Christmas, Boxing Day and More

Oh, holy snack tray! We kicked off noshing at casa de Amherst with a tray of goodies – olives, crackers, some kind of armenian flat bread, cheeses, and stuffed peppers.
There was also hummus. With pine nuts. Creamy. Yum.

And guac, too! Do you know how hard it is not to fill up on these things before dinner?

That was for Xmas eve snacks, for Christmas dinner we had prime rib. Cooked perfectly, might I add – and seasoned with fresh dill! Like gravlox! (kind of) We got leftovers to bring home, and we ate prime rib for breakfast for the next 2 days. How extravagant, no?
I also brought over a loaf of bread. I made the Jim Lahey no-knead bread, and good gravy, it is everything everyone says about it and more. Fucking GO-OOOD! Papa Amherst made french toast with it on Christmas morning. Fan-flipping-tastic, too.
After Christmas we had Boxing day for my family in the area over here. Albany John and I settled on pork for the main meat dish, and omg, y’all do you know how hard it is to find a non-Smithfield ham or pork product around here? All of Hannaford’s pork products are, and Cook’s is a Smithfield branch as well (I used The Google for that one when I was trying to source Cook’s). Good gravy, I just wanted a non-commercial pork something to eat, and wow, it was hard to find around here. Seriously, I spent like 3 days looking around for one. We went to the Niskayuna Co-Op, which is really far for me, but I’d called up and was told there was absolutely no Smithfield,etc. type pork there, and we saw dozens of Cook’s brand hams. >_
Albany John cooked the roast perfectly, everyone really liked it, but for some reason I just thought it was ‘ok’, not “dear goodness, I love, love, love pork. I think I need to rub this all over my body” like I used to with pork. Aw man, I think my taste buds are changing! Maybe my 2009 resolution will be to not make a big deal about eating pork.

I have no problem replacing pork roasts with chickpea cutlets though! I pan fried these babies after smashing them as thinly as possible in my hands and didn’t have any puffing issues with them. If you haven’t tried the Veganomicon’s chickpea cutlets, do. Do.


Then I plopped some ragu in a pan and slathered the cutlets with it accordingly to make a couple of layers. Then it baked, covered, for something like 20-30 minutes, just to heat through. My sister seemed to enjoy it (woo hoo!) as did the other omnivores. Actually, I was planning on it just feeding her and being leftovers for someone who couldn’t make it, but there was only about 1 serving left at the end of the night! Sweet! I’m glad it was such a hit. Then again, chickpeas are magical.

Albany John also made some fabulous german potato salad (which tastes even better as leftovers since the onions pickle a bit) and I made another loaf of the no-knead bread, which also went really well.

Since I was doing this with my side of the family, I wanted to give a nod to my Nana, and so we had sunshine salad and grasshoppers. Sunshine salad is a jello salad, which I ate in mass quantities as a child growing up, fully believing that it was a vegetable. Hello, it’s got salad right there in the name! I also distinctly remember my Nana and mom going on a hunt for a grasshopper and taking us to this one bar/dark restaurant. We sat in a booth and they each ordered a grasshopper, which came in a huge round glass. A goblet, I suppose you could call it. They oohed and aahed over it, and I remember really wanting to try some since part of the description contained ‘ice cream’. Our grasshoppers were made with equal parts clear crème de cacao, green crème de menthe, and vodka over ice with a splash of milk and blended until it was a frosty beverage. Don’t worry – I have heat in my current abode so I can be all lavish and drink frozen cocktails in December.
My mom brought a coconut cake for dessert – sweet. How can you go wrong with coconut? You can’t. Coconut can’t ever do wrong. I’m glad she brought it since my dessert was pretty small.
I made some dark chocolate pudding with silken tofu (so everyone could eat the dessert). Holy crap, I love this stuff. There might be a hint of chalkiness, but really, I couldn’t taste it. This is my new favorite way to make pudding – so easy, and such amazing results. I don’t even care for dark chocolate, or chocolate in general, but I couldn’t get enough of this.
My mom and sister went home, leaving us with my brother, sister-in-law and their roomie/friend from Tennessee to sit around drinking ourselves silly on grasshoppers. Ok, so that was just my sister-in-law and me, but hey, we like girly drinks. My mom had gotten me a fryer (woo hoo, fryer!) so we decided we should use it and have a seafood party the next day. Whoo, after a few of those grasshoppers you’ll say just about anything. They’re a pretty stiff drink!

