January 21, 2009

January 19, 2009


Making your own salt cod is so easy - and brings you a fresher, more succulent piece of fish, with a deeper taste than many commercial types. Unfortunately, here in America, most of those I've purchased taste a lot like the wooden box in which they're packed. And at a premium price! I got a good deal on fresh, wild, true cod today, so I came home and started some salt cod.
Salting the fish reduces the water content, retards bacterial growth and results in more flavor and body. From the Vikings to the Basques, Spanish and Italians, preserved cod has been a staple of the larder. Cod prepared this way will keep for many months refrigerated, wrapped well to protect it. Once dehydrated and salted, it must be reconstituted in several changes of cold water over about 24 hours before use in recipes.
Whether you use it for brandade, fritters, stewed baccala or eat it straight in a salad, you'll find that salting your own makes for the best-tasting dishes.
Give it a try and have fun!

2 lbs. fresh, skinless cod fillets
1 cup kosher salt, for dredging

Dredge the fish generously in the salt, pressing the salt firmly into the flesh, so the entire surface and crevices are coated in salt. Wrap the fillets in cheesecloth and place on a rack in a non-reactive pan. Refrigerate the fish, uncovered, for 24 hours. Remove cod from cheesecloth and rinse in cold water to remove salt. Pat dry and re-wrap in clean cheesecloth. Refrigerate, on a rack, uncovered for 4-7 days. Thinner fillets can go 4 days, inch thick pieces should go for 7 days. Pour off any juices that accumulate under rack. As fish cures, it will become more opaque and stiff. Once to this point, the cod is ready to use. If not using immediately, remove cheesecloth and wrap fish in butcher paper and then in a freezer bag and keep refrigerated for up to 2 months. When ready to use the cod, soak it in cold water for 18 to 24 hours, changing the water three times. Pat dry and proceed with chosen recipe.

January 10, 2009


A "white" risotto I made tonight. The only color comes from the light parts of the celery and a few flecks of rosemary from the rosemary Asiago. The Asiago is a nutty and a bit sweet, so tames the tang of the pecorino. It's a creamy, cheesy dish - lovely served with simple grilled chicken or by itself, with a salad. So, put on some easy music, sway and stir and then take a bite of saucy risotto....mmmmmmm.

3 T. butter
Half of a large onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 c. chopped celery and leaves from center of the head (light parts only)
1/8 t. white pepper
1 3/4 c. risotto rice - pref. vialone nano or carnaroli, but arborio works fine
5 c. chicken broth, heated
2/3 c. dry white wine
1/3 c. cream
3 oz. pecorino cheese, grated
2 oz. rosemary Asiago or reg. Asiago, grated
Salt to taste

In a heavy-bottomed stock pot over medium heat, melt butter, then add onions, garlic and celery. Saute until softened. Add pepper and rice, stirring to coat the grains well. One cup at a time, add the heated chicken broth, stirring often, until broth is almost absorbed. Repeat with remaining broth. Add wine and stir until half absorbed. Check rice for doneness. It should be soft, but with a chewy bite at the center. If necessary, add a little more hot water or wine. It will depend on the type and dryness of the rice used. Once rice has the right texture, add the cream and grated cheeses, stirring just until cheese is melted. Check for salt, adding if necessary. Serve immediately, while still velvety and saucy.

January 9, 2009

POEM- The Old Bench

Wood worn to a sheen,
smooth as skin,
Gathering heat from my hand.

This bench their retreat
from decades of living the world.

A word, a song, a look.
They know each other
like a tree knows the soil in its roots.

They know, 
it will end like this.

GNB - 2009

January 2, 2009


This seemed the easiest way, for now, to post photos of the recent trip. There are around 240 pics, so be warned! Unfortunately, this method didn't allow me to write captions. I hope you'll enjoy the scenes. If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask me. The photos are basically in order, country to country. I started in Switzerland on my own for a week, then met Jim in Munich for the remainder of the trip. So many delightful and delicious experiences! 


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Aspenglow / Buttered Lips by Gayle Nabrotzky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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