Category Archives: Garden Treats

summer’s bounty: easy oven ratatouille recipe

Summer's Bounty: Using up tomatoes and zucchini with ratatouille

 

Are you feeling intimidated by the size and number of zucchinis plumping in your garden? Worried that your prolific tomato plants are about to cause an avalanche that will bury the rest of your summer under a pile of wasted fruit? Fret not! I have a classic dish that will use up buckets of the veggies growing like crazy this time of year…

 

RATATOUILLE!

 

Summer's Bounty: Using up tomatoes and zucchini with ratatouille

Summer's Bounty: Using up tomatoes and zucchini with ratatouille

 

I went gaga over ratatouille after eating Noisette’s gorgeous focaccia topped with the sweet and melty veggie medley. Keeping the ingredients chunky allows you to really taste each flavor while preserving a satisfying texture. This recipe can be eaten as a side dish, a sauce, or used as a base. Serve on pasta, toasted pita, rice, sliced baguette, polenta, or on a pizza. I used Hideaway Bakery’s Pizza Dough found fresh in bags at Sundance Grocery to make my pie.

 

Easy Oven Baked Ratatouille Recipe

based on Alice Water’s recipe from The Art of Simple Food

Ingredients

2 small-medium organic eggplants
2 pints organic heirloom grape or cherry tomatoes
1 large organic heirloom tomato
2 organic zucchinis
3 small sweet organic peppers or 1 large organic bell
1 organic yellow squash
1 organic onion
1 head of organic garlic
1/4 cup organic virgin olive oil
1/3 cup organic basil leaves, chiffonade
shredded parmesan cheese to taste
fine sea saltfresh cracked black pepper, and organic chili flakes to taste

Directions

Prep all veggies by cutting into similar sizes. I like to go by the average size of the little tomatoes I’m using so I can leave those whole. It ends up being about 1 inch cubes.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Salt eggplant and mix well. Allow to sit in a colander and drain for 20 minutes to tenderize.

In a pan, caramelize sliced onions in a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-low heat until they turn golden.

Mix all veggies together in a large glass pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and bake for 30 minutes or until the veggies become soft. I like to toss every 10 minutes or so during the baking process.

Remove from heat and scrape into a bowl. Mix in salt (a good amount), pepper, chili flakes, basil, and cheese to taste. Drizzle in remaining olive oil if the eggplant makes the finished dish too thick for you. Crushed oregano leaf makes a nice addition as well!

Summer's Bounty: Using up tomatoes and zucchini with ratatouille

Summer's Bounty: Using up tomatoes and zucchini with ratatouille

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oven-fried chicken + book review

Oven-Fried Chicken + Poulet Book Review by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

 

I recently realized that I haven’t had fried chicken – like, real Southern style fried chicken – since my pre-vegetarianism days. That’s almost 20 years! I can still hear the symphonic marriage of crackling oil in hot cast iron, songs of long-legged crickets, and rolling thunder on so many muggy summer nights. My mom carefully dropping each flour dusted breast, thigh, and drumstick into bubbling gold magma. Mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet corn.

The closest I’ve had since then was a crazy good (and super naughty) fried chicken lollipop with sriracha mayo at Smallwares in Portland during an anniversary dinner with my sweetie last year. I came REALLY close to breaking this sad streak the other night at Grit in the Whitaker. My heart started to sing when I saw it on the menu, especially since I know they use good quality local meat. No luck. Fried chicken sells like hotcakes and they were sold out by the time I got there.

So, my desire grows…

 

Poulet: More Than 50 Remarkable Meals That Exalt the Honest Chicken

 

I picked up a beautiful cookbook the other day called Poulet by Cree LeFavour. The bird is a staple protein for me most weeks and this book offers over 50 different recipes for bone-in, skin-on chicken, calling on traditional cuisines from around the world.

I opened the book to this recipe for Oven-Fried Chicken and just had to try it! Crispy, crunchy skin and tender, juicy meat full of flavor, this recipe makes a wonderful and easy alternative to the classic fried luxury. I reduced the cayenne just a smidge here since I found the original recipe to be a bit too spicy. Otherwise, this is a winner…especially with a side of Horseradish Green Bean Potato Salad!

