Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Oranges of Wrath.

When the first one hit, it was 2:37 in the morning. A noisy thud as deep and reverberant as a footfall shimmied across the ceiling of the bedroom where, moments earlier, my husband and I had been peacefully sleeping. 'Ohmyguhhwhuzzafehh,' I believe were my exact words as I jolted awake, certain of home invaders or earthquakes (in Phoenix?) or worse. I shook the sleeping man next to me. 'WHAT. WAS. THAT??' I moaned, having regained the powers of normal human speech. Sort of. 'Orange,' he mumbled. 'I think it was' And then rolled over and resumed his normal, non-paranoid slumber, so recently interrupted.


The oranges.

Like most of the residents of my sprawling, sunny Phoenix suburb, we have citrus trees. Not quite so many as when I first moved in (a murderous combination of laziness and neglect having killed the key lime tree, and a very intentional hacksaw having cut down one grapefruit tree in its prime), but still, we have two grapefruit trees and one very prolific orange tree. The orange tree is located directly outside of our bedroom window, close enough that the bare tips of its branches often scrape the windows horror-sound-effects-style on windy evenings, and also close enough that overripe, unpicked fruit often tends to drop onto the roof. As in, the roof that is part of the ceiling that is right over our heads while sleeping.

The oranges first start to appear ripe around Christmas, but after a few years we know better than to be fooled by their initial orangey blush. They're still tart until at least a month later, when in late winter/very early spring they start to overripen, sweeten, become unspeakably delicious. They sag voluptuously on their branches in a 'hey sailor' kind of way, heavy with juice, just begging to be picked. Finally, around this time every year, they begin to drop. If they don't fall onto the roof with a terrifying sound, they drop into the yard below with a mighty THWACK, sinking into the backyard 'compost' that is a combination of shade-encouraged mud, rotten orange leaves, and dog doo. They are huge, at least the size of two fists clenched together, gravity-bound juice missiles of destruction. And they scare the hell out of me when they fall on the roof at night. At the very least, it's a waste of delicious fruit, at most a terrifying sleep-interruptor that will rot in the yard (and draw the scourge of Phoenix--roof rats) if left to its own devices.

Last night, I was curled up happily in bed devouring a magazine when just outside my window I heard no less than three fall heavily into the muck below, one at a time.

I fear for my safety. These oranges may be trying to kill us.

Dear readers, we need orange recipes, and we need them stat. What, besides maybe just gallons of delicious hand-squeezed juice, can we do to combat the Orange Menace?? Recipes welcome.

How do you make a food person very, very happy?

THIS. This is how you make a food person very, very happy!! Many belated thanks to the love of my life for this Christmas gift--look for fancy Thomas Keller style food porn coming soon to this blog!

Veggie Sushi: That's How I Roll.

Still trying bravely to stick to our New Year's resolutions over here chez Orange & Salt, we rolled up these bad boys the other day for a quick, healthy lunch. While traditional sushi and sashimi assembly is an art form requiring patiene and most likely many years of training, almost nothing could be easier than 'sushi' based on the humble California roll model (oh my gosh, 'roll model'?? You see what I did there?? Ha).

Assemble the following:

- sheets of nori (pressed seaweed)...if you're not lucky enough to find this at your usual grocery store, although they're increasingly stocking things like this, get thee to your local Asian market!

- Japanese short-grain sushi rice

- rice wine vinegar

- ingredients for 'fillings': we used carrot, scallion, avocado, cucumber and cream cheese, but it goes without saying that you can use whatever you want!

Prepare sushi rice according to instructions on bag, douse with rice wine vinegar (I usually sprinkle on a pinch of sugar and one of salt at this stage, too). Let cool to room temperature. Use fridge or freezer, if you're impatient (we are always impatient).

