Friday, March 5, 2010

'spring garden' spirit

*photo taken by Matthew (@suomynona on Twitter)
Been to Art Restaurant at the Seattle Four Seasons yet?  We never need an excuse to go, but if you haven't, their counter uncorked events and all-you-can-eat $12 cheese nights are as generous as restaurants come. 

Already been, and just want to imbibe?  Their newest cocktail, the 'Spring Garden' is rimmed with our best-selling salt, lavender rosemary.  Rumor around town is that their cucumber margarita is just as delicious.    

Spring Garden

1 oz Dry Fly gin
1.5 oz sauvignon blanc
.25 oz Pernod
.25 oz green Chartreuse
.25 oz tyku
.75 oz lemon juice
.5 oz lavender simple syrup
5 large mint leaves (cut into chiffonade)
purple pansies ("johnny jump ups")
lavender rosemary sea salt

1.  Rim highball glass with salt.
2.  Combine all liquid ingredients and mint strips over ice in mixing glass.  Shake gently. 3.  Garnish with salt sprinkled flowers.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

homemade sourdough bread

I am lucky. A sourdough starter landed in my hands. Passed along by a good friend, the starter was born from the hand of baker. And her seckle farmers market pear.  I don't remember the last time I made bread. But I know it was with my mom, and that a clunky, awkward counter top bread-maker played a role.

This was different. The 'biga,' short for Italian sourdough starter, is sweeter and nuttier than traditional starters. And so the journey began, and grew. I fed my biga daily. As instructed, I added a 1.5:1 ratio of bread flour to water, and 'beat the hell out of it' every day. I coddled my biga for more than a week.

I won't lie. My hands got tired; my wrists hurt. I thought about bright red artisan mixers sitting atop counters, and assumed that others must have had them to help. I wanted that bread, and thought about it every day I beat the hell out of it. "Tonight, we will have bread with dinner," I said, before reading instructions that said 'let it rest, bubble, and refrigerate over-night.' The biga seemed far way. Truth be told, I don't like to follow recipes.

Recipes inspire me. But I thrive on improvising upon an idea, a biga, or a recipe that catches my eye. Yet, and like baking, it's a science. Measuring ingredients by weight, and with a scale makes a difference. I'm glad I waited for my biga to grow up.

I made 3 loaves from it. Each made me appreciate, and re-acknowledge, the process that goes into homemade goods. The toil, the craftsmanship, the love.  I can't wait to make another.

* For the recipe, cooklocal has the scoop.  I followed it to the T.  As instructed, I added cumin.  I winged it by tossing in a heaping tablespoon of apple 5-spice salt.  Almond cardamom salt was my second choice. 
** Thank you for your generosity, Jenifer.  And for inspiring me.