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.
We’re excited that Summer is around the corner and grilling season officially kicks off this weekend!! Nevertheless, we had to add one of our all-time favorites before focusing on the grill. There’s nothing quite like the cheesy goodness and the rich earthiness of truffles, YUM. You have to look forward to something when it rains, right?
TRUFFLED MAC AND CHEESE
8 ounces bowtie pasta, dry
4 tablespoons white truffle oil
1/4 onion sliced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
4 tablespoons minced cilantro
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups extra sharp chedder cheese, shredded
1/2 cup gruyere cheese, shredded
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 cup seasoned sourdough croutons, crumbled
4 tablespoons of Beyond The Shaker Truffle Salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Bring water to a rapid boil in a 8-quart pot. Drop pasta into water and stir. Boil 5-6 minutes. Pasta should be slightly undercooked. Drain off water through a colander, sit one minute and “shock” with a spray of cold water. Toss the pasta in an oven-proof baking dish with 2 tablespoons of the Beyond The Shaker’s Truffle Salt. Set aside.
Combine the onion, garlic, olive oil in a 4-quart pot and cook slowly for 4-5 minutes. Raise heat to medium and cook 2 more minutes, stirring. Add the heavy cream and bring to a boil. Simmer 7 minutes on low.
Add the cilantro and pepper. Slowly stir in the 2 cups of chedder, 1/2 cup of gruyere, and 1/2 cup of parmesan until sauce is smooth. Pour the cheese sauce mixture over the pasta. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of Beyond The Shaker’s Truffle Salt over pasta. Top with the sourdough crumbs.
Bake for 10-15 minutes until slightly browned on top.
Serves about 4 adults as an entree… or 5-7 as a side dish.
They’re not the little French hamburger-like cookies and not the stale Manischewitz macaroons your Jewish grandmother may have put out for Passover. Nothing but little clusters of coconut clouds with a crusty, buttery base. I’m not a big baker at all and these are my standby- they’re literally the easiest and fastest treat you can bake. And everyone loves them! These macaroons don’t have any butter except to grease the pan and while coconut certainly isn’t great for you, you can pretend this is healthier.
I have been wondering what on earth I would make with Chanterelle Vanilla salt and this is it! This is really one of the most incredible salt blends from Beyond the Shaker: Hawaiian Black Lava salt, chanterelle mushrooms, Madagascar vanilla beans, organic maple sugar, organic garlic, organic shallot and black truffle panko. Sprinkled on the golden macaroons, the black salt looked like pepper and tasted so delicious and complex. Everyone knows sweet and savory is the yummiest combination and when you’re using a salt like this its even better.
1 (14 ounce) package sweetened coconut (5 1/3 cups)
2/3 cup sugar
6 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 egg whites
1 teaspoon almond extract
Mix coconut, sugar, flour and salt in a large bowl. Stir in egg whites (not whipped) and almond extract until well blended. Drop by tablespoonful onto greased and floured cookie sheets. Bake 325F for 20 minutes or until edges of cookies are golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheets to wire racks. Cool completely.
Potato Leek soup is the essence of comfort food. Satisfying, smooth and hearty. You can make it with no cream and it will still be rich and delicious.
We salted five chopped leeks with Fleur de Sel and added an onion and shallots sautéed in olive oil- you can use butter. Then added a couple pounds chopped red potatoes with skin on, cooked a couple minutes, and poured both over to cover.
Broth: so basic yet so key.Bouillon is never as good as the real thing- I still have some at the back of the pantry and feel bad when I have to use it. It’s just so salty- in the bad way! Lately I have started keeping vegetable bits from cooking- carrot, onion, celery stalks, green onion ends etc- in a plastic bag in the freezer. At the end of the week there’s a big bag of veggies and when boiled for an hour or two make great broth. Add some bold Garlic Shallot salt and voila. Not Lipton onion soup mix!
When the potatoes are tender, puree the whole thing with an immersion blender. You could leave it chunky like chowder but I think its nicer smooth. Chris had suggested adding Alderwood Smoke earlier and I was hesitant because it’s so strong and almost meaty. We ended up adding the Adlerwood – a LOT of it – and it was AMAZING!! The whole soup tasted like delicious, smoky bacon and the salt truly sealed the deal.
Chris can’t eat wheat and Meredith can’t eat dairy but we had creamy soup with crunchy croutons! You can add cream to this soup for sure and it will only be more rich and delish but really is yummy dairy free so I don’t include it. Mere got a gluten free baguette which we cut up and tossed in the pan with olive oil and Dill-icious Salt till crunchy. Topped the bowls with swiss chard and the croutons- extra Alderwood and hot sauce optional. A little parm would be great too. YUM!
