The Professor and I are in the midst of a minor bathroom renovation at the moment; thank goodness it’s a teeny half-bath in the Master bedroom because the plumbing and wiring in a house that is nearly 100 years old is enough to give both of us heart palpitations and make our eyes cross – no junction box for a light fixture, no baseboard trim, no framing for plumbing that comes straight up through the floor from the basement – all in an area that measures approximately 5 feet by 6 feet – barely enough room to change your mind. I’m just thanking the gods above that we’re not dealing with a bathtub – silver linings, you know?
We’ve gutted the space entirely and have replaced the light fixture, the commode, the flooring and the vanity; the new one will be retrofitted to allow for said plumbing – poor Professor. We’ve patched holes, scrubbed, sanded and painted the walls a lovely peachy-pinkish-hued color called, ‘Goodnight Kiss’ which sounds all prissy and mushy-gushy-like but in fact, is soft, muted and very zen – the overall feel we’re trying to achieve. And just to freshen things up a bit, the entire bedroom will get a new coat of paint after nearly 10 years – I think we’ll be good for another 10.
I’d say we now have a bona fide grown-up room . . . well, except for the baby gate across the door to keep the cats out . . . because (a) we have a Queen-sized bed, (b) there are 5 of them, 2 of us so we are out-numbered and (c) I am allergic to cats – meaning if they are on the bed, I wake up all puffy-eyed and drippy nosed, so baby-gate it is.
We’ve been in the kitchen quite a bit these past several weeks as well; testing and re-testing recipes and cooking from new books and discovering new-to-us-cookbook authors. It’s a bit like therapy in the dead of winter when there is nary a seasonal cherry, peach or strawberry to be had at the market and flipping through glossy pages of beautiful food always inspires me to make something new, to freshen up our repertoire.
The good folks at 10 Speed Press sent me a copy of Sprouted Kitchen, from the lovely Sara Forte; focused on vegetables with a handful of meat and fish recipes added to the mix, this a book after my own heart because this is how The Professor and I cook, how we eat. Page after page of glorious food captured by husband-photographer Hugh, has both of us moving into the kitchen, lighting the burners and pulling out the pans – in fact, Sara’s spin on Huevos Rancheros has become standard Sunday morning fare here for the past several weeks as the smudged, slightly wrinkled and dog-eared pages can testify – add a Bloody Mary and I guarantee a mighty fine start to your Sunday.
We’ve also devoured the almond meal cookies with coconut and cocoa nibs, the honey mustard broccoli salad and the roasted tomato soup; and the pages with recipes for cornmeal cakes with cherry compote, grilled flatbreads with pear, arugula and goat cheese as well as seared scallops on black quinoa with pomegranate gastrique have already been tagged – who wants to come for dinner???
Sara’s style is relaxed and unfussy and yet new, refreshing and interesting – all while staying true to her own voice and her mission of using whole foods, in season and feeding people well. Healthy eating doesn’t require being banned to lifeless salads and wheatgrass or a lifetime of juices and smoothies – eating healthy can also include bright colored breakfasts and not-to-sweet desserts as well as show-stopper meals fit to serve company.
At the beginning of the book Sara asks, ‘Do you have the space and the proper climate to grow a lemon tree?’ Well Sara, we have the space and proper climate to grow a potted Meyer lemon tree – take a peek at what we we did with our first harvest!
For a chance to win a copy of The Sprouted Kitchen, just leave me a comment below and I’ll pick a winner on Thursday – good luck!
Disclosure: I was sent a copy of The Sprouted Kitchen free of charge; however, all reviews and opinions are strictly my own.
PRESERVED MEYER LEMONS
Sprouted Kitchen, Sara Forte
Makes 1 pint
- 5 or 6 Meyer lemons (you may need more or less depending on size)
- ¼ cup kosher salt
- 1 Tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- Thoroughly wash and dry a wide-mouth pint jar; set aside
- Scrub clean any wax or residue from lemons and cut the largest in half and remove the seeds – you’ll use this one for juice
- Cut remaining lemons into quarters
- Add 2 Tablespoons salt into the bottom of the jar; rub salt onto the four quarters and pack into the jar, using the end of a wooden spoon to press or ‘muddle’ and release some of the liquid; squeeze a bit of juice from the largest lemon you cut in half and repeat the process with the remaining lemons
- As you near the top of the jar, press everything down making sure you don’t go over the shoulder of the jar
- Sprinkle in the peppercorns and add the bay leaf; squeeze in more lemon juice and seal the jar
- Leave it on the counter for 2 days, then refrigerate; the lemons should have produced enough juice to cover but if not, add more
- Once in the refrigerator, give the jar a shake every now and then to move the peppercorns and bay leaf around
- Ideally, the lemons should age for 3 months but they can be used after 1 month
- To use: scrape away and discard the salty flesh and slice the rind very thinly before adding it to your dish