Homemade Celery Salt and a Pyrex Scare

Heidi from 101 Cookbooks recently posted a recipe on how to make homemade celery salt, and it certainly intrigued me. While celery salt is not a spice that I tend to reach for on a regular or even semi regular basis, I thought that it could become part of my repitoire, specifically on my morning eggs. The trouble with the recipe though, was finding celery that still had leaves intact.

Fortunately for me, Allandale Farm had homegrown celery at their farmer's market stand in Roslindale last weekend-I was in luck! Later that week I finally had a chance to make the spice, and it sure was easy! All that was involved was chopping the leaves off of the celery stalk, and then spreading the leaves on baking sheet and baking for 5 minutes. Lastly, the leaves need to be crumbled and then an equal amount of salt should be added to the dried celery leaves, which then completes the spice. After a quick shake together, you have a homemade spice!

I have used the celery salt on scrambled eggs, salad, and bread. I definitely have a new appreciation for celery salt, and will be trying to make other spices soon.

On a totally separate note, I wanted to talk about a terrible and scary experience that I had this morning while making bread. I was trying out a recipe from my new book, "Aritsan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day," which asked that you put water into a dish that was sitting in an already preheated oven. The book did mention to use the broiler pan, however, I do not have one, so I used a Pyrex dish. When I started pouring the water into the already hot dish, the dish exploded in the oven! Fortunately, no one was hurt, and the bread was still intact, but I now will not be using Pyrex in the future.

Apparently, after I conducted some research, I found that Pyrex cannot be subjected to extreme temperature changes, or else it will explode. This began occurring when the company was sold, and the manufacturing of the products was outsourced. The manufacturer switched to a cheaper raw material, which is when all of the instances of exploding Pyrex dishes started to occur.

I wanted to tell everyone this so that extra care and precaution is taken when using Pyrex dishes. I hope this does not happen to you!


Grilled Panzanella

Summer is certainly flying by, and it seems to be even quicker this year! It is already tomato and eggplant season, and I can already smell the onset of fall in the early mornings. Before fall arrives though, I am trying to utilize loads of new recipes involving late summer's bounty, and more specifically, our garden's bounty.

While perusing through one of my many monthly cooking magazines, bon appetit, I stumbled across Grilled Panzanella and thought it would really be a perfect summer dinner, especially when it gets too hot to really cook at all. As tomatoes are in season, and I had a few extra summer squash hanging around in the crisper, I decided to incorporate these two items along with some basil paste in a lovely salad with some delicious garlic bread.

If you have not read August's bon appetit, I suggest you pick it up soon as it has loads of recipes that incorporate summer veggies and fruits. I have many page flagged down in it, as all of the recipes look very tasty, and more importantly, simple.

How have you been using summer veggies? Any suggestions to try?

Grilled Panzanella
adapted from bon appetit, August 2011

1.5 cups fresh basil leaves, divided
2/3c plus 2 Tbsp EVOO, divided
1 large shallot, thinly sliced (I used green onion)
1 small red jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
2 tsp grated lemon zest
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 lbs ripe tomatoes, various varieties
1 12oz rustic bread
1 garlic clove, halved

Puree 3/4c basil leaves and 1/3c plus 2 Tbsp oil in blender until smooth. Set a strainer over a large bowl. Strain mixture into bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much oil as possible. Discard the solids left in the strainer. Add shallot, chile, lemon zest, and lemon juice to the basil oil. Whisk to blend and season to taste with S&P.

Slice tomatoes into assorted wedges, rounds and cubes. Add to the bowl with the dressing and toss to coat. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat a gas grill to high or if doing inside, your broiler to high. Brush the bread with remaining 1/3c EVOO, season with S&P, and grill/broil until charred ins pots. Rub grilled bread with cut sides of the garlic clove, and then tear into bite sized pieces.

Add bread and remaining 3/4c basil leaves to bowl with the tomato mixture and toss to coat. Season the panzanella to taste with S&P and serve.