Talking to my mom tonight she said she had bags of potato leek soup she froze because it was totally bland- and we had used the exact same recipe from Cooks Illustrated. So I’m going to bring some special salt home to Boston to snazz up that soup!
Though I didn’t intend it to be, this recipe is what these salts are all about. One totally crucial ingredient can make or break something. When it sings, salt is the star.
Another resource in the kitchen that I find myself reaching for often, and just ‘reading’ randomly during downtime is What’s A Cook To Do? an invaluable reference by James Peterson (here is a Amazon link). The book is captioned as an “Illustrated Guide To Essential Tools, Tips, Techniques, and Tricks” – and I can attest to the honesty of that statement. The book is chocked full of hundreds of color photos of food and culinary tools. Even better, there are detailed pictures of knife work on various vegetables, proteins and breads.
Peterson has a concise commentary on various salts, which includes a brief discussion of the four essential types of salt that should be in the home chef’s arsenal. These salts are comprised of inexpensive kosher salt, fine flake or grain salt (for when coarse salt is too crunchy, we would recommend Murray River), sea salt (like Sel Gris, which is full of ocean flavors), and Fleur de Sel for delicate foods.
I found the section of the book on broths, soups and sauces to be very informative. The shellfish and fish chapter is also quite educational (including several ways to prepare scallops – a personal favorite). Want detailed directions on how to carve a chicken or make a prime rib roast? Check out the poultry and meat section. Peterson’s writing style is easy to follow, and his detailed techniques show expansive depth of knowledge.
If you can’t tell, I would definitely recommend this guide for any home chef, and at $11.53 on Amazon, honestly it is an unbelievable deal.
My first Beyond the Shaker recipe had to include the Hot Habanero Blend. The bottle beckoned to me with its warm colors and smell. After consulting BeyondtheShaker.com, I picked Chicken Tacos. The directions were simple and I’ve never met a taco I didn’t like.
While sautéing the peppers an inviting smell filled the kitchen. After cooking the chicken, the moment I’d been waiting for arrived. Adding the Habanero Blend! It hit the pan and the meal was transformed.
Before I could even get the tacos on the plate I had to dig in. Although I was nervous I couldn’t take the heat, this blend left my lips smoldering and waiting for the next bite.
The meal served on my wedding china. If this isn’t a special occasion, I don’t know what is.
Today’s recipe is from the kitchen of Detroit’s own Amy Ruud – comedienne extraordinaire. When she’s not in the kitchen whipping up delicious recipes, you can find her in comedy clubs preforming stand-up. While you are waiting for your potatoes to bake check out her act here:
3. When potatoes are done allow them to cool for 10 minutes.
4. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop the flesh into a large bowl; save skins. To the potato flesh add sour cream, milk, butter, salt, 1/2 cup cheese and 1/2 the green onions. Mix with a hand mixer until well blended and creamy.
5. Spoon the mixture into the potato skins.
6. Top each with remaining cheese, green onions and bacon.
7. Bake for another 15 minutes.
This is a dish guaranteed to get you invited back but sadly, you won’t have any leftovers to take home. To see Amy’s creation from the Beyond the Shaker Challenge check out our Facebook page.
“I didn’t know you liked Brussels sprouts,” my Mom said as she looked over the dinner ingredients. She was right to question me, I hate Brussels sprouts.
Actually, I used to hate Brussels sprouts. Now that I’m a full blown adult I actually like them. In fact, I like them so much when I looked at this recipe I thought, “Mmmmm, Brussels sprouts!” When did this happen!?
The inspiring recipe is from Logan’s entry in the Beyond the Shaker Challenge. Not only does it look good, it tastes fantastic. You can find all the pictures from the Challenge on our Facebook Page.
My parents joined us for this meal and it was finished in one sitting. Sprouts and all. Enjoy it with adults or try to pass one over on your favorite child.
Roasted Pork Tenderloin with
Bacon Sauteed Brussels Sprouts & Savory Apple Cider Honey
Dissolve salts and sugar in 1C boiling water. Remove from heat and pour into large Ziploc bag. Add remaining water (this water should be very cold). Add the pork tenderloin to the Ziploc bag. Brine in fridge for at least 60 minutes. Remove tenderloin from brine and dry it. Sear all sides on a med high grill. Roast 30 minutes for each pound of pork at 350 degrees . Let rest for 10 minutes before carving.
