♥ I only shop once a week – buying only what looks great in vegetables and figuring out what to make with them day by day. This is a time saver, and with the Internet you can always look up recipe ideas to match the ingredients you have on hand, or come back here to LOVE and check our recipe tab.
♥ When toasting nuts for a recipe, always toast extra to have them ready to use on salads or throw on green beans for another dinner. They will keep fine in a sealed plastic container.
♥ I only use French Grey Salt which I grind first with a mortar and pestle – or you can buy a salt grinder. (Zach dropped ours on the granite floor so that was the end of that.) The kernel of salt is just too big to use it as is, so grind it.
♥ I do use coarse grind Sea Salt for salting pasta water and Kosher Salt for brining or preserving lemons.
♥ I do use fine grind Sea Salt and Tex–Joy pepper for seasoning a chicken to roast. It is easier and less messy.
♥ I only use Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I like the Athena brand), except for fancy olive oils for finishing a dish or I use a better grade for salad dressings. I LOVE it when our friends from Tuscany bring some of theirs from the olives off of their trees in their front yard. It’s so green and absolutely spectacular!! Unlike any other found here in the States.
♥ I use as many local fruits and vegetables as I can as well as grass–fed, free range organic meats.
♥ Always have tea tree oil around, as that is the best for burns! (But, the smell is strong and not very good around food.)
♥ Slice your mozzarella cheese while it’s cold, as it’s easier that way. Then cover with plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out and leave it out to come to room temperature.
♥ I like to always have fresh tomatoes and a few fresh herbs on hand. With those, you can liven up any dish.
♥ For using ¼ cup or so of frozen chicken broth, thaw the frozen broth in the microwave for a minute or two, just so you can dump it out of the container in one piece on a cutting board and then carefully cut off what you need. Put the rest back into the container and back into the freezer! Pretty cool, eh?
♥ A wonderful butcher (Bob, of Espisito’s Pork Store) once told me that I could keep several slices of pancetta, individually wrapped, in the freezer at all times. Take them out one at a time and they will thaw very quickly to use.
♥ I have found that most butchers in independent shops love to do special work for your recipe. They take ownership in their work, have a lot of pride in what they do and want to be a part of your meal. So next time, let them know what you’re trying to do and just ask!
For example, my friend Susan was buying a boneless, butterflied leg of lamb. She brought in her mustard paste and her butcher was happy to spread it on the meat, season it with salt and pepper and rolled and tied it back up to form a roast, with the bone put back in the one end so it looked pretty.
♥ Remember, it is always about the ingredients. The quality of the ingredients you use make the dish. You can make a very simple dish taste sublime with high quality ingredients. Take any piece of super fresh fish, rub on a little fantastic extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle French grey salt and fresh ground tellicherry black pepper, oven roast at 425˚F at a rate of 10 minutes per one inch of thickness – or grill in the same manner – (the Canadian method) and you will have an amazing main dish!
♥ When roasting or baking fish, oil slick a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle the baking sheet with salt and pepper. Then place your fish on the pan and move it around a bit. This will season the underside of the fish – clever eh?
My must–have pieces of equipment
Absolutely essential – use for lettuces, arugula, all fresh herbs, any greens (dandelion greens, broccoli rabe, swiss chard, mustard greens, you name it).
Great Sharp Knives
– I use Henkels
Instant Read Digital Meat Thermometer
Hand–held Garlic Press
Mortar and Pestle
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