Anyone who knows me knows that I gravitate to the sweet.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy and appreciate the salty.
After all, salt is one of the most essential ingredients in cooking. It boosts flavor and balances tastes. It can add moisture; and leech out excess liquid to firm up textures. It can also preserve and ferment.
For a real appreciation of all the forms that salt take and what they can do just pick up a copy of “The Miracle of Salt” (Artisan, 2022).
This comprehensive book is by Naomi Duguid, a writer, photographer and world traveler who has made a career out of immersing herself completely in the traditions and cultures of various foodstuffs in her award-winning cookbooks.
This fascinating book looks at how salt is harvested around the world, from Japan to Ethiopia to Gujarat in India. You’ll learn how to use salt in new ways, such as to make your own “Red Miso” from scratch and “Quick Salted Egg Yolks” that can be grated over pasta like bottarga.
You know you’ve made it when you not only graduate from a insanely popular food truck to a wildly successful brick-and-mortar pizzeria but finally to primo frozen pizzas stocked at discerning local grocery stores.
That’s the story of San Francisco’s Del Popolo, started by owner Jon Darsky who started hauling a 5,000-pound pizza oven around in a deconstructed shipping container in 2012 before opening his Del Popolo pizzeria in 2015.
With St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, all stomachs turn to corned beef and cabbage.
But mine? It’s squarely on “Irish Teatime Bakewell Tart.”
Buttery, flaky crust. Sweet raspberry jam. Plenty of crunchy almonds. And a thick layer of heavenly almond pastry cream. Who can resist?
This recipe is from “A Return to Ireland” (Hatherleigh Press, 2022), of which I received a review copy. It’s by Judith McLoughlin, an Irish chef who now makes her home in Atlanta, where she hosts cooking classes.
The book is a collection of both classic rustic Irish dishes, as well as more modern refined ones with Southern influences. See for yourself with a taste of “Irish Stout & Onion Soup with Blue Cheese,” “Low Country Watermelon Pickles,” “Slow Braised Shoulder of Lamb Stew,” and “Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Whiskey Truffles.”
Someone on social media recently praised the glories of Pie Week, which could only mean that the usual Pie Day or Pi Day has now given way to an entire week of celebrating instead.
That’s my kind of inflation.
But who can blame people for wanting an excuse to indulge in even more crusted creations?
March 14 (or 3/14) commemorates pi, the mathematical constant rounded to 3.14, which is the ratio of the circumference of any circle to its diameter. In other words, no matter how small or large the circle, the ratio will always equal 3.14. It’s since turned into a perfect excuse to revel in pie.
Fun fact: Pi Day was founded in 1988 by physicist Larry Shaw, who worked at San Francisco’s Exploratorium for decades. How’s that for proud local lore?
You don’t have to be an expert in pi to enjoy pie. In fact, just use the day — or week — to treat yourself to a slice or slab, either homemade or from your favorite bakery.
I decided to go savory this year, and attempt something somehow both rustic and regal looking after spying “Mushroom Ragout in A Savory Crust” in the New York Times archives.