A Good Way To Get Rid of Extra Vodka

Monday, March 31, 2008

The redbud elixer still tastes like sticks, only a little more sour than I recall. Moreover, the flowers turned an unappetising brown color and fell from the stems to gather at the bottom of the bottle, not at all the way I remembered it. Perhaps vodka wasn't the proper vehicle. OK, one harebrained project out of the way, but there will be others. For years I've been meaning to make a tonic from wild sumac berries that I read about in Euell Gibbons. Again, precise timing is called for. The berries must be just moist enough to leave a light stain when lain on a paper towel. Apparently this is only possible for a few days each season.

This week saw the return of two recipes that we haven't seen in a while. One is a stir fry of scallops with hominy and spinach. We used to use it a lot but then the little scallops that I like became over fished. I use the Mexican style hominy that is crunchy, the kind they put in posole. The other recipe is for roast chicken that has a layer of herbed cream cheese stuffed beneath its skin. The chicken is beautiful- all golden with crispy skin. Its drippings make a fantastic sauce. The herbs vary from batch to batch, but the stuffing always includes spinach and lemon peel. Two other things returned lately that were components, rather than entire dishes. When I started at Crook's Corner (fifteen years ago this May- I can't possibly believe this), I inherited a cannon of recipes in little plastic boxes on a shelf by the back door. I'm using a couple of my favorites right now. The first is Red Sauce. I've always thought that it is perfectly delicious. It is basically pimientos, canned tomatoes and Tabasco Sauce, cooked together briefly before they are pureed. Presently we're using it on fried bluefish. The second is for roasted tomatoes (again canned) that are seasoned with saffron, orange peel and garlic- more akin to the south of France than to ours. We stir this into fettuccine, cream and spring vegetables.

posted by Bill Smith at 11:33 AM


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