Cracked Pepper Lemon Pasta

Penne is called for in this recipe, but you could use just about any type of short pasta or even spaghetti would probably work.

2 cups uncooked pasta
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, grated into a pulp
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fresh ground black pepper, to taste; salt, to taste1. Cook the pasta according to the packet directions.
2. Put in a strainer to drain and then use the pot to make the dressing.
3. Heat the olive oil and then throw in the garlic to cook for 15-20 seconds.
4. Put in the lemon juice and then take the pan off the heat.
5. Add in half the parmesan cheese and half the pepper, followed by half the pasta.
6. Stir well.
7. Add in the rest of the pasta, cheese and pepper as well as salt if desired.
8. Mix well again and serve immediately, topping with extra cheese and pepper if you want it.
9. Some chopped parsley or chives over top would be nice as well.

Cracked Pepper Lemon Pasta Recipe | Recipezaar

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Prime Rib Roast with Alaea Hawaiian Sea Salt

This delicious recipe comes from the folks at Artisan Salt Company  http://www.artisansalt.com/.  I haven’t made this receipt yet, but if you do, I’d sure love to hear from you about whether or not you like it, and what changes, if any, you made.

Prime Rib Roast with Alaea Hawaiian Sea Salt
Ingredient List:

Standing rib roast- 4-rib (about 7 to 8 1/2 pounds trimmed)

For salt rub
2 tablespoons AlaeaTM – Hawaiian Sea Salt (Coarse)
2 teaspoons crushed allspice berries
3 tablespoons coarse ground black peppercorns
3 tablespoons coarse ground white peppercorns
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

For sauce

2/3 cup dry red wine
2 cups beef broth
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon water
Garnish: fresh rosemary sprigs

Meat – Preparation:

Let rib roast stand at room temperature 1 1/2 hours. Preheat oven to 495ºF.

Salt Rub – Preparation:

Combine rub ingredients in a bowl and stir to form a paste.

Pat beef dry and sprinkle with Hawaiian Sea Salt http://www.artisansalt.com/alaea.html and pepper. In a roasting pan roast beef, ribs side down, 30 minutes. Transfer beef to a platter and discard remaining drippings.

Reduce oven temperature to 355ºF. Return beef to roasting pan, ribs side down, and spread with Sea Salt and pepper paste. Roast beef 1 to 1 1/4 hours more, or until a meat thermometer inserted in fleshy section registers 135 degreesF. for medium-rare meat.

Transfer beef to a cutting board and discard strings if necessary. Let beef stand, covered loosely, at least 25 minutes and up to 30 minutes before carving.

Wine Sauce – Preparation:

Skim fat from drippings in roasting pan. To pan add wine and deglaze over moderately high heat, scraping up brown bits. Boil mixture until reduced by about half and transfer to a saucepan. Add broth and boil 5 minutes.

In a small bowl dissolve cornstarch in Worcestershire sauce and water and add to pan in a stream, whisking. Bring sauce to a boil, whisking, and boil 1 minute. Season sauce with sea salt and pepper. Garnish rib roast and serve with sauce.

Serves 10.

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New salts are shaking things up: article from South Florida Sun-Sentinel

The following article was written by Steve Petusevsky, a freelance writer and the author of The Whole Foods Market Cookbook (Clarkson Potter, 2002).

Himalayan Pink, Sel Gris, Hiwa Black, Fumee de Sel and Flower of Bali. These are not rare tropical plants, but part of the growing trend of artisan salts. I noticed a blinding array of gourmet salts when I attended the Fancy Food show in New York City a few weeks ago.

Salt is no longer just the fine white seasoning that we pour from little shakers on our dinner tables. In the past, not many of us used sea salt or even kosher salt. Now it seems many cooks have switched to these salts for cooking, and they are commonplace in supermarkets.

Salt is a very enigmatic ingredient with a crucial role in world history, religion and global economics. It is an essential element in our human diets, for most animals and even plant species. Salt has been an important trade commodity for centuries. From European exploration of the Americas to the American Revolution, salt played a part in historical discoveries and battles. In 1864, Union forces fought a 36-hour battle for Saltsville, Va., site of an important salt processing plant.

Even in my own life, I have noticed that salt plays a critical role in religion. On the Jewish Sabbath, Jews dip their bread in salt as remembrance of past sacrifices.

Salt has been produced in the United States since the 1600s. The Colonial Americans and Indians boiled away the water to leave salt. During the 1800s, they evaporated salt water in pans using the hot sun to do the work. Now, most production is mechanically evaporated and purified.

And that’s where the world of small batch artisan salt comes from. I find many of the salts taste somewhat different than table salt. Each is from a different source and thus contains different elements and unique flavors. They are, however, no better for you than table salt.

Although they contain trace minerals that are not found in mined salt, the quantities are too small to make a difference.

Many people ask, how much salt is recommended these days: The recommended daily allowance for ordinary healthy people is 2,400 milligrams. A quarter teaspoon of salt contains about 600 milligrams. Keep in mind that salt occurs naturally in even fruits and vegetables, and in very high quantities in most processed foods.

On my dinner table, I prefer to use a salt mill and, for cooking, I use sea salt or kosher salt because the flavor is much less “salty.”

I enjoy trying the artisanal salts available in many gourmet stores and supermarkets. These salts can be used for seasoning anything. I like to keep the recipes simple and use the salt to flavor steamed or grilled vegetables, grilled or pan-sauteed tofu, boiled potatoes or basmati rice. Tossing salads with them at the last minute is the best way to get their flavor.