Thankfully seafood prices (especially lobster) have been lowering lately, so we got 2 lobsters from the Asian Food Market the next day, along with some mussels and shrimp. I begged Albany John to make the lobsters Cantonese-style, since my sister-in-law never had lobster, and I think that way of cooking them really enhances their flavor. Plus it helps to stretch 2 lobsters between 5 people while still feeling sated.


We made the shrimp cornstarch battered and fried, but I think I must have messed something up, as these weren’t as crisp as they have been in the past. But still freaking tasty, because they’re shrimp – as long as you don’t cook them into rubber, they will taste good. My sister-in-law says she makes them with adobo and stuff, and oh, I will have to ask to try that too.


These mussels were only $2.99 for a 2 lb bag! What a good deal! These I just steamed with a bit of water. They could have used a touch of seasonings, but I like my seafood just plain and plump to really taste it. The next day I made orzo pasta and cooked some onion and garlic with a bit of the mussel broth and added in extra mussels – it was a good quick dish!

And then I made more bread. For real. In 5 days I made the no-knead bread 3 times. And you know what? You can double the yeast and have the same loaf ready in half the time if you forget to start making it the night before.

No Knead Bread Recipe:

3 C AP Flour

1/4 teaspoon instant dry yeast

1 1/4 teaspoon salt

1.5 C water, or just a T or 2 more.

Mix dry ingredients, add water. Cover bowl and let sit 12-18 hours (1/2 time if you double the yeast).

Flour a surface, plop bread out. Fold over 1-2 times. Let sit 15 minutes.

Flour a cotton towel (not terry cloth!) very well, and then put bread seam side down on it. Flour well on top and cover with another cotton towel. Let sit 2 hours.

After 1.5 hours, preheat oven to 450F with a dutch oven/covered baking dish in as well.

At 2 hours, plop bread into it seam side up, cover and bake 30 minutes. Take top off, bake 15 more minutes.

Christmas and Boxing Day

Oh, holy snack tray! We kicked off noshing at casa de Amherst with a tray of goodies – olives, crackers, some kind of armenian flat bread, cheeses, and stuffed peppers.
There was also hummus. With pine nuts. Creamy. Yum.

And guac, too! Do you know how hard it is not to fill up on these things before dinner?

That was for Xmas eve snacks, for Christmas dinner we had prime rib. Cooked perfectly, might I add – and seasoned with fresh dill! Like gravlox! (kind of) We got leftovers to bring home, and we ate prime rib for breakfast for the next 2 days. How extravagant, no?
I also brought over a loaf of bread. I made the Jim Lahey no-knead bread, and good gravy, it is everything everyone says about it and more. Fucking GO-OOOD! Papa Amherst made french toast with it on Christmas morning. Fan-flipping-tastic, too.
After Christmas we had Boxing day for my family in the area over here. Albany John and I settled on pork for the main meat dish, and omg, y’all do you know how hard it is to find a non-Smithfield ham or pork product around here? All of Hannaford’s pork products are, and Cook’s is a Smithfield branch as well (I used The Google for that one when I was trying to source Cook’s). Good gravy, I just wanted a non-commercial pork something to eat, and wow, it was hard to find around here. Seriously, I spent like 3 days looking around for one. We went to the Niskayuna Co-Op, which is really far for me, but I’d called up and was told there was absolutely no Smithfield,etc. type pork there, and we saw dozens of Cook’s brand hams. >_
Albany John cooked the roast perfectly, everyone really liked it, but for some reason I just thought it was ‘ok’, not “dear goodness, I love, love, love pork. I think I need to rub this all over my body” like I used to with pork. Aw man, I think my taste buds are changing! Maybe my 2009 resolution will be to not make a big deal about eating pork.

I have no problem replacing pork roasts with chickpea cutlets though! I pan fried these babies after smashing them as thinly as possible in my hands and didn’t have any puffing issues with them. If you haven’t tried the Veganomicon’s chickpea cutlets, do. Do.


Then I plopped some ragu in a pan and slathered the cutlets with it accordingly to make a couple of layers. Then it baked, covered, for something like 20-30 minutes, just to heat through. My sister seemed to enjoy it (woo hoo!) as did the other omnivores. Actually, I was planning on it just feeding her and being leftovers for someone who couldn’t make it, but there was only about 1 serving left at the end of the night! Sweet! I’m glad it was such a hit. Then again, chickpeas are magical.

Albany John also made some fabulous german potato salad (which tastes even better as leftovers since the onions pickle a bit) and I made another loaf of the no-knead bread, which also went really well.

