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!

Quickie: Snacktime w/ Chef Brauny

I’m embarrassed to say, but we didn’t get Olivia a Birthday Cake today! She’s always the one on top of taking care of the rest of us coworkers on our birthdays, so thanks to Chef Brauny for whipping up a yummy Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake for her! YUM!

Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake

Quickie: Snacktime w/ Chef Derek I

As many of you know, I not only love cooking, eating, & sharing meals with friends & fam – I work in the food biz, too! This November I’ll celebrate 6 years with Max & Me Catering. I moved up the ranks from the greenest of banquet servers to my current title of Senior Sales Manager. I have the not always glamorous, but very rewarding, job of planning weddings, fundraisers, convention events, & corporate galas from the the menu & timeline to the look & “feel” of the events. But enough of all that… it’s really the food I care about!

Today, Sous Chef Derek made us an awesome summer afternoon snack! Possibly the best “shortcake” I’ve ever had & damn sure the best biscuits! Apparently some sort of process involving freezing & grating butter & sour cream is what makes them so scrumptious! Can’t wait until the next Max & Me snacktime…

Homemade Biscuits a la Derek w/ Strawberries, Peaches, & Fresh Whipped Cream - via Blackberry

Weekend Update: Mmmm, Bacon Sunday

Sunday morn, the man & I made a quick Italian Market trip for some fresh bacon! We popped into Cappuccio’s Meats  (1019 S. 9th St.) for 2lbs & headed home for a very late day brunch for 4. My awesome mama sent me Kona Chocolate Chip Pancake Mix from Hawaii, the perfect main course. I’m glad I remembered I had a heart-shaped pancake mold in my kitchen gadget stash, as they were adorable & delicious with ripe bananas & strawberries!

 

Heart-shaped Banana Kona Chocolate Chip Pancakes (breath), Fresh Banana & Strawberries, Bacon, & OJ

Heart-shaped Banana Kona Chocolate Chip Pancakes (breath), Fresh Banana & Strawberries, Bacon, & OJ

Bacon Sunday wasn’t complete without another round of fried piggy greatness! The next best way to serve bacon besides straight-up at breakfast is the trusty BLT. I stuck to a pretty traditional setup of Bacon, Ripe Tomatoes, & Romaine on Country White Bread.

My man requested some Garlic-Herb Mayo to finish it off & I couldn’t let him down! The result was perfection on a new level!

Shallot-Garlic-Herb Mayo – Classic Hellman’s w/ minced Garlic & Shallots, sauteed in bacon fat (of course!), & chopped Parsley, Lemon-Thyme, & Thai Basil

 

BLT w/ Sauteed Garlic-Shallot & Fresh Herb Mayo on Country White Bread

BLT w/ Sauteed Garlic-Shallot & Fresh Herb Mayo on Country White Bread

Visit my Flickr Photostream for more pics of my Heart-Shaped Brunch & Garlic-Herb BLT!