fancy frozen pizza makeover #3

Pickled Jalapeno and Baked Egg Pizza by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

On lazy nights, an organic frozen pizza becomes my blank canvas. A quick and dirty meal, these pies are always re-imagined with a magical (questionable?) hodgepodge of misfit ingredients from my fridge, garden, and pantry. When cooked on a nice hot pizza stone and handled with a wooden peel, who needs delivery?

For fun, I thought I’d share these experiments! Here’s the next creation…

 

fancy frozen pizza makeover #3

I love how pickled jalapeños warm up this pizza with a bite of tanginess. Allowing the egg to bake on top results in a creamy yolk that almost resembles a soft to medium boiled preparation, while the whites bubble and meld with tenderness in the cheese layer.

Mmm…

  • frozen black olive and mushroom pizza
  • shallots sliced and tossed with a little olive oil and a pinch of pink salt
  • pickled jalapeño pepper slices
  • fresh farm egg cracked and baked on top
  • black peppercorns, fresh cracked
  • fresh basil, chiffonade cut and sprinkled on before serving

 

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autumn star cocktail

Fall Cider Cocktail by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

 

We suited up for a good soak of fall rain and headed down to the annual Mushroom Festival at beautiful Mount Pisgah Arboretum. Besides the main event (an impressively HUGE wild mushroom display that is collected and organized by taxonomic classification by local mycologists and students) the festival also has on-site apple pressing and cider for sale! You know what that means? Fall cocktails!

Steven has been pretty excited for this cider. One of his favorite creations of the season pairs fresh apple juice with spicy ginger liqueur (he used Canton) and a nice smooth bourbon for a classic flavor combination. I like to let the apple garnish soak in the cocktail for a few minutes before nibbling. I can’t wait to sip this on the porch tomorrow night with jack-o’-lanterns glowing in the darkness of Halloween.

 

autumn star cocktail

Ingredients

1.5 oz to 2 oz bourbon

.5 oz ginger liqueur

4 oz Mount Pisgah apple cider

fresh grated organic sweet cinnamon

apple slice

Directions

Place a large ice cube in a rocks glass. Fill a shaker with fresh ice and pour in the bourbon, ginger liqueur, and apple cider. Shake and strain into the rocks glass. Garnish with an apple slice cut so the seed star shows and then grate fresh cinnamon over the top. You could also make this a hot toddy by warming up the apple cider and then pouring in the booze – served in a mug, of course!

 

Fall Cider Cocktail by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

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farmers market haul #3

Farmers Market Haul by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

 

Fall roots are being dug and admired as the cooler weather teeters between warm enough and freezing. Parsnips roasted in the oven or puréed into soup has become an annual infatuation for me. Their smooth, sweet, aromatic starchiness is like some kind of love affair between a carrot and a potato, but somehow even more delicious. I picked out my first rutabaga to cook up and have been researching some fun preparations for it. How do you like them? Any tips? It’s really exciting to see locally grown fresh ginger and turmeric roots though! I’ll be making another batch of Fire Cider with them, and maybe some carrot ginger soup too.

 

What’s in the basket?

Sourdough Loaf

Fingerling Sweet Potatoes

Leeks

Organic Ground Beef from Deck Family Farms

Turmeric Root

Ginger Root

Parsnips

Shallots

Dakota Black Heirloom Popcorn

Mixed Apple Basket

Rutabaga

Beets

Pimiento Peppers

 

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silky chanterelle + lobster mushroom soup

silky chanterelle + lobster mushroom soup

silky chanterelle + lobster mushroom soup

silky chanterelle + lobster mushroom soup

Soggy earth invites me to sink down into damp duff. A sharp chill on the air heightens senses that have been softened by summer’s comforting warmth. Flame colored domes pop into view, contrasting with the green mosses waving their fringe from every angle. The mushrooms are singing their autumnal siren song.

I hiked with my favorite mushroom hunter lady to a special place where we often marvel at glittering falls, nerd-out about plants, harvest medicinal roots, and pick mushrooms. On this trip, she found two impressive lobster mushrooms for us to take home.  Lobsters (Hypomyces lactifluorum) are actually a different species of mushroom that is parasitized by another fungal being! Freaky, right? Don’t worry…”the bible” says that they’re good to eat on the West Coast. If you live here and don’t own a copy of Mushrooms Demystified by David Arora, and you have any interest at all in learning about wild mushrooms, you should order one here.

