Saturday, November 8, 2014

Kitchen Pantry--Things I Can't Live Without--Fresh Ground Sea Salt and Pepper

Part of being a good cook is being curious and open to new things.  But being a good cook is also about repetition.  When you know something is working, it bears repeating.  There are two things I use in just about every dish I cook:

Pink Himalayan Sea Salt and Black Pepper in Grinders

Pink Himalayan Sea Salt-- I've experimented with all kind of salts and, surprisingly, I can often taste the difference.  Of course, I never use regular iodized table salt.  That stuff is unhealthy, read more here. It's important to eat only real honest-to-goodness sea salt.  

But, which sea salt is best?  There are so many choices out there and it largely comes down to personal preference.  Of course, that's part of the fun of cooking...choice, right?

Whenever I see new salts, I buy them.  Some are expensive and some are moderate.  Some really do have wonderful flavor and others have have very little taste.  Finding a salt you love takes some experimentation.

I started using Pink Himalayan sea salt a few years ago because the kids thought it was fun.  We'd pass it around the table and make pink jokes.  However, I have to say, I'm hooked now.  I love the taste. 

Sometimes I buy it at specialty gourmet stores in expensive bags of find ground, other times. course ground.  But I've started to just settle in for the easiest to use, most affordable option and that seems to be Costco's Kirkland brand.  It comes with it's own grinder top with makes it very convenient.

I keep it on a tray next to my stove where I also keep olive oils and vinegars.  Having these things within easy-to-grab distance makes cooking so much less effort.  Just grab and grind!

By the way, I do have regular white sea salt in a large container that I can use to measure out for recipes.  It's not practical to grind Pink Himalayan Sea Salt into measuring spoons.  It makes a mess, of course.  And it gets expensive to use, especially for baking.

Recently I ran out of Pink Himalayan sea salt and had to dip into that white cardboard box of plain sea salt.  I found that food just tasted blander, plain and simple.
Oh, Costco Pink Himalayan Sea Salt grinder, I'm so happy you're back on my counter.*
Black Pepper -- I also find it convenient to have my pepper grinder right next to my sea salt grinder. Freshly ground pepper adds so much flavor and zing to meals.  I use it generously.

Occasionally, I'll buy exotic peppers and put them in a pepper mill.  I also use white pepper for specific dishes where it is not attractive to see dark black pepper pieces, such as mashed potatoes and white sauces.

Lately I like the convenience of buying pepper that is packaged with the grinder right on the container. Every market has them and you can buy a nice big one that will last you for awhile. The one I'm using now happens to be mixed pepper corns, but sometimes they're only black.  Once more, it's up to your preference.

Again, the self-grinders are easy to use and the fresh ground taste is so worth the effort of grinding your own.  And because I keep them out on the countertop, it only takes me a few seconds to season my food.  (I also keep all my herbs, spices and special condiments in the cabinet right next to the stove.) This makes cooking so much faster.  And, let's face it, who has extra time to run all over the kitchen when you cook.  Having as much of what you need right at hand makes cooking life easier.

*We are in no way paid by or endorsed by Costco or any other food market.  We simply recommend the brands and products that we enjoy

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