This is your source for information on premium, unrefined, gourmet salt. Here you will find an ever-changing smorgasbord of entries by
our staff and guest authors about their experiences and love for gourmet salt, references to salt in the news and on the web, and salt application and tasting ideas.
Posts Tagged ‘Citrus Basil’
Posted January 25th, 2010 by Tyler
Filed under: Alderwood Smoke, Chanterelle Vanilla, Chef's Blend, Citrus Basil, event, Garlic Shallot, Herb Garden, Hickory Maple, Hot Habenero, recipes, Windy City Celery
As I am sure you have been following, the Beyond the Shaker salt challenge was last week, and it was amazing! I had no idea that my friends had were so imaginative and skilled in the kitchen. I honestly expected some of the dishes to be flops, simply on the basis that cooking in this forum is challenging, but every single dish was superb and we were all blown away. A few observations that I found interesting:
1. There was a really nice distribution between courses that people made. When laying down the rules for the challenge, I didn’t specify what type of dish you had to make, and was pleased with the amount of appetizers, entrees, sides, and even desserts that were made!
2. Much to my surprise, the desserts actually were AMAZING – I guess it makes sense when you think about how nicely salty and sweet flavors pair together.
3. I was surprised at how distinct each of our own salts are and how much flavor they added to each dish.
With that, here is a breakdown of what was created:
Myself (Tyler) [Citrus Wet] – Prosciutto Wrapped Scallops with a Honey Citrus Glaze
Amanda [French Herb Blend] – French Herb Lentil Soup
Chris [Hot Habanero]: Salad with a Hot Habanero Chile Dressing, Slab of Bacon, and a Hot Habanero Dressing Infused Watermelon slice
Kate [Chef’s Blend]: Chef’s Blend Yum Pasta
Logan [Windy City Celery]: Pork Tenderloin Brined in Windy City Celery Salt with Brussel Sprouts
Melissa [Everest Wet]: Everest Coconut Macaroons
Geoff [Citrus Basil Blend]: Citrus Basil Blackened Tilapia Fish Tacos
Mandy [Herb Garden Blend]: Herb Garden Mashed Potatoes
Amy [Hickory Maple Blend]: Hickory Maple Twice Baked Potato
Laurie [Alderwood Smoke]: Alderwood Smoke Slow-Cooked Ribs
Dave [Garlic Shallot]: Garlic Shallot Pizzas
Roxanne [Chanterelle Vanilla]: Chanterelle Vanilla Walnut Toffee/Chanterelle Vanilla Almond Toffee Topped with Chanterelle Vanilla Ice Cream
And the winner of the first Beyond the Shaker challenge was..
Geoff with the Citrus Basil Blackened Tilapia Fish Tacos! These were amazing. Geoff added the Citrus Basil salt to the seasoning he coated the Tilapia with, as well as to his homemade chipotle mayo and each bite was better than before. He warmed the tortilla’s up and cooked the Tilapia moments before serving and topped them with lettuce, tomato, chipotle mayo, and cilantro.
I could have easily eaten ten more of these without hesitation.
I wanted to also call out honorable mentions, but after sitting here for ten minutes I have to say its impossible to do so based on the caliber of what was created. Every single dish was amazing. However, as I mentioned above, I was extremely impressed with the two venturesome participants who chose to make desserts. Melissa’s macaroons were so amazing – each bite was an alternating combination of sweet from the coconut and salty from the Everest Wet salts. And Roxanne’s toffee/ice cream combination was the perfect way to end the night.
So that’s it! Keep checking back over the next few weeks as we will be posting many of the recipes that were created and hope you will try them yourself!
Posted January 18th, 2010 by Chris
Filed under: carrot soup, Citrus Basil, Fleur de Sel, Hot Habanero, Murray River, recipe, Sel Gris
It is winter in the Midwest. This means shortened days and bone chilling, unrelenting, cold. This is the type of cold your mom warned you of…it sinks into your body and you feel like a long forgotten icy-pop from the back of the freezer (the one with the strange ‘yellow’ flavor that no one likes). Yeah, that is some serious cold!
