Mmm salt

A post about seasoning salts

When I was a kid, the only kind of seasoning salt in existence was Lawrey’s. What can I say? It was Alberta in the 80s.

what it says on the label

 

Nowadays, with Vancouver being a culinary hot-spot or something, we luckily have access to more than the one seasoning salt.

Tonight’s dinner was testament to this sodium-bomb bounty: I used two kinds of seasoning salts to make steak, yams, and kale into a wowza of a meal.

Let’s break that down a little:

For the steak, I bought what was probably a too-tough cut of beef and, after pounding the crap out of it with the back of a butcher knife, seasoned it liberally with Montreal Steak Spice, so:

Of course, it may say “spice” on the label but the first ingredient is chunky rock salt. Delish. Also works well on mushrooms. For added yum, use a bit of hot water to deglaze the pan and pour the resultant au jus over the steak while it sits. Mega yum.

(The yams were baked and seasoned with regular salt; nothing innovative to write home about).

The kale was a bit of a strange mash-up – sauteed with a bit of crushed garlic and Haida Gwaii Salt from Sea to Sky Seasonings (they’re at the Edible BC booth on Granville Island). The lobster flavour of the salt highlighted the flavour of the kale.

Some trivia:

 

Balsamic Hummus

Once again, no playbook.

Most hummus is flavoured with tahini (ground sesame seeds) and lemon juice. I had no tahini and since the bottle of white balsamic vinegar was already open, I thought what’s wrong with swapping our acids? and went with it.

Ingredients

Steps

  1. Set up blender
  2. Layer in: Chickpeas, two glugs olive oil, one glug balsamic vinegar.
  3. Sprinkle on top: A general helping of ground cumin and a dash of chili flakes (depending on how hot you want this sucker). Give it a dash of garlic. If you love garlic, give it another dash.
  4. Put cover on blender and pulse a few times to get things started. You may find that the blender has a hard time of things once the base layer is blended. This is normal. If you want a calorific dish, pour in a bit more oil to get things moving. If you’re the rest of us, add water, a bit at a time, to give the blender enough to… um, blend.
  5. As you’re approaching doneness, turn off the blender and taste your dip. Add salt to taste
  6. Blend more and more until the dip is sufficiently creamy.
  7. Serve with your favourite dip delivery system. I prefer corn chips myself.

You’ll find that the balsamic vinegar gives the dip a slightly sweet taste. I think it’s delicious, and I will make this again.

 

Coffee

I’m starting this vacation right. With coffee.

Cafe au Lait
mmm, coffee

My favourite home-brand these days is Kicking Horse, mostly because I’m originally from Alberta. I picked up the coffee originally because I loved the name, and kept at it because I love the coffee. The fair trade and organic parts are great additions to a lovely bean.

My current fave brand is Hoodoo Jo, but as that’s hard to find in Vancouver I also enjoy a little Kick-ass. Yes, I am guilty of opening up a can of Kick-Ass in the morning.

And poking around their site, now I think I want one of these coffee syphons.

Love.

Garam Masala

My garam masala recipe:

  • 1/2 cup cumin seeds
  • 1/3 cup whole black peppercorns
  • 1/3 cup green cardamom pods
  • 1 tablespoons whole cloves
  • 4 cinnamon sticks, in pieces
  • 10 bay leaves
  • 1/2 nutmeg, optional

Dry-roast the cumin seeds until they begin to smoke. Cool, and then toss all the ingredients into a coffee grinder and hit frappe until all the lumps are gone. You can grind the spices in batches, then combine all in a jar and shake shake.

PS: The most important thing in this recipe is roasting the cumin seeds.

Heirloom Tomato Salad

My parents went to see Cirque du Soleil’s Kooza on Friday, and afterwards they came to my house for dinner (my first dinner party!) Only we didn’t have anything to eat, so we swung through Whole Paycheque Foods and came back to my place to make dinner.

Did I mention my mother is a world-class chef?

So anyway, we had a lovely dinner: some sautéed red chard, green olive bread from Terra Breads with a lovely Quebec brie cheese, chicken sausages (which, unfortunately, were the least impressive part of the meal), cobbed corn, and an heirloom tomato salad.

Which was the most delish thing ever.

Which means it’s recipe time!

Heirloom Tomato Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 large heirloom tomatoes (or other flavourful tomatoes)
  • Half a red onion, diced
  • 300 g or so of feta cheese (goat or cow milk, whatever you like), cut into chunks
  • ~ one cup of assorted olives (kalamta, sicilian… again, whatever you like)
  • handful of fresh basil leaves, ripped up
  • a few shakes of white balsamic vinegar
  • two tablespoons of olive oil (virgin)
  • pinch dried thyme
  • dashes of salt n peppa

Directions

  • Combine.
  • Shake.
  • Let sit in fridge for 30 min.
  • Enjoy!

(what, you though this was complicated?)

Back to usual

The Olympics are over. The roads are busy, the skies are clear, and the whole city seems to be suffering from a post-Olympic hangover.

Maybe we should add oxygen.

Hangover-Free Booze? Increasing Dissolved Oxygen Concentrations in Alcohol May Reduce Negative Side Effects

A new study has found that increasing dissolved oxygen concentrations in alcohol may help to reduce alcohol-related side effects and accidents… Results showed that elevated, dissolved oxygen concentrations in alcoholic drinks can accelerate the metabolism and elimination of alcohol.

Science!

A pint is a pint (but not in BC)

Not quite a pint, but close enough for jazz
Probably not a pint

Although that may be changing…

VanSun: BC considers changing liquor laws

The provincial government has finally decided to look into the fact its liquor laws prohibit the serving of the time-honoured 20-ounce Imperial pint of beer in B.C… the Sun also reported in August that pubs in Metro Vancouver routinely advertise the sale of pints, but pour on average only 17 ounces, based on visits to 15 establishments. Province-wide, that difference amounts to a consumer ripoff worth millions of dollars annually.

That’s a lot of beer.

a bitter brew

B.C. brewery toasts tough times with Bailout Bitter beer

A microbrewery in British Columbia is toasting the current economic downturn by launching a special brand of recession-style beer.

Howe Sound Brewery has named its most bitter-tasting brew Bailout Bitter in honour of the government bailouts of the financial sector that have taken place in an attempt to mitigate the global financial crisis.

Calling it “bitter ale for bitter times,” the brewery said the new beer will cost less than its other brands.