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Growing up, my grandmother always had vanilla sugar in an old Schilling canister. She would take the used vanilla beans and let it permeate the sugar – and then use it for cookies, french toast, really any thing that called for or could be improved with vanilla and sugar.
And since I have a penchant for salt, I thought I would try my hand at vanilla salt.
But because I wanted the vanilla to be really present – in smell, taste, and sight – I didn’t just add an empty vanilla bean to the salt. I added the vanilla “caviar” to the salt and mixed it all around with a fork. This way you could really see that it was vanilla. Once it was well combined, I threw in the empty pod too, for good measure.
This salt would be awesome for sweets that call for a bit of salt – think caramels and chocolates, cookies and ice cream. But I can’t wait to use it for things that are traditionally savory. I think that hint of vanilla will open up totally new flavors on some of our favorite things.
This weekend we will be trying it out, with lots of other different salts too, on all variety of heirloom tomatoes – which was the reason for that trip to Chinatown.
I love leftovers. I can eat soup for days. Just about any meat can make a mean meal on day two. Mac and cheese, yes please. But fish – no thanks. Underwater creatures just don’t hold the same appeal to me when reheated, repurposed or redone.
So when I saw that I had a bit more salmon than I knew we would eat for dinner, I didn’t cook it. Thankfully, I remembered seeing a quick citrus salt cure on wrightfood when I was scoping foodblogsearch.com for info on fish in parchment. And once I popped those packets in the oven, I zested up some lemons and oranges, mixed some sugar and salt and had my first go at home cured salmon.
Knowing that the piece I was using was teeny-tiny (I cut off the thinner side from the salmon that I was using for the papillotes so it would all cook evenly), I wouldn’t feel terrible if it all went awry and I had to toss it.
I recently attended snazzy little event for a great new cocktail book, Vintage Cocktails, and while I thoroughly enjoyed my sidecar, I must admit the sugared rim was a bit much. I know it is supposed to be there, and one sip with sugar is great, but after that, it is almost excessive. You could solve that by only drinking from the same spot, but that requires paying a bit too much attention for my taste.
I think instead only half of the rim should only be sugared (or salted or candied, etc.).
Especially when preparing glassing before guests arrive, they are then ready for any taste… and saves you from asking “with or without salt?” on the margs!