Simple Gifts

I woke up the other morning with a list running through my head. Not a grocery list or a to-do list, but a list of several people and things I am grateful for.

Late summer plumbs in a hand-made bowl.

It feels as if, just like the cornucopia of food at the local farmer’s markets in August, I too have a bounty of blessings. The unexpected gift from a friend at church who made me a set of pottery bowls because he thinks every good cook should have a set of nesting bowls. All summer long those bowls have been filled with seasonal fruits and other yummies. The gift of father who lived a very abundant 88 years*. A husband who is willing to dumpster dive in order to find the pearl earring I lost while we were doing some demo at a volunteer job. Yes miracles do happen – he found and rescued the lost earring from a soggy shop vac bag. Plus the every day gift, which makes it that much bigger, of my wonderful family who love to eat whatever I come up with in the kitchen.

There have been challenging moments over the last few months because that’s just the teeter-totter of life, but I’m trying hard to focus on the plus side of things. One giant plus I discovered during a dinner at a friend’s house. It was a lovely, late-spring meal and since I was one of the guests who lived close by, I offered to bring a few culinary contributions. My friend Jessica tasked me with bringing the green sauce for the poached salmon plus a gluten free/dairy free dessert. I knew which green sauce I was supposed to bring, but of course me being me I began to tinker and play around in the kitchen. I arrived not only with the requested green sauce and a gf/df rhubarb crumble, but two other green sauces I thought might go well with our supper**. While all of those green sauces were yummy (trust me – I put generous scoops of all three on my plate and drizzled or dipped with abandon) the one I have been making weekly ever since that meal is Francis Lam’s Ginger Scallion sauce.

Scallions, ginger and salt - the essential ingredients for green crack sauce

In my house we’ve renamed it “crack sauce” because once you’ve had a spoonful you will be addicted to this stuff, though thankfully no detox will be required. Besides poached salmon the ginger scallion green sauce also goes wonderfully on poached or grilled chicken, tofu, tempeh, steak or eggs. You can drizzle it over any sort of grain or rice. It will elevate your plain old toasted bagel and cream cheese (you’ll never want chive cream cheese again) and it will act as a flavorful spread on your hum-drum sandwiches. One day I watched my husband walk over to the fridge, spoon a generous amount of green crack sauce into half an avocado he was holding, then he walked away enjoying spoonfuls of green yumminess as a snack.

Avacodo toast with green sauce made of ginger, scallions and avocodo oil

The only change I made to the original recipe is using avocado oil instead of the peanut oil Lam suggests. Both have a very high smoke points (520ºF for avocado oil and 450ºF for peanut oil) and are fairly neutral tasting oils, but since I know and love folks who are severely allergic to peanuts I went for the avocado oil. If peanut allergies aren’t a problem in your house than you may want to try the original version since the cost of peanut oil is less than half that of avocado oil.

Avocodo Oil has a very high smoke point

Remember to heavily salt the chopped scallions and ginger - more than you think you'll need

This recipe couldn’t be simpler and trust me it goes on just about everything. It is completely worth the 10 minutes of peeling, chopping, zapping, and pouring (boiling oil) each week to refresh your supply.

Peeling ginger root with a grapefruit spoon

Green Crack Sauce (aka Francis Lam’s Ginger Scallion Sauce)

One goodly sized chunk of fresh ginger (I use a piece the size of my hand)

Two- three generous handfuls of scallions

Two to three teaspoons of Kosher salt

One cup of high flash point oil, avocado or peanut oil

Peel the ginger by scraping the skin with a spoon. I use a grapefruit spoon with its serrated tip, but any spoon edge will do the job. If a few bits of skin stay on it isn’t a big deal. Roughly chop the ginger into chunks then pulse in a food processor until minced. Scrape into a large, heat-proof bowl.

Next cut off the roots of the scallions and peel away any dry bits. Cut into rough chunks and pulse the scallions in a food processor so they’re roughly the same size as the ginger. Try not to make scallion soup. Scrape the minced/chopped scallion in with the ginger and salt generously. To the point where you think you may have over-salted everything. Then heat the oil in a medium saucepan until smoking.

Now please don’t start thinking you know more than me and Mr. Lam when I tell you you’ll need a huge, heat-proof bowl to mix the hot oil, scallions and ginger in because seriously we mean it! A bowl big enough to put a basketball in is a good size, not because you will end up with a basketball amount of green crack sauce, but rather because there will be some serious bubbling action going on when you pour the smoking hot oil over the chopped scallions and ginger. As in volcanic bubbling. And it would be criminal if all that yumminess exploded out onto your counter simply because you didn’t heed the warning and used a puny-sized bowl. Consider yourselves forewarned.

Once the oil is smoking slowly pour it over the salted ginger scallion mix. It will, as I’ve said, bubble and sizzle insanely for a few seconds. The first time you make this you will silently thank me for the big bowl warning. Once all the action has settled down, give the mixture a stir. Let it cool down and then store in a glass jar in the fridge. Make more when the jar is empty.

*My father passed away late last fall. He had an amazing and full life being married to the woman he adored, doing the work he loved to do, and fly fishing. We all miss him. If you want the recipe for his amazing champagne punch cocktail click here.

Isabelle, Pop-Pop and Grammy

**One of the green sauces was Lindsay’s Magic Green Sauce, and the other was my friend Rick’s awesome green sauce (and the one the hostess had asked me to bring) which I’ll share in a future post.

***If you have an abundance of plumbs on your hands I can highly recommend this yummy Italian plumb cake or you could try Erin McDowell’s Plumb Cobbler Bars.


Filed under 50 Recipes

14 responses to “Simple Gifts

  1. Hi Cynthia – Wonderful to see your blog show up in my email . Can’t wait to try the recipe. It sounds fantastic. Know that you are missed and that you have been thought of often over the years. Indeed – every time I read something about bees or good food, I wonder “What would Cynthia have to say about all this?” Would love to catch up. Hope everyone is well and thriving.

    Warmest regards, Caren

    Caren Goldman Executive Director & Founder Compassionate St. Augustine

    • Hi Caren! Wonderful to hear from you. We often think about you & Ted, and miss you both. I’ll send an email and catch you up our news. Hope you enjoy the green ginger scallion “crack” sauce!
      Hugs, Cynthia

  2. Judith Allen

    Glad you are sharing your cooking talents again with us. I look forward to your posts. Judy Allen

  3. Marisa

    Cyn – so curious you should post today…yesterday driving on Rt 92 I saw a man in a convertible who made me think of your Dad and then you of course. He was such a lovely and true gentleman!
    The green crack sauce sounds wonderful – I will have to try it out. Miss you. XO

    • Thanks Marisa! Dad was a true gentleman, even though I have a bit of a hard time imagining him in a convertible. After all where would his fly fishing equipment go?

  4. This looks amazing and simple enough that even lazy-in-the-kitchen me will put the ingredients on the shopping list. I love that the cooking involved only requires pouring boiling oil!!

  5. Susan Bergeron-West

    I have to echo one post: so good to see you pop up in my email. And especially because I had been thinking about you recently. Love the recipe, can’t wait to try it. Even better, I hope to have a chance to catch my breath and catch up with you!

    Hugs and smooches.

  6. Kay McNally

    Wonderful! Really enjoyed the stories and the recipes. I can’t wait to make them. Hugs

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