With all this curing going on over at charcutepalooza, I thought I’d mention a common item that anyone can easily cure, given enough time.  Lemons.  Lemon confit or preserved lemon, is a powerful seasoning and a great pantry item to have on hand. A common ingredient in North African and Middle Eastern cuisines, it adds a beguiling lemony-salty brightness to stews, curries, and sauces. It is amazing minced and tossed into a salad, or used to infused olive oil for a vinaigrette or condiment. It also goes well with chicken, fish, and veal. There may be no purer example of salt’s transformative powers than what it alone does to the lemon. The following recipe is adapted from Charcuterie. If you want a sweeter result you can add a cup or so of sugar.  Not too long Read On »

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I’d long been taught that the germ of garlic released enzymes that changed the flavor of garlic. In Skills class at the CIA in 1996, my chef instructor said in the finest starred restaurants you’d find that the cooks removed the germ before mincing, but that for our purposes it was unnecessary. That same chef, 5 years later, now asked his class to always remove the germ because it did affect the flavor.  Harold McGee discusses garlic and its science in his book. I too noticed differences, not that the garlic was bitter, as some claim, only that if the garlic sat for a while before using it developed to me an off flavor. This blogger did a test finding that the flavor was different but not worse, in fact that the garlic with the Read On »

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Last weekend North Union Farmers Market put on a garlic festival, where I was lucky enough to judge a cooking contest pitting five local chefs against one another creating dishes that had to feature grilled grass-fed beef and garlic.  I was further fortunate to be seated next to Jonathon Sawyer, chef/owner with his wife Amelia (aka chefswidow), of The Greenhouse Tavern, arguably the best restaurant in Cleveland, certainly second to none (I only get prouder of the burgeoning restaurant scene here). Jonathon is so restless and inventive, he once ate the choke from an artichoke wondering if there was some way of puttin it to use (there wasn’t).  So here’s a guy who will strive for inventiveness and still have the balls to put pike quennelles, an old French warhorse, on his menu, knowing it Read On »

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