DIY Tater Tots–How to Make Homemade Tater Tots

DIY Tater Tots How to Make Homemade Tater Tots

DIY Tater Tots How to Make Homemade Tater Tots

How amazing are potatoes?  I love them in every form.  So does Page.  I have been wanting to do a tater tot for her for a long while now.  They are super easy to make, especially if you have a food processor.  You just throw the potatoes in, and the processor does all the work.  All you have to do is form the tots. If you’re not into forming a few hundred tiny balls of potatoes, this also works as a recipe for hash browns–yes a two for one! I’ve used potato starch in this recipe, but feel free to use all purpose flour if you so choose. You can also substitute almost any potato in this recipe.  Sweet potato tater tots are pretty awesome!

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Ingredients:

2 pounds of potatoes peeled–I used fingerlings and purple

1 tablespoon of potato starch (can sub for any flour you’d like)

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon of onion powder

1 teaspoon of thyme

1 tablespoon of potato starch

1 cup of high heat oil like safflower or grapeseed

sea salt to taste

Directions: Place the potatoes in a pot in cold water–enough to cover them, and bring to a boil–allow to cook for 6-7 minutes,

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then strain and allow to cool to room temperature.

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Once cool, grate with a box grater, or grate in a food processor.  Once grated, wrap the shredded potatoes in cheese cloth and wring out all the water that you can,  transfer to a large bowl, add seasoning, and potato starch, and form tater tots.

 

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TIP: If your dough is sticky wet your fingers, balls will be easier to form. Heat oil in a skillet. Once hot fry tots in batches until brown.

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Transfer to a paper towel lined plate, season with salt and  serve with my recipe for ketchup and enjoy!

 

 

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DIY Concord Grape Soda–How to make Lacto-fermented Concord Grape Soda

Concord Grape Soda--Lacto Fermented Concord Grape Soda

Concord Grape Soda–Lacto Fermented Concord Grape Soda

We took a short break/vacation to take Page up north.  By north I mean northern California.  We live in southern California, and don’t really travel up north often enough, as a matter of fact, my husband would love nothing more than to move up north.  It’s where his roots are, where his soul speaks, and ultimately where I think he’d like us to retire.  Up north people are much more liberal–I would venture to say that the people up north are the prototype for what people in other states consider Californians.  Socially liberal, tree hugging, animal loving, free spirited Californians.  Here in the south, we are still liberal, but much more superficial–I call it the Hollywood effect.  People in the north are street friendly, meaning they stop and talk to you, and are truly interested in getting to know you.  They know their neighbors, talk to them regularly even.  Here in the south, you’d be lucky to see your neighbor once a week, and talk to them once a month.  It’s a very different atmosphere. Everything is so green in the north–in spite of the drought–there are so many farms–yes I said farms–I know the image of our state is one of sunshine and beaches, but we grow a lot of food here in California.  We visited the Muir Woods which Page LOVED! Page really enjoyed San Francisco, she was especially fond of the steep hills. We especially loved the food.  I had so many restaurants on my list of must try restaurants but we only made it to a few.   I really wanted to visit State Bird Provisions, and Bar Tartine,  time just didn’t permit it.  On the road trip up, I brought along my Bar Tartine Techniques & Recipes book.  I came across a recipe for Grape Soda and knew it would be the first thing that I was going to make when we returned home.  Luckily for me, concord grapes just so happen to be in season.  I found them on sale at Whole Foods for $2.99/lb.  Not bad for organic grapes!  Since my ginger bug was active, this was a breeze to make.  If you can find organic grape juice then it will be even more simple, If not take the time to juice the grapes like I did–so worth it!

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Ingredients:

2 cups of organic Concord grape juice

2 cups of water–filtered

1/2 cup of strained lacto soda starter–ginger bug

2-4 tablespoons of sugar–optional

 

Directions: Add the juice, water and lacto starter to a large mason jar.  Make sure the jar is large enough to allow for some head space, cover with cheese cloth and place in a dark area–out of direct sun light.

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Allow to ferment for 3-4 days or until the mixture is slightly foamy and releases bubbles when stirred.  It’s hot here so my mixture was fizzy and bubbly by day 2.

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Transfer the mixture to a flip top bottle or canning jar, making sure to leave at least 1 inch of head space–I’d say 2.5 inches just to be safe.

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Let this stand at room temperature for no more than 24 hours, to allow for pressure/carbonation to build,–my suggestion is that you allow this to carbonate inside of a dark cabinet.

