Its that time when everyone goes through the ritual of what they are going to change, give up, add to their lifestyle. Gym memberships will go up, for at least a few months, people will swear off sugar, carbohydrates, and will vow to increase their daily allotment of kale. (Nothing against kale, I love kale.) So, instead of coming up with a list of things that I will give up, I am giving you all my list of the three things I will NEVER give up. N.E.V.E R.
I love coffee. Love it with a passion. My morning ritual is to get up and grind the beans. No pre-ground for me. The grinding of the beans, the sheen of the oil on the beans, the aroma while brewing. Add some milk and I am ready for the day. My favorite brand is San Francisco Bay French Roast. Great cafe’ flavor, rich and smooth. They sell 3 pound vacuum sealed bags and offer free shipping on orders over $30. Plus you can set up a schedule as to when you want your order to ship, and you will automatically receive your order. And they have a loyalty program. Couldn’t be easier.
Farm Fresh Eggs
When we lived in upstate NY, we had our own laying hens. Every day, we would gather the eggs from our girls. Real fresh eggs are divine. The yolks are bright orange, and when you break a fresh egg, the yolk will stick up above the white. Our hens laid super jumbo sized eggs,and double yolks were not uncommon.
And the flavor. Rich, velvety goodness. Our eggs were anywhere from minutes old to no more than a week old. Store bought eggs from factory hens are usually 45 days old. They have absolutely no flavor and the yolks are pale and flat. Once you eat fresh eggs, there is no going back. If you can’t raise your own hens, then support your local farmer, or buy them at the farmer’s market. The price, anywhere from $4 to $8 a dozen, depending on where you live, is worth it. We will be getting our own laying hens in the spring, so you will see “chix pix ” then!
I love balsamic vinegar for a couple of reasons. One of course, is the amazing flavor. The slight sweetness enhances the flavors of what ever you are cooking. We will roast almost any vegetable in balsamic vinegar. It adds a rich, almost nutty flavor to Brussels sprouts.
The second reason is how versatile balsamic vinegar is. Toss it in a salad, and it brightens all of your greens. But what I truly love is what happens when you make a reduction. Heat it in a pan, and reduce it by half or three quarters, and you have a tangy but sweet syrup. We will pour a balsamic reduction over vanilla ice cream for dessert. I make a strawberry balsamic jam that is to die for. The sweetness of the strawberries is enhanced by the slight acidity of the balsamic reduction.
Balsamic vinegars come in a variety of grades, so shop around. A good balsamic vinegar has been aged in a wooden barrel, preferably of cherry or oak wood. Cheaper supermarket brands are blends of 30% balsamic and the rest being other vinegar.
So, tell me, what could you not live without?