and a half of butter and ¾ cup of flour. Mash the potatoes, mix them back into the boiling water, and then slowly add the roux, stirring constantly. Add salt and pepper, and cook over low heat until it thickens. If the soup gets too thick, add a bit more water. Serve with cubes of cheddar cheese, minced onion, and a splash of vinegar.

Athena has since moved on to warmer climes, but for those of us still enduring the winter winds, there is nothing like a warm bowl of soup to help us thaw out, from head to toe.

* Freeze the leftovers, because…Next week: Chicken and Potato Potpie