Savory Apple Cider Honey
1QT Apple Cider
1 Bay Leaf
1/2 small Shallot, cut into small pieces
2 Tablespoons cold butter, cut into very small pieces
Bring Apple Cider to boil, reduce heat and simmer until cider is reduced to 2 cups (if you continuously watch and stir, you may leave the heat higher — this is recommended as it will otherwise take a LONG time). Remove bay leaf and shallot. Continue to reduce to about a cup of liquid. At this point, it should be fairly thick, like maple syrup. Pour into small bowl and add the butter one piece at a time, whisking until each piece of butter is gone.
Bacon Sauteed Brussels Sprouts
12-24 Brussels Sprouts, halved
3-6 Bacon slices
Approx. 1 Tablespoon Beyond the Shaker Windy City Salt
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cook bacon in large nonstick frying pan. Remove bacon and cut into small pieces. Leave half of the bacon fat in the pan and save the other half. Add half of the Brussels sprouts with 1/2 tablespoon of the celery salt and saute until tender and slightly browned. Remove from pan and cook the other half of them (with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon celery salt) in the remaining bacon fat. Add all Brussels sprouts to a large bowl and mix in the bacon pieces. Add salt and pepper to taste.
To serve: Place pork tenderloin slices atop the Brussels sprouts on a platter. Drizzle pork with the cider honey. Try to avoid licking the cider honey spoon clean before serving.
I know you have been dying to find out what my recipe is for the Beyond the Shaker Challenge, so without further ado, here it is!
Prosciutto Wrapped Scallops with a Citrus Glaze
12 Large DRY Scallops
6 Pieces of Thinly Sliced Prosciutto
1/2 tsp Beyond the Shaker Citrus Wet Salt
6 tbsp Honey
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon
Cooking Utensils Needed:
Raised-edge Cookie Sheet
0. Pre-heat oven to 350F degrees.
1. Spray cookie sheet with non-stick spray.
2. Lay down a couple pieces of paper towel and lay out scallops.
3. Using another piece of paper towel pat each scallop to remove any excess moisture (the drier the scallop the better!)
4. Grind pepper onto each scallop, turn them over and repeat.
5. Cut the strips of prosciutto in half the longways using sharp knife.
6. Lay piece of prosciutto on a piece of paper towel and set one scallop on the end closest to you.
7. Roll the scallop and prosciutto away from you until the prosciutto is wrapped around the round edge of the scallop entirely. Then put a toothpick through it to hold in place. Put completed scallop onto cookie sheet and repeat for remaining scallops.
8. Once complete, place cookie sheet into oven on middle rack where they will cook for a total of 15 minutes.
While they are cooking, prepare the glaze in the following manner:
1. In a small bowl add the honey, lemon juice and Citrus Wet Salt.
2. Using a fork or small whisk, rapidly mix together until all combines into a smooth liquid (taste to see if you have the correct amount of sweet/salty/sour taste).
When there is 5 minutes left of the scallops, open the oven and bast the top of each scallop with the glaze.
After 15 minutes in the oven, remove and serve immediately!
I wanted to experiment with turning the heat to broil for the last few minutes in order to ensure a nice brown honey glaze on the tops of each scallop, but ran out of time in the end and was fearful of over-cooking them. If you are able to do this, please let me know how it turns out!
This is it! One day left before the big challenge, and I am happy to report that things with the scallops are looking up since last week.
As a reminder, my salt assignment was Wet Citrus and I had great visions of pairing this salt with scallops – however things were not going so well due to being unable to cook the scallops to perfection.
I am happy to report that since then, I have determined what I have been doing wrong and I now have my recipe finalized. So what was it you ask? After doing extensive research, it turns out there are two different classifications of scallops: dry and wet. Wet scallops are treated with a chemical solution called STP (sodium tripolyphosphate) which helps them keep their moisture and leads to a longer shelf life. The downside to this (other than the obvious fact that there is a chemical added to them) is that the excess moisture makes them nearly impossible to brown correctly, and leads to the exact issues that I was having last week (under/over cooking).
As soon as I discovered this, I immediately threw out my remaining wet scallops and headed to my local specialty food store. To my surprise, dry scallops are much harder to find than I anticipated and the first three places I went to didn’t carry them at all. I am sure this has to do with the fact that they don’t last as long and are most likely more expensive to carry. This may be a useful trick for evaluating your own fish provider – ask them if their scallops are dry or wet, and you might be surprised! If they are cutting corners on their scallops, it is likely they may be doing it other places that you wouldn’t expect!
I finally tracked down some dry scallops at Holiday Market in Royal Oak (I knew I should have gone there first) and in talking to their seafood staff, I discovered that they ONLY carry dry scallops which is great! Once I began my testing over with these dry scallops, I found that I could do no wrong with them. Every method that had previously failed was now turning out to be a delicious tasty treat!
With that, I finalized my recipe and will post it shortly. The big event is tomorrow, so tune in afterward for a full recap!
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.