Another sweet and generous friend has been gathering whole treasure chests of chanterelles to share. She picks them from a nice patch growing in the woods by her farm. All of these early fall blessings call for some fancy (but you can do it) soup.

silky chanterelle + lobster mushroom soup

This is going to be good…

silky chanterelle + lobster mushroom soup

chanterelle + lobster mushroom soup

Adaped from Hank Shaw’s Cream of Mushroom Soup recipe.

step 1 – veloute

  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour

step 2 – mushroom purée

  • 1 pound fresh wild mushrooms (any combination of chanterelle + lobster)
  • 2 chopped cipollini onions
  • 4 chopped garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 oz cognac
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed saffron (you can find a good deal on it here)
  • 1/4 cup white wine

step 3 – thicken and spice

step 4 – garnish

  • minced chives
  • crème fraîche (optional)

1. To make a veloute (use ingredients in step 1), heat the chicken stock to a gentle simmer and in another pot melt 2 tbsp butter until it foams up, but doesn’t brown. Whisk in the flour and stir for a few minutes over medium heat without letting it burn. Next, whisk that hot chicken stock into the roux (flour butter mixture) and let this simmer gently for about 25 minutes. Stir often.

2. Now you want to make the mushroom purée (step 2). Finely chop the mushrooms, cipollinis, and garlic. Add to the pan and saute the veggies/shrooms over medium heat with a good pinch of salt. Cook while tossing with a wooden spoon. Liquid from the mushrooms will bubble out and evaporate, concentrating the flavor. Continue until the cipollinis are translucent and the mushrooms are tender and pan-dried. Add butter and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Crush the saffron (optional) and thyme into the cognac and pour over the mushroom base. Turn the heat up to high and toss until the cognac is nearly evaporated. Splash white wine over the stuck bits to deglaze the hot pan. Scrape into a food processor and purée until smooth.

3. Whisk the mushroom purée into the veloute and gently simmer for about 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and wait for the soup to stop bubbling. Slowly drizzle in the cream while whisking. Add the cinnamon, salt, and fresh pepper to taste.

4. Serve hot with a sprinkling of minced chives and an optional drizzle of crème fraîche on top.

 

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wine-battered veggie tempura

Easy Wine Battered Veggie Tempura by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

 

Do you ever find half a bottle of white wine fading away in your fridge?

Ever make a simple wine batter with it?

I just made a pretty fantastic discovery. Doubts furrowed my brow when I first came across this technique, but the results were delicate and crispy and well worth sharing. The low-maintenance and few ingredients required for this recipe makes it a great preparation when you want something quick and easy and indulgent.

I was seduced by a basket of twisted and mildly flavored Padron peppers and vibrant, slender Japanese eggplants at the Saturday Market. I thought about making a stir fry, but at the last minute, tempura called…and that half bottle of wine answered.

 

Easy Wine Battered Veggie Tempura by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

 

wine battered veggie tempura

  • 1 cup + 1 tbsp organic flour (I used equal parts buckwheat and red fife)
  • 1 1/4 cups white wine
  • 3 medium Japanese eggplants, thinly sliced into 1/4 to 1/2 inch rounds
  • 10 whole Padron peppers
  • organic safflower oil (good for high temperatures)
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (more than you’d think!)

Slice eggplants and sprinkle with salt to leach out moisture, tenderize, and flavor the flesh. (I used about 1 to 1.5 tsp of salt.) Allow to sit in a colander while you make the batter.

Whisk wine and flour together until well combined. The batter should be smooth and thin, but not watery. Add a good amount of salt and pepper. I wish I had measured, but I just couldn’t. Start with 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp pepper and then taste. Add another 1/4 tsp until the batter tastes appropriately seasoned. Keep in mind that you can always shake a little more salt over the fried veggies if needed later.

Preheat your oven to 275° and have a cookie sheet ready.

