9.17.13 Herbal Essence
By the way, the Nikon was having some issues and had to be sent back to the manufacturer (now the only place allowed to do repairs!) so I apologize for the less-than-adequate iphone photos which will persist for god knows how long. I trust you will bear with me in my quest to defy perfectionism and simply soldier on...
We love our local pork and it turns out to be from the same small farm that supplies Momofuku! They are much too modest to ever say but I've been watching Mind of a Chef (David Chang's food show) on Netflix and saw Andy featured on the pork-centric episode. I love Sullivan County!
You know how in fancy restaurants they are always adorning the plate with fat drops and squiggles of gorgeous jewel-toned sauces and oils? It's good to have something like that in your culinary arsenal. That's why you are going to make this basil oil. All you do is whizz together fresh basil and top quality olive oil, then let it drip slowly through a cheesecloth (or coffe filter or even a fine mesh strainer). The result is a pure grass-green oil that extends the taste of summer just a little bit longer. We had macaroni and cheese last night, studded with oven-roasted cherry tomatoes that are little umami flavor bombs and drizzled with this basil oil. (I made the béchamel sauce with buttermilk and it was really, really good.) On the side was escarole tossed with the tomato vinaigrette. Dessert these days has been this divine Concord grape sorbet.
And now, a few random updates:
I'm so excited to be giving a workshop at Best Made this Thursday. I would have told you about it but it sold out in about 6 hours. (I am not bragging!) I'll be talking about a bunch of stuff that you read about on this blog anyway.
I've also started a segment on our local radio station, WJFF! It's the What's Cooking segment on the Farm & Country show, every Saturday morning at 7:30. (Thankfully, I just email them my mp3s and don't have to appear in person!) I realize I would be overly optmistic to encourage you to tune in, but you can listen in the archive if ever you get a hankering.
I was recently featured on my friend Michael Mundy's beautiful site, An Afternoon With. It was a real honor to do this project with him and he took some wonderful photos of our home.
And last, but certainly not least, I want to thank everyone who made my mouth water with their chocolate fantasies and announce that the winner (selected with randomizer) of that fabulous box of Sucré confections is MERYL. Come on down, Meryl, and claim your prize! Email your address to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will tell the good people at Sucré to deliver the goods, toot sweet! xo
- — 2 packed cups fresh basil leaves
- — 1 cup best quality olive oil
- — pinch sea salt
Bring a small pot of water to the boil over high heat. Meanwhile, fill a bowl with a couple of handfuls of ice and cold water to cover, then set aside. Line a plate or tray with a double thickness of paper towels and set aside.
When water is boiling, drop in basil, leave for 10 seconds, and then quickly scoop it out with a slotted spoon or spider. Immediately put it in the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.
Remove basil from the ice bath and squeeze gently to get out some excess water, then lay it flat in a single layer on the paper towel-line plate. Allow to drain for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, combine basil, olive oil and salt in a blender or food processor and puree until very, very smooth.
Place a large piece of cheesecloth in a bowl or pitcher and pour in the basil oil. Gather up and tie the ends with a piece of string and suspend over bowl or pitcher so oil can drip through. Allow to drain for 3-4 hours. Do not squeeze or oil will become cloudy. Pour into a clean glass jar and keep refrigerated. Use within 5 days.
- — 1 medium ripe tomato
- — 1 small garlic clove
- — 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more as needed
- — 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- — 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- — 1/2 teaspoon spicy pimentón, optional
- — sea salt, to taste
Cut tomato in half and remove seeds. Place pulp with skin in a blender or food processor along with garlic, olive oil, sherry vinegar, fish sauce and pimentón, if using. Blend until smooth, then taste for seasoning, adding salt, if needed, and more olive oil if desired. Store in a clean glass jar in the fridge. Will keep for several days.