Just visited my daughter in Arlington, VA last weekend. The purpose of the trip was to help her out with her new house so I was doing the Dad thing with plumbing and landscaping which really turned out well. But in the course of things I noticed that her culinary life could also take a step up. Sure it seems daunting to her to pull together a quick creme brulee (sounds better in French than “burnt cream” in English doesn’t it?) which may be why she has a ton of cookbooks but never seems to make anything. So I thought that if she and others took small easy steps they could have fun and grow as cooks at the same time. And that was the inspiration behind this new category “Easy Steps To Gourmet”. Something easy, something doable that can move more kitchens forward.
So today we’ll take a look at how we handle salt. Typically the kitchen buys the salt already in the container, the “shaker”. Now I’m not a big fan of these items. The main reason is that it’s tough to gauge how much salt is coming out of the darn thing. Especially if there’s a lot of moisture in the air and the salt begins to cake up. Secondly, when I’m putting together a stew or something I need a feel as to the total amount of salt I’m getting in there, and shaking until my hand is tired just doesn’t cut it.
So what I do instead is to use this small thick walled glass jar to hold the salt. I then pour what I need into my hand and using a shaking action distribute as much as I want, where I want. Perfect! If I poured too much into my hand I just dump what was left back into the jar. .. Simple. Controllable. And it makes you look as if you really know what you’re doing.
Now you don’t have to buy a jar. Just get something. Ideally something that seals out the moisture, something that allows you to take a pinch or to pour some into your hand (for example I think Alton Brown’s thing is a little too large for easy and accurate pouring into your hand).
And most importantly, enjoy the art of cooking. Have fun planning, shopping, cooking, serving and of course eating. The weather’s starting to get chilly over here..rainy with a damp breeze coming off the ocean. But I still love it. Will be putting up some recipes to warm your kitchen and soul this weekend. Enjoy the day!
(you might want to send this as a 911 to the people you know who are still using those cardboard store-bought shakers .. tell them to subscribe in the upper right of the page) Ciao!
You might also want to make your own signature seasoning .. Check it out