Break all your filling ingredients down into small slivers. In our case, I grated the carrot with a cheese grater and slivered everything else finely with a knife. Lay out a sheet of nori, spread sticky rice in a thin layer all over it (hint: it helps to keep wetting your fingertips at this stage in order to push the rice into place, otherwise it really will stick to everything that touches it). Arrange fillings in a horizontal band across the sheet of nori and rice. Roll tightly, slice, and enjoy with plenty of wasabi and soy sauce!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Another unfortunate side effect of Hong Kong........... my continued craving for sweet, sweet Cantonese egg tarts. I've never had anything quite like these before our trip to Hong Kong, but it's clear we were made for each other. Do not adjust your monitors--that supernaturally dense, rich sticky yellowness, that melted-yellow-crayons-in-a-pie-crust appearance that shouldn't be appetizing but somehow is--that really is how they are supposed to look. I discovered these at our favorite bakery two blocks from the hotel we were staying in and, like I said, promptly fell in love. At $2 Hong Kong (about 25 cents) each, it wasn't hard to convince myself to get one for breakfast...or lunch....or dinner........or a midnight snack.............

Contrary to their super-yellow appearance, there is no artificial coloring in these whatsoever. That somewhat scary hue is due to the very same thing that gives them their rich, sticky egginess: a custard rich in egg yolks. You know how farmer's market eggs always have those carrot-orange yolks compared to the plain yellow of supermarket yolks? Well these, I have to admit, were made using ordinary supermarket eggs...I'd love to try them with those velvety orange yolks I've picked up at the farmer's market, just to see how vivid I can get these tarts! Will keep you posted.

Some egg tart recipes I've seen call for evaporated milk, and you're welcome to try them, but I don't tend to keep evaporated milk on hand in the kitchen, and I didn't feel like making a special trip to the grocery store. I do, however, usually have milk or cream and sugar, and I had great success with this recipe. I should also point out that the goal here is to cook the custard gently without browning the top (this preserves that beautiful yellow color.....for Portuguese/Macanese-style egg tarts with browned tops, try Rasa Malaysia's excellent version) and most importantly, without superheating the custard so that it puffs up and then--NOO!!--explodes. Since the custard bakes at a relatively low 300 degrees, this should be no problem. Just trying to scare you. Ha.

For the tart shells: I always use Martha Stewart's classic Pâte Brisée recipe. All hail Martha. Press a small amount into mini-tart pans to form 6 tart shells. Makes about 6 mini tart shells.

For the custard filling:

1.5 C whole milk (at room temperature)
2 whole eggs plus 3 egg yolks (at room temperature)
1/3 C sugar
1/4/ tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly beat all egg ingredients and press through a mesh strainer to remove any solid bits. Add milk and beat quickly by hand or in electric mixer on medium-ish speed for about a minute. Add sugar and vanilla, beat for another minute and let sit for ten minutes. Pre-bake tart shells in tart pans for a few minutes until pastry begins to stiffen and just barely turn brown. Remove and lower heat to 300 degrees. Returning to custard mixture, skim off any foam resulting from the beating, and pour custard mixture into into tart shells. Bake at 300 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until custard mixture has set (you can test this by jiggling the tart pans slightly, the custard shouldn't move). Remove, let cool, enjoy for breakfast...or lunch......or dinner......or a midnight snack............

Sunday, January 24, 2010

So we got married. I met a man who understands me, who loves really amazing food just as much as I do, who views the world the same way that I do--as simultaneously small and huge; a playground for those who are willing to explore it and an enormous universe it could take more than a lifetime to come to know--and, I married him, dear readers. In a beautiful ceremony last November which deserves a post all to itself (coming soon). And we went out exploring the very large, large world on a honeymoon that was itself nearly a year in the planning......after all, it's kind of a big decision: Where to go? Common wisdom has it that you visit some tropical locale, some beachfront resort where the sand is fine and powdery, the drinks are icy sweet and be-umbrella'ed, and nearly every activity is a 'tourist activity.' Sounded fine to us, I guess, but we yearned for more adventure. Plenty of time, after all, to be tourists! We wanted to be young and unconventional!