So warm up with this delightful carrot soup, which we promise is incredibly filling and robust. One bowl will allow you to battle even the worst of the winter weather while it warms you from the inside out. Some folks out there are probably rolling their eyes about the prospect of carrot soup. At first it does sound a little boring, like a hospital meal, but what if I told you that THIS particular recipe has almost a bottle of wine in it? Hmmm…I certainly am not aware of any ER that is serving such culinary fare! And what if I went on to tell you that this recipe for carrot soup also contains the kick of fresh grated ginger root? Ah, yes, this really is not your typical carrot soup recipe, so perhaps you should give it a whirl and let your taste buds decide for themselves!
The other promise we can make you is that this recipe is ridiculously easy. The flavors do the work for you. No, they don’t cut up the onions or peel the carrots, but if you can accomplish the simple task of getting stuff in a pot, you will be a ‘seasoned’ (HA, never gets old) professional at whipping up this wonderful soup for you and your family/friends. AND the best part, is that it is not cream based, so there is an argument that it probably is not entirely bad for you (the 6 tablespoons of butter might indicate differently, but we will leave that determination to the experts).
Here are the ingredients:
6 tablespoons of butter, unsalted (you will be the master of what salts go into your food!)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1/3 cup chopped ginger root (you can pick this up at most grocery stores now..just use a potato peeler to remove the brown outer skin)
3 cloves of chopped garlic
5 cups of chicken or veggie stock, unsalted (I think you know why)
2 cups of dry white wine (just grab any old dry white wine, the grape varietal is not important)
1 lb of carrots, peeled and chopped into little coin shapes
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
2 tablespoons of either Beyond the Shaker Hot Habanero Blend (for those folks that want even more kick) or Citrus Basil Blend (for those folks that like a stronger citrus flavor)
Fresh chives (optional, but yummy)
2 teaspoons of a Pure Foundation Collection salt with a flakey texture, like Sel Gris, Fleur de Sel or Murray River.
1. Prepare all your ingredients ahead of time. Seriously. Organization like this will help make your cooking experience much more delightful and less rushed. Chop your onions, garlic and ginger root and toss them in a bowl together. Separately peel and cut your carrots. Have your wine bottle open (a small swig at this point is acceptable).
2. Get a large stock pot and put it on a medium heat. Add the butter and allow it to melt then add the olive oil. Drop in your onion, garlic and ginger root. Stir this around until the onions just start to become clear. Turn down the heat if anything starts to brown in the pot (browning is bad at this point).
3. Once your onions just begin to become clear add your Beyond Blend salt (either Hot Habanero Blend or Citrus Basil, but feel free to experiment too) and the carrots. Keep mixing (folding the carrots into the yummy flavors already built up in the pot) until the onions are completely clear. Add in the wine. Scrap the bottom of the pot with your mixing spoon or spatula to release all the crazy good flavors that have caramelized there. The wine will help you a lot here. Now keep mixing periodically until the whole mixture starts to boil.
4. Now add in the chicken or veggie stock and wait until the mixture boils again, and then turn it down to a simmer (like a mini boil, small little bubble escaping across the entire surface).
5. The mixture should simmer until you can pull a carrot out and it is soft all the way through (put a fork in it to test). Turn off the heat completely. Add the lemon juice.
6. If you are using a blender with a glass pitcher, be careful to allow the mixture to cool a bit before blending. The heat can easily crack the blender, and that would mean ‘no soup for you!’ Pour the mixture into a blender. Blend the heck out of it until it is a consistent and uniform color.
7. Add the blended mixture back to the pot to warm it up again, if necessary. To serve, add to bowls and top with the rough chopped chives and the flakey salt – season to taste with the salt. Most likely the soup will need some salt at this point since we were careful to only include ingredients that did not have salt in them in our soup mixture.
That is it! Seriously, I broke out each step to guide you through the process, but do not let that fool you into thinking this recipe is complex. It is very simple and the robust flavors will make you think differently about carrot soup. In all, it took about 45 minutes to make with the bulk of the time required to allow the carrots to become tender.
For the more adventure driven cooks, try these variations:
1. Add two medium sized Serrano peppers, chopped, to the mix at the same time as wine. The trick to the heat is the seeds of the pepper. Add them all if you want some SERIOUS heat or add just a bit for some nice spicy warmth.
