Odd Pairs Event – Enter the Savory, Salted, Marshmallow
Posted January 26th, 2010 by Chris
Filed under: event, Fumee de Sel, Garlic Shallot, Hot Habanero, news
We are forced to ask the question, is the culinary world ready for savory, salted, marshmallows? This quandary arises as a result of Beyond the Shaker’s invitation to participate in Odd Pairs, a Chicago-based food competition. Odd Pairs brings together some of the most exciting, small scale, food producers in the Midwest by pairing them together with the goal to develop a single culinary dish that highlights, in an ‘odd’ way, the culinary specialities of each participant. The invite-only event is attended by restauranteurs, food bloggers, chefs, and other culinary folk in the regional food industry. The upcoming Odd Pairs event is on March 26th from 7-9pm with a special media/VIP mixer at 6pm at 2023 West Carroll Avenue, Suite 401, in Chicago.
Some of the participants in March will be Ineeka Teas, Das Foods, Goose Island Brewery, Fig Catering, and of course, Beyond the Shaker. At the end of the evening one team is awarded the coveted Tastemaker prize for having the most popular Odd Pair. During the October 2009 Odd Pairs, NBC Chicago’s DC Crenshaw was one of the celebrity judges.
Odd Pairs is hosted by two amazing Chicago companies, both of which are friends and business-mentors to Beyond the Shaker, Crop to Cup and Bean and Body. Previous menu items from the event included Smoke Brisket Slider with Fig Earl Grey Preserves (from Goddess and Grocer & Rare Bird Preserves) and Black Bean and Banana Empanada with Blood Orange Infused Olive Oil (from Simone’s and Sonoma Farms).
So what the heck does all this have to do with savory, salted, marshmallows? WELL, Beyond the Shaker was fortunate enough to be paired with FIG Catering and its wickedly brilliant Chef Molly. During our first brainstorming event, Molly uttered two words that might forever change how we view that fluffy little white confection – “SAVORY MARSHMALLOW.” There was no denying that this was certainly an odd pair; marshmallows in their natural state are the furthest from the savory as could be imagined. It was suggested that a successful odd pair would be one that captures the imagination by flagrantly defying expectations. In this way, we are expanding the culinary diction by forcing a break in the bounds of what can (and should) be combined to produce a tasty food item.
I met with Molly last week after she had a chance to explore some of the most popular Beyond the Shaker salts in the comfort of the FIG Catering kitchen, and WOW did she push the envelope. Although I had a dinner later in the evening, Molly slapped around my culinary expectations with savory marshmallows each made from avocados, garlic, tomato and ginger. Purely because we could, Molly also decided to torch the heck out of a avocado marshmallow to discover what flavors would emerge (as you can see, we did not have fire safety in mind as a first priority when this was done on a wood table, but it was all in the name of righteous flavor so that made it OK).
We also tried some delicious spiced aztec hot cocoa with a Hot Habanero Salted Marshmallow and freshly fried tortilla chips (seen in the picture above). But the overall winner was this amazing organic carrot soup that Chef Molly concocted. To this we added several different savory marshmallows based on the flavors that harmonized with the soup. The savory marshmallows would melt as they were stirred into the soup creating a creamy explosion of salt and yum (get your mind out of the gutter). Our goal in this tasting session was to derive a single menu item for the upcoming Odd Pairs event, and it was clear to us that a combination of organic carrot soup and savory, salted, marshmallows was the ticket. Our offering would include three different types of flavored marshmallow to allow the taster to experiment with the delectable culinary options.
And so, our final menu item is as follows:
Organic Springtime Carrot Soup With Trio of Savory, Salted Micro-Marshmallow Accoutrements including, Roasted Garlic Shallot Salted Marshmallow (based on the Beyond the Shaker Garlic Shallot Salt), Ginger Wasabi Lemongrass Salted Marshmallow (based on the Everest Wet Salt), and Smokey Bacon Fumee de Sel Marshmallow (based on our Fumee de Sel).
We are incredibly excited about this event, and will keep you updated as preparations continue as we take Odd Pairs by storm.