Make It Savory

I woke up early to get a fresh start on the day. The weather in New York City was glorious. The sun was shining, and the skies were crystal blue.  The air had that cool, crisp fall feeling. And friends from out of town were coming in for the day.

I headed out to Lincoln Center Farmer’s Market. It’s a favorite. It’s so close to my apartment, and they have wonderful produce selections. Though it’s a lot smaller than Union Square Market, it’s more convenient because I don’t have to schlep on the subway to get downtown.

The Courtesan of Color at a farmer’s market in NYC savoring the smell of fresh herbs.

Every time I visit the farmer’s market, I’m inspired by all the colors at the market. Literally, my adrenaline rises. My mind’s synapses start to fire as I plan food menus in my head by seeing, smelling and touching everything. For me, it’s kind of like being a kid in a candy store. My senses are truly on fire!

  

  

Lincoln Center Farmer’s Market in NYC.

As I flowed into the market area, the word savory kept popping up. Savory. Even just the word is delicious.

I spotted some marjoram. The smell of the grassy, lemony herb was out of this world. It made me want to savor it, to rub it all over my body. (I didn’t, but I wanted to do so!)

Then suddenly, I looked up to see a sign reading “Savory” right there in front of me.

Betsy Karp choosing savory to augment the meals she will prepare for guests.

Savory is very trendy right now. Everyone wants to use it. Much like sage, it is a green herb traditionally used in meat, pasta or bean recipes.

The lovely young woman at the market explained that there are two kinds of savory, as well as the differences between summer and winter savory. Winter savory, she explained, is more pungent and has a peppery flavor. Summer savory is less powerful and carries a slight mint fragrance.

I loved the smell of both varieties. Savory is definitely a must try addition to anyone’s produce list.

What did I want to create for my guests for lunch and dinner?

Betsy Karp getting her hands full of food color.

Eventually, my basket was filled with a variety of herbs and produce for the dishes I planned to prepare: rosemary, oregano, thyme, sage, tarragon, fresh leafy romaine, colorful peppers, grapes, apples, pears, and, of course, winter savory.

Arriving home, I unpacked my bountiful harvest and turned on some sexy French music, Seule ce soir by Emilie-Claire Barlow. Cooking is so much more fun with music to inspire you. I believe the food tastes better, too. Add the smell of fragrant herbs, the energy was savory in my kitchen!

Fresh vegetables from the farmer’s market for the salad and meal.

I love how I feel when I cook. The creative process makes me happy, the connection of feeling self-love, self-worth, and a true sense of accomplishment. It’s a production with an end result that is almost sure to be enjoyable.

Food is about feeding the soul. Not just the body. It’s an art. We get to experiment and paint with colors, ingredients, herbs and spices.

A new urn holds herbs, including savory, that will be used in preparing lunch and dinner.

Grateful for the beautiful Mackenzie-Childs hand-painted plates my mother gifted me years ago, I set the table. It was so beautiful with color and spirit. Using color and textures adds so much sensuality to a meal.

My guests arrived for by lunchtime. One of the women exclaimed, “This table is lovely. It looks like colorful art!” Everyone was excited to dig into the lunch being served.

The menu started with a delicious savory salad, crisp and aromatic. I asked my guests to describe the flavors of the herbs present.

Woodsy. A hint of licorice flavor. Warm and earthy.

      

Preparing food with friends can be so much fun. Add music and make it a sensual experience.

Lunch also included a spinach quiche and warm toasty homemade bread with melted brie and cranberries. A clean and crisp Pinot Grigio added a warm touch to the meal. Everyone was eating and happy. One guest remarked that it felt as though we could be sitting in a Tuscan farmhouse enjoying a beautiful autumn moment. The first meal was an obvious success.

Spinach quiche with savory salad.

After cleaning up the meal and wrapping the remnants (there wasn’t much left to wrap!), it was time for a walk in Central Park to digest our food and enjoy more of the beautiful day.

We walked. We talked. Conversations about life, friendship and what’s next. We discussed desires for the future. As I hadn’t done any visioning in a long time, it felt good. It got my juices flowing and mind racing with lots of exciting ideas and new possibilities.

As we meandered back towards my apartment, my friends asked if they could help prepare and cook dinner with me. Even better than cooking alone is cooking together! So that’s what we did. En masse.

With music from the movie Chef setting the scene, we had fun. (Have you seen that movie? A must-see!) Everyone was very upbeat and inspired as we all got cooking.

Starting with the salad – a simple blend of fresh greens, candied pecans, olive oil, vinegar with a pinch of sea salt and fresh ground pepper (to taste) – we chopped, and mixed. We then combined very simple ingredients with olive oil, basil, tarragon, marjoram and the sweet savory herbs. We also shared a lot of laughter (because not everyone has mastered the art of cooking, ha!).

From stove to table, make it savory.

We then marinated the salmon with lemon lime, apricot, sea salt and fresh herbs mixed together. One of the women was impressed that even the raw fish dressed and prepared for broiling looked delicious. I also prepared fresh pumpkin pasta with ripe Brandywine and cherry tomatoes, which was served with a smattering of shaved parmesan cheese. (Divine!)

Dinner was indeed a savory success! A delicious and colorful blend of savory spices and ingredients resonating with rustic elegance.

As we toasted the meal, one of my guests remarked, “It’s as if the meal is enjoying us as much as we are enjoying the meal!”

As they say, there is nothing better than savoring a good home cooked meal and breaking bread with good friends.

May all of your meals be savory!

 

Betsy Karp is The Courtesan of Color. Former fashion designer, current color consultant, Betsy is an avid traveler who writes about sensual experiences of art, beauty, fashion, & culture. Her art resides in private collections around the world. Find her at Instagram, Facebook & LinkedIn, as well as her website and Fine Art America.

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