Then it happened that Paris beckoned with the usual siren call: 'Come, young lovers, and eat my baguettes! Philosophize! See the great works of art! Wander indolently along the banks of the Seine, drink the red wine and smoke the sexy French cigarettes and be young loveeerrrrssss, come oonnnnn........', and I have to admit, it was tempting. We almost had our tickets booked, we practically had our fingers poised over the 'Submit Order Now' button, and then.......and then.............I happened to ask at that particular moment, 'What about Hong Kong?'

Wait a minute, what about Hong Kong???

We'd had Asia in our sights when we first began planning the wedding and realized we'd actually be able to take a honeymoon. We wanted, after all, to be different! We dismissed it, of course, as too expensive, based mostly on hearsay. I'd heard HK was a luxury haven, nothing more than a business trip stopover for Westerners, a money-sucking pit. We decided to focus on Europe. Until the fateful day we actually began to compare prices--plane tickets, hotels, food, you name it--and realized we'd actually be able to spend more time abroad and have more fun in Hong Kong than just about anywhere else, especially Paris. Sorry, t'aime, after all! But it was destined to be Hong Kong all along. For two weeks we wandered its markets and back alleys and shopping malls and suburban streets and racing tracks and temples and monasteries and ferry terminals and hiking trails and restaurants, oh my god, restaurants of all kinds! Following the advice of all sorts of opinionated locals and travelers, we found ourselves eating stupendously well day after day, night after night.

And, to make a long story short...........then we came home.

And I missed Hong Kong.

And so I started cooking.

.......Mike and I ate 90% of our Hong Kong meals during our two-week stay either standing up at street hawker stalls or sitting on plastic chairs at 'temporary markets,' watching steam pour from tiny, makeshift, plastic-tarp draped kitchens, clicking together neon-orange plastic chopsticks and watching hilarious Cantonese period-drama soap operas on wavery old televisions placed in the corner, drinking watery Chinese tea while waiting for steaming bowls of fish ball soup, tender baby bok choy, or stir-fried pork slices with noodles. I developed a taste for all of this that I may never satisfy again until we revisit Hong Kong. I can't re-create the ridiculous soap operas, the peculiar smell of soy, rice and diesel and who knows what, the insane freshness of the seafood (from live crab in a streetside market tank to aromatic curried crab on your plate in less than ten minutes!) or the insistent bustle of Hong Kong streets as you are jostled down the road narrowly avoiding pedestrians and taxicabs in your search for the lunch/dinner/snack/hangover remedy/whatever you so desperately need.........but i can re-create some of the more memorable staple dishes we relied on during our time in Hong Kong.

......Pork spring rolls, or 'Sping Rolls,' as they were referred to at our favorite outdoor street-level dining place in Kowloon district's Temple Street Night Market. Filled by me with ground pork, cabbage, carrot and scallion, just as they were on Temple Street.

A meal that approximates my beloved Hong Kong street food, above. Spring rolls, pork ball soup with noodles, and an Asian-style slaw of shredded cabbage, carrot, red onion, sesame oil and rice vinegar.

I can't cook roasted quail eggs, stuffed duck's foot or deep-fried octopus on a stick (or CAN I??) at home, but the basics are easy enough to cover. Hong Kong, you and your markets and stall and bizarre, tiny street-level shops of all kinds are embedded in my memory. I can't wait to come back.

Homemade Pork Spring Rolls

Saute ground pork over medium heat until meat is about halfway cooked, add shredded cabbage, grated carrot, and finely chopped scallions [I don't measure things like this, your amounts may vary. Add until it looks good, maybe 50% pork and 50% vegetables. You've probably guessed that you can easily make this vegetarian by skipping the ground pork and just using veggies! So easy.].

Continue to saute until pork is completely cooked, add a splash of soy sauce [...or a few splashes. I personally love salt. See the name of this blog for evidence.] and remove from heat. Let cool slightly.