Heat oil in a heavy skillet at a depth of 2 inches over med-high heat. You want the oil to be hot enough so that a drop of batter sizzles and browns. If the oil is too hot, the drop of batter with quickly turn dark brown and start burning within seconds. If it isn’t hot enough, the eggplant will absorb too much oil and become soggy.

Dip several eggplant slices in batter, allow the excess to drip off, and then drop into oil. Be careful not to crowd the pan. Use a slotted spoon to flip each piece, frying until golden. Remove from the oil and drain on recycled paper towels. Skim out any beads of batter remaining in the oil between batches to avoid infusing your oil with a burnt flavor.

Move the fried slices from the paper towels to the warm oven for another 10 minutes. Meanwhile, fry the peppers, remove, and drain.

Now make this deliciousness…

 ginger garlic honey dipping sauce

  • 1/4 cup raw local honey
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp organic tamari
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves, pressed (with one of these)
  • 1 tsp organic sesame seeds
  • small handful of fresh cilantro and basil leaves, chiffonade

Bring first 5 ingredients to a gentle boil in a small saucepan and stir until the honey dissolves. Simmer on low and reduced the liquid down for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the sesame seeds and herbs. Pour into small dishes for dipping. Eat!

 

Easy Wine Battered Veggie Tempura by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

 

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homemade huckleberry booze

Huckleberry Recipes by Salt+Fat+Whiskey Huckleberry Recipes by Salt+Fat+Whiskey Huckleberry Recipes by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

 

Pushing through a dense web of bendy limbs, the sweetly perfumed stench of valerian fills my brain, making me dreamy as leaves crunch under my feet. With softly angled knees, I scan the bushes at eye-level for clustering orbs: cerulean, oxblood, indigo. Fingertips and smiling lips stained. My skin prickles at the thought of cougars stalking where trees meet the meadow and jealous bears watching me pluck their irresistible treats. I hope they don’t mind my visit. This is my favorite hike of the summer, and I’m not deterred…so far.

My basket becomes heavy with precious gems as rain soaks the ground. I will cherish this berry bounty all autumn and winter long. My little joys of summer.

 

Huckleberry Recipes by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

This year I decided to preserve my most favorite native fruit by making several preparations. (Don’t worry, I ate myself silly while harvesting too.) I briefly considered separating each Vaccinium species to test flavor nuances, but they each offer uniquely sweet, sour, and savory elements that make the combination really nice. Some are even kind of oniony! These recipes can also be made with plain old cultivated blueberries, or any other berry you’re going to really miss when the weather turns cold.

 

huckleberry honey cordial

This is my very first fruit cordial! I used the fruit spirits master recipe in the brand new and damn fantastic book Foraging and Feasting. I’ve read that fruit cordials age well as the alcohol mellows, but the authors of this book recommend drinking within a year. I am going to let this baby age for at least 3 months before trying, but I am curious to see how it holds up – if it lasts through the winter. 

1 cup huckleberries, mashed

4 tbsp raw honey or maple syrup

good vodka (gin or brandy)

Mash your huckleberries in a glass quart jar and then add the honey. Pour vodka over the fruit until filled to the top of the jar. Shake well! Allow to extract for a month in a cool, dark cabinet. Strain out the berries, making sure to mash out any remaining juice. Age for another month or two if you can wait. Serve in cocktails, mixed with champagne, or over ice.

 

huckleberry maple shrub

Thoughts of blueberry pancakes swimming in syrup came to mind as I was making this shrub. So, at the very last-minute, I grabbed my jug and poured that liquid heaven into my precious bubbling berries. This is the “hot method” for making shrubs, but you could also use the cold method found here and just add the maple syrup when you add the vinegar.

1 cup huckleberries

1/2 cup organic sugar

1/2 cup organic maple syrup

3/4 cup champagne vinegar

Heat 1 cup of water and the sugar in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat and gently simmer for 3 minutes. Add the berries and maple syrup, mashing them well with a fork, and simmer together on low for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Add the vinegar and shake well. Allow to infuse and mellow for 5 days before straining.