2. Parsnip. Sounds like a funny name, but tastes great with carrot. Take three large parsnips, peel them with a potato peel. Coat with olive oil and put on a roasting pan covered with aluminum foil in a 400 oven for about 20 minutes. The parsnips are ready when they have a little brown to them and are soft. Now throw this into the mix at the same time as the carrots. Wow, is that good and worth the extra effort. Seriously do not rob yourself of the yum.
3. Add a dollop of plain yogurt or butter to the top of the soup just prior to serving.
Posted October 4th, 2009 by Amanda
Filed under: Chef's Blend, Citrus Basil, Hot Habanero, juice, recipe, spicy, tomato, Windy City Celery
Windy City Celery Looking Yummy with Tomato Juice
I’m one of those weird people craves tomato juice when I’m on an airplane. It just sounds so delicious, nutritious, and satisfying when I’m flying the friendly skies. So imagine my shock when I decided to take a look at the nutrition facts on the back of my spicy tomato juice during my last flight. It had a total of 1600 mg of sodium—in just one beverage! The American Heart Association recommends having no more than 2400 mg of sodium per day—so that one drink could have potentially contained well over half of my entire daily intake.
I felt duped. There is no need to have that much refined sodium in anything, let alone a delicious tomato juice. So when I got home, I decided to search for my own recipe for spicy tomato juice—on that didn’t contain an obscene amount of refined sodium but rather utilized the potency of my natural, unrefined salt that contains less sodium than the refined version undoubtedly used in that can of juice.
I found this recipe on Martha Stewart’s website—she must have had the same experience I did and was so fed up that she made this marvelous recipe that requires only ¼ teaspoon of salt for a recipe that two people can enjoy.
The recipe calls for a food processor and juicer. If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a blender. If you don’t have a juicer, borrow one from your neighbor. They’ll understand. If they don’t, skip the celery and just add ½ cup of water. And consider making new neighbor friends.
3 stalks of celery, leaves attached
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon celery seed (even if you use Windy City Celery, still add the celery seed. No one wins when you skimp on flavor.)
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon of your favorite Beyond the Shaker salt (Windy City Celery, Hot Habanero, Citrus Basil, or Chef’s Blend are all awesome in this recipe)
2 red chile peppers, for garnish (optional)
Juice the heck out of the celery stalks so you can get about 1/2 cup of juice (yep, you can juice celery. Seemed crazy to us too). Pour into the bowl of your processor or into your blender. Toss the chopped tomatoes, jalapeno, lemon juice, celery seed, black pepper, and of course, your favorite Beyond the Shaker salt. I used the Windy City Celery Salt, but you could really use any Beyond the Shaker salts mentioned in this recipe. Of course, Hot Habanero Blend really can add a ton of spicy kick!
Process/blend until fairly smooth, but keep some of that thick texture that makes tomato juice so satisfying. Garnish with chile peppers, if you’d like, or perhaps olives, pickles, another stalk of celery—go crazy! It’s natural, it’s delicious, and it’s yours.
Posted September 19th, 2009 by Chris
Filed under: Citrus Basil, Hickory Maple
Salmon on the BBQ finished with Citrus Basil
Last week I attended an incredible wine tasting at the University Club in Chicago that featured wines from various producers in Napa Valley, California. A few of my favorites included wines from Trinitas Cellars, Folio Wine Producers, Rutherford Hill, Oakville Ranch, and an incredible Cabernet Franc (which I usually do not like because a lingering green pepper taste) from Larkin Wines. Since this was a private event (that I was oh so lucky to get invited to), the crowd in attendance was not overwhelming and so the guests could speak to the folks pouring the wines without feeling rushed to move to the next table. Additionally, most of the people pouring the wines were actually intimately involved with the winery they were representing – for instance, Sean Larkin, of Larkin Wines, was pouring for the guests. Certainly this is a step above the typical ‘cattle call’ wine tasting event where everyone is herded around and the people pouring the wines were hired only hours before from a temporary labor agency.
