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Romesco Grits, Soft Boiled Egg

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Of all my travels throughout the past few months, very few have been vacation. In fact, in the past few years, very few of our trips have been purely vacation. So it was a special luxury to take a week this Spring to travel to San Francisco, to spend a whole week doing absolutely no work and just enjoying what the city had to offer.

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soft boiled eggs 9 We walked over 60 miles that week. We had magnificent dinners with friends, we saw all the sites and more, we visited with family, we relaxed. I spent the week walking all my stress away, enjoying the relaxation and calm that comes with a vacation where you focus only on what you want to do that day, that moment. It was liberating. It’s been ages since I did something that was just for me, and this trip to San Francisco was a luxury I sorely needed.

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soft boiled eggs 6 One of my favorite parts of our trip was the time I spent with my Uncle Everett. Everett, my grandfather’s youngest brother, and his wife Stephanie have been living in San Francisco since the 1970’s and know the town inside and out. Our second day there, after synchronizing our watches over the phone, Uncle Everett picked me up and took me on a driving tour of the city. We visited parks, restaurants, museums, and more, ending up at their house near Twin Peaks, where Uncle Everett showed me his collection of paprika as we pored over recipes for Spanish romesco sauce.

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soft boiled eggs 11 A few nights later we ate a fantastic dinner with Everett and Stephanie, where he whipped up a batch of romesco using a recipe from Tarragona. Romesco sauce is a chile sauce that combines dried chiles, fresh chiles, tomatoes, spices, almonds, and hazelnuts. When we got home I wanted to try my hand at the sauce so Uncle Everett sent me a recipe try. I stirred my romesco into a batch of creamy grits and topped them with a soft boiled egg and fresh garlic scapes. The flavor was rich and spicy, and the creamy yolk of the egg was the perfect balance to the scapes and chiles. This was, perhaps, my favorite souvenir from our trip. Thanks for the recipe, Uncle Everett, and thanks for the amazing time, San Francisco!

soft boiled eggs 7 Soft Boiled Eggs, Romesco Grits
serves 6

romesco sauce:
courtesy of Everett Rosemond

3 dried peppers softened in hot water for about an hour (I use Ñoras from Spain but any dark, dried pepper—Pasillas, for example—will work. Remove seeds and chop

1 hot pepper, chopped

Extra virgin olive oil

2 tomatoes

6 cloves of garlic

24 toasted blanched almonds

24 toasted filberts

2 branches of parsley

2 slices of bread, fried in a bit of oil

2 tsp red-wine vinegar—good quality

Salt

grits:

2 cups dried yellow corn grits

4 cups water

2 cups heavy cream

1 tbsp red pepper flakes

4 tbsp butter

Salt & pepper

6 eggs

1 tsp baking powder

Garlic scapes

Preheat oven to 365º F

In a medium sized pot start the grits by combining cream, water, butter, salt, and red pepper. Bring the pot to medium heat and stir in the grits. Bring to a soft boil and reduce to a simmer. Stir occasionally as it thickens.

Sauté the hot pepper and the ñoras in a small amount of oil.  Lightly oil a tray and roast the tomatoes for 10 minutes in the oven; allow to cool.

Make a paste out of the peppers you just fried, either in a mortar-pestle or in a grinder;  you want a thick paste.  Add the nuts, the parsley and dry bread and mix with the mortar-peslte until you get a homogeneous mixture. (I used a small grinder for this)

Peel and seed the tomatoes, cut into strips and add them to the mortar;  add the vinegar and 2 ó 3 Tbsp of olive oil, together with the salt.  The mixture should look like a thick liquid. Stir it into the grits and season to taste.

Bring a pot of water to boiling. Add baking powder and a pinch of salt (the baking powder helps the eggs peel more easily). Add the eggs, cold, gently. Boil on high for 6 minutes. Remove and plunge into cold water. Peel, slice, and serve on top of grits. Sprinkle with sliced garlic scapes.

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Lovely Internet 5.23.17

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1. We drink yerba mate from a gourd, in a mug, and in our smoothies, but haven’t tried it sparkling yet! This will definitely be making an appearance this summer.

2. Thanks to the sweeping appreciation of cast iron, Lodge is having a banner decade.

3. This is equal parts inspiring and terrifying.

4. And this is equal parts amazing and ridiculous.

5. Sweet Eliza is doing great things.

6. How handy is this?

7. Hah! (also)(and, on a more serious note, not all men)

8. Stop worrying about the millennial generation.

9. Chilling. Poignant, but chilling.

10. I’ll be thinking about this all weekend.

For more tidbits from Elena the person, follow me on twitter (@elenabrent or @biscuitsandsuch), instagrampinterest or facebook. Follow along with MissElenaeous for thoughts on everything other than Southern food.

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Ginger Sea Salt

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Today I made my first trip to the beach of the season. It’s been too long, I hate that so many months have passed since I last dipped my toes in the Atlantic, and after all the traveling I’ve been doing I was determined to see the ocean this week. So with tourist season looming and a promise made to my students of trying our hand at homemade salt, today was the day. Waist deep in the surf (which, by the way, is the perfect temperature thanks to our early heat wave) I collected two gallons worth of Wrightsville Beach Salt Water, soon to be rendered into Wrightsville Beach Salt.

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I’ve always wanted to try my hand at making salt from salt water, and being a preschool teacher provides the perfect opportunity for such science experiments. We made two batches- Taste of the Atlantic and Ginger Infused. The basic process is as such: fill a container with as much sea water and as little sand/shells/debris as possible. Strain the water through a cheese cloth and fine mesh strainer, and then set to a light boil over medium-high heat. Rest on your laurels.

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After a few hours of simmering (approximately 3), our gallon of salt water had condensed into a 1/2 liter of super concentrated salt water. From there I transferred it into a ceramic baking dish and stuck it in a 450F oven for an additional hour. After the water has completely evaporated what is leftover is a coarse salt that can be collected by scraping it out of the dish and transferring it to a container. For a finer alternative, a few spins in a spice grinder and you have beautiful, white, perfect table salt.

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The salt itself is lovely. It’s subtle, like licking your lips after a day on the boat. The ginger salt had the most beautiful balance of salt and spice, I can’t wait to try it on tom kah gai or curry basil falafel. I’m also feeling inspired to try other infused salts- chai, lavender, red pepper. I see myself driving home from the beach with a jar of salt water beside me many a long summer afternoon.

sea salt 4 Ginger Sea Salt

1 gallon salt water

4″ ginger root, peeled

Collect salt water and strain through mesh and cheese cloth. Boil over medium-high heat with ginger root for 4 hours, or until reduced to 1/2 liter of liquid. Heat oven to 450F and transfer saltwater to a ceramic baking dish, removing ginger. Bake an additional hour until all the liquid has evaporated. Let cool and transfer to a sealed container. For a finer salt grind with spice grinder.

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