Some of my favorite salts are:

Sel Gris: This gray salt is natural and unrefined, high in minerals and nutrients and tastes a bit like the ocean. It’s a silver gray color and comes coarse or fine.

Fumee de Sel: Smoked salt, cold smoked in oak barrels that have been used for chardonnay wine making. Lightly smoky and great on salads.

Cyprus Black Lava: Mediterranean sea salt flakes combined with activated charcoal. A wonderful and dramatic black color, a good all-purpose seasoning salt.

Himalayan Pink: Harvested from ancient sea salt deposits in the Himalayan mountains. A pink color and lots of taste from mineral content.

Internet sources: http://www.seasalt.com, http://www.salttraders.com, http://www.amazon.com.


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Olive Oil

The Olive fruit is botanically classified as a drupe, similar to the peach or plum. Within the stone are one or two seeds.

Olives tend to have maximum oil content (about 20-30 percent of fresh weight) and greatest weight six to eight months after the blossoms appear. At that stage they are black and will continue to cling to the tree for several weeks. Fruits for oil extraction are allowed to mature, but, for processing as food, immature fruits are picked or shaken off the tree. Olives are measured by their number per liter of net content. One liter of net content can hold from 80 to 400 olives depending on the size

Olives are grown mainly for the production of olive oil. Fresh, unprocessed olives are inedible because of their extreme bitterness resulting from a glucoside that can be neutralized by treatments with a dilute alkali such as lye. Salt applications also dispel some of the bitterness. The processed fruit may be eaten either ripe or green.

 

Olive oil is classified into six grades:

1. EXTRA VIRGIN. It is virgin olive oil with an extremely fine taste and an acidity of not more than 1%. It comes from first pressings that meet the    ultimate standards.
2. VIRGIN OR SELECT. This oil has an exceptionally fine taste and its acidity level does not exceed 2%. It comes from first pressings that meet defined standards.
3.  PURE OR EDIBLE. This oil has a good taste and its acidity level is up to 1.5%. This is a mixture of refined and virgin or extra virgin.
4.  REFINED OR COMMERCIAL. Consists of lampante from which acid, color, and odor have been removed.

5.  LAMPANTE. High-acid oil, obtained from a second pressing of residual pulp with hot water.
6.  SULFIDE. Extracted with solvents and refined repeatedly.

Today, Spain and Italy are the world leaders in commercial olive oil production, followed by Greece. Other important olive-producing countries are Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco, Syria, and Portugal. Europe, with nearly 500 million olive trees, has more than three-quarters of the world’s cultivated olives, followed by Asia.

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Spanish Chicken – recipe using olives

Spanish Chicken

1 frying chicken, cut up
½ cup olive oil

½ cup chopped onion
¼ cup diced green pepper
1 cup uncooked rice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 28-oz can whole tomatoes (with liquid)
12 Garlic Olives Pitted
½ cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon basil
¼ teaspoon oregano

To Prepare Spanish Chicken
Brown chicken lightly in olive oil. Remove chicken from pan. Brown onion and green pepper in oil. Remove from pan. Fry rice in pan until golden in color, stirring frequently.

Add onion, green pepper, garlic, whole tomatoes, chicken broth and all seasonings to fried rice. Bring to a boil. Add browned chicken, cover tightly and simmer for 30 minutes until tender.

Serves 4

The garlic olives used in this recipe may be purchased at Olive Pit: http://www.olivepit.com/order/product.asp?product=225

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Varieties of Salt

With the popularity of cooking shows on TV, magazines dedicated to so many different types of cooking (Italian, Light, Gourmet, home-style, etc.) and the wealth of recipes on the internet, we are able to learn about and enjoy eating foods that are new and exciting. It’s become very common for stores to carry many varieties of salt. This provides the opportunity to every-day cooks to experiment with gourmet ingredients.

The first suggested change in salt is to use sea salt instead of table salt. Because it typically isn’t as heavily refined as other salts, it still contains traces of other minerals, including iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc and iodine. It’s economical (less that a penny a serving). It’s healthier and tastes better than plain table salt. A variety of salts provides a healthful way to add interest to food.

The following guide to salts is from SaltWorks ™. All these salts can be purchased direct from them online at http://www.saltworks.us/.

Pacific Sea Salt
Pacific Sea Salt is bright white and produced domestically. The extra coarse is suitable for grinding in salt mills, the coarse sea salt will shake out of our standard jar and the fine variety will work nicely in a home salt shaker.

French Gray Sea Salt
French Gray Sea Salt (Sel Gris) comes coarse or fine and is slightly moist. It is a mechanically produced version of Fleur de Sel, maybe not quite as nice and flowery as it’s hand crafted relative, but far more reasonable in price.

French Fleur De Sel Sea Salt
Fleur de Sel (Flower of the Salt). This hand raked and harvested salt has a long and rich history in French cooking. It is often called a finishing salt because it should be added at the very end of cooking to preserve its sweet, delicate flavor. Only 1 lb. of Fleur de Sel is harvested for every 80 lbs. of Sel Gris. If you need to have the very best, this is the salt for you. This artisan sea salt is comprised of “young” crystals that form naturally on the surface of salt evaporation ponds. They are hand harvested under specific weather conditions by traditional “Paludiers” (salt farmers). True Fleur de Sel comes from the Guérande region of France. Like fine wine regions, different areas within Guérande produce salts with their own unique flavors and aroma profiles. Uses: Ideal for salads, cooked fresh vegetables and grilled meats.

Kosher Style Coarse Flake Salt
If you only buy one salt this year make it this one. Kosher Flake salt has a long history and