This week’s email is written by my son Joe, who created our new offering, Citrus Salt. Joe is a baker-chef extraordinaire — and, soon, a first-time father!
Tom Cowan, M.D.
In the deep winter months, it can be difficult to eat seasonally. That's exactly what I was thinking about in mid-February. It was then that my little Meyer lemon tree finally produced a few lemons ripe enough to eat. So, I decided to make a salt similar to our Pepper Salt, but made in the opposite season.
I took different types of citrus (bergamot, Buddha’s hand, kumquat, Meyer lemon) —ones that I could find grown organically and with sufficiently intense flavors — thinly sliced them and dried them at a low temperature. That way, the whole fruit — nutritious seeds and flavorful rinds — could be included in the salt. After grinding the dried slices into a powder, I added them to some fine Celtic Sea Salt.
During the next month or so, I used what I had first made in many dishes. I used the Citrus Salt in place of salt in many baked recipes, added it to marinades for steak and pork, and used it as a rub on chicken just before grilling. It was also great added to homemade salad dressings and in cream-based soups.
A blend of sweet, mild, and very sour citrus creates a balance of flavors that has a number of culinary applications. It is my hope that this seasoning (part of our Appalachian Farmer’s Market line) will signal the end of a long winter and brighten your meals in anticipation of the coming warmth.
For many of us, our relationship to food is a never ending journey. Sometimes to move forward one finds themselves looking back. For bread and specifically the grains used to make it I find that the best results are indeed found in reflection. It is sometimes true that modern ingenuity has value for us, but that is usually only when paired with ancient wisdom. For grains, that wisdom is in the ancient varieties that have been grown for thousands of years.
During this time of relative uncertainty, we have decided to renew our commitment to gardening. Dr. Cowan’s Garden was originally a place, located in Napa Valley on a plot of land generously donated by a friend. It embodied our ideals and was a sanctuary for growth and learning.
The garden was our muse for new product offerings and for improving existing ones. The garden kept our ambitions grounded to certain fundamentals, as the practice of gardening can be challenging.