Now that I am done with my fast and furious mosaic install, I can get back to my regular programming and I have a little bit of a blog backlog to stumble through.
Last weekend our friends Greg and Rosie came over for dinner and at first I had just planned on making something simple but something simple turned into four things from my new cookbook: Salt, Cooking with the World's Favorite Seasoning.
I first picked up this tiny (only 64 pages) cookbook as a wedding gift along with a nice salt grinder and a jar of sea salt. Well, serendipitously, my salt grinder just happened to break and then I realized I didn't know if that couple even cooked much and well, you see where I am going. I kept it all for myself and went out and bought a nice hand made butter dish for them instead.
And I couldn't be more pleased that I kept this cookbook. I like that it focuses on an ingredient rather than a region or certain type of cooking. The recipes run from seafood, to southeast Asian satays to pretzel bites to martinis. My type of book! The photos are gorgeous and numerous and there is a little salt directory at the front of the book explaining where different types of salt come from. For example, did you know that Hawaiian black sea salt has charcoal added to it to color it? Or that it is the iron content in Himalayan pink rock salt that makes it pink?
So I had to start the evening with the black olive martinis. I used Sapphire gin but I think the Rogue Distillery's Spruce Gin might have been better with the rosemary sprigs.
They just look so lovely!
My favorites were these Hawaiian Black salted breadsticks. Simple, and a little bit time consuming, but the black salt gives fantastic flavoring. I made them again last night-- they were so good.
I also made a chilled fennel soup that did not come from the Salt cookbook but I had a big bulb of fennel from our organic delivery and this soup fit in nicely with the rest of the meal.
Greg brought a very fancy crab salad that set upon a homemade cucumber gelatin. Yum!
Finally, for the main event I had salt-encrusted prawns with a noc cham sauce and pork satay with a coconut-peanut sauce.
The prawns were completely encased in 2 pounds of salt mixed with lime juice and baked. When it comes out of the oven, you crack open the salt crust and pull out the prawns. They were tasty, but I did think it was a waste of salt. Also, you are supposed to bake them with the shells and their little heads on them but I couldn't find any prawns with heads. I think next time I will do a better job looking.
I also had roasted sweet potato wedges on the side. I love to combine different flavors and regions in my cooking! I was hoping for a lot of bread stick leftovers, but we ended up eating most of them. I think that must be why I wanted to make some more last night!