Friday, June 19, 2009

Spring Asparagus

Seattle farmers markets are showcasing the newest items of the season: rhubarb, strawberries, radishes, peas, and piles upon piles of asparagus.

The easiest and most-satisfying method to prepare fresh asparagus? I like to steam and blanch them. Placing their skinny stems in an ice bath halts the cooking so that their crisp, crunchy texture is retained throughout the middle and tips of their bodies.

The finishing touch? Adding a squeeze of lemon and a couple pinches of Nicoise Olive salt to accentuate their natural characteristics.

I wouldn't have my salty stems any other way.

Seattle Times NWSource feature

What's in your bag of tricks in the kitchen? Finishing salts are our secret stash in the cupboard.
Flavored salts make it easy to be gourmet, adding that extra pinch in a dash to any dish.

NWSource thinks so, too:
Shake Up Your Cooking with a Gourmet Sprinkle

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Chorizo salt, Seattle, & Shauna

Gluten Free Girl, Shauna Ahern is another reason to love Seattle. She's always an entertaining read, and one who makes me appreciate the Emerald City even more than I already do.
Her passion for local food comes alive in her writing, as she interweaves slices of a simple island lifestyle with her husband Danny and their beautiful baby Lucy into a bigger slice of the American cherry pie.
Yet what I love most about Shauna's writing is what she doesn't say, and that----is the sign of a truly gifted writer.
Fall in love with Shauna. I dare you. We already have.

"Raise your hand if you like salt. Now, raise your hand if you like chorizo.

The Chorizo salt is our favorite one of their flavors. Have you heard of
Bacon salt? Now, we don’t like to disparage other producers. Bacon salt has become popular, so many people seem to love them. But, did you know that there’s not really any bacon in bacon salt? In its place is MSG, autolyzed yeast extract, disodium inosinate (I don’t actually know what that is), and wheat flour. (That doesn’t work for those of us who are gluten-free.) 23 ingredients in Bacon Salt, and not one of them is bacon?


Secret Stash Sea Salt Chorizo salt, on the other hand, has five ingredients: kosher salt, chorizo, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and granulated garlic.

And it tastes? .... " -- Shauna Ahern

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Smoked Chipotle Chicken

Grilling a whole chicken brings out flavors that are unlike any other method of preparation. The smokiness imparted by the barbie combined with the racy heat of Smoked Chipotle salt brings the bird to the party. It's summer-time. There's no reason not to get out, grill, and drink a beer or Bloody Mary while doing so.
1. Remove giblets from the cavity and rinse the bird under cold water. Pat dry with a paper towel, and season both the inside and out of the bird with Smoked Chipotle salt.
2. Fire up the grill, or turn your gas grill burner to high heat. Thoroughly clean the grill grate, and thinly coat the grill with extra virgin olive oil. Place the bird breast-side down. Cook covered for about 35-40 minutes.
3. Uncover, and flip the bird breast-side up, continuing to grill it until the skin turns golden brown and the meat is cooked through, about another 35-40 minutes.
4. Check for doneness by cutting into the middle of a piece of chicken. The juices should run clear when you cut into the thickest part of the piece. Alternatively, pierce chicken pieces with a meat thermometer. When thermometer shows they have reached an internal temperature of 170 degrees F, the bird is done.