When I'm not in the kitchen juicing, I'm cooking. When I'm not in the kitchen cooking, I'm crafting, but I'm still in the kitchen. While many women dream of having their own walk-in (closet), I too dream of my walk-in...refrigerator :)
Joking aside, the past two days have been spent doing as I call kitchen crafts; a hobby, a love, and a form of relaxation for me. This week, the artistry of salt and pepper.
Castaway the classics, and welcome herbed sea salt and red chili flakes - my colorful salt and pepper essentials. Plucking thyme is about as mundane as it comes. A chore to many, but I find nothing more demanding of my attention. Something so easily lost in today's world of rapid communication and transfer of information.
I hope you will stop and try it. An excellent accent to almost any dish as well as a fabulous gift.
Herbed Sea Salt
1/2 bunch Fresh Thyme
1-2 branches Fresh Rosemary
2 cup Sea Salt (French Grey is my favorite)
Directions: Pluck thyme, discard branches and set aside. Repeat with the rosemary. Very finely chop rosemary. Mix herbs in salt. Salt is ready to use immediately and best used within a year.
Nutritional note: Unlike table salt, sea salt is low in iodine. We need iodine for our bodies to perform thyroid hormone synthesis, but most Americans over consume iodine. Too much iodine can inhibit thyroid gland synthesis.
Red Chili Flakes
1-2 lbs of Fresh, Cayenne (Red) Chili Peppers
Directions: Turn oven on to the lowest temperature or warm setting. Place peppers on baking sheet or foil, covering the bottom entirely, but not heaping. Use additional baking sheets, if necessary. Dry the peppers in the oven for 12-18 hours until deep red in color and brittle to the touch.
Cool well. Discard the stems and reserve the rest of the chili, including seeds. Using a spice or coffee grinder, grind into flakes or fine powder depending on preference.
Cayenne chilies are HOT so use with caution, or welcome the spice!
Storing notes: Your chili flakes should be kept in a well-sealed glass jar, away from direct sunlight. Chili flakes will keep for up to one year.
Nutritional note: Cayenne pepper is known for its high levels of capsaicin, which is shown to be an effective pain reliever; as a digestive and antiulcer aid; and for its cardiovascular benefits. Additionally, capsaicin is the component responsible for cayenne's ability to increase basal metabolic rate and stimulate the burning of fat for energy.