Place a small amount of this mixture onto a wonton wrapper [storebought is great, but they're easy to make as well], tuck sides & roll shut. If you are finding it difficult to seal these all the way shut, dab a little cornstarch-and-water paste on the seam and it will act a bit like glue! Great trick. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes. After they've set up in the fridge, you can throw them into a freezer bag and then--duh--into the freezer. They keep well like this and make a great instant meal down the road! If you're going the freezer route, thaw them ahead of time by placing them in the fridge or putting them BRIEFLY in the microwave, then dry them thoroughly before cooking.
Remove rolls from fridge. Heat at least 1" vegetable oil in a skillet until very hot [around the high end of medium-high or the low end of high, know what I mean?]. Place spring rolls in oil with plenty of space around each [don't crowd the pan!], cook for several minutes on each side until golden brown & bubbly on the outside. Remove and drain on paper towel or brown paper. LET THEM COOL THEY ARE SO SO HOT AND I SWEAR YOU'LL BURN YOUSELF!! Really. Just be cool for a few minutes. I know they look delicious. Just wait. ;)

Dip in sauce of choice. I like sweet & sour type sauces with a hit of sriracha, or straight-up soy or fish sauce. Enjoy!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

(Originally posted on 8/31/09)


Let me say those magical four words again: HAZELNUT BROWN BUTTER CAKE. This is the food of the angels. I want to serve this as our wedding cake! It's been a busy August in Laurel and Mike's Test Kitchen, between being housebound by the stifling heat and the being too broke to go out and socialize much. Besides, this one seemed special enough to warrant a special edition of Ye Olde Teste Kitchene, so here's the skinny on HAZELNUT BROWN BUTTER is amazing. Combining liberal quantities of toasted, ground hazelnuts with equally liberal quantities of brown butter and a surprisingly small amount of flour. Who needs flour when you have HAZELNUTS and BROWN BUTTER (why yes, the caps are absolutely necessary, as a matter of fact). Recipe comes from here, the smitten kitchen blog, although the original source of the recipe is credited as Suzanne Goin’s 'Sunday Suppers at Lucques' cookbook, which I now want to immediately buy and add to my arsenal of cookbooks. I admit to tampering with the recipe here and there, so your mileage may vary on this, but considering the raves going out on the internet regarding this wonderful, wonderfully delightful cake, I doubt you'll be dissatisfied with either version. Mine, for the record, was sublime. Chef Goin's is likely even more so. Even my vegan mother ate a piece I put in front of her (GASP! Okay, I did give her a warning that it was the most un-vegan thing imaginable, then mentioned that i'd turn a blind eye if she wanted to indulge and, well.......let's just say that it disappeared. We're asking no questions).

My variations were as follows:

+ Had no fresh whole vanilla bean to use, because I am not a rich person, and therefore used vanilla extract like a lowly peasant. Whatever.

+ Made mini-cakes in a cupcake pan instead of one large torte-like cake, because I (insert another GASP!) do not own even one cake pan. What can i say, I was never much of a baker? That is slowly changing, much to my ever-expanding waistline's chagrin.

+ Also, I added about twice the salt that Chef Goin's recipe calls for. I can't eat more than a few bites of most sweetsweetsweet desserts, and vastly prefer them with a little extra salt or bite or something to them besides sugar. I wasn't taking any chances with this one, and besides, nuts and brown butter seemed a good candidate for the salty-sweet flavor profile, and.........oh my god, I just said 'flavor profile,' let's move on, shall we? Ha ha.

+ I also had no electric mixer with which to beat my egg whites to the soft peak stage (am reeeeaally hoping our wedding registry will deliver in this area!*), and so had to beat them the medieval way, which may have resulted beaten egg whites that were slightly less aerated than was ideal. But hey.

