Saturday, May 22, 2010

Salt and Heat

someone asked me a few days back why i call my blog "salt and heat", thought i would best explain it here. first off- salt is an uber-important ingredient that is often overlooked. i use it a lot. all different kinds but from here on out if i mention "salt" i am using kosher salt. i use only diamond crystal as i really like the size of the grains of it, more than most of the other brands out there. i do have a few other salts around (red clay salt, black lava salt, pacific salt- i use to finish bread usually) that can play an important role in my kitchen but i would trade them all for Kosher salt. you see iodized salt or table salt actually has a higher salt content than kosher so its use will get me stumped sometimes, so i don't have it in my home. throw yours out, a 3# box of Kosher salt shouldn't cost you more than $4 at any grocery store, and three pounds will last you months. going on- some sea salt has lower sodium levels than kosher salt and they are great for a loved one or even a customer that is on a low sodium diet. forget all the hearsay regarding salt usage as well. your body absolutely needs salt. your body desires salt. learning to season food effectively (every one has a different taste) is the biggest step on the path to becoming an aggressive home cook, or chef for that matter. i eat out all the time and am disappointed that someone couldn't get it right. granted when cooking for crowds i even tend to be light handed as not to offend anyone. its a fine balance. i salt everything, even whipped cream. it will heighten your taste buds and enlighten flavor of all kinds and even the best of chefs leave it out of the sweet side of the kitchen for which i will never understand.

heat on the other hand takes some finesse. whether grilling, broiling, smoking, sauteeing, poaching, boiling, stewing, roasting, or braising all are a simply a way of applying heat and all of those ways have a technical way that is correct. in a constant struggle to be better in the kitchen i push myself to be better at applying heat. its the most basic action in a kitchen, the term cook wouldn't exist without the expectation of the application of heat, one that needs to be done correctly. figuring which methods are best for the task at hand is a absolute joy for me.

all in all i would like some day to have a restaurant named salt and heat as i would expect to attract customers that love salt, and want to see food in its unadulterated form. just cooked perfectly and salted perfectly. if i could get away with salt, heat and butter i would. i just want to enhance already great food. food that was grown and harvested with some care by someone who truely enjoys what they are doing. i just want to apply heat and then season it perfectly. remember when you take the time and money to buy quality ingredients (not salt injected frozen chicken breast from buy n large) and then prep them and apply heat in the best way you know how you don't need fancy sauces, green oils on the plate, none of that stuff. you have taken good food and done something honest with it. i want guests to always feel like that is not only justifiable, but more work than cooking something half-assed and then trying to cover it back up with unnecessary presentations. get some good salt and start to work with it. more than any other thing in the kitchen it will boost your talent. you will mess things up..... i still do, so don't start on dinner for 10 guests, start slow, and stick with it.

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