 

drunken huckleberries

You can soak berries (or other fruits for that matter) in vodka for a week and then use the infusion to make tasty cocktails. The berries become little boozy nuggets as they plump with alcohol while also imparting sweetness and flavor. I love to add a few soaked fruits as a garnish to each glass as a nice nibbling treat. I infused 1 pint of vodka with 1/2 cup of huckleberries.

 

berry kamikaze cocktail 

1 1/2 oz berry infused vodka (drunken huckleberries above)

1 oz Cointreau (triple sec)

1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice

1/4 oz simple syrup (optional)

1 spoonful of berries as garnish

Shake all ingredients together with fresh ice and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Float the berries on top to garnish.

Huckleberry Recipes by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

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farmers market haul #2

farmers market haul by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

Home again after a trip to the Eugene Saturday Farmers Market. My basket is heavy with lots of goodies that I didn’t plan to buy, but just couldn’t resist. (Sure, I’ll take a whole chicken!) With all the berry foraging adventures I’ve had in the mountains this year, it’s been a while since I could go downtown to ogle the cultivated jewels of summer – definitely one of my favorite rituals. I think a feast to celebrate Labor Day and the end of Steven’s teaching season is in order: oven chicken with rosemary roasted grapes, caramelized onion quinoa with peach-basil chutney, and a grated carrot slaw. Mmmm…

 

What’s in the basket:

Cornish Game Hen

Smoked Honey Bacon

Black Grapes

Peaches

Sun Gold Tomatoes

Raspberries

Jalapeños

Carrots

Basil

Walla Walla Onions

Horton’s Mesclun Greens

 

farmers market haul by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

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fancy frozen pizza makeover #2

Roasted Fig, Pickled Pepper, and Rosemary Balsamic Glaze Pizza - Recipe by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

I like to stock my freezer with those stupidly expensive organic frozen pizzas when I find them on sale. You know the ones, right? So freakin’ convenient, but for $10 a pop they aren’t all that tasty on their own.

However, on lazy nights, these frozen pies are my blank canvases. They make quick and dirty meals, always re-imagined with a magical (questionable?) hodgepodge of misfit ingredients from my fridge, garden, and pantry. When cooked on a nice hot pizza stone and handled with a wooden peel, who needs delivery?

For fun, I thought I’d start sharing these experiments! Here’s the next installment…

Roasted Fig, Pickled Pepper, and Rosemary Balsamic Glaze Pizza - Recipe by Salt+Fat+WhiskeyRoasted Fig, Pickled Pepper, and Rosemary Balsamic Glaze Pizza - Recipe by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

fancy frozen pizza makeover #2

With five very prolific fig trees in my yard, every day becomes a new challenge to figure out how to use them. (I’m sorry. Bad puns are just too awesome.) This is definitely one of my favorite ways to highlight their gooey sweetness, complemented by a drizzle of rosemary balsamic honey glaze and spicy pickled peppers.

 

rosemary balsamic glaze

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dried or 1 spring fresh rosemary from the garden

Combine the honey and vinegar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a slight bubble and allow to gently simmer for 5  minutes. Add the rosemary and simmer for another 3 to 5 minutes. If the heat is too high, you could see some scorching along the side of the pan. If that happens, turn down the heat. Test the thickening with the back of a spoon to be sure the viscosity is right for drizzling. Pour through a mesh strainer into a clean bottle. Drizzle liberally over pizza and just about anything else.

Roasted Fig, Pickled Pepper, and Rosemary Balsamic Glaze Pizza - Recipe by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

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how to make cocktail drinking vinegars: blackcap raspberry shrub + two cocktails

blackcap raspberry shrub by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

 

Some people call me Huckleberry Hound. When fruiting season pops in the mountains, you’ll find me scanning the thick forest understory with berry eyes on. I love huckleberries, but truth be told, I’m easily wooed by any and every berry I’ve ever tasted, and those dazzling gems of the Rubus genus never fail to charm me.

