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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Weekend Update: Italian Market Festival

After our Spring Patio Brunch, Kerry came to scoop Tom, Dre, & me to join her at the Italian Market Festival. 9th Street was alive with South Philadelphians, music, arts, &, of course, amazing food! We settled our brunch over a few beers and perused our snack options. Dessert was up first! The Italian Market has always had a battle of the cannoli between Isgro Pasticceria on 10th & Christian and Termini Bros. on 7th & Dickinson. This day, Termini Bros. wins with their fresh “filled to order” cannoli! The cream was a cool, decadent on a hot South Philly day.

Termini Bros. Cannoli - Filled to order with a smile!

Termini Bros. Cannoli

Making our way back down 9th street, we relocated the impressive Trompo of marinated pork for some tasty Tacos al Pastor. Again, “to order” service with a smile!

Trompo of Al Pastor on the Italian Market

The spiced pork was moist & tender and brimmed with flavor & depth. What I was truly impressed by, however, were the tortillas. Each order didn’t just call for hand-shaved pork, but also hand-pressed & fresh grilled corn tortillas. To top them off, literally, were fresh cilantro, mango, and salsas. Taqueria Los Taquitos de Puebla (9th b/t Ellsworth & Federal Sts.) “officially” wins best tacos in Philly!

Tacos al Pastor

UPDATE: Special thanks to Drew Lazor, of CityPaper’s Mealticket food blog fame, for the shout-out! Without you, dude, we wouldn’t be able to do what we all do so well.

Italian Market + Food Love = Al Pastor Lust

Leftover Lightning! Sweet & Spicy Garlic Shrimp Lettuce Wraps!

Portioning is definitely not my forte when it comes to cooking… but who can deny leftovers! With my Spicy Fish Taco dinner, I went a bit overboard with the Mexi-Risotto! I also had an avocado, grape tomatoes, romaine, & green onion to use at their peak freshness. I defrosted some U-30 shrimp and made the tastiest Sweet & Spicy Garlic Sauce (recipe via Big Oven) to toss them in! I added some extra water in the end as the result was a bit too sticky for me, but I’ll def be keeping this simple recipe in my back pocket & suggest you do too! Next time I may just make the sauce & pour it over rice (or drink it straight)!

I wasn’t sure about the blend of flavors once I combined all of my lettuce wrap ingredients, but they meshed perfectly!

Sweet & Spicy Garlic Shrimp Lettuce Wraps

Sweet & Spicy Garlic Shrimp Lettuce Wraps

Sweet & Spicy Garlic Shrimp Lettuce Wraps:

Sweet & Spicy Garlic Shrimp – U-30 Shrimp tossed in this amazing & easy Big Oven Recipe

Leftover Mexi-Risotto

Tomato-Avocado Salsa – Leftover Avocado, Grape Tomatoes, & Green Onion w/ Lime Juice & S&P – made by Dre

Whole Romaine Leaves

To Taste: Spicy Fish Tacos & Mexi-Risotto

One of my favorite quick & economical meals is Spicy Fish Tacos. Acme offers frozen Tilapia fillets in single portions at $1.00 apiece, so my freezer is always stocked with the easy to defrost packets. Summer hosts the best vegetables so fresh avocado, grape tomatoes, romaine, & green onion were mandatory additions! I had a bit more time on my hands on this quiet Sunday evening, so I had no qualms spending a bit more time in the kitchen pairing it with a Sweet Pepper & Cheddar Risotto. Thank goodness for Dre, my handsome kitchen assistant, as he took on the tiring task of continually stirring the rice.

Spicy Fish Tacos w/ Mexi-Risotto

Spicy Fish Tacos w/ Mexi-Risotto

Spicy Tilapia, Grape Tomatoes, Romaine, Green Onion, & Flour Tortillas

Spicy Tilapia, Grape Tomatoes, Romaine, Green Onion, & Flour Tortillas

Spicy Fish Tacos & Mex-Risotto:

Spicy Tilapia Fillets – Marinated in Sazon, Sriracha, Garlic, Shallots, & Lime Juice, Pan-Fried

Flour Tortillas

Mexi-Risotto – Red, Orange & Yellow Sweet Peppers, Cheddar, Garlic, Shallots, Chicken Stock, & Arborio