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You do not want to run the risk of an explosion in an open environment–it’s dangerous!  Once carbonated, transfer to a refrigerator.  Once cool, serve over ice and enjoy!  Tip:  If using a glass flip top bottle, place the bottle in a tube sock, and then place that in a closed cabinet.  If the bottle explodes it will confine the damage.

 

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If you like this recipe,try my recipe for Lacto-fermented Strawberry Soda.

 

Herbaceous Grilled Lamp Chops

Herbaceous Grilled Lamb Chops

Herbaceous Grilled Lamb Chops

Last weekend I visited a Persian market.  The market filled me with all sorts of food inspiration, but it mostly left me with a strong desire to eat lamb.  I guessing that desire came from the cooked foods section, which had fresh lamb kabobs and shawarma. The market also housed a rather large meat department, it had lamb in every form, hooves, hearts, livers, basically every part of the lamb that a better cook than I am could possibly want to cook. A far cry from the selection at my local Whole Foods! I feel like I hit the lottery if they have stewed lamb meat once every 4 months.  Wouldn’t it be fabulous to be able to walk into your local market and find, um..choices?  Like ramps in the spring time, in California–but I digress.  Let’s just say, I left the Persian market with market envy.   I shop at Whole Foods so often that when I go into a conventional grocery store, I’m always amazed at how inexpensive things are.  Haha..call it reverse sticker shock! Thank you Whole Foods!  Surprisingly, I did not leave the Persian market with lamb.  I did find some great spices, some pomegranate molasses, and a few other great items.  I left with my new finds and a mission to cook these lamb chops.

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Ingredients:

1 lb lamb chops

2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary, finely chopped

4-5 cloves of garlic minced

1 teaspoon lemon powder, can sub with lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon of olive oil

Directions: To a small bowl add garlic, rosemary, lemon zest and oil, mix well.

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Dry lamb chops, season generously with sea salt. Rub the lamb chops with the herbaceous garlic paste.

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Place lamb chops on a hot grill, and cook for 5-7 minutes on each side, or until lamb chops are cooked to your liking.  Remove from grill, serve with a fresh squeeze of lemon and enjoy!

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D.I.Y. Chicken Breakfast Sausage-How to Make Breakfast Sausage

Chicken Breakfast Sausage

Chicken Breakfast Sausage

 

One of the most difficult parts of the day for me is deciding what to feed Page for breakfast.  Like any child, she’s opinionated about what she’ll eat, but she seems to be more obstinate in her choices during breakfast.  She doesn’t eat what I imagine most kids do in the morning, no breakfast cereals, or breakfast bars.  She is more into things that take more time, like eggs, bacon, quesadillas! She loves a hot meal to start her day off, so this week when I went shopping, I thought I’d switch things up a bit and make some homemade breakfast sausage for her.  I’m using ground chicken for this recipe, but feel free to use pork, if you’re so inclined.  The fresh herbs in this recipe are what make these sausages amazing! What’s more amazing is that you don’t need to grind the meat yourself.  Order a pound or two of ground chicken from your  meat guy/gal add some fresh herbs and BAM–Jimmy Dean style sausages for you and your loved ones.  These would be perfect for Sunday Brunch, or for your Mother’s day breakfast–point your husbands right to this site.  One pound of ground chicken made about 12 sausage patties.  I put 5 in the refrigerator, and froze the rest for later use.  If you don’t plan on cooking these within 5 days of making them, then I suggest you freeze them right away.

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Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 8 minutes

 

Ingredients:

1 lb of Organic air chilled ground chicken (dark meat)

2 tablespoon of fresh sage (finely chopped)

2 tablespoons of fresh thyme (finely chopped)

1 teaspoon of fresh rosemary (finely chopped)

1 tablespoon of maple sugar (can substitute with maple syrup or brown sugar) Omit if you’re on Whole 30

1 teaspoon of sea salt

1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (more if you want)

 

Directions:  Add the ground chicken and spices to a medium sized bowl,

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Form patties, and either refrigerate for up to 1 week, or freeze in an air tight container for up to 3 months.

 

When ready to cook, spray a cast iron skillet with coconut oil, bring pan to temperature, then add patties, cook for 3-4 minutes on each side,

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or until golden brown, and meat is cooked through in the center.

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Remove from pan, serve and enjoy!!!