+ finally, I swapped the powdered sugar called for in the recipe for white granulated because I don't like the powdery (duh) sickly-sweet taste of powdered sugar desserts. I also swapped the granulated sugar called for in the recipe for light brown sugar, thinking that between the less-beaten egg whites, the extra salt, and the lack of fluffy powdered sugar, I was in for a much richer, denser, more salty-caramelly-sweet cake than the original recipe.........and IT WORKED. It was dense but well-aerated and not at all bricklike, moist (god I really hate that word), tender, rich and brown and nutty. I dipped the tops of each in lovely real dark chocolate ganache made with lovely heavy cream (Oh god I am going to be 300 pounds by the time the wedding rolls around**), barely let them cool, and then Mike and I fell upon them like starving dogs. It was through a triumph of self-discipline and a not-so-minor sacrifice that we managed to transport some of the leftovers to my parents' for dessert the next night, so that they (veganism be damned) might also share in the unmitigated joy, the unbridled passion that is...........HAZELNUT BROWN BUTTER CAKE.

( Editor's Note, 1/22/09:

*I am proud to report that we have since received this beauty as a wedding gift since this post was originally penned, and therefore I may never beat egg whites by hand again. Never.

**I am also proud to report that at the time of our wedding I did not, in fact, weigh three hundred pounds, but by some miracle, considerably less than half that amount. Despite all the HAZELNUT BROWN BUTTER CAKE.)
(Originally posted on 8/11/09)

Thoughts from the Late-Night Chef..............So, what do you do when you've just come home from watching 'Julie & Julia' (fabulous, by the way) at ten at night, and you're coming down with a bit of a head cold and your beloved (also coming down with what is most likely the same head cold) turns to you and says.....'I'm hungry.' You pause and say, 'I'm hungry, too.' What do you do?

.......You make Oeufs en Cocotte à la Julia! Mostly because it's what you had in the fridge (three eggs, a splash of cream, some leftover gruyère and a handful of parsley, baked gently in ramekins in a water bath in a dutch oven), and because it's the best thing you can eat at ten-thirty at night. We ate them while streaming old episodes online of 'The French Chef' and went to bed with happy bellies.

P.S. - dork that I am, I actually had a Julia dream last night. She turned out to be my real paternal grandmother, and was very wise and raucously funny. Good dream, dorky girl. ;-P
(Originally posted 8/9/09)

Crepes with chicken & sauce velouté, ciabatta toasts with chicken liver mousse, and cucumber-dill salad. Where to begin, where to begin?? The crepes are the infamous Julia's recipe from MtAoFC, of course, filled with some diced chicken (we had some leftover chicken thighs to use up that day, is how the whole thing got started) sautéed with minced shallot and finished with a splash of balsamic vinegar and grated gruyère. The sauce, sauce velouté, is a classic white sauce (one of the four famous 'mother sauces,' according to those wacky sauce-loving French). The chicken liver mousse recipe comes from the NY Times Sunday magazine of a few weeks ago; they suggested serving it with cornichons but i knew better, having been served almost the exact same dish a few weeks ago at another lovely restaurant in Portland (a wonderful place on Couch called Ten 01) only with lovely golden fig jam. So, fig jam, it is!

If the accompanying cucumber salad (nothing more than sliced cucmbers, dill, and a drizzle of red wine vinegar) seems a bit of a weird choice, well, it was because we had been given yet another bag of pretty organic produce by my friend (the one whose dad has the green thumb) and the cucumbers needed to be eaten IMEDIATELY. Luckily, in my experience, cucumber-dill salad is a nice palate cleanser and goes with just about anything. Mmmmmmmm........

