Save the harvest

This is a great method for preserving excess herbs that you’ve grown or bought. My dear friend, Maya, has been doing this for the past 5 seasons, allowing her to enjoy her garden spoils throughout the year. As a bonus, the herbs’ fresh-tasting flavors get more intense as time passes. She makes 3 varieties: an equal mixture of oregano, thyme, and sage; a basil batch; and a rosemary batch. Use them in salad dressings and marinades, and of course, when cooking. The rosemary is heavenly on steamed or roasted potatoes, the basil is a nice surprise in mashed potatoes or tasty on a green bean salad.
Maya’s method:
- Harvest herbs early or late in the day when they are cool, to avoid wilting
- Herbs must be thoroughly DRY before you begin, since it is water that causes spoilage. After washing, remove excess water with a paper towel, then spread herbs out for an hour or till all the water evaporates. (It may not be necessary to wash the herbs from your own garden, use your judgement)
- Strip the leaves, discard stems. Mince the herbs as finely as you can. This will release the most flavor into the oil. Maya likes using a ”mezza luna” knife (a curved Italian blade with a handle at each end that allows you to rock back and forth).
- Spoon herbs into small mason jars leaving about 1/2" from the top, then fill with olive oil (use cooking not extra virgin). Let the jars stand for an hour or so, topping them up as the oil is absorbed. There should be a 1/2" layer of just oil at the top, which will act very much like a wax seal.
- Label and refrigerate the jars. When using, spoon out what you need, and be sure to cover any exposed herbs with additional oil. Don't worry if you leave the jar out of the fridge and the oil liquefies, this will not cause spoilage, but do remember to put them back in the fridge when you are finished cooking. The photo on the right shows how it looks when it first comes out of the refrigerator.



At the newly opened SD26, there is a futuristic trend. They have ditched the traditional wine list and replaced it with a touch-screen device. It’s not only fun to play with to learn about the wines, it also works in real time, so that if a wine sells out, it will not appear on the list. This frees up a lot of time for the sommeliers, who can focus on discovering new wines instead of keeping track of inventory. I like the fact that the labels are displayed—like a face, I never forget a label but often forget the name. It’s great to see a paperless solution! They didn’t stop there. At the entry to the restaurant is a slick-looking wine bar, where you can sip some interesting by-the-glass choices as you gaze out onto picturesque Madison Square Park. The diplay which houses the wine, also prevents the wines from oxidizing, resulting in just-opened taste every time. I predict this will become a popular spot for wine enthusiasts and novices alike. See more photos from my visit here.



click image to enlarge

Incorporate the stimulating flavors of fresh herbs into your repertoire.


art with heart

I just found out Benicio del Toro and I have something in common—we both own art by Joseph Heidecker. Joseph re-interprets iconic photos and transforms furniture into a visual treat that’s full of surprises. His art has a deliciously, quirky sense of humor. My piece (photo, top) makes me smile on a daily basis. Come and see his latest—the show opens this Thursday, September 10, from 6:00 to 9:00 at Johnson Trading Gallery, located at 490 Greenwich Street, between Spring and Canal. Hope to see you there!


Michael Collins Irish WHISKEY persuasion

At a recent soiree, when offered a whiskey cocktail, I had a few guests decline. I let them have their glass of Prosecco without argument. A little later I began my seduction with “just a sip.” Before you knew it, the whole party had made a unanimous vote for Irish Whiskey. Michael Collins Irish Whiskey comes in a Single Malt variety (smokier) and a Blend (smoother). I thought the Blend worked absolutely perfectly in this cocktail, which I doctored for the gathering. To make it party-friendly, I made the juice mix earlier in the day, and had my supply refrigerated, which I poured out as needed into a pretty glass pitcher. To create the cocktail, each glass got ice, a little or a lot of the whiskey (to taste) and filled with juice to the top, then stirred with a glass stirrer. See more photos from the party here.

Here is the juice mix, take a wine glass and measure the following:
1.25 parts Sauvignon Blanc wine
1.5 parts Lakewood Organic Pure Apple Juice
.5 part of Ceres Passion Fruit Juice
the juice from one big organic lemon
1 part Lakewood Organic Lemonade
2 big squirts of Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Honey
Expand this recipe to accomodate the number of guests. Refrigerate till ready to use. You can substitute Prosecco for the Sauvignon Blanc, which we did when we ran out of the wine. For garnish, add a thin slice of golden delicious apple, whose yellow color and pear-ish taste makes the perfect accompaniment.