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Spice Rubbed Salmon with Lemon Cream Sauce

Spice rubbed Salmon with lemon cream sauce

Spice Rubbed Salmon with Lemon Cream Sauce

I love salmon, especially perfectly cooked salmon. When cooked correctly salmon is moist, tender, and oh so satisfying.  Most recipes for salmon include dill, lemon, garlic or some variation of those three ingredients. I’m a big fan of garlic and lemon, but dill is just not a flavor I’m in love with.  Besides, salmon is not a fragile fish, it can hold up to more bold flavor profiles.This particular salmon recipe is proof of that.

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Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 8 minutes

Total time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb salmon fillet

1/4 teaspoon of paprika

1/4 teaspoon of granulated garlic

1/4 teaspoon of onion powder

1/4 teaspoon of ground cumin

1/2-1 teaspoon of avocado oil or coconut oil

sea salt & black pepper to taste

Lemon cream sauce (optional)

2 Tablespoons of sour cream –can sub with yogurt

1/4 teaspoon of tabasco

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

sea salt to taste

Directions: Pre-heat oven to 425F. Mix the ingredients for the lemon sauce in a small bowl and set aside. Dry salmon fillet with paper towels, drizzle with oil on both sides, then salt, place on a foil lined bake sheet and set aside. In a small bowl mix together the paprika, garlic, onion, and cumin.

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Sprinkle the spice mixture over the salmon,

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Place the salmon in the oven for 8-10 minutes depending on how thick your fillet is.  My fillet was about 1/2 inch thick and it was done in 8 minutes.  Remove from oven, drizzle with lemon sauce and enjoy!

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Creamy Caesar Salad Dressing

Creamy Caesar Dressing--DIY Caesar Salad Dressing

Creamy Caesar Dressing–DIY Caesar Salad Dressing

My latest obsession is salad.  Crispy and crunchy vegetables with a drizzle of oil, and a splash of citrus or vinegar–what’s not to love?  Salads are a great way to get in a few servings of fresh vegetables in their raw state.  As much as I love salads, they can become a bit boring if you don’t mix things up a bit.  The easiest way to do that is to switch out the vegetables and the dressing.  I often make caesar salads with romaine lettuce, but sometimes I switch out the romaine and replace it with baby kale, or lacinto kale.  It makes for a hearty salad and an especially delicious twist to the standard caesar  salad, we are all used to.  I’ll post the recipe I use for the kale caesar another day, but today, I’m sharing my recipe for my favorite creamy caesar salad dressing.  It’s my go to dressing, when I crave a creamy salad dressing.

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Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: none

Ingredients:

1 clove of garlic pasted

2 Tablespoons of lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon of worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon of anchovy paste

2 large egg yolks

1/4 cup grape seed oil

5 teaspoons of olive oil

3/4 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese

black pepper to taste

Directions:  To a small bowl add the grated garlic and lemon juice, allow to sit for 10 minutes.  If you have a hand mixer like I do, add the lemon garlic mixture, (after it sits for 10 minutes), and the rest of the ingredients to a bowl and mix until the mixture thickens–about 1-2 minutes.

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Transfer to an air tight container and chill until ready to use.

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If you don’t have a hand mixer,  whisk worcestershire sauce, anchovies, and egg yolks into garlic/lemon juice mixture.



While whisking, drizzle grape seed oil and extra virgin olive oil into bowl in slow, steady stream until fully emulsified.


 Add 3/4 cup Parmesan and pepper to taste; whisk until incorporated:

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Lemon Infused Oil-How to Make Infused Cooking oil with a Slow cooker or Sous Vide circulator

 

