To Taste: Flavored Finishing Salts collabo w. Sunshine

Sunshine turned me on to this awesome how-to video on how easy and rewarding it is to make flavored finishing salts. Eric Gower, the handsome personality behind Breakaway Cook, introduces diverse suggestions for ingredients to flavor moist sel gris. I’m beyond envious of his spice shelf and could watch his videos over and over and over.

Creative Use of Salts from Eric Gower on Vimeo.

Sunshine suggested and I agreed that this was a great inspiration for a crafty foodie collaboration! She had also found some mini jam jars that would be perfect vessels to store our new seasonings. We chose an afternoon during my week of leisure between jobs and got to planning our approach.

In the video, Eric Gower makes 4 different salts with lavender, matcha, smoked paprika, & saffron. We couldn’t get our hands on any of those ingredients, so we thought of great flavorings of our own. Sunshine finally located the sel gris at Trader Joe’s that is suggested as the base for our blends and we prepared our ingredients for blending. We heated the oven to about 275degrees and started drying our lime wheels, herbs, mango, & bacon:

Lime Wheels, Bacon, Herbs, & Mango

While our fresh ingredients dried in the oven, we set up the food processing attachment to the Cuisinart stick blender Dre got me for VDay. Quickest way to my heart is through a kitchen gadget! First up was some crystallized ginger we located on a last minute trip to the Asia mart. We ground it and added in about 2 T of the sel gris. A few more seconds of blending and we had so simply made our premier flavored salt.

Crystallized Ginger Salt

Luckily, we saved some fresh mango slices to sample the salt on. It was a perfect pairing!

Crystallized Ginger Salt on Mango

We still had some time to kill while our items dried in the oven. Sunshine found some really fun Victorian-inspired banner designs that we printed out as labels for our jars. We cut and arranged them on the lids with pencil-written names. One already filled and four more to go!

Labeled Salt Jars

The fresh herbs were first to be fully dried so we ground up the basil, thyme, oregano, & parsley. The result looked like a bowl of emerald-speckled diamonds and tasted amazing on fresh tomato slices.

Herb Salt

We whirled up our lime batch next, but I somehow missed getting a decent pic of it. Once the mango was crispy, we added it to two separate batches: one with just mango and another with the addition of bacon for a sweet & smokey approach. Both looked and tasted beautiful.

Mango Salt

Bacon Mango Salt

By this point in the afternoon, we’d downed quite a few Absolut Boston (elderflower & black tea vodka) and Arizona Lemonade cocktails. We moved the party to the patio to snack and focus on sampling all of our salts. I pan-fried chicken breast and sliced some more tomato as simple hosts for the variety of salty tastes.

Flavored Salt Sampling

They were all amazing but our stand-out favorite was definitely the crystallized ginger. We finished up our meal with sliced fresh strawberries… with salts, of course! I’m sure our cholesterol levels were staggering by the end of the day.

Strawberry w. Mango Salt

Even the Baby Kitty joined us for a great afternoon on the patio. She loves to stalk flies from the edge of the garden.

Baby kitty stalking flies

I’m so glad Sunshine stumbled upon this project as it is one of my favorites to date. We have alot of fun ideas on using our salts, so keep an eye out for exciting updates.

Flavored Finishing Salts

Check out Sunshine’s blog post on our crafty flavored finishing salts project on Blog Full of Jelly!

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Leftover Lightning! Chinese BBQ Chili Chicken & Lump Snow Crab Egg Rolls!

Dre got me an awesome deep fryer for Christmas and it took some debate on what to christen it with. Making Egg Rolls is new to me but seemed easy enough. Dre & I popped over to our local Asian market and picked up some ingredients to make the basic cabbage filler. Thank god for my Frankenberry so I could pull up some pics to discern Chinese Cabbage from the wall of greens in front of me. I love how it looks crimped when you slice it thin.

Chinese Cabbage

I added some shredded Carrot, Bean Sprouts, minced Ginger, Garlic & Shallots, Sesame Oil, Soy Sauce, and S&P. After a quick toss, it was a perfect fresh slaw to begin my egg rolls. I had some leftover Pan-seared Chicken Breast from Thursday’s dinner and leftover Snow Crab from Friday’s dinner. Both seemed like perfect proteins to add to my Egg Rolls. I chopped the Chicken and tossed it with Chili-Garlic Sauce, Chinese BBQ Sauce, & Clementine Zest. Half of the Cabbage mixture was mixed with the Chicken and we piled the fresh lump Crab Meat on top of the rest.