 

oven-fried chicken  

adapted from Poulet

Ingredients:

1/4 cup organic whole milk
1/4 cup organic olive oil
juice of 2 organic lemons
1 tsp fine sea salt, plus 1 Tbsp
2 organic bone-in, skin-on chicken legs and 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
1 cup organic all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp organic cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp organic onion powder
1/4 tsp organic paprika powder
1/2 tsp organic fresh cracked black pepper
flaky cyprus salt for finishing

Directions:

In a large bowl, stir together the milk, olive oil, lemon juice and the 1 tsp sea salt.  Add the chicken to the bowl and turn to coat on both sides.  Marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour, or cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours. If refrigerating, return the chicken to room temperature for 30 minutes or so to take the chill off before cooking.

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Stir together the flour, 1 Tbsp sea salt, and spices in another large bowl.  Season with the black pepper.  Lift the chicken pieces from the marinade and dredge in the seasoned flour to coat on both sides.  Give each piece a little shake to remove any excess flour.  Lay the pieces on a parchment paper-lined or lightly greased baking sheet, skin-side up.

Bake the chicken for 30-40 minutes, turning after 15 minutes, or until the crust is a deep, golden brown.  Either insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part or cut into a piece with a paring knife.  The thermometer should register 175° F.  If using a knife, look for clear, not red or pink, juices running from the spot where you pierced the meat and opaque, barely pink flesh at the bone.  If the chicken isn’t done, bake for 5 to 10 minutes longer and check it again.

When the chicken is done, remove it from the oven, sprinkle with a little flaky salt, and let rest for 5 minutes.  Arrange on a platter or divide among individual plates.  

 

Horseradish Green Bean Potato Salad + Poulet Book Review by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

 

horseradish green bean

potato salad 

adapted from Poulet

Ingredients:

1 lb organic red skinned potatoes
1 lb organic green beans
2 shallots, chopped and sautéed in olive oil until caramelized
1/4 cup organic olive oil
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard (make your own)
4 tsp grated fresh or prepared horseradish
1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 cup fresh chopped chives + chive flowers
organic fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Directions:

Chop and gently boil the potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes. In another pot, gently boil the green beans for about 5 minutes or until just tender, strain, and chill in an ice water bath. Drain the potatoes and allow to cool.  Strain the green beans.

Whisk together the olive oil, mustard, horseradish, chives, pepper, caramelized shallots, and salt in a large bowl. Add the potatoes and green beans and toss to coat with the sauce. Garnish with chive flowers.

 

Oven-Fried Chicken + Poulet Book Review by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

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drinking bloody marias at home + recipe

Spicy Bloody Maria Recipe by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

  Are you craving summer yet, Eugene?

After days on end of living under a hazy grey ocean of freezing fog that turned the city monochrome, the sun is out and teasing us with thoughts of July. This sunshine won’t last long, and I do hope our seasonal rains will finally arrive and soak the earth as they should, but I just can’t help basking in it all the same.

One of my favorite ways to celebrate this fleeting mirage has been to sip a spicy homemade Bloody Maria. Why a Bloody Maria rather than a Bloody Mary? Well, why drink vodka when you can have tequila! This classic brunch cocktail is actually perfect any time of year. In the summertime, you can make it with fresh tomato juice picked and squished straight from the garden or garnish with thinly sliced jalapenos. When the weather turns cool, a Bloody Maria can warm you up with its wonderful heat while also showcasing the gorgeous pickled veggies you canned over the year. Plus, it’s kind of medicinal with loads of vitamin C and the diaphoretic action from horseradish and hot sauce, which helps boost the immune system. Cough, cough.

For many years I thought I didn’t like Bloody Marys at all, but that was before we started making them at home with good quality ingredients. Making your own bloody mix isn’t difficult and is sooo worth the little bit of extra effort. It’s also a really flexible recipe that can be played with to create unique concoctions. Try using infused booze, like serrano pepper or black peppercorn tequila, some fire cider in place of the hot sauce is amazing, and don’t forget to experiment with the endless garnish possibilities out there – mini burritos, jalapeno poppers, or grilled cheese sliders, anyone?

