Suzi’s Blog

Gin-Cured Gravlax from Brooklyn Bar Bites by Barbara Scott-Goodman


I’m posting this on Monday, which just gives you time to shop and prepare for the coming weekend. This is NOT a 1-2-3 dish ready in just 30 minutes. The salmon needs to cure for 3 days, or more, in your fridge. The gravlax itself is made with gin, lime and juniper berries — yielding a sweet-and-salty treat that can be the foundation for a wonderful appetizer plate. Or even the main dish for your weekend brunch.

As the picture shows, gravlax provides you the chance to unleash your culinary imagination. The gravlax on the plate can be surrounded by all the tidbits you have come to love: great toast, capers, cucumber slices, sour cream, cream cheese, horseradish sauce, … Whatever you want and the more the merrier.

I know: hearing something takes 3 days can give you pause. But, it’s really just sitting in your fridge and all you have to do is turn it once a day. If you have never ever tried making your own gravlax before, it’s time.

This recipe is from Brooklyn Bar Bites by Barbara Scott-Goodman. My review is here.  It’s a lovely guide to the best bars and best bar foods in a true culinary mecca. You can see my review here. And, if you can’t get to Brooklyn, you can get this book and cook and drink away.

That beautiful photo is by Jennifer May who brilliantly punctuates the book with color and style.


Gin-Cured Gravlax

Yield: serves 6 to 8


  • ½ cup kosher salt
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
  • Grated zest of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • One 1 ½ -pound skin-on fresh salmon fillet
  • ¼ cup City of London dry gin
  • 1 tablespoon crushed juniper berries (use the side of a heavy knife)


Stir the salt, sugar, lime zest, and pepper together in a small bowl and mix with your fingers until well blended.

Put the salmon fillet, skin side up, on a large sheet of plastic wrap on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour half the gin evenly over the salmon. Spread half the salt mixture over the skin, then carefully flip the salmon over. Pour the rest of the gin over the salmon and rub with the remaining salt mixture. Spread the juniper berries over the salmon, pressing lightly so they won’t fall off.

Wrap the salmon in the plastic wrap, then double-wrap with a second sheet of plastic wrap. Put it on a platter, cover with another platter, and put a 4- or 5-pound weight on top. Put the salmon in the refrigerator for 3 days and turn it over once a day.

When ready to serve, unwrap the salmon and transfer it to a cutting board. Using a long, thin, sharp knife, cut the salmon into thin slices at a 30-degree angle. The traditional cut starts diagonally at one corner of the salmon, then works back toward the center of the fillet. Discard the skin. Arrange the salmon slices on a platter and serve.

Source: Brooklyn Bar Bites by Barbara Scott-Goodman [Rizzoli, 2016]



Beet Hummus form Eat Drink Shine



I recently posted a review of Eat Drink Shine, from authors who are triplets and who founded the very successful Shine restaurant in Boulder. Promoters of healthy, they have a clever strategy. Have the food look beautiful and taste delicious. And suggest things that are just a tad different.  Most of us have had hummus, so it’s not a “brand” new idea. But, a beet hummus? What could that be like? From the picture, we know it is gorgeous.

There’s only one thing to do here: buy some beets and give it a try.

The authors note that here the garlic is simply chopped and can offer up an intense flavor. Do mute those notes, use just one clove. Or, alternatively, roast the garlic for a softer and sweeter flavor.

There is a warning below about dealing with beets: the juice stains. Really, truly, permanently stains. Even your hands as your work with them. So maybe rubber gloves and nothing white unless you want to retire it.

Beet Hummus

Yield: makes 2 ½ cups


  • 4 medium beets, peels on, scrubbed to remove any dirt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt to taste
  • ¼ cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped


Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Rub the whole beets with olive oil and a touch of salt. Put them on a baking pan and roast for approximately 1 hour, until the beets are easily pierced through with a fork. Let cool slightly.

When the beets are cool enough to handle, rub the skins off with a clean dishcloth (be forewarned—the beets will stain it) or use a vegetable peeler. Coarsely chop the beets and put in them food processor with the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth.

Serve with your favorite chopped veggies or flatbread. Refrigerate leftovers, if any, in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Source: Eat Drink Shine by Jennifer, Jessica, and Jill Emich [Kyle, 2016]


Sausage and Sage Toad in the Hole with Gravy from The Kitchen Shelf


I recently posted a review of The Kitchen Shelf, a new and clever book for “us.” There are books that tell you how to create a great dish 20 minutes with 3 ingredients. This is not that kind of book. Not that kind at all.

The Kitchen Shelf suggests you stock your panty with just a relative handful of ingredients. Then use for delicious food ideas from around the world.

This is not an “around the world” recipe. Not that kind at all.

Toad in the Hole is a traditional British recipe. You may have had Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding. In a Toad, the Roast Beef disappears and is replaced by sausages. The individual Yorkshire puddings are replaced by on large dish in which the Yorkshire batter is spread out — then adorned with sausage and baked.

It’s a relatively young recipe, first appearing in cookbooks in the mid-1800s. And those first mentions just say to use scraps of meat. This was, first and always, an economy dish.

In The Kitchen Shelf, the recipe is offered with sage replacing more traditional thyme. Gravy is suggested here, too, following the classic recipe, but now that gravy is accented with soy sauce. This is one of the “classic” dishes you probably have never tried. It’s surely worth a weekend fling.

Sausage and Sage Toad in the Hole with Gravy

Yield: serves 4


For the toad in the hole:

  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 Italian-style pork sausages
  • 1 ¼ cup all-purpose (plain) flour
  • 3 eggs
  • Scant 1 cup milk
  • 10 sage leaves, shredded
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the toad in the gravy:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 2 teaspoons superfine (caster) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose (plain) flour
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • ¼  bouillon (stock) cube made up to 1 cup broth (stock)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Put 1 tablespoon oil into a large roasting pan (2 tablespoons if your sausages are not very fatty), add the sausages, turning to coat in the oil, and then cook in the hot oven for 10 minutes, or until browned. Meanwhile, make the batter. Put the flour and seasoning into a large bowl, make a well in the center, and pour the eggs into it. Gradually pour in the milk, whisking to a smooth batter, it should be the consistency of heavy (double) cream. Stir through the shredded sage.

Remove the pan from the oven, then, working quickly, pour the batter evenly into the pan and return to the oven. The key to a puffy Yorkshire pudding is not to open the oven door, so resist the temptation and cook for 40 minutes, or until risen and golden brown.

Meanwhile, make the onion gravy. Put the oil in a pan, add the onions with some seasoning, and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until softened. Reduce the heat slightly, add the sugar, and cook for about another 5 minutes, or until really soft and caramelized. Add the flour, stir to coat, then cook for 2 minutes. Gradually add the broth (stock) a little at a time, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Once all the broth has been added, cook for 5 minutes, until thickened and bubbling. Add the soy sauce, check the seasoning again, and serve piping hot with the toad in the hole.

Source: The Kitchen Shelf by Eve O’Sullivan and Rosie Reynolds [Phaidon, 2016]