Sous Vide/Slow cooker Lemon  Infused Oil

Sous Vide/Slow cooker Lemon Infused Oil

I’ve always wanted to try my hand at making infused oils.  I buy them all the time, but they are a little on the expensive side, so making my own seems like the better value.  Infused oils are a great way to layer flavor in almost anything, be it  a salad, warm or cold, or as a highlight to fish,  potatoes or a finish to a hummus.  The process is super simple–especially if you use a slow cooker or a immersion circulator.  I had originally planned to make this with my immersion circulator, but I didn’t want to exclude a lot of you from making it.  So I borrowed my mom’s crock pot, so that I could adapt this recipe to fit the needs of a slow cooker.  Sous vide and slower cookers have a lot in common, both cook food at low temperatures.  Immersion circulators offer the option of cooking at even lower temperatures than slow cookers.  If you have a slow cooker that has the option of allowing you to set exact temperatures then you’re ahead of the game.  If your slow cooker only has a low, medium, high, or warming settings, don’t fret, you can make this.  My mom’s slow cooker has a high, low and warm setting.  I went online and did some research on what exactly those setting are and found out that the low temperature setting on slow cookers is 200F, the high is 300F and warm is 145-165F.  I planned to set my circulator to 131F for 3 hours for this recipe, so the warm setting on my mom’s slow cooker was more than sufficient to match that. In fact it was sufficient enough to allow me to shave off a few minutes from the 3 hour cook time.  I did not, because I was busy doing other things while the oil was in the slow cooker, but if you’re anxious, you could take 15 minutes off of the cook time.  I made this lemon infused oil in both my immersion circulator and my moms slow cooker–set a timer for 3 hours for both.  The results were identical.  The lemon was nicely infused in both oils.  I used avocado oil, but this can be done with olive oil, grape seed oil, or any oil that you choose.

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Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 3 hours

Ingredients:

1 cup of avocado oil–or oil of your choice

peel of 2 medium sized lemons

Directions for slow cooker:  fill slow cooker with water and set to 131F,–if your slow cooker has an exact temperature setting– or set it on the warm setting–low if your pot doesn’t have a keep warm setting. Place oil in a bag, then add lemon peels–making sure to bend and twist them to release oils.

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If you’re using a ziploc bag place the bag in the slow cooker and seal using the water displacement method, then cook for 3 hours.  If you have a vacuum chamber sealer that allows you to seal liquids like I do, then seal the oil and lemon mixture in a bag for 10 seconds with a 1.5 second seal.

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Directions for Sous vide:  Fill a pot or container with water, then set the circulator to 131F and wait for the water to come to temperature. Meanwhile add the oil and lemon peels to a bag–making sure to bend and twist them to release oils.

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If you’re using a ziploc bag place the bag in the water bath and seal using the water displacement method, then cook for 3 hours.  If you have a vacuum chamber sealer that allows you to seal liquids like I do, then seal the oil and lemon mixture in a bag for 10 seconds with a 1.5 second seal.

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At the 3 hour mark, carefully remove the oil from the water–remembering that even at 131F-165F water is very hot.

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Transfer the oil to a clean container–removing all of the peels–you can leave one or two for decoration if you’d like.

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The lemon oil is ready to use. There are so many uses for this oil.  Drizzle a little on avocado toast, or on roast chicken–the uses are endless and always delicious!

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DIY Yogurt–How to Make Yogurt

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I have been wanting to make my own yogurt for a long while now. I have put off making it because I rarely buy milk, unless I want to make ice cream.  The truth is that we don’t drink milk, so there is rarely a need for it in our home.  I was in Whole Food’s the other day and went to pick up a jar of my favorite Bulgarian yogurt, when I thought–now is the time to make my own.  The process is super simple.  I did it with my Sous-vide machine, but you could do this in your slow cooker on low,  in a dehydrator set to 110F, or with just the light of your oven door.

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Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes Plus 6 hours of non cook time

Ingredients:

4 cups of full fat organic milk

4 tablespoons of full fat organic yogurt–make sure the yogurt that you choose has active live cultures.

Directions: Heat the milk in a stainless steel sauce pan,

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When the temperature reaches 110F turn off the fire and whisk in the yogurt.

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Transfer the mixture to a glass jar,

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Lightly cap it,

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If you aren’t using a slow cooker or a immersion circulator, place the jar in the oven and turn on the oven light and allow to culture over night.  If using a slow cooker, fill the cooker with water, place the jar inside and set the cooker to low–or 110F.

If using a circulator, fill a pan with enough water to cover the sides of the jar, set the circulator to 110F and add the jar–let sit for 4-6 hour’s or until the yogurt thickens to the consistency of store bought yogurt–the longer you let the yogurt sit the more tart and thick it becomes–so if you find that you like the consistency and taste at 4 hours then remove it from the heat then–if you like it more tart then let it go for longer–even over night–it’s really up to you, and your preference.

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Remove from circulator and refrigerate.  Once refrigerated, the yogurt will thicken a bit more, and the whey will separate from the yogurt, you can pour it off or mix it back into the yogurt.

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The yogurt will keep for up to 2 weeks.  If you plan on making another batch you can use this yogurt as a starter.

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imageHow easy was that?! I can’t believe I didn’t try this sooner!  The yogurt is delicious!

