Day 7: Choose Your Herbs Wisely!

Yum.

Palettes for today's cooking demonstration. Featuring bread from Albemarle Baking Co., in-season strawberries from Whole Foods, unsalted organic butter, and herbs (chives, basil, thyme, and mint) from the Morven Kitchen Garden.

Palettes for today’s cooking demonstration. Featuring bread from Albemarle Baking Company, in-season strawberries from Whole Foods, unsalted organic butter, and herbs (chives, basil, thyme, and mint) from the Morven Kitchen Garden.

We welcomed back Martha Stafford of the Charlottesville Cooking School to the Morven Summer Institute today to give a cooking demonstration for the students of Block B. What an exquisite (and tasty) time!

Martha Stafford, founder of the Charlottesville Cooking School.

Martha Stafford, founder of the Charlottesville Cooking School.

Martha started us off with a taste-bud exploration that took us on a journey of many flavors! We tasted how a small pinch of salt can drastically enhance the flavor of relatively simple dishes. We found out that simply toasting your bread can make all the difference when you’re making a dish such as bruschetta. We learned how to make a “compound butter” using herbs, salt, and butter. Who knew that adding basil, thyme, or mint to strawberries was so delicious?

After our small herbal cooking demonstration, Martha led us into the industrial kitchen at Morven, where she showed us the best way to wash, prepare, and dress delicate mixed salad greens…all gathered from the Morven Kitchen Garden, I might add!

Tips:

  • Use a salad spinner!
  • Fill the bottom part of the salad spinner with water (see picture below) and let the lettuce float in it so that the dirt sinks to the bottom. Next, pull out the lettuce and put it into the other half (strainer part) of the the salad spinner and then dump out the water (containing dirt and grit) from the bottom half of the spinner. DO NOT dump the water over your washed lettuce or else the grit will be in your salad! Then use the salad spinning mechanism to spin the lettuce greens SLOWLY.
  • This point above is crucial, lettuces are delicate and must be handled with care throughout the washing and drying process, otherwise they might wilt when you add dressing!
  • Lastly, add dressing in 3 parts oil to 1 part acid (such as lemon or vinegar).

    Washing lettuces!

    Washing lettuces!

Making a salad dressing using olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and tamari sauce.

Making a salad dressing using olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and tamari sauce.

Thank you, Martha, for all of the great cooking tips! And for sharing your joy about food and cooking!

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