Monday, May 3, 2021

May's Challenge: Building a Recipe Box, Dry Brining

Simple meal of wild salmon and mango salsa

I am a fan of May. The bitter cold of winter has loosened it's grip, we can still get snow but spring snow is different than winter snow. Flowers are in bloom! The bees are buzzing and pollenating. It begins to warm up, longer days, cool evenings. The heavier winter foods are being replaced by lighter foods. Grills come out. It is a month of transition in my neck of the woods.

With a new month, brings a new challenge! This month we are going to focus on cooking skills, building a recipe box, finding routines to bring simplicity to our lives.  

One of the struggles I uncovered and have set out to solve, too many today do not know how to cook. The generational skill of cooking has all but been lost. 

When it comes to food and cooking, I think there are some ideas we need to put to rest:
Every meal does not need to be a "foodgams".
Meals do not need to be complicated to be nutritious and give our bodies the basics building blocks they need to create us.
Simple meals with whole foods are amazing and can come together quickly.
As a general norm, items from a box with a long list of ingredients are not food.
Food is about nutrient density, intaking the building blocks for health, growth, repair, life, should be the focus.
When you learn some basic cooking skills, how to put flavors together, recipes aren't as important.

Take for example that piece of salmon in the picture.
I use a technique called dry brining. I use it on all meats, keeps them moist, juicy, tender and naturally flavors the meat with salt.
Dry brining in it's simplest terms is simply salting a piece of meat generously on all sides and allowing it to sit for a time. Simple and oh so tasty.
With the salmon, this day I put it with a simple mango salsa.
Other times I make a ginger, lime and honey mixture or a honey, paprika and lemon mixture and cook it in that.
I cook it on the stove in a hot pan and some butter. Sometimes I put in a splash of wine. Simple.
The base stays the same, dry brining. I bring flavors, added nutrients and fun with other whole foods. Bringing in acid, sour, sweet, spicy, savory, what ever floats your boat. 
This meal can be put together in about 20 minutes, depending on your knife skills which can be improved. The salmon does do better in the brine when it has sat longer, a couple of hours. When time is short, you can do it.

For this weeks challenge, try dry brining some meat, beef, chicken, pork, fish, turkey, they all lend nicely to a dry brine.

What you need:
Choice of protein
Kosher salt, preferably, any salt works

Salt the meat generously, you want to be able to see the salt. Be generous, meat loves salt. 
Allow the meat to sit, preferably on a wire rack until the surface is dry. Large cuts of meat can sit and do best in the fridge, uncovered overnight. Cook your meat to your liking.

This technique takes a few tries to get the hang of and how you like it, play with it. The only way you learn something new is to keep trying. 

Where your mitochondria goes your health goes.
All my best

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