Since I was doing this with my side of the family, I wanted to give a nod to my Nana, and so we had sunshine salad and grasshoppers. Sunshine salad is a jello salad, which I ate in mass quantities as a child growing up, fully believing that it was a vegetable. Hello, it’s got salad right there in the name! I also distinctly remember my Nana and mom going on a hunt for a grasshopper and taking us to this one bar/dark restaurant. We sat in a booth and they each ordered a grasshopper, which came in a huge round glass. A goblet, I suppose you could call it. They oohed and aahed over it, and I remember really wanting to try some since part of the description contained ‘ice cream’. Our grasshoppers were made with equal parts clear crème de cacao, green crème de menthe, and vodka over ice with a splash of milk and blended until it was a frosty beverage. Don’t worry – I have heat in my current abode so I can be all lavish and drink frozen cocktails in December.
My mom brought a coconut cake for dessert – sweet. How can you go wrong with coconut? You can’t. Coconut can’t ever do wrong. I’m glad she brought it since my dessert was pretty small.
I made some dark chocolate pudding with silken tofu (so everyone could eat the dessert). Holy crap, I love this stuff. There might be a hint of chalkiness, but really, I couldn’t taste it. This is my new favorite way to make pudding – so easy, and such amazing results. I don’t even care for dark chocolate, or chocolate in general, but I couldn’t get enough of this.
My mom and sister went home, leaving us with my brother, sister-in-law and their roomie/friend from Tennessee to sit around drinking ourselves silly on grasshoppers. Ok, so that was just my sister-in-law and me, but hey, we like girly drinks. My mom had gotten me a fryer (woo hoo, fryer!) so we decided we should use it and have a seafood party the next day. Whoo, after a few of those grasshoppers you’ll say just about anything. They’re a pretty stiff drink!

Thankfully seafood prices (especially lobster) have been lowering lately, so we got 2 lobsters from the Asian Food Market the next day, along with some mussels and shrimp. I begged Albany John to make the lobsters Cantonese-style, since my sister-in-law never had lobster, and I think that way of cooking them really enhances their flavor. Plus it helps to stretch 2 lobsters between 5 people while still feeling sated.


We made the shrimp cornstarch battered and fried, but I think I must have messed something up, as these weren’t as crisp as they have been in the past. But still freaking tasty, because they’re shrimp – as long as you don’t cook them into rubber, they will taste good. My sister-in-law says she makes them with adobo and stuff, and oh, I will have to ask to try that too.


These mussels were only $2.99 for a 2 lb bag! What a good deal! These I just steamed with a bit of water. They could have used a touch of seasonings, but I like my seafood just plain and plump to really taste it. The next day I made orzo pasta and cooked some onion and garlic with a bit of the mussel broth and added in extra mussels – it was a good quick dish!

And then I made more bread. For real. In 5 days I made the no-knead bread 3 times. And you know what? You can double the yeast and have the same loaf ready in half the time if you forget to start making it the night before.

No Knead Bread Recipe:

3 C AP Flour

1/4 teaspoon instant dry yeast

1 1/4 teaspoon salt

1.5 C water, or just a T or 2 more.

Mix dry ingredients, add water. Cover bowl and let sit 12-18 hours (1/2 time if you double the yeast).

Flour a surface, plop bread out. Fold over 1-2 times. Let sit 15 minutes.

Flour a cotton towel (not terry cloth!) very well, and then put bread seam side down on it. Flour well on top and cover with another cotton towel. Let sit 2 hours.

After 1.5 hours, preheat oven to 450F with a dutch oven/covered baking dish in as well.

At 2 hours, plop bread into it seam side up, cover and bake 30 minutes. Take top off, bake 15 more minutes.

Black Sheep Bakery

Stopped by the Black Sheep Bakery during our time in Amherst, MA. I can’t quite remember the names of our sandwiches, save that mine was $7.25 and had turkey, mushrooms, spinach and onions. Flipping good!

I think Albany John’s sandwich was around the same price – it was a ham and cheese type thing with sprouts, spinach and tomatoes. Also flipping good. Balsamic vinegar in there too.

Friendly staff, takes credit cards, and really good sandwiches with quality ingredients (I really liked the spinach over iceberg lettuce – quite the difference!).

El Loco

We went to El Loco one night. I went once before to meet up with new friends, but don’t remember much about the meal except for it being ok, but more the chatting with new people thing.