Martha Stewart's pecan shortbread cookies.....I'm no Martha-hater, although i have been, on occasion, a bit of a Martha-mocker. It's in my nature! However, when you need cookies, Martha is the queen of all queens to whom you must appeal for help. And when you're pulling your hair out over computer software and wedding invitation graphic design and a friend calls and offers to do the whole thing for you that very evening if you just bring everything over.....well, the only appropriate thing to do is to also bring cookies! I modified the great Martha's recipe just slightly by toasting the pecans prior to mixing them into the dough and by adding more salt than she called for. I like salt. She seems to like very, very sweet cookies...I personally like them a little more challenging, with a somewhat salty finish (especially when they are largely butter-based, and let's not kid ourselves that that's exactly what these are, ha ha) for added roundness. I'd possibly tweak them a little further in the future for the sake of experimentation, but this recipe as it stands is simple and delicious, so let's just leave it at that. All hail Martha.
(Originally posted 8/4/09)

Two dishes: Lamb ragu with fettucine, chèvre & fresh mint; Poulet sauté à la crème (from JULIA!!!)

This is a slight variation on a beautiful dish I had in Portland's Northeast section, at an awesome little place called Lovely Hula Hands. Their version included fresh fava beans, which was a nice touch but slightly harder to get my hands on in Phoenix in July. Too bad. My lamb ragu was made by simmering ground lamb in red wine with baby portabellos and local onions from my friend's dad's garden, and a variety of subtle spices including cumin and cinnamon. Simmer it for a long time, to the sticky, falling-apart-goodness stage. You'll know what i mean when you get there. The garnish is a nice soft goat cheese and the mint, of course, is from my own garden. This is a dish a bit more suited to a slightly chilly, drizzly Portland evening than a steamy July night in the desert, but if you want to crank up the A/C, pretend it's cold outside and eat a hearty meal, I suggest you try this one. It's worth it!

Extreme culinary closeup!!

Poulet sauté à la crème....My first foray into 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking' by the great Julia herself! While I wouldn't say I have yet mastered the art, this dish was satisfyingly easy enough for a first try. Next time we'll tackle lobsters or soufflés or the famously scary Oeufs en Gelée!! but for now, this was enough of a start. Lovely herbed sautéed chicken legs and thighs--in butter! Oh Julia!--under a sauce made by deglazing the pan with white wine and adding shallots and cream. There's nothing about that that could be anything but good. Egg noodles on the side, mostly as a vehicle for that wonderful sauce. And simple steamed asparagus spears because really, one can't have too much decadence all on one plate and survive, can one?? Always good to have something simple, green and healthful. Oh my god was this good. We will be returning to Julia very, very soon, don't you worry.
(Originally posted 7/26/09)

So, I made a dangerous discovery today: a forgotten dusty old copy of 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking,' by Julia Child et al, at the back of my cookbook arsenal.
Having just finished reading 'Julie & Julia' (charming!) and looking hesitantly forward to the movie (will probably be much less so!), this is a welcome find. I had even briefly considered just going out and buying the thing until the cartoon lightbulb went off over my head this morning and I started rummaging around in the kitchen archives--only to come up with THIS! It's old and dusty and gross on the outside, but it could be almost new on the inside, it looks untouched. Since I usually prefer my cookbooks to look like veterans of the culinary wars (i.e. splashed with various sauces, meat juice, bits of chopped parsley, artfully placed egg yolk streaks, etc), I am obviously going to have to break this one in mercilessly, starting immediately. So if anyone ever feels like coming over for 'Fonds d'Artichauts Mornay' or 'Homard à l'Américaine,' just let me know.......

(Originally posted 6/9/09)

Mike and I made an amazing discovery last night, Vietnamese pork sandwiches (banh mi)......or as they will henceforth be referred to in this household, 'The Indisputed King of All Sandwiches, Period.' Want one? I do, too.

Grate 1 large carrot into a bowl. Add a large handful of shredded cabbage and some thinly sliced red onion to make Asian slaw. Toss with rice wine vinegar and a splash of sesame oil, add salt and pepper to taste. Wash & chop the following herbs: cilantro, basil, mint. Peel & slice cucumber, set this & herb mixture aside to garnish sandwiches. Slice pork thinly (we used regular pork chops...roughly, 1 chop = 2 sandwiches, or 1 sandwich if you're really hungry, so plan & adjust amounts of everything else accordingly), season with chinese five spice powder. Add vegetable oil to a hot pan and add 1 chopped garlic clove and some chopped shallot. Saute for a minute or two until golden then add pork slices. Make sure pork keeps moving and cooks evenly; add a sprinkle of sugar and soy sauce while cooking. Set pork aside.