A love of wild berries has inspired some local farms here in Eugene to grow untamed species and offer them up at the market. Like seeing an old friend, I was excited to spot one of my favorite berries a few weeks back, glistening darkly from the farm stand. Rubus leucodermis or Blackcap Raspberry is a native perennial that can be found growing erect and armed in fields, canyons, wooded hills, and lower mountains across the West, from Montana to Washington and south through California. You can identify a Blackcap pretty easily in fruit once you’ve tried them, and also by looking at the underside of the leaves for a light grayish to white tomentose or frosted appearance, which is in stark contrast to the vibrant, crinkly green leaf tops. You might also come across a “primocane” which is a new shoot of the bramble with a glaucous or silvery color to the branch.

rubus-leucodermin-drawing

Blackcaps boast a heavy earthiness that adds an almost perfumed complexity to the subtle sweetness of the fruit’s sugar. The experience is very different from common raspberries, offering more of the deep wine-like flavors found in almost-too-ripe blackberries. Blackcaps are also quite seedy and require some serious flossing and toothpicks after a gorge out session, so I decided to brainstorm some other appropriate uses for these beauties.

Several years back while tripping around Portland, Steven and I wandered into a super cool at the time, but now closed craft cocktail bar serving all sorts of fancy drinks in fancy glasses with fancy shaped ice. I ditched the classics and ordered something unfamiliar and perplexing. Booze with fruited vinegar. This was at the beginning of what would soon become a meteoric rise in popularity of something called a shrub or drinking vinegar, and with good reason.

People have been imbibing these sour syrups since at least colonial times in the US and around the world for centuries. Evolving from a medicinal preparation of herbal infused vinegar, today we enjoy them mixed with bubbly soda water or swirled into cocktails for a tart bite. You can use just about any combination of fruit, herbs, and vinegar to create a shrub, as well as experiment with sweeteners like white sugar, brown sugar, molasses, or honey. I like to taste each component first to figure out the different notes I want to highlight. Sometimes a bold vinegar like balsamic will round out the depth of black cherries, while a champagne vinegar can brighten more delicately flavored fruits and herbs.

 blackcap raspberry shrub by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

 

blackcap raspberry drinking vinegar 

There are several ways to make a shrub, but I like the cold process for blackcaps. I promise to cover the hot method in a future post! You can use this as a basic guide for any fruit you want to play with, keeping a ratio of 1:1:1.

1 cup blackcap raspberries

1 cup organic white sugar

1 cup organic champagne vinegar

Using a glass bowl or jar, mash the berries with the sugar and stir until well incorporated. You want to break the fruit membranes as much as possible and press out the juice until the sugar becomes totally saturated. Cover and allow the mashed fruit and the sugar to do their thing in the fridge for 2 to 3 days, shaking the jar when you think about it. The sugar will help further breakdown the fruit and draw out the liquidy goodness. Once a few days have gone by, pour the mixture through a mesh strainer to catch the seeds and press the fruit pulp to release all of the remaining juice you can get into the jar. Compost the seeds and pressed pulp. Now add the vinegar to your fruit juice and sugar solution and stir well to be sure the sugar dissolves. Allow to meld and mellow in the refrigerator for another week, shaking every day. No need to refrigerate after that unless you want to, since the shrub will be shelf stable.

 

blackcap raspberry shrub cocktail by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

 

fizzy blackcap cocktail #1

2 oz dark rum

3/4 oz blackcap raspberry shrub

1/2 oz dry sherry (we used Jerez Cortado Hidalgo 20 Anos)

1/2 oz fresh lime juice

1/2 tsp caster fine sugar 

dash of Angostura bitters

ginger brew

Chill a tall glass in the freezer. Fill a shaker with ice, add the first 6 ingredients, and then shake. Remove the glass from the freezer and fill with fresh ice. Strain contents of shaker into the glass filled with ice and top with ginger brew. Enjoy!

 

fizzy blackcap cocktail #2

1 oz white rum or Cachaça

1 oz dark rum

1 oz blackcap raspberry shrub

1/2 oz ruby port

1/2 oz fresh lime juice

dash of Angostura bitters

ginger brew

Chill a tall glass in the freezer. Fill a shaker with ice, add the first 6 ingredients, and then shake. Remove the glass from the freezer and fill with fresh ice. Strain contents of shaker into the glass filled with ice and top with ginger brew. Enjoy!

 

More shrub recipes:

Peach and Golden Balsamic Shrub

Huckleberry Maple Shrub

 

fizzy blackcap cocktail 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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