I have a special love for wine tastings, above and beyond trying the wines themselves (of course that is a BIG part of it), because these events remind me of how similar wine is to unrefined salt. There are distinct varietals in both wine and salt, which have unique characteristics that can be teased out or enhanced by blending in other ingredients. And perhaps because of the many similarities between wine and salt, there seems to exist a special appreciation by ‘wine people’ of the remarkable variation between types of unrefined salts. These people embrace the notion that there is not just one single type of naturally occurring salt, and that each salt brings something different to the kitchen table in terms of flavor, color and consistency. In wine, you see variants identified in many of the same ways as salt, and so there exists a natural analogy.
After the wine tasting, I ran into a friend and we got to talking about Beyond the Shaker, and the use of salt in general. I had several samples that I proceeded to dose out to my friend, and I then began to describe some culinary applications for the various salts. Before I could get based on my second recommendation, Jake piped out, “well aren’t these salts only good for finishing a dish?!” Two problems with that question – first, unrefined salts in both their Pure and blended form, can be used for much more than just finishing the flavor canvas of a dish. Indeed, in the information provided with each of our Pure Foundation and Beyond Blend salts, you will find application ideas that fall into every part of the cooking process.
The second (and more serious) problem with Jake’s question/statement, was that there is an assumption that being part of the ‘finishing’ of a recipe or dish is something that is not incredibly meaningful to how the food turns out on the whole. This mistaken notion is downright hogwash! I would argue that it is indeed the opposite- that the ‘finish’ on a dish may be the most important influence on how the flavor is ultimately transmitted to the person eating the food. Adding a sprinkle of our Hickory Maple Blend to a grilled lamb chop just prior to serving means that this will be the very first flavor that hits the tongue and mouth once consumed. Indeed it sets the ground work for all other flavors to come, and so if it is off balance or over powering this finishing could wreck the entire meal. Likewise if this flavor is deep and sophisticated (like what you will find in the Hickory Maple Blend), it can carry the rest of the dish even if you screwed up and grilled your lamb chop a bit too much or made some other culinary misstep along the way. One of my recent favorite application involved finishing herb encrusted salmon that has been grilled with a sprinkle of Citrus Basil blend right before serving (picture above). The flavor is incredible and the Citrus Basil acts as a warning to your mouth that some awesome food is about to be eaten. YUM.
Jake agreed (and I don’t think he was simply doing it to placate a salt fanatic) that he would need to rethink his perception of salt, and flavor in general the next time he did some cooking. Similarly, after my conversation with Jake, I was reminded of one of the vintner’s comments at the wine tasting earlier in the evening. He elaborated on wine making and the focus that needs to be had at every step of the process to create an ideal wine. This could be years in the making as the grapes are harvested and aged before being bottled. So in reply to the question of what part of the process was the very most important, he replied that in his mind it was really the little things that happen at the ‘end’ which can make or break a great wine. The final processing of the wine can destroy an otherwise fantastic wine, since mishandling at this point will erase all the time, work and effort exerted. And similarly, an example that the vintner used to prove his point that the finishing on a wine can be the most critical part of the wine tasting experience, was describing the importance of decanting particular wines. This final step can take a wine that initially would only taste mediocre and allow its true flavor to shine.
Posted September 14th, 2009 by Chris
Filed under: Chef's Blend, Citrus Basil, Hickory Maple, Hot Habanero, Michigan, salt samples, Windy City Celery
Chris in the new Beyond the Shaker t-shirt standing with some studly friends in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
What a weekend! In a crazy 28 hour window of time, I traveled from Chicago to Ann Arbor, Michigan to get dinner with friends on Friday, and then the next day attend a roller-coaster of a football match between the mighty University of Michigan and the (over-hyped) Notre Dame (for the Domers in the crowd I promise this is my last bit of gloating in this post. Here is a link to the synopsis of the game.).
There were a lot of adventures (culinary and otherwise) in this jam packed 28 hour whirlwind trip (6 hours of which were spent driving). Late Friday night, as we rolled into Ann Arbor, I got drinks with some pals from my U of M undergrad years at Arbor Brewing Company. Of course I had several Beyond the Shaker salt samples at the ready, and although everyone had already enjoyed a very large dinner only hours earlier, we decided the blended salts were just too enticing to simply look at…in the end we ordered a huge plate of hand cut french fries and a dollop of vanilla ice cream (yep, ice cream and our blended salts are a super YUM experience).
