What strange and disturbing times we are all living through. My husband and I are extremely fortunate that our small, rural community in southern Arizona seems to have very few cases of the Coronavirus, but we are taking the extra precaution of “sheltering in place”; “staying at home”. I have been to the grocery store once in 2 weeks (very unusual for me!) and should have enough provisions to last another couple of weeks. Because I am unsettled and disconcerted, I am cooking a lot, which always makes me feel better. This morning I spatchcocked a chicken, which I will roast with garlic, lemon juice and zest and lots of fresh herbs from my garden. Last week I made a huge batch of beans and a chili con carne. Bread, cookies, and even tomato aspic has been on the menu. Here are a few things I’ve been making recently…
ROSEMARY LEMON SALT
|It’s easy and so much fresher than store-bought
to make your own herbed salts.
1/4 cup fresh rosemary, leaves finely chopped.
Zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups Kosher salt
Preheat oven to 110 degrees. Finely chop rosemary, leaves only; discard the stems. Zest the lemon. Mix rosemary and zest with the salt and spread onto a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 just enough to release some of the moisture. Cool and store in glass jars. If you’re making as a gift you can garnish the container with a fresh rosemary sprig tied with raffia. Here in Arizona my rosemary is ready to pick year round!
In times of uncertainty a tasty Margarita does not hurt…
TIN CAN MARGARITAS
I brought these margaritas to our neighbors family birthday party before we decided to discontinue socializing. I found the recipe online, but altered it a bit for maximum flavor! I am not a big margarita fan, but the reviews were favorable at the party and I really enjoyed them, too! Possibly I will become a convert. I LOVE the name!
|I was running late for the party so had
no time to take pics. I nabbed this one online.
2 12 oz. cans frozen limade, slightly thawed. I used Minute Maid.
2 cans tequilla, I used Jose Cuervo Gold, plus a little extra splash
1 can triple sec liquer
Juice from 12+ key limes, more limes to float in the pitcher and use as garnish
2 cans water
Lime wedges and coarse salt for serving
In a blender add limade, tequilla, triple sec, lime juice and water. Blend thoroughly. Taste and add more freshly squeezed lime juice, tequilla, triple sec if you like sweeter, as is necessary. This will depend on how juicy your limes are, too.
Use a lime wedge to moisten rim of glass. Dip and coat rim of glass in a saucer of coarse salt. Add ice and fill with the Margarita. Salud!
Our son, Michael was recently here for a visit (also before Coronavirus) and one of my favorite things is asking the kids what they want for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and then being able to come up with it on the spot! Mike requested Monte Cristo’s for breakfast one morning. I didn’t have quite the exact ingredients for the classic, but this came close enough! A Monte Cristo is a variation of a French Croque Monsieur; fried ham and cheese sandwich, but is so much more! Traditionally both ham and turkey are used, but I had no turkey. Also Gouda is the cheese of choice, but I had only Swiss and Provolone, which worked perfectly! Usually white bread, sometimes with crust removed, but I only had a whole grain seed and nut bread.
4 slices bread (for 2 sandwiches)
Enough mayonnaise to liberally cover each slice
Cheese: at least 4 slices per sandwich
Ham: at least 4 slices per sandwich unless you’re using turkey, too; then 2 and 2
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
Splash of milk
1 Tbsp. butter/1 Tbsp. olive oil
Either remove crusts (if you are serving for a Brunch you might want to do this; fancier!) or just open the bread and lay on slices of cheese. You want the cheese closest to the bread so it gets very melted. Next, slather with mayonnaise on each open face. Then add the ham (and/or turkey). I also added a very thin coating of grainy mustard. Close the sandwich carefully. In a bowl, beat 2 eggs, add a splash of milk, salt and pepper. Very carefully dredge the sandwiches in the egg bath and let it get soaked until it takes all the egg. Some suggest just slightly coating it in the egg, but this sandwich is much better totally saturated! I like to use a cast iron skillet for these Croque Monsieurs, but any heavy bottom skillet is good. Get your skillet very hot and add butter/olive oil. VERY carefully place the sandwiches (It’s easy for them to slip and slide and fall apart) in the skillet and cook thoroughly on each side; about 5-7 minutes per side. This depends how thick your bread is.
After the sandwiches are cooked, cut in half and serve with strawberries, oranges or other fruit. Some like to dust with confectioners sugar, but I like it savory, and you may also serve with a dollop of fruit preserves. This is a hearty, ooey, gooey, wonderful Brunch treat. Thanks, Mike, for suggesting.
I think our pets know when we are feeling uncertainty. Not that it is USUAL for JoJo to join us at the table, but we have made some exceptions.
I’m going to close with a couple shots of other food I have been making in the last couple weeks of such unsettled time.
|Gelatin can be made with either sweet or savory juice.
This time I used 2 envelopes gelatin; 1 cup cold V-8.
Sprinkle gelatin over the cold juice.
3 cups hot V-8 heated to boiling.
Mix together and stir until dissolved. Chill.
|The secret to really great cookies is European style butter!
|This is the Spetzzatino, which I will tell you about soon!
TOGETHER WE WILL GET THROUGH THIS.
WE TRY TO FIND A LITTLE JOY
IN EACH DAY (AND, DO!)
AND HOPE YOU DO, TOO!
LIVE, LOVE, LAUGH, AND
WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT…
UNTIL NEXT TIME…