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December 15th, 2010

Chef Salts

salt

I love trying new things (especially free new things). Also, when it comes to cooking, I would like to expand my repertoire beyond spaghetti. So when these Chef Salts landed on my desk (actually my editor’s desk) I jumped at the chance to experiment with them.

We got it in two different “flavors”, although it comes in six. The first was 7 Salt, which is comprised of sea salt from Maine and Bali, volcanic salt from Hawaii and India, pink salt from Pakistan, smoked salt from Wales, cracked Tellicherry and green peppercorns, and a speck of sugar. It is recommended for steaks, poached salmon, baked potatoes, and popcorn.

salt1

The second salt was Tuscan Herb. It has: garlic, rosemary, thyme, sage, marjoram, fennel, cracked Tellicherry and green peppercorns, and a hint of sugar (again with the sugar!). It is recommended for grilled seafood, tossing with pasta, or chasing a wild boar through the underbrush.

salt2

I got so overeager about the salts that I decided to try them in almost all of their stated uses (with the exception of chasing a wild boar through the underbrush – that’s just not my thing.)

First up – Popcorn. I cooked the popcorn in olive oil on the stove, with a few cloves of garlic, as recommended by the website. Then I sprinkled on the 7 Salt. It was surprisingly sweet, like Kettle corn. I usually hate Kettle corn, but I actually really enjoyed this stuff, and I think it was because it was more complex than just salt and sugar. I would definitely eat this again.

Next – Steak and Baked Potato with 7 Salt. I coated the steak with the salt before grilling, and gave it a sprinkling again after the grill. This was the only seasoning the steak got that night, and it was great. It didn’t need any additional sauce or marinade, and it tasted just like an expensive steakhouse steak.

steak

The Baked Potato was less thrilling. It was an interesting flavor, but nothing to write home about. In fact, when I went to eat the next potato (they were small), I reached for the regular salt. Oh well, nothing’s perfect. (Actually, that’s a lie. One thing was absolutely perfect. Keep reading to find out what)

potato

Tuscan Herb time – First was grilled salmon. It worked well on the salmon, although I think it might have been better on halibut or tuna, something without as much flavor as salmon. Salmon is also a fish that needs a lot of salt, but with the Tuscan Herb that meant overkill on the other flavors. I would definitely try it again, though.

salmon

And now, the life-changing, ah-mazing, call-your-mom-right-now-because-this-is-so-good-application of the Tuscan Herb….

pasta copy

PASTA!!! I kid you not, this literally made me not want to have pasta again without this seasoning. It was salty, crunchy, flavorful – just all around surprising and and it made me feel like I was eating a $35 pasta dish, instead of a $0.35 one. My roomate added some of the seasoning to her pasta sauce, and said it also dramatically improved the flavor of the sauce. But I didn’t care, I was too busy slurping up my buttered noodles. When was the last time a bowl of buttered noodles felt like a treat? For me, it usually symbolizes a failure in creativity. But from now on, I will add my Tuscan Herb and eat my pasta with glee.

December 14th, 2010

The School Lunch Bill

On December 13th, President Obama signed into law a school lunch bill that any fan of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution (or just good, fresh food) will be proud of. The White House blog has released a comparison chart showing examples of meals before and after the bill. As one who ate these school lunches not that long ago, I can tell you these kids are lucky. Chicken patties, beef tacos and mushy spaghetti were never favorites around the lunch room. In fact, my high school had a special lunch line, where for $2 more we could get better meals (spicy chicken fingers, Papa John’s pizza…better, not healthier). In none of these situations were our nutritional needs being served, and I can attest to the fact that from first through eighth grade, I always chose the chocolate milk over the plain. If given a chance, what kid wouldn’t? So kudos to the school lunch bill, if anyone deserves fresh, healthy meals, it’s the eight-year-olds who have to sit through long division.

lunchmenu

December 14th, 2010

Egglings!

So around this time of year, I start feeling the effects of not having fresh herbs and vegetables at my disposal every night. It’s also the time of year for buying lots and lots of presents. Luckily, I found the solution for both problems while trolling the web – Egglings! These cute herb growers look like they would add a touch of spring, even when it’s below freezing outside. Just imagine showing up with one of these as a hostess gift! Much better than wine.eggling

The company makes other variations on this same idea, including the Nyokki, which grows grass

nyokki-main

the taterpot, which has the cutest little facial expressions

main

and the Petit Coco, for the more sophisticated herb grower

petitcas_03_400

It’s always fun finding new products, especially ones that will make great gifts.






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