As a side note, the looks and stares I receive from diners and wait staff when spreading salt samples across a restaurant table never gets old. The little foil lined bags with colorful labels and compelling contents almost always draw a crowd. Surprisingly, in almost 2 years of toting samples around publicly, I have only been asked once by a suspicious third party if I was a drug dealer. At the time I was yearning for a witty retort, but unfortunately simply stammered something like, “well if flavor is a drug, than consider me guilty as charged.” Lame. UBER LAME. I could picture a brazen letter “L” burnt orange into my forehead as I mumbled my pitiful response. Next time I will be ready with a snappy line or two, since surely this moment will present itself again in the future…
Anyway, back in Arbor Brewing Company, when the steaming hot french fries arrived, everyone grabbed an appetizer plate and began tearing into the various salt samples they had hoarded in their corner of the table. As I required plenty of samples to shower on folks throughout my remaining 24 and counting hours in Ann Arbor, I supplied our group with only a smattering of blended salts including- Hot Habanero, Chef’s Blend, Hickory Maple, Citrus Basil, Windy City Celery and Everest Wet Salt. What ensued was a veritable salt frenzy as everyone tried to taste every blend available before they all disappeared. Of course the question that may be on your mind is, “which salt was the most popular?” As the blends were all gobbled up along with the fries, it would be difficult to say which actually was the biggest hit, but I can confirm that Hot Habanero seemed to be eaten the fastest. This may have to do with how well it paired with the hot and crunchy fries (which we ordered with no salt so as to not muck up our tasting).
A related question I get a lot is “which salt do you like the best?”….Seriously, this is a tough one because I ultimately picked these blends out of an insane amount of versions and revisions over a long period of research and development with our salt chef. The blends available on our site are the best of the best of the very best as there was no way that Beyond the Shaker was going to offer up anything that was not up to snuff. However, I do have to admit there are some favorites. Even parents have favorites amongts their children (you know this is true), but the salt blend I like the best is my little “McVictories’ Secret” and so I guard that information closely (wow, that was lame too).
After we demolished the fries, it was time for the ice cream, which the salt-newbies at the table were a bit apprehensive about…however, when the cold vanilla taste of the ice cream combined with the kafir lime & spiced salinity of Everest Wet Salt, this unusual duo converted all that tasted its fascinating flavor. There is a reason salt is used in baking and most sweet applications as it tempers and enhances the richness of these sweet foods. After it became clear that mixing ice cream and salt was pretty darn tastey, we experimented some more and found that the other three blends that went well with vanilla ice cream were the smokey Hickory Maple, the spicy Chef’s Blend and the light/clean taste of Citrus Basil.
It was great to catch-up with these friends from undergrad, especially over some Beyond the Shaker salts. Later on Friday evening we went to my favorite Ann Arbor bar, Ashley’s, for one more drink prior to conducting a very late night/early morning tour of the campus. Walking into Ashley’s, there was a rush of feeling as I have so many amazing memories from this bar – heated conversations about life, literature, philosophy and all the other matters that are paramount to a slightly inebriated undergraduate student. I could recall almost every table I had ever sat in at that bar and the topics that were whirled around between us at such table. A decade & more later, and the place was almost identical except for better menus and superior music playing in the background.
While at Ashley’s, we discovered a great use for refined table salt as shown in this picture.
When it is a humid evening in the midwest and your cold beer is perspiring and sticking to the coaster on the table, why not use a thin sprinkle of table salt to act as a barrier so that the coaster will stay firmly planted?! Genius.
As always, Ashley’s did not dissappoint and we stayed there until the bar closed at 2am. We then walked around the campus, including the law quad and the new business school buildings. I believe we got back to the hotel close to 5am ET and I had plenty of work to get done in the morning before we went tailgating, and so sleep was sacrificed.
All and all it was a great weekend with one more thing to note- If you look closely at the picture accompanying this post (and I know you will), you can catch a glimpse in the photos from that night I was donning the new, limited edition, Beyond the Shaker tee-shirt with an ultra cool design on the back that combined an overlay of our logo with a paragraph describing the impetus behind our gourmet salt line.
Close-up Photo of the Front of the Beyond the Shaker T-shirt
The Back of the Beyond the Shaker T-Shirt.
