The Power of Salt

salt revolution


Remember when salt used to come only from those large cylindrical containers, and it was really just an afterthought, casually sprinkled atop your bland meal? I’m not sure what happened, but somewhere along this crazy foodie journey I ended up with six different kinds of salt that currently live on my kitchen counter (not to mention the salt block, for full-on salt cooking), and deciding which salt pairs with which dish is one of the toughest parts of cooking dinner.

I recently received a package of Salt Revolution’s Aztec Sea Salt, and I have to say this is one of my favorite ones yet. Harvested from Mexico’s Cuyutlán Lagoon over a 45-day period each year, it’s sorted by hand in small packages, and combines a beautiful, subtle salty flavor with just the right amount of crunch — it comes in big, flaky pieces, much smoother than a jagged piece of rock salt, so it settles in your mouth in just the right way. Their small-batch approach means that each harvesting season they sell salt until their supply is gone; you can sign up to find out when the new batch is available.

Adapting a dough recipe from one of my go-to cookbooks, The New Spanish Table, I whipped up this coca-dough flatbread, topped with onions, rosemary, pine nuts, pancetta and goat cheese…and of course, some finishing salt sprinkled on top!

Sea Salt Flatbread

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Is This the World’s Spiciest Burger?


At Star City Kitchen in El Paso, Texas, Chef Sarah Kosravani recently introduced “The Ghost Burger.” It consists of five separate elements, each designed to light your mouth on fire.

1. Bun brushed with cayenne-infused butter

2. Burger patty seasoned with secret-recipe salsa, pepper flakes, and raw, diced habanero

3. Pepperjack cheese laced with he notorious ghost pepper!

4. Roasted habanero and garlic aioli.

5. Battered and fried toreados (jalapenos that have basically mated with onion rings).

Would you try it?

Growing a Serious Sandwich


With spring weather (finally-maybe-is-it-really) coming to most of the country it’s about time to start talking gardening. Now, to put it nicely my cooking technique focuses on creativity and innovation at the expense of perfection and measurement, and my gardening experience, not surprisingly, has had about as much success as my baking repertoire. Which is to say…not much.

So I was excited to receive a shipment of Gro-ables, a foolproof new way to grow herbs and vegetables in your backyard, garden or kitchen. Gro-ables are ready-to-plant seed pods that come with a built-in environment for your seed. Each pod contains growing materials, plant food and seeds (basil, spinach, cilantro, dill, sweet peppers, cherry tomatoes and more). All you need to do is open the seed pod, drop it in some dirt and then water occasionally. Now that’s my kind of gardening.

With sunny weather on hand this week, I was inspired to get going with my Gro-ables — planting some basil, cherry tomatoes and lettuce on my windowsill. That in turn got me hungry for some fresh herbs and veggies, so while I’m waiting for those to grow, I took the basil I already had on hand, whipped up some fresh pesto and put together a new take on an ES favorite sandwich.

BLT Sandwich with Fresh Pesto, Mozzarella and Basil

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Food Porn Champion

fried chicken


I never really understood the fried chicken and waffles thing. Yes, they’re both delicious, but why on a plate together? Then I saw this monstrosity/brilliance. FC and W…on a sandwich. YES. See now that just works.

Recipe: The Candid Appetite

(Points if you can guess how they incorporated bacon in here.)

America’s Best Drunk College Food

drunk food

Bracket already busted? Well, we can’t offer you a billion dollars, but we can suggest some solid consolation grub. Namely, our NCCA-season list of the country’s best drunk college food, with every school ranked in order, from 1 to 68.

Detroit Style Pizza

Detroit-Style Pizza is Your New Favorite Pizza

Detroit Style Pizza

Look at that giant brick of cheese. Just look at it. Under that dazzling layer of cheese, prosciutto, and balsamic goodness lies all sorts of delectable toppings and a thick, chewy crust. What is this? Detroit-style pizza! I’m sure some areas of the country are more familiar with this treat than I am, but allow me to gush for a few minutes.

After a particularly long day/night at SXSW, I was grabbing a beer with some friends at a beer bar called Craft Pride when a food truck in the backyard caught my eye. Via 313 has a reputation for being some of the best pizza around Austin, but I’d never checked it out before. I’m not always a huge pizza person—I have to be in a certain mood. That night, after walking miles around town to different festival events and drinking a few brews, I was definitely in that mood. I wandered up to the window and ordered the most rich, indulgent variety I saw. The Cadillac: gorgonzola cheese, fig preserves, shaved prosciutto, shaved parmesan, and balsamic glaze. “For $16, it better be as good as people say,” I thought to myself.

When the pizza was carried out to our table, I was kind of surprised by how thick and…square it was. This is deep-dish like I’ve never seen deep-dish before. Generous on the toppings with the sauce (in this case, balsamic instead of tomato) as the very top layer, this was a bit daunting to bite into but gloriously greasy and satisfying once I took the plunge.

What makes Detroit-style pizza so decadent and special? As the Via 313 menu explains:

Detroit-style pizza features a semi-thick but light and airy crust (similar in texture to focaccia bread). The pizza is baked in industrial steel pans from the Motor City that were traditionally used to hold small machine parts in automotive assembly lines. The pans allow for the cheese to be baked all the way around, creating a delicious caramelized cheese edge.

While I generally eat more thin crust pizza, I really looove me some deep-dish and this one takes the cake (or pie?) Those crispy corners with the caramelized cheese and crunchy-on-the-outside, soft-and-chewy-on-the-inside texture are probably the best part. I’m definitely a Detroit-style convert.

Detroit Style Pizza Slice

Carillon Pansy Panna Cotta

Artsy Photo of the Day: Bleu des Basques Blossoms

Carillon Pansy Panna Cotta

How lovely! I sampled this Bleu Des Basques Panna Cotta at an event called the Official Drink of Austin here last Thursday. There were more creative cocktails and bar bites than one stomach could handle, but this flowery creation from Austin restaurant The Carillon wins my personal prize for the prettiest dish. It tasted as good as it looked, too. (You can check out the full recap of Official Drink of Austin here!)

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