Wednesday, May 28, 2014

How to Tuesday - Planting a Kitchen Garden

Growing up in Manhattan in the 80's, there were few places to garden, this however did not stop my mom from trying. I remember our apartment window ledge filled with petunias, marigolds, and portulacas. This is probably were I got my love of marigolds. :)

When our family moved to NJ, I was initially devastated. I missed the city, taking the A-train to school, walking to Fort Tryon park, visiting the museums, and of course visiting with my Grandmas (One lived on the first floor of our building, and the other we would visit every Thursday for black bean soup).

The second year we were at the house, my mom really started gardening; my dad did too though it was mostly cleaning up weeds etc. Mom had planted some flowers, roses etc., but the best part was the tomatoes and zucchini. As a kid I hated gardening, pulling out weeds, helping plant bulbs, mulching... I would do anything to get out of it, it was punishment. The worse part was during the early spring when mom had horse manure delivered, of course this was placed directly outside my bedroom window. Now imagine this if you can: Warm weather, no AC in the house, open windows with the aroma of the wrong end of a horse wafting into your bedroom...not a particularly appetizing smell and unfortunately this was what I associated gardening with.

Oh! But collecting those sunkissed tomatoes, and twisting off the zucchini, that was fun and delicious and slightly made up for the horse shit!

Cruise before the craziness.
Both sides of my family, and my husband's family come from agrarian backgrounds, it's in the blood.

I remember watching "Far and Away" when I was younger with my family. Tom Cruise was handsome and in his prime, but outside of that what always stuck with me was what his father tells him in the movie...

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Whole Wheat Artisan Salt Soft Pretzels

A while ago I bought some Artisan Sea Salts from Pepper Creek Farms, and I've been trying to figure out a way to use them.
While I have used them to season dishes, I  really wanted to use them in a recipe that would give them center stage. After some brain idea! I almost kicked myself for forgetting about the obvious...Pretzels!
Pretzel sellers in NYC Circa 1936

And not just any kind of pretzel, but those soft, salty warm pretzels.
The kind of pretzel you can only get in NYC, off a rather dubious looking cart outside a Subway station or in Central Park. After all it is a New York City tradition!

Now imagine those same pretzels topped with Applewood Smoked Sea Salt, Hiwa Kai Black Lava Sea Salt and Himalayan Pink Sea Salt, Yumm!

Here is my recipe for these Soft, Salty, Hot Pretzels:

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