Here is a picture of the back of the t-shirt and then a close-up of the front. You know you want it! We plan to be selling these t-shirts shortly and also giving them away in contests that we will be hosting in the Fall. Until then, you will have to make due with your good ‘ole hanes undershirt.
Posted September 11th, 2009 by Lindsey
Filed under: Chef's Blend, Citrus Basil, fish, French Herb, Garlic Shallot, Herb Garden, recipe
I don’t always have time to prepare an exquisite, gourmet meal during the week. But I do love to eat and frozen pizza doesn’t always do it for me. Although I love fresh produce (see here and here), I often rely on frozen ingredients for quick, easy meals. One of my favorite freezer staples is individually vacuum sealed fish fillets. Now, stop right there gourmet critics/snobs. I know fresh fish looks better, tastes better and probably is better for me and the environment. And I strive to do better with my food choices, diet, carbon footprint and sustainability contribution. But sometimes life gets in the way and I still need to eat.
Here is my favorite, 15 minute gourmet, weeknight meal: Citrus Basil Tilapia with Sauteed Broccoli (or other frozen green vegetable). Serves 2
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tin foil. Defrost two frozen tilapia fillets. On one small plate, pour 1/3 to 1/2 cup of milk (I prefer local or organic dairy products-yummy). On another small plate, combine bread crumbs with Citrus Basil salt. I use a ratio of about 3 parts breadcrumbs to one part salt, but you should combine to taste. Dip the tilapia fillet in the milk, followed by the Citrus Basil breadcrumb mixture, and lay on the tin foil lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining tilapia fillet. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
While the fish is baking, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a saute pan. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add frozen broccoli or green vegetable of your choice. Cook until heated through, but not soggy. This should take no longer than the fish. I like to season with Garlic-Shallot, but French Herb, Herb Garden and Chef’s Blend are all great options.
Voila, dinner is served. Sometimes I add rice or a green salad, but often fish and veggies is plenty for a healthy, quick meal.
Posted July 27th, 2009 by Chris
Filed under: Citrus Basil, Fleur de Sel, glass rim, Hot Habenero, recipe, rimmers, Windy City Celery
Nothing beats a great drink with a salty rim!
Salt and summer. Sunny weekend afternoons. And summer drinks, of course. It just all goes together perfectly. For me (and my statistically insignificant and 100% unscientific poll indicates most people in this world feel the same way), the quintessential summer drink is the tangy margarita (on the rocks) with a salt crusted rim. The salt balances out the bitter tartness of the lemon and lime in the margarita, and provides the perfect refreshing flavor, especially on steamy hot days. Interestingly, sodium is an essential nutrient that is lost when we sweat (here is an article from a website for runners that sums up how it all works). In fact, if you look at most exercise drinks, they contain higher than expected sodium content as part of the ‘secret recipe’ that helps athletes regain electrolytes lost during strenuous activity.
Why this background is at all interesting to us, the informed and hungry salt consumer, is simply a question of the manner in which the margarita evolved to its in enlightened state for which we now get to enjoy it. How did this seemingly perfect drink take the prescribed format we have come to expect? Perhaps the margarita is so delicious and refreshing during hot summer months because this is when our bodies physically crave salt the most. It is said that some deep wired parts of the ancient human brain developed to instinctually drive us to consume items that our bodies require to stay healthy (or alive). Our own evolution allowed the reinforcement of this survival instinct by rewarding us with a pleasurable experience when we eat/drink something that keeps our bodies working in good order. Of course I have no idea if this is the actual reason behind why margaritas taste so dang amazing, but it is fun to theorize a mind/body justification for why we love them so much.
Margaritas are really the beginning of the ‘rimmer’ craze. Restaurants and bars have gone into overdrive offering different sugar, salt, and even chocolate options for every drink you can imagine. And we are rewarded with tasty combinations that add further complexity to those cocktails we already know and love. The term ‘rimmer’ makes complete descriptive sense and yet, simultaneously, I think we can all agree it is also an unfortunate name. Really I do not have a better option (yet), and I doubt I have much sway with the rimmer/bar/restaurant terminology community anyway, so RIMMER it is!