Chinese Chili BBQ Chicken & Cabbage Egg Roll Filler

Chili BBQ Chicken & Cabbage Egg Roll Filler

So far, so good! Rolling was easy enough as Dre took over with the crab and I rolled the chicken mixture.

Soon to be... Chinese Chili BBQ Chicken Egg Rolls

Once we got in a rhythm, we banged out almost two dozen perfect egg rolls sealed with an egg wash and love.

Egg Rolls

I heated some (very expensive!) peanut oil in my Presto Cool Daddy and dropped in batches of 2-3 egg rolls at a time. Dre whipped up a Ginger-Hoisin-Soy Sauce from scratch and poured some Sweet & Sour Chili Sauce for us to dip them in. I’m proud to see him turn into such a great kitchen helper. Once the Egg Rolls crisped, drained, & cooled, we were ready to snack!

Fried Chinese Egg Rolls

Chinese Egg Rolls ~ makes about 18-22 egg rolls

  • Chinese Cabbage – (2) bunches, shredded or sliced thin
  • Fresh Bean Sprouts – (1.5) dry cups
  • Carrot – (2) large, shredded – about 1.5 dry cups
  • Garlic – (2) T, minced – about (3-4) cloves
  • Ginger – (2) tsp, minced
  • Shallots – (1) large, minced
  • Soy Sauce – (2) T, preferably low sodium
  • Toasted Sesame Oil – (1) T
  • S&P
  • Egg – (1) whisked in a dish for an egg wash
  • Egg Roll Wrappers – (18-22) – usually in the frozen section, not be mistaken for spring roll wrappers, lumpia wrappers, etc.
  1. Toss all ingredients (except egg & egg roll wrappers) until mixed thoroughly.
  2. Add chopped protein if desired – semi-cooked shrimp, crab meat, chicken breast
  3. Lay an individual wrapper on a hard surface so it’s shaped like a diamond. Paint the edges with the egg wash using a pastry brush or back of a spoon.
  4. Spoon cabbage mixture towards the bottom point of the wrapper, I’d say what looks like about 2-3 hot dogs put together. Make sure to squeeze any moisture from the mixture before spooning on wrapper to avoid sogginess!
  5. Fold bottom point on top of mixture and roll once, tightly. Fold in each side and continue to roll and seal.
  6. Deep fry 2-3 at a time at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until crispy.
  7. Shake out oil and then drain on paper towels.
  8. Enjoy with Soy Sauce, Sweet Chili Sauce, or the Asian Dipping Sauce below.

Asian Dipping Sauce

From the Best Answer on Yahoo! Answers for an “egg roll” dipping sauce

  • Soy Sauce – (1/4) cup, preferably low sodium
  • Toasted Sesame Oil – (1/2) tsp
  • Garlic – (1) tsp, minced – about (1) clove
  • Green Onion/Scallions – (1) tsp, minced – about (1) stalk
  • Hoisin – (2) T
  • Ginger – (1/4) tsp, minced
  • White Sugar – (1/2) tsp
  1. Combine ingredients in a small bowl, cover, & chill for 1-2 hours so flavors can marinate.
  2. Serve warmed or at room temperature with egg rolls, spring rolls, wontons, dumplings, potstickers…

Weekend Update: Asian Edition – Part 2

Thursday, I made a visit to my favorite (bc it’s close & I’m lazy) Vietnamese supermarket, aptly named Asia Market. Philly’s Washington Ave is lined with your choice of Asian markets, shops, & restaurants directly perpendicular to the famous Italian Market. I was certainly excited on this visit as now that I have a BlackBerry (aka my Frankenberry), I can look up all the crazy products encountered on my Asia Market excursions! This time was a quick trip for familiar dinner items for Friday night & some kitchen staples: Shallots, Fresh Ginger, Snow Peas, baby Bok Choy, Japanese Eggplant, & some chopsticks.

I had “plans” for a Friday night at home, cooking dinner & enjoying some TV/relaxation. A quick Google search for “chicken bok choy recipe” brought me to Food & Wine’s Ginger-Sesame Chicken w/ Mushrooms & Bok Choy, and thank goodness I had some fungi in the fridge! I always interpret recipes into my own taste, so I omitted the red peppers, prepared the baby bok choy on the side, & added my own splashes & dashes to the sauce. This recipe will def stay in my back pocket, especially for the brown sauce! I finished the meal with some white rice & good laughs via The Love Guru.

Ginger-Sesame Chicken w/ Mushrooms

Ginger-Sesame Chicken w/ Mushrooms

Baby Bok Choy

Baby Bok Choy