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How to make Bone Broth- with Chicken Feet

How to Make Bone Broth

How to Make Bone Broth

 

Now that the Holiday’s are over, I’m getting back to my normal routine.  We had such a busy holiday season that I’m not sure what my normal routine was. The last week I’ve spent both nursing a cold and searching for a new refrigerator.  Our current refrigerator is on it’s final leg, and before it gives out completely we need to replace it.  I was in Whole Foods the other day in search of some chicken backs in order to make stock to nurse my cold and my daughters and of course they were clean out.  The butcher was ready with an alternative–chicken feet! He said that they had just gotten a big shipment in, because people had been requesting them in order to make bone broth to fight off the flu and cold that is going around.  With no other options to available to make my broth, I left the store with 2 pounds of chicken feet.   I’ve actually only ever seen chicken feet on live chicken’s and occasionally in a silver tin when I go out with my girl friends to have dim sum.  I can’t say that in either instance that they’ve been an appetizing sight! This instance provided no exception!  It took me a while to even convince myself that I could handle cooking them.  However, I pushed through the ick factor and managed, to make a delicious bone broth for us to consume.  Not surprisingly making stock with chicken feet provides a nutrient rich broth.  Chicken feet have a lot of bones, and when cooked slowly or under pressure you’re able to extract most of the nutrients from those bones.  Also at $2.00/pound this is the most economical way to make broth that I’ve come across.

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Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 1.5-2 hours

 

Ingredients:

1 lb of organic chicken feet

1 cup of carrots diced

1 cup of celery diced

1 large onion diced

2 tablespoons of grape seed oil

7 cups of water

sea salt and black pepper to taste

Directions: Heat the oil over medium heat. Add in chicken feet and allow to brown (7-10 minutes).  Add in carrots, celery, and onion and allow to cook an additional 4 minutes.  Add in water and seal in pressure cooker for 1.5-2 hours.

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If you’re doing this stove stop, cook for a minimum of 2 hours on medium low heat, and add additional water as stock boils down.  After stock has cooked for 2 hours remove from heat, let cool for 10-15 minutes, then strain, removing all solids before transferring to an airtight container. This makes about 4-5 cups of stock.

How to make Bone Broth

How to make Bone Broth

So tell me, have you ever cooked or eaten chicken feet?  Although I’ve seen them while having Dim Sum with my friends, I have never tried them.  I just can’t bring myself to do it–at least not so far!

 

 

 

 

Preserved Lemon Salt–How to make Sour Salts

Preserved Lemon Sour Salt

Preserved Lemon Sour Salt

This blog has been a year in the making. Sour salts and the use of sour salts first caught my attention after reading an article in Bon Appetite Magazine about  how the chef at State Bird Provisions was using sour salts to brighten up dishes, and make use of an ingredients that would otherwise not get used.  His approach was simple, dehydrate something as simple as a preserved lemon, grind it into a powder, and boom you’ve created a flavorful salt without even trying.  After reading that article, I knew that I wanted to try making a preserved lemon salt.  I put it on my list of things to blog about, but never got around to it–it has been almost a year since I read that article! Of all the sour salts I have on my list to make, the preserved lemon sour salt has always intrigued me the most–that and a lime pickle salt–I love a good lime pickle! My first thought was to make my own preserved lemons and lime pickle.  But rather than make you all–and myself wait for me to make a preserved lemon, which would further prolong me making this sour salt, I thought  I’d just skip ahead a few steps and buy some preserved lemon’s from my local Whole Foods. Christmas is just a few weeks away, and since I’m giving these salts away as gifts I cant wait to make preserved lemons from scratch.

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Makes about 4 ounces of sour salt.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Drying time: 2hrs

Ingredients:

4 preserved lemons (sliced thinly)

Directions: Pre-heat oven to 150F if using an oven.  If using a dehydrator set it to 135F. Place preserved lemon slices evenly onto your dehydrator sheets, if using a stove,  spread over a wire rack set inside of a bake sheet.

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Bake or dehydrate  until hard and brittle, it took about 1.5 hours in my dehydrator. Once slices are hard and crisp, transfer to a spice mill/ blender and grind until powdery,

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Transfer the powder to an air tight container.

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You’ve just created a gourmet salt.  You can sprinkle this on chicken, and fish.  Add it to my North African Lamb Stew, or to some grilled lamb chops, the possibilities are endless.

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