The picture above is from a beautiful new patio bar in Chicago at the Trump Tower called “16″ (it is on the 16th floor of the building). This is a play on the classic margarita with a touch of coconut flavored rum. But the real excitement is on the rim, as it is crusted in a mixture of fleur de sel and dried flaked coconut. The blend draws out all of the flavors in the drink and leaves a wonderfully refreshing after taste. Drinks that we have been enjoying this summer with Beyond the Shaker salts include strawberry daiquiris with a Citrus Basil rimmer and Bloody Mary’s with Hot Habenero or Windy City Celery along the rim.
It appears that rimmers are here to stay, and although the term is slightly strange, the resulting flavor is not to be ignored. We love this rimmer trend, and we plan to continue to push the envelope with matching great drinks with Beyond the Shaker premium gourmet salts and blends.
Posted July 18th, 2009 by Amanda
Filed under: chocolate, Citrus Basil, Cyprus Black Lava, Fleur de Sel, Hickory Maple, Hot Habanero, Murray River, Sel Gri, Truffle Wet
A perfect match of salt and chocolate
I’ll admit it: I’m a sucker for fancy chocolates. They’re just fun, compact little treats that bring a smile to my face and my stomach (assuming a stomach can ACTUALLY smile).
But it’s not just the pretty little treats you find behind the glass at your local candy shop..what I really like are the new wave of chocolate bars that are gracing the aisles of our favorite grocery stores. I usually get my groceries at Whole Foods, and they have this amazing ability to draw me in like a moth to light with their displays of fun chocolate bars and other chocolate fare. The labels are like sirens on the rocks, calling to me: 80% Cacao, Hazelnut, Mint—but in my latest visit, it was one siren’s song that finally drew me in: Dagoba’s organic chocolate with hemp, pumpkin and sunflower seeds and a touch of fleur de sel sea salt.
I had to get it. How could I not? How could I resist something like that? No way jose!
Dagoba has so many enchanting varieties of chocolate, and this one was no different. The perfect balance of salt to sweet—that touch of fleur de sel sea salt is not lost on you at all. It’s definitely there, filling out the nutty, chocolaty flavors.
It’s not decadent, though—it feels entirely nutritious in the most delicious kind of way.
I took a look at their website, and sure enough, they feel the same way about this little delight: Dark chocolate with omega-rich hemp seeds, heart healthy pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and a touch of Balinese sea salt. An energetic combination of power foods for body and mind in a base of our delicious 68% dark chocolate.
We have experimented a bit with salt and chocolate here at Beyond the Shaker, and we have found that Citrus Basil is incredible when lightly sprinkled on dark or milk chocolate. The citrus notes combined with sweet basil, really highlights the rich chocolate. In our taste tests, the other Beyond Blend that really teased out interesting depth of flavor from dark chocolate was the smoky sweet Hickory Maple blend. Again, we recommend only using a a touch of salt on the chocolate as you do not want to overpower the sweetness of the dark chocolate.
Other salts in our Pure Foundation collection that seem obvious for chocolate experimentation include Murray River, Sel Gris or Cyprus Black Lava (for light salinity, grey color and crunchy texture). If you are willing to be a bit adventurous (and yes, we will be trying these options soon), the following salts from our Beyond Blends collection may make the perfect pair for chocolate – Everest Wet salt, Truffle Wet Salt (oh yes), or Hot Habanero (heat and sweet are a great combo).
Ok, time to go find some chocolates of my own…
Posted July 12th, 2009 by Chris
Filed under: Boathouse, Citrus Basil, Fleur de Sel, French Herb, Hickory Maple, steak, Traverse City
While eating at The Boathouse in Traverse City (the home of our Salt Chef), I was treated to one of the most delicate and delightful cuts of meat I have had in years. Of course the name “Waygu Kobe beef” is enough to send excited shivers down a dinner guest’s spine and make the wallet tremble in fear. Since I had not been to Traverse City nearly as much as I wanted this summer, I thought recession be damned, and boldly placed my order! I was certain Executive Chef Eric, wouldn’t dare mess around with something sculpted with culinary purpose out of nature by the master Japanese cattle farmers, and so I went “all-in” with the 5 ounce filet.