Here’s how to make the perfect Bloody Maria at home…

Spicy Bloody Maria Recipe by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

bloody maria recipe

2 to 3 oz. good tequila
4 oz. organic tomato juice
1/2 oz. fresh-squeezed organic lemon juice
1/2 oz. worcestershire
fresh grated or good quality prepared horseradish to taste
pinch organic celery salt
hot sauce (or fire cider) to taste
fresh cracked organic black pepper and fine sea salt to taste
fresh ice cubes
Garnish: pickled onions, dilly beans, green olives, celery stalk, lime wedge, etc.

Combine all ingredients (minus the garnishes) together in a glass and stir. Add horseradish, hot sauce, salt, and pepper until it tastes nice and spicy and to your liking. Fill a metal shaker with fresh ice. Gently pour your Bloody Maria over the ice in the metal shaker and then pour back into the glass. Do this several times to mix all the ingredients well and to properly chill the drink. Be careful not to let it froth up! Once cold, strain into an ice-filled collins glass and garnish to your heart’s content.

 

Spicy Bloody Maria Recipe by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

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fire cider honey mustard

Fire Cider Honey Mustard Recipe by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

Last year I fell in love with the traditional winter immunity tonic called Fire Cider. (To make this spicy formula, take fresh horseradish root, garlic, ginger, onion, hot peppers, maybe a lemon or an orange, rosemary or thyme, turmeric root, and grate all ingredients well. Toss into a jar and cover completely with apple cider vinegar. Allow to infuse for 1 month in a cool dark cabinet and then strain by squeezing through cheesecloth before adding honey to taste.) So very much in love, that this year I made a whole gallon all for myself. As it turns out, that’s a lot! I was going to make my Brandied Honey Mustard recipe for holiday gifts when an idea bulb flashed on the jars and jars of deliciously spicy infused vinegar hanging out in my closet…

Why not soak the mustard seeds in Fire Cider?!

…yesss!

Making mustard is so easy that it’s almost a shame not to. It takes hardly any effort and allows plenty of creative space to innovate flavor combinations. After all, who doesn’t love a sandwich smeared with the yellow stuff, hot pretzels dipped in its sweet aromatic goodness, or a charcuterie plate paired with a dollop of the spicy condiment? Well, if you’re ready to go for it, start here:

fire cider honey mustard

Ingredients

5 tablespoons organic yellow mustard seeds
3 tablespoons organic brown mustard seeds
3 tablespoons whiskey
2/3 cup fire cider (or apple cider vinegar)
1/2 cup local honey (I used Coriander honey)
1.5 teaspoons fine sea salt

Directions

Combine both yellow and brown mustard seeds, 1/3 cup water, whiskey, and fire cider in a jar and stir well to completely submerge the seeds. Cover and allow to soak at room temperature for 3 to 5 days. I like to swirl the jar around a little each day to observe the expanding seeds. After a few days, the seeds will swell and meet the liquid level. Pour the mixture into a blender, add honey and salt, and blend until smooth. Store in a sealed jar and refrigerate. I recommend using a plastic lid or using some kind of barrier to keep the vinegar from corroding the metal, like natural parchment paper. For less sweet mustard, cut the honey by half. Use on everything!

 

Fire Cider Honey Mustard Recipe by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

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harvesting cherry plums

cherryplums

 

My drupe heavy Cherry Plum tree (Prunus cerasifera) is especially prolific this year. Garnet orbs dangle from the towering branches, teasing the squirrels into little acrobatic daredevils. I impatiently pinch the flesh of each fruit within my reach until one day they are soft-bodied and gently squishy. Plucking the first perfectly ripe plum while balanced on tiptoes, I savor the ultra sweet juice that bursts forth as I bite into that deliciously thin tart skin.

Thankfully this year, no winter storm knocked off the flowers, so the fruit is abundant. All around town, flowering plum and cherry branches lined the streets after a strong storm weighed them down with snow last year. The few plums I did enjoy were snuck from insatiable Starlings. However, many baby trees dot my garden each summer, snow or not, and grow spindly toward the sun with seemingly no effort. I hate to dig them out, but spreading shade from the stately mama seals their fate.

Using an apple picker, I harvested a nice basketful to play with and experiment. Looking forward to cherry plum barbecue sauce or chutney, and a buttery pie.

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