I ordered one of their margaritas (rocks, no salt, TYVM!) for $6.50. These puppies really will knock you on your booty! They taste good, and it took me the whole meal to get through the entire drink.


You can choose a side with your meal, and since I was just getting over a cold the black bean soup sounded perfect. I really enjoyed the black bean soup. It was thick, well flavored, and the beans were nice and soft. Albany John’s black bean soups are more soupy and less thick than this, so we are thinking that some of the black beans were pureed. Hello, immersion stick blender!


I ordered a combo of fried things – a chicken chimichanga and … I think it was a turkey flauta. It’s the fried thing on the left with pinched ends in a corn tortilla. The chimi was in a flour based tortilla. I liked it – simple, cheesy and chicken-y. The flauta was deeply spiced and tasted hot to me, which probably means you will taste some seasoning. Still, the seasonings were great. My only problem was with how tiny they were. The chimichanga was 4, maybe 5 inches long tops. The flauta was a little smaller than that. And the first inch to half-inch or so was just tortilla, so I think they are a little pricey considering the portions and small amount of filling. Aww, I miss ordering enchiladas for $5 and getting 3-4 of them, slathered with sauce and plated on a paper boat like in Texas.
I loved the black beans and rice in a mini corn tortilla bowl. Lord, I love anything miniature. Maybe it’s just me though, but I would have preferred a little more rice and beans. Like, maybe put the black beans or the rice in the mini bowl, and then put the other one on the side. Yum!


Albany John ordered an enchilada and taco (I forget the fillings, whoops!) combo and ordered a blue cornbread muffin as his side. They are really big, and also quite good. Fluffy, warm and very easy to eat! Good, but I always want more than one enchilada. If the order came with 2 enchiladas and a taco, I would go here more often.

El Loco is vegan and vegetarian friendly as well, and they’re right next to Lark Tavern on Madison Ave. They’re a good place to meet up for margaritas and eat appetizers, and for the love of goodness, make sure you get either the cornbread or the black bean soup. Trust me, you’ll need something to nosh on while you’re slinging back those margaritas!
Oh, btw – their flavored margaritas are also really good. I definitely remember that from my first visit there.

Veganomicon Chickpea Cutlets

As I was flipping through the Veganomicon, I found a nifty recipe for chickpea cutlets. I adore chickpeas in any form. It was SO gonna happen.
I also really enjoyed the Veganomicon, because there were lots of real recipes, and they didn’t use too much kitchen chicanery or faux ingredients in their recipes. I really do not enjoy the way vegan foods taste when they’re made with vegan cheese, vegan egg replacer, etc. etc. They taste really fakey, off, and just plain ole’ not good. If there’s anything you know I like, it’s for my food to taste good! I really enjoyed that this book went that route – letting the ingredients stand out for themselves, which is how I normally like my animal product-free foods.
The Albany Public Library system has a copy or two of the Veganomicon, which is where I got it from after seeing it at Border’s (and shrieking when I saw the price).

The chickpea cutlets were amazing, simply put. I thought the ingredients were incredibly simple and flavorful, and the process of making them was also insanely easy. They tasted firm, basically like a gigantic cutlet. As you can see, I served these with some spaghetti and sauce (that part was really bad. Oh, man, I can really mess up spaghetti and tomato sauce). I also baked these in the oven after brushing both sides with a bit of olive oil. You can also pan fry them. My only suggestion is to roll them out as thin as you can, if you want cutlets thinner than this, since they puff up a bit in the oven.


If my sister is reading, please turn away now. (She probably hasn’t :p)

For Boxing Day this year I’m having my family and close friends in the area over for dinner. For the veggie friendly main dish, I think I am going to make a chickpea cutlet parm of some sort. I spent all of Friday night (OMG, wasn’t that traffic AWFUL to drive home in?! 2 HOURS I was in traffic, aiii) making a vegan ragu for a (hopefully) large chickpea parm of sorts. I think it will hold up really well and be very tasty. The cutlets themselves aren’t dry, and were more than fine naked, but I think a sauce will really jazz them up.

I increased the recipe a bit, since a can of chickpeas is just over 1 cup, and the remaining chickpeas would have made a paltry salad garnish (but then again, I really love chickpeas.)

Veganomicon’s Chickpea Cutlets

1 Can chickpeas

2.5 T olive oil

3/4 C vital wheat gluten

3/4 C bread crumbs (I had some garlic bread I’d made left in the freezer – score!)

