Life in a Northern Town

What's For Dinner During An April Storm?

I have a problem. Most people, when they hear a storm is brewing, think about battening the hatches. I think about dinner. I have to admit, the impending snow storm wasn't too thrilling until I realized it meant I could make one more winter dinner. Roast chicken in the oven, fire in the wood stove and snow falling— perfection as far as I am concerned. There is not much to say about roasting a chicken except use good herb salt, butter the skin, stuff the cavity with lemon, garlic and fresh herbs and roast at 450 degrees on a bed of carrots, onion and potatoes.

I used to buy a lovely garlic herb salt at the Kitchen Window in Minneapolis. It was special because it was Italian and the fresh herbs and garlic were dried in the salt. Last year, I realized driving to Minneapolis for salt was excessive, Wisconsin is almost as cool as Italy and I had tons of fresh herbs from my garden. It is not much of a recipe, more of a suggested plan of attack. Put a couple of cups of coarse sea salt (not grey sea salt, too oily), a couple handfuls of fresh herbs (thyme, basil, rosemary, lemon thyme, sage, tarragon, whatever you have on hand), 1/4 cup fresh cracked black pepper and 5 or so cloves of fresh garlic in a food processor. Blend until the salt is finely ground and green. Spread the salt on a sheet tray and let dry overnight. Store in a covered container and use with wild abandon on anything and everything.