I have so much I want to talk about this week, but I’ll try not to go overboard. On the personal side, I finally preserved some citrus! If you’ve never had Salt Preserved Meyer Lemons before, they are a really funky, bright addition to sauces, salads, pastas, and whatever else you can think of. A little goes far. They have a long history and have a strong cult following, although I will admit I’m still figuring out how best to utilize them. More on that in the future.
Oh, the Oscars last night. I hadn’t planned to watch, but really enjoyed it overall. And that ending! Jeez. Glad I stuck around until the bitter end.
Most importantly though, this week is both the Tibetan New Year and Mardi Gras. I will admit that I’m a tad obsessed with the food and cultural traditions of both the Himalayas and New Orleans. I can’t do either of these complex traditions enough justice right now, but maybe I can say a few words at least.
Salt Preserved Meyer Lemons
Here at home, my groceries have been a bit…sparse lately. My typical grocery trip involves visiting two to three different supermarkets at least once a week to get all the supplies I need for recipe tests and photo shoots. Poor Sam has had to do all the grocery shopping after work or on the weekends since my knee went out, and understandably our haul isn’t as robust as usual. The more local markets don’t have as huge of a selection. Last week, Sam made a trip out to Whole Foods though, and brought me back a pound of beautiful Meyer Lemons. It’s cutting it close, but that means I was able to do a very small batch of Salt Preserved Meyer Lemons as my contribution to the February FIJ Mastery Challenge over on the Food In Jars website.
I followed a simple template that I’m remiss to even call a recipe. I based my components on the version from Alana Chernilla’s cookbook, Homemade Kitchen, since I’ve made them before and liked the flavor profile. So into a jar went four Meyer lemons, a little over a cup of salt, seven cardamom pods, three Bay leaves, and enough lemon juice to cover. I left them in a cool, dark place for three days, shaking and pressing them daily to distribute the salt, and now the jar will sit in the fridge for three weeks to cure. It’s really that easy to make a batch, although if you haven’t before, I highly suggest following a real recipe your first time – either Chernilla’s from her book or Marisa McClellan’s Preserved Lemons, perhaps. It’s always better to be safe and use best practices with this sort of thing.
The Tibetan New Year
In the grander scheme of things, today – February 27th – welcomes in the year of the Fire Bird and the first day of Losar, the Tibetan New Year. Earlier this month, I wrote about the importance of food memories in our lives, and mentioned that dumplings – Tibetan-style momos, to be exact – are part of a very important one for me. Some years ago, I had the amazing opportunity to learn about the traditions of Losar first hand from members of Virginia’s Tibetan community while taking part in a summer language program. Making hundreds of those dumplings for us all to eat and share later that evening; being teased for our clumsy shapes; talking and laughing and sharing while surrounded by a community of people – that is what I love about food. It brings people together, and it so important to the character of so many holidays and special occasions. As I watch the celebrations of Losar going on in my social media feeds, I can’t help but remember the taste of those momos and the crunch of khapse, a type of cookie made of fried dough. I’m even craving butter tea a little bit now, which is really an acquired taste. In any case, it’s a special time, and I wish all that celebrate a wonderfully auspicious New Year.
There are so many reasons to celebrate this week. Whether for the New Year, the fun inspired by Mardi Gras (which I’ll talk a bit about later this week), or just the start of March and a hope for warmer weather, I hope you can find a reason to gather together and revel, even if it’s just a little bit.
Now, from around the web:
- With Fat Tuesday and the culmination of Mardi Gras celebrations coming up, the internet has been buzzing with amazing articles and recipes about liquor and cocktails of New Orleans (or NOLA, for the locals). Two that stood out are a fabulous list of cocktails you can make at home, and the story of the resurrection of a classic liquor, Ojen
- Fulfilling every geeky chef’s fantasies after seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the Inn At The Crossroads blog has figured out a way to make Rey’s Puffbread.
- I am so inspired by this beautiful post on Finding Visual Voice. I’m still working improving my basic technical skills when it comes to photography, and truly appreciate this insight into the creative aspects of the art form.
- A friend posted about this crazy product called Good Day Chocolate last week, and now I want it in my life. Maybe you can use some too?
- Have you ever been paralyzed mid-recipe, unsure what exactly “over-mixing” might mean? Food52 clears up the question in this article. I hope I can use this to write even clearer recipes going forward.
That’s all for today. Cheers!