Here’s a post with tips on various spice blends as well as links to some great resources. One of my new favorites, is inspired by Lynn Rosetto Kasper’s Splendid Table.
I call it Tuscan Garlic & Herb Salt. I use quite a bit less salt than her recipe calls for and it’s heavenly on a roast chicken (place a little with butter under the skin), with pork, or potatoes. It’s so simple to make, and your hands and house will smell divine in the process. Try it with these proportions and adjust to your own tastes.
The technique could not be simpler:
- Take one bunch of fresh rosemary, one of fresh sage, about 4-5 good sized cloves of garlic and about 1/4 C of Kosher salt.
- Peel the garlic cloves, removing any green sprouts (they indicate the garlic is a bit old and they’ll add bitterness.)
- Pick the sage leaves from their stems, zip the rosemary leaves off their woody stems by pinching and dragging in the opposite direction from how the grow (tip backwards).
- Give your garlic a few rough chops and begin adding herbs and salt. Chop, chop, chop with a good sharp knife, holding the tip down with one hand and bringing the handle of the knife up and down — much like one of those old school paper cutters.
- Dry out on the counter on a cookie sheet for a couple of days or overnight in the oven with the light on/or if you have a dehydrating function set to low.
It’s done when it’s no longer moist. This time will vary depending on the method you use and where you live.
Store in a pretty little jar, or any old jar, but just try it. I guarantee you’ll be hooked.
Sparkling Cranberries, AKA "Thanksgiving Vitamins"
This is a fun and delicious holiday treat. They look beautiful around a large roast or cake, alongside cookies in a gift box or plate, and the only problem is how fast they go.
I got the basic recipe from Heidi Swanson, she of 101 Cookbooks. In the old IACP days, years ago when blogging was still new and a thing, I was introduced to Heidi. At that time, she was already a demi-god in the Pantheon of star bloggers. She greeted me so warmly, I'll never forget it. Just lovely. As are her cranberries.
- 2 C fresh whole cranberries
- 2 C cider (love to use fancy stuff, or even mix of apple cider and water)
- 2 C sugar
Rinse, stem cranberries. Place in heatproof glass container or bowl.
In a medium saucepan bring cider and sugar to simmer, stirring until sugar dissolves. I add a few broken bits of cinnamon stick, a couple cloves. When syrup is smooth, remove from heat.
When syrup has cooled a bit, pour over cranberries, cover and refrigerate over night.
To sugar them:
Get out two shallow bowls, place 1 C raw or large grained sugar in one. Place finely grained sugar in the other.
With a small strainer, dip into your cranberries, shaking off as much excess syrup as you can. Toss a small bit, maybe 1/3 C or so at a time into the large grained sugar. Shake bowl about to ensure they're covered. Place on lined baking sheet to air-dry.
After a couple of hours, return to the second shallow bowl and roll cranberries in the finer grained sugar. Return to the baking sheet to air dry again.
Reserve that spiced cider simple syrup.
Use in cocktails (pairs well with Mezcal) or in a hot toddy. Use in quick brining chops.