And indeed, I was rewarded when my plate arrived at our table. We already had a marvelous meal up to this point, but nothing makes such a grand entrance as a perfectly cooked piece of some of the finest steak known. Tender and bursting with flavor, I couldn’t wait to carve into this lovely cut of meat.
A rare sneak peek at the Beyond the Shaker resealable, foil-lined, sample pack (coming soon…we know you are excited)…
We were given knives that would normally have a difficult time carving through a properly seared scallop, let alone beef, but of course the playful point was made. This was no ordinary steak, and the typical cutlery would be unnecessary to enjoy the remarkably tender filet. Chef Eric lightly seasoned the meat with the queen of the unrefined world of salt, fleur de sel, as we wanted to play with different combinations from our Beyond Blends collection. Of course, only the finest salt would do for this premium steak experience, and so we brought Hickory Maple, French Herb, and Citrus Basil out of flavor arsenal (tucked in resealable sample packs, of course).
We knew each of these blends was amazingly scrumptious as a finishing salt on steak we had grilled at home, but the question was if the flavors and textures would match well on one of the world’s finest cuts of beef… and the answer? Well it can be summed up by the fact that over a week later I am still dreaming (and writing) about this dining experience. For the Waygu virgin, this is a very special breed of cattle that is known for its flavor and subtle texture. The meat is heavily marbled which adds to its juicy tenderness. The ‘Kobe’ part of the name is a reference to the area in Japan where the cattle was raised. Waygu ranchers are known for the special care used to raise these incredible animals.
Anyway, all three of the Beyond Blends we tried on our steaks finished them beautifully, highlighting the unmistakable flavor and texture of the Waygu beef. The favorite of the table was Hickory Maple, with Citrus Basil and French Herb not far behind. Regardless, you can’t go wrong with this cut of meat (if your bank account can handle the sizable blow), especially when in the hands of a master artist in the kitchen, like our Salt Chef. Cooked right, Waygu filets are some of the finest culinary experiences around (just don’t forget to pair your steak, or any grilled beef for that matter, with an equally premium gourmet salt)…
Posted July 10th, 2009 by Amanda
Filed under: brines, Citrus Basil, Fumee de Sel, Hickory Maple, Himalayan Pink, recipe, turkey
An awesome deep fried turkey from thanksgiving 2008…
A friend of mine has a serious love affair with turkey–not the country, but the poultry. She just can’t get enough of it. Delicious, nutritious, and available–what more could a girl ask for, really?
She told me, though, that she wishes she could relish in “Thanksgiving Turkey” more than just once a year, but that she just doesn’t have the time or the determination to spend days slaving over a whole, roasted turkey. And can you blame her? Most of us grew up watching the trials and tribulations of a holiday turkey dinner our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles suffered year after year: the undercooked bird, the overcooked bird, the near-tragic deep fryer mishap, the sloppy brine bucket. Why would anyone want to take on that kind of trauma?
Well, because it at the end of the day, it really is delicious. And comforting, too. So I decided to help my friend out and find an everyday, easy version of Thanksgiving turkey–that’s what friends are for!
It didn’t take me long to find this recipe. What attracted me most to it was 1)the very simple ingredient list, 2) the fact that it didn’t involve a whole turkey but rather turkey breast (which is about 10x more manageable that a big, ol’ bird), and 3) a brine!
Brines are flavor-infusing, juiciness-producing, culinary assistants, and giving your turkey (or other proteins) a nice, long bath in a brine will ensure the utmost tastiness in your dish.
So I sent it along to my friend, and she gave it a whirl. The result? Pure joy. It’s so easy and delicious, that she makes it on a weekly basis. I gave her a fun little tip, though. Brines usually call for a hefty amount of salt, so why not experiment? Throw some blended salt into the mix to try out different flavors. Fumee De Sel for a rich smokey flavor, Hickory Maple for a sweet, barbecue-like flavor, or even Citrus Basil for something innovative and fresh. Or try a large granule Pure Foundation salt like Himalayan Pink. As always, the flavor possibilities are endless, and it keeps that turkey dinner exciting and new.
Needless to say, my friend is forever thankful for the advice (and so are her tastebuds!). Now she can have stress-free, flavorful turkey whenever her little heart desires it. Gosh, helping people reach their culinary dreams can be so satisfying!