The herb garden has gone wild from the heat and rain showers. It’s bursting with more herbs than I can handle or possibly use.  It’s like an herb party with too many rowdy guest showing up.  So now is exactly the time to start cutting them back and letting them dry for winter cooking.  This will both begin the supply of dried herbs and also encourage more growth during the next weeks of summer.  Herbs are roughly divided into two categories, “hard” and “soft.”  The soft herbs are herbs with soft stems, such as parsley and tarragon. The soft herbs are best used fresh; they’re fine dried, but they lose their magic, all the beguiling qualities that make them so powerful a la minute. The hard herbs, those herbs that when allowed to grow develop Read On »

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Bob del Grosso sent me the link to this article in Scientific American on salt by Melinda Wenner Moyer and I read it with a sense of finally.  Increasing evidence that nobody really knows what they’re talking about when they’re talking about salt, except that it has different effects on different people. Given that its fundamental to our existence (without it we literally die) and that it helped to create both stable stationary societies and world travel (food preservation and therefore surplus in a community or on a ship), our main failure would be to undervalue its importance and power.  It is powerfully good and useful; but also, anything so powerful can be used harmfully (as in our processed foods). Since there is so much uncertainty (read Ms. Wenner Moyer’s husbands interview with food authority Read On »

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Taking a breather and have have been eating load upon load of NC clams. So good and so delicious.   The Perfect Way To Cook Clams Use the little guys, little necks or cherrystones. Saute some garlic in a big pot in some butter or oil. Add a cup of white wine and a cup of water (all depends on your pot, you want plenty of steam). Throw in some fresh thyme, dump in your clams, cover and cook on medium high or high. Melt some butter. When the clams open they’re done. If you have a lot, take out the open ones so they don’t over cook. Eat them standing up, dipping clams in butter. If you want, strain the pot liquor through a coffee filter and use to make a clam chowder or Read On »

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Blogger Monica Bhide reflects on this combination of spices & how each household has their own recipe for it, via NPR

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Veal stock is an amazing elixir because it enhances the flavors around it without imposing its own flavor. It adds depth and body to food, but only to liquids, soups, stocks and sauces. My call for innovative uses of veal stock changed that with Josh Kantor’s veal salt (see the other winners here). Josh Kantor is a 21-year-old senior economics major at Occidental College in Los Angeles and part-time garde manger at Hatfield’s Restaurant. I’ll let him elucidate. by Josh Kantor The inspiration behind the veal salt was the many  foods I love crisp that I couldn’t enhance with veal stock: fried chicken, popcorn, or the original motivation: french fries.  I am a sucker for the double fried super crispy fries and wanted to add a new seasoning to them.  Salt was the only vehicle I Read On »

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