Happy 25th birthday to me! 🙂 I have really, really good feelings about this year. I’ve worked my butt off and feel I’ve really developed my passions, have surrounded myself with inspired, positive people, and feel so lucky. Smiles all around. The above photo is from my birthday brunch at The Market Restaurant. I couldn’t help myself and snapped one quick photo of our meal: one of the best lobster rolls I’ve had, pickled summer veggies, brioche bread pudding with poached eggs and salad, and carnitas tacos. We also had fresh mimosas, and I tried their brunch cocktail, which was the smart combination of Notch saison, Russel Orchards apple cider, and bitters. Not a bad start to a new year!Adding to my list of ridiculous (yet I think wonderful) hobbies is now canning. Last weekend, I pickled cherry tomatoes and brandied figs. Since I’m still getting the hang of it, not all the cans processed correctly, so I just stuck a couple of the tomato jars in the fridge to use soon. The recipes are from The Preservation Kitchen, an amazing and endlessly impressive cookbook by Paul Virant. In the cookbook, he provides an astonishing array of deliciously presented recipes for preserving the seasons’ harvests, and takes it one step further by giving entire meal recipes using the canned items. I’m really excited to delve into more of his recipes, especially the tempting meals such as duckfat-poached whitefish with dill pickle vinaigrette. I’m planning to stock up on some duckfat this weekend after my pork butchering class…yes, you read right.I was really happy to see a few weeks ago that Virant was a Sustainer finalist with Chef’s Collaborative. This award, by the organization promoting sustainability for a network of thousands of likeminded chefs across the country, recognizes chefs that according to the organization, have been “both a great mentor and is a model to the culinary community through his/her purchases of seasonal/sustainable ingredients and the transformation of these ingredients into delicious food.” I had been drooling over Virant’s book for a few weeks, and was delighted to see this in my newsletter from the group (along with FIG in Charleston, which I loved when I went last spring!)I was sad to not be able to save all my tomato jars for the winter when I’ll be starving for that summery taste, but know I’ll make at least one more batch. In the meantime, I made a super yummy pickled cherry tomato salsa. Virant suggests pureeing the entire jar to use as a vinaigrette, which I can guarantee makes an impressive dressing with its champagne vinegar. I mixed some of the dressing – but not much to avoid a liquidy salsa – with mostly fresh, chopped cherry tomatoes, sprinkled with some of the pickled tomatoes. Added garlic (pickled and fresh), lots of jalapeno, onion, cilantro, and green pepper, and a dash of salt and pepper. I enjoyed my fresh salsa with a homemade Labor Day brunch: poached eggs, avocado, and homegrown arugula cucumber salad with the pickled tomato vinaigrette. Delish!More congratulations to my dear friend Natalie on opening her salon! In another burst of craftiness, this was a gift my friend Kim and I gave to her with flowers from my garden. Spray painting – apparently metallic spray painting – is not so fun, but the result is so pretty. Sunflowers, fennel, and lemon verbena are now in Natalie’s new salon, officially open for business!Here’s to a new season, a new age, and a new start for everyone as fall sneaks in and we work towards a better now and a better later.
Poached Eggs with Pickled Cherry Tomato Salsa
September 5, 2012