Thursday, June 5, 2008

In the Kitchen Part 2

There are so many kitchen gadgets or specialty food items on the market, and it's hard to know which ones are necessary. Speaking from experience, I'm totally a sucker for these little gimmicks. You might know the stores with their cute little plates with a sweet little Easter chick, or the kitchen section with all those wonderful little utensils nicely placed in their metal tin boxes. You've seen them, the spoon specially made to get grapefruit sections out nice & neatly, or the banana slicer (much like the egg slicer), or...well you get the point.

I think there's always room to declutter in the kitchen, (because how many times have I used my little brioche tins) no matter if you're a novice or amateur. I also realize that many people don't have some basic cooking supplies in their kitchen, which brings me much sadness, and they need to be informed. So here's to some basics

  1. Kosher Salt: What was the world like before using kosher salt? You might be asking, "what makes kosher salt kosher?" Well, nothing really. In most parts of the world they use the word coarse cooking salt. It gets it's name from the word "koshering," but not the same as kosher laws from the Torah. Under the Torah you would kosher a killed animal to draw out the blood. So what's the difference between this and table salt? The main difference is kosher salt contains no iodine or non-caking agents, it's also known for it's coarser grain making it preferable to use in cooking. I like it because you have more control over it, you don't have to add as much, and if you need to add a little garnish--kosher salt gives that nice crystalline look.
  2. Herb Garden: Since we don't have a place for a full blown garden I do what I must by container gardening. This means that I don't have as many options. Last year I planted other things aside from herbs, but they didn't all turn out as well. So, this year I stuck to herbs. It's great because I can go on the deck and cut off what I need to enhance the flavor of my dish. For those of you who have not benefited from fresh herbs in a dish--I highly recommend it. Last year I made this dish and added fresh oregano (yum!) and Ben who isn't into the culinary thing like me quickly said, "there's something different about this dish--it tastes more fresh." "Does it taste like fresh oregano?" "Yeah, that's what it is--it's really good." Good herbs to have on hand: Italian parsley, rosemary, thyme, chives, & oregano. I also have mint (which grows like a weed, so when it looks like it's dead in the winter--it's NOT), sage, marjoram, cilantro, fennel, & lavender. Pretty much grow what you like to cook with the most. Thyme is good in stews or roasted chicken. Rosemary is great with roasted vegetables, chicken, or Italian dishes. Chives great for potatoes or savory scones. Parsley is great for so many things. Fennel tastes like licorice and is great with salads.
More for later!

1 comment:

a.a. said...

Question on the Herbs..... how do you grow your basil? i planed some seeds and only have gotten some tiny little leaves sprouting... not the basil i'd pictured.... is it better to keep these herbs drier???