On sliced baguette, spread a very thin layer of mayonnaise on one side. Squirt as much sriracha (Asian red chile) sauce as you dare over top of this. Add sliced cucumbers, cooked pork slices, and a few heaping spoonfuls of asian slaw in that order. Place another slice of baguette on top. OMG YOU HAVE JUST MADE THE KING OF ALL SANDWICHES. It is juicy, spicy, salty, crunchy, soft and sweet all at once. Enjoy!

(Originally posted 5/6/09)

In case any of you were wondering [of course you were] how Iron Chef Tempe: BATTLE BACON VS. APPLES ended up...........I won*!! On my birthday, which caused many accusations of cheating (and I was trying to lose! with dignity!!), but nonetheless, I am the proud continued keeper of the Iron Chef least until the next Iron Chef challenge, which I am of course now obliged to host. There are worse fates. Here is how I won:

...........two words: PIG CANDY. Caramelized, sugared bacon strips sprinkled with roasted pecans and drizzled with semisweet chocolate. This will either sound disgusting to you or unspeakably delicious, and if it is the latter, then you and I can be friends. Oh, and there was also a 'cocktail' that accompanied this, which I called 'The Suckling Pig': sparkling apple cider dosed with a shot of lightly salted rosemary simple syrup and garnished with a twist of cooked bacon. Virgin, but could have easily been 'spiked' with hard apple cider or rosemary-infused vodka, the possibilities are endless. Anyway, it was delicious. OH YEAH. All right, fine, I wasn't really trying to lose. I really wanted to win. Ha HA!!!

( *For my 28th birthday last year, we hosted an 'Iron Chef' style dinner party/competition, secret ingredients: bacon & apples.......extra photos from which can be found here, if you are so inclined.)

(1/22/10 - A quick aside to the readers....I'm going to be re-visiting the highlights of the food posts from my older blog as a way of kick-starting Orange & Salt for the time being. All original dates of posting will be stated, just for your information. As you were.)

Easter roast lamb with goat's cheese & mint, tiny roasted farmer's market onions. (Originally posted 4/12/09)

So, we cut way back on meat, right? Only twice a week, and usually small bits of lean meat when we do have it, not a full-on roast like this one. But it was Easter! And sometimes you just...........well, look at it!! This is from a Gordon Ramsay recipe. It's leg of lamb, bone removed and butterflied, rolled around crushed mint leaves, goat cheese and slivered garlic. Tie the roast--and yes, in fact I do know how to properly tie a roast WHERE IS MY MERIT BADGE DAMMIT??--and stick rosemary where you can under the twine, place in hot oven, roast for proper amount of time depending on weight, let rest, slice, enjoy! The tiny onions on the side are these little gems we found at the farmer's market on saturday. We tossed them in a little olive oil, salt & pepper and let them roast next to the lamb. they were so sweet and lovely!

Just another few detail shots, in case you missed how good this was. THIS WAS GOOD. So, so good.

[echo echo].


The first post! It's always oh so quiet. Well hello readers, whomever you may be, and welcome to the beginning of Orange & Salt. This is the space where I'll be posting recipes I've tried, kitchen successes and failures, travel photos and observations, and more than likely the occasional adorable photo of my dog. Can't be helped, he really is adorable. But beyond all that, the real purpose of this space is for me to start writing for an audience again, on the topics I love the most.

I'm a professional artist, a very unprofessional cook, some kind of writer, and an enthusiastic world traveler without funds most of the time. My husband and I have some pretty grand plans for international travel in the (hopefully) near future, but until we become world famous multimillionaire artists we're probably going to have to content ourselves with 'traveling' via our stomachs. Hence, welcome to Orange & Salt, where we're going to do just that! All right. On to the food posts..................