1/3 C Water

3 T Soy Sauce

3 Cloves Garlic, pressed/minced

just under a teaspoon of:

lemon juice

dried thyme

paprika

dried, rubbed sage

Directions:

Mash chickpeas until smooth/ as smooth as possible. Add the rest of the ingredients and knead for 3 minutes. You’ll see gluten strings form when you knead, and they look like snot/goo. It’s really cool.

Make 6-8 cutlets and pan fry. Or cook in a 375F oven for 30-40 minutes, flipping midway through. Brush with olive oil if you’re baking them.

Full Mi Belly

The Curry Goat at Full Mi Belly is delicious. I got a small curry goat with peas and rice (beans and rice), cabbage veggie and plantains for $3.99. And this was a big portion. I saved a few bits of goaty goodness for Albany John at home, and he loved it as well. For the love of all that is good, get the sauce over the rice. Tasty!

I also felt like a big spender and bought a champagne cola for $2. A little too high fructose corn syrup-y for me. Are there any cane sugar/non-fructose versions in the area? Full Mi Belly takes debit, and don’t give you the stink eye or chastise you for using it for small amounts (like some other places in the area). Sorry, that is just a pet peeve of mine – the minimum amount to use credit/debt, which isn’t allowed by MasterCard/Visa per their agreement. I know their cut can be high, but c’mon – price accordingly or say it nicely. “Do you have cash? We really appreciate cash payment, but not a big deal if you don’t have it” would remind me to use cash VS “Oh. We normally don’t allow credit purchases under $25, but I suppose I’ll let you this one time if you don’t have anything else”. I don’t want to feel guilty for giving someone business. Uh, whoops, sorry, I got in a cranky “Kids-These-Days” rant. Just excuse me while I go get my Ensure.

Where were we? Right, Full Mi Belly – roxors my soxors, go eat there. Cheap, amazing food, friendly people.

Christmas Cookies

Ho ho ho! I still have yet to finish any holiday shopping, but I did get in the first round of Christmas cookies! Round 2 will resume whenever I stop hacking up bits of my lungs.

Rugelach (I don’t use sour cream)

1 8 oz block cream cheese
2 sticks butter
2 ½ C Flour, sifted
2 T sugar
dash salt

Cream butter and cream cheese together, add sugar.
Scoop flour and salt on top, mix roughly with spoon and combine by hand.
Refrigerate 2 hours
Roll out and fill with your favorites. I used Strawberry Champagne jam; chocolate, honey and coconut, and chucked finely diced walnuts in the mix of some as well.

I prefer more traditionally shaped rugelach, so I roll the dough out in a big rectangle, spread out the filling, and then use a pizza cutter to slice thin strips. Roll up, pop into an oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, and you’re golden.

The Candy Cane Cookies recipe was from Good Things Catered. They tasted just as good or better than I remember making them as a kid. I don’t like them with crushed candy cane bits on top. It tastes a bit too much like you’re biting into teeth.

The rice krispy treats were from the back of the box. Not too hard, though – butter, marshmallows and rice krispies. Yum. Albany John and I hadn’t had rice krispies in years, so this was a nostalgic little treat for us.


Mmm, biscotti!

One of these is Pumpkin Walnut, which turned out a bit chewy but still tasted fabulously. Next time I will up the flour content a bit to balance it out as the dough was quite wet.
The White Chocolate biscotti were my favorite of the biscotti. I just used the majority of a bag of white chocolate chips, not a bar of chocolate.

The rugelach are always my utmost favorite cookies to give (and eat). The cream cheese dough is flaky and has just a hint of cream cheese tang that goes so well with jam and toasted walnuts (my favorite filling).

Gravlox

One of my favorite blogs to read is Boots In The Oven. They are an awesome couple, and have great food trips, adventures and more. They made a gravlox recipe earlier this year that had me drooling. Cured, fishy goodness. I could control my impulses no longer, and finally got around to making this incredibly easy version of gravlox. Seriously. It’s really easy. Here’s the recipe for the cure:
Gravlox
Equal parts kosher salt and sugar.
Spices as you like ’em.
THAT’S IT. So easy. Not like my last mangled attempt at making gravlox. I’m also fairly sure that I didn’t use enough cure on the slice.
I went to the new Original Two Cousin’s that recently opened up in Latham (Newton Plaza). First off – awesome new store. No fishy smell in the building. It just looked like a nice fish fry that also happened to sell great quality fish. This was a Scottish Salmon, I think. Or maybe it was a Scottish Trout. It looked so incredibly fresh, though, and at $12.95/lb, I thought it was a pretty good deal. They weighed it with the box underneath it on, no taring, but when I weighed the box at home it barely made my kitchen scale tick. The fillet above cost $9 and change.
This isn’t the whole fillet, but the thinner portion. Albany John broiled up the thicker part under the oven. The skin stuck to the broiler pan, and I cried because that meant no delicious crispy fish skin. The skin of fattier fishes crisps up so nicely when exposed to high heat, absolutely cruncy, greasy and good.

