Vongole Arrabbiata, chile spiced clams

Two good reasons for sharing this recipe, that I discovered in another blog, A Food Obsession.

Firstly, it is a tasty dish, and really easy to prepare.

Secondly, in the description of the dish, the writer makes a comment, that is an essential cooking tip. You can always add salt, but you cannot remove it, from a dish.

We have all fallen into this trap, at some time. In my case, usually, the reason is that I have not been tasting the dish frequently enough, or have simply overlooked the amounts of salt or seasoning in the recipe. This is, of course, another reason for under seasoning a dish, but that is easily remedied.

An easy way to be thrown off is when cooking with bouillon or stock, as the salt content can vary enormously. So, now I have learned to taste the stock on its own, and to taste the dish after it has been added.

Tasting throughout the cooking process is the cardinal rule.

Now relax, and savor this recipe.

 

Source: VONGOLE ARRABBIATA, CHILE SPICED CLAMS

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What is Salt?

 

Salt, any salt! my kingdom for some salt.

What is Salt? Common salt, or sodium chloride, is the chemical compound NaCl. Salt occurs naturally in many parts of the world as the mineral halite and as mixed evaporites in salt lakes and salt oceans. Salt varies in color from colorless, when pure, to white, gray or brownish, typical of rock salt (halite).

Source: What is Salt? | SaltWorks

Motivated by Motifs

This article is going to make me pay attention for sure, whether watching a movie or reading a book.

The Daily Post

When faced with a difficult decision, it’s tempting to ask the universe to send us a sign. While life isn’t black and white, the pages of literature are. In real life, it’s impossible to be completely sure of how a decision will turn out. Authors, on the other hand, can sprinkle signs and motifs throughout their work to guide their audience and characters to an end result.

These motifs give us, readers, a taste of omniscience. I’ll never forget my high school film teacher explaining his theory on the use of oranges in The Godfather movies. Each time we see oranges on the screen, he explained, that’s a foreshadowing that someone is going to die or be killed. Once I became aware of this tidbit, it was impossible to not see oranges throughout the movie, and I subsequently reveled in my prescient glimpse of what would happen next.

As inspiration this week, explore the…

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Salt, and more Salts: The First Crystal

 

Promising that this may not be an exhaustive site, but hoping to share something new or interesting, one or two salts at a time.

Iodized sea salt in black plate
Iodized sea salt. Photography by Wayne Stanley.

Let us start with sea salt and table salt.

Sea salt is produced by the evaporation of water from seawater or saltwater lakes, and little processing. Table salt is mined from subterranean salt deposits.

The differences between sea salt and table salt can be found in their coarseness, color, processing, taste, and texture. Notably, the more processing, the more trace minerals, and elements, are extracted.

Sea salt and table salt have the same basic nutritional value, despite the fact that sea salt is often promoted as being healthier. The sodium content is about the same in sea and tablet salt, but most table salt also has added iodine, that helps maintain a healthy thyroid. Table salt usually contains an additive to prevent clumping. Use both, and you’ll be fine.

Salt never gets old, so it can be stored for years. Bacteria don’t grow in salt. In fact, salt has been used for centuries as a preservative. 

The earliest recorded history of salt use, in 6000BC,  is by the Chinese, and Lake Yuncheng gave birth to the earliest salt works.

The Egyptians also highly valued salt, and put it to a myriad of uses, from preserving food to mummification. Salt from the Natrun riverbed, they called Netjry, and Natron as we know it. These archived records reach back to 4000BC.

Salt, the Expensive Seasoning.

 

 

Salt has become the expensive seasoning, as it is necessary to attend an expensive restaurant to experience it.

In fact, adequate seasoning is also becoming scarce, unless you are prepared to pay for it. The familiar salt cellar is no longer to be found on the tables of most restaurants nowadays, even though the pepper grinder still appears.

Most chefs do have the skill of salting and seasoning their food well, and are not the one’s to blame for this new travesty. This practice is  expected of chefs by a good-intentioned, misguided public, that a low sodium diet requires it. The low sodium diet is not even based on sound medical evidence.

I remember watching Chef Mark McEwan, of North 44, One, Bymark, Fabbrica and McEwan Grocery, Catering and Prepared Meals fame, on TV, during his catering show, training the sous chefs to season everything well, down to each leaf in the salad, emphasizing  that nothing unseasoned should land on the plate. In fact, he advocated seasoning the garnish too, although having garnishes on a plate merely for the sake of garnish, is a topic for another day.

So many functions, come to mind, where I was served a starter salad, that consisted of some nondescript leaves, with a few splashes, and I mean a few only, of dressing drizzled on the top. Now, there is no way that I can toss this salad at the table without half of it ending up on the tablecloth, and is pointless, as there isn’t enough seasoning/dressing anyway.

Ponder the thought of a simple egg without salt, rice without salt, or potato chips without salt, and you may remark that it goes without saying, that those need to be salted. Well, shouldn’t every other ingredient in the culinary world be treated with the same respect?