July 2013

Lovage 790 xxx 790 xxx
photo by gluttonforlife

7.19.13 Oh, Your Daddy's Rich...

It's Friday and I promised you a cocktail. But in rebooting my computer, my last two weeks' worth of photos somehow disappeared, so I can't tell you about the wildberry gin I have been infusing. Long exhale. Mopping of brow. It's too hot to despair. The perfect solution? Exhorting you to make one of my all-time favorite summer cocktails: the Lovage You Long Time. You can do it! You can do it!

Don't got no lovage? Try infusing the simple syrup with a combination of celery leaves and stalks instead. The rest is just fresh lemon juice, Hendrick's gin, celery bitters and plenty of ice. A couple of these and the living will, indeed, be easy.
Harry S. Truman —
If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.
Garlic flower 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

7.17.13 July Hot Links

Last year, we took some wild garlic plants from a friend's land and planted them in our garden. They emerged, thrived and grew tall this season, producing those elegant, winding scapes that are the flower stalks of hardneck garlic plants. Instead of actually producing flowers, they eventually form small bulblets that can be planted to grow more garlic—or eaten as is, or used to infuse vinegar. That's what I did today, tossing a generous handful into a jar of organic white vinegar. I'll let it cool its heels in the pantry for a few weeks, then strain out and discard the garlic and use the vinegar for salad dressing. No vampires in this house.
Yajur Veda —
Herbs, while descending down from heaven to earth, proclaimed "Those who eat us are never destroyed."
Salad1 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

7.15.13 My Little Herb Stalk

I love eating out because creative chefs often inspire me to try new things at home. I think most home cooks feel the same way as you can see  by a feature of Melissa Clark's column on the Times' blog called Restaurant Takeaway, and something similar in Bon Appétit, known as The Takeaway. Who doesn't want to recreate those bold, compelling dishes that haunt us after we've dined out somewhere special? And when it's a relatively simple technique or combination of flavors you can copy, so much the better. That's the case with this mouthwatering fresh salad that pops up as a special at ABC Kitchen in Manhattan, where chef Dan Kruger is known for healthy seasonal cooking that drives people wild.

Don't worry about having to slavishly copy every last detail of a recipe. Here, it's the combination of fresh herbs, toasted pistachios and savory green olives in the dressing that makes this salad so addictive. At the restaurant, they lavish this mix on a whole gorgeous head of butter lettuce, but anything crisp and green will do.
Benjamin Franklin —
Hunger is the best pickle.
Combined 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

7.8.13 Organized Ferment

The home pickling, brewing, baking and preserving rage that has swept the country (or at least Brooklyn) in recent years has brought a new appreciation for kimchi, a spicy tangle of fermented vegetables that appears on the table at every meal in Korea, where kimchi is almost a religion. Its complex pungency comes from a colorful mix of garlic, chile, salted shrimp, fish sauce, ginger and scallions—and from an aging process that leaves the components tender yet crunchy. Brined and then fermented, the vegetables' sugars convert into lactic and acetic acids and carbon dioxide. The result is magical and, ultimately, can be as stinky and rich as a ripe cheese.

To learn more about the process of fermentation, I highly recommend one (or both) of Sandor Katz's books: The Art of Fermentation and Wild Fermentation. To learn more about the age-old art of making kimchi, read on.
Benjamin Franklin —
Where liberty dwells, there is my country.
Potato salad1 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

7.3.13 Love, American Style

Growing up in Northern California, picnics in the redwoods were a frequent occurence and a tradition on July 4th. We might have barbecued or fried chicken, or my dad might grill burgers and hotdogs, but some things never varied: my mother's potato salad and the fresh peach and boysenberry ice cream we cranked by hand.

Cut to 2013, when G and I will take our own picnic to Forestburgh tomorrow. I have a chicken brining in buttermilk, all set to be fried in the morning, and the potato salad is chilling in the fridge. Instead of ice cream, I made these sour cherry popsicles, which I hope will hold up in the cooler. We'll take the canoe out on the lake and row over to the waterfall. After all this rain, it's sure to be a surging monster.

We'll taste freedom and celebrate our independence—as a nation, as a family, as individuals. For all its many flaws (and I shudder to think of some), I still love our country. It remains a place of great beauty, optimism and possibility.
Genesis 1:29 —
Behold I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.