I nicked off a piece of the salmon (or trout) when I was cutting the fish up and ate it raw. Can we say sushi quality? This fish was fresh enough to run game and land a few numbers. The cooked part was great – buttery, and it fed 3 people (stretched with a lot of rice and veggies).

So I let the salmon cure for 24 hours with some weights on it in the fridge, and out popped this baby. The left looks a bit redder/darker. That thicker end cured a bit more. I think it had more contact with the weights. There were some raw parts, but oh, baby it was like sushi. Next time I need heavier weights if I want to eat this in 24 hours.


I slathered a piece of bread with some of the gravlox (or gravtrout), smeared on some sour cream, and added a caper. Yum, yum, yum. If we’ve still got wiggle room in our budget at the end of the month, I am so making this again.

Blurbies – Bread & Jam, Papa John’s, Envy

Just playing a bit of catch-up, y’all! Here’s some little things I’ve been up to.Coffee and hot cider at Bread and Jam Cafe in Cohoes, NY. Bottomless cup of joe on the left at $2.25, and a small hot cider at somewhere around $3. Cider was not really worth the price. Not awful, just not good enough for me to want to pay $3 for it again. Albany John really likes the bottomless cup of coffee.


I also wanted to put up some interior pics of the space. See? I told ya it’s really big inside.


Pizza from Papa John’s (New Scotland Ave, Albany, NY. Across from St. Peter’s). Just cheese. It was pretty good, it makes me think of good times when I lived in Texas. How do they get that crust so soft? Glad to see you still get the garlic dip and pepperoncini (even if I don’t eat them). It’s a nostalgia thing, you know?


The whole wheat bread sticks, though… dense as all hell and really dry. Also, the garlic ‘dip’ isn’t as good as I remember it from Texas. It’s more like garlic margarine. Pleh. Be unhealthy – get the regular ones, not the whole wheat ones. These deffo need tweaking.

Went to Envy lounge (Albany, NY) one night. Bartender had a bit of a ‘tude, and said there were no specials at all the night I went, even though there was a screen saver behind the bartender saying there should be a lot. I never get why staff aren’t nice, especially when it isn’t all that busy. Later on someone pried it out there would be specials later on in the night. Got a vodka and cranberry juice, $5 for a well drink in a small plastic cup. Plastic cup was a disappointment, as the space looks very beautiful, but plastic is something a college bar would do. The Lark Tavern gives out glass cups during happy hour, why can’t Envy give them out during prime hours? Well, at any rate, I am probably not Envy’s target customer, so no biggie.
Not a big fan of the Christmas Tree Shops in Colonie Center Mall. They seem to have a lot of ‘stuff’ just nothing particularly useful. I like the Massachusetts stores better. They also put in some retail stuff, like shampoo, soaps, lotions, etc… feels more like a Target than walking into Xmas Tree Shops and not knowing what (if anything) you’ll come out with.
AHHH! HOLIDAYS ARE COMING! What are you up to for them?

Salt on Bread

I love salt. Absolutely love the stuff. It’s very rare that I think anything is too salty. There’s only been 2 occasions I can vivdly remember where something was so salty I couldn’t finish it:

1) Some kind of rice pilaf thing at Red Lobster at a good bye/ good luck dinner for a relative that tasted like someone knocked over powdered boullion onto the stuff. The seafood was good, though.

2) The French onion soup at a diner where a friend waitressed. The cook was one of her friends and he came out and chatted with us, explaining his extensive training and how this was a special recipe.

Normally I am salting the crap out of my food with abandon. Kosher gives foods a rich, almost buttery taste. Sea salt, especially the Kalas brand, adds a magical brininess to a dish.

One of my favorite simple foods is slathering a piece of bread with butter and then liberally salting with a coarse salt. The salt in this picture is Red Hawaiian salt. It’s warm, yummy, and just a bit less salty than the other salts. If you use an unsalted butter, you really let the flavors of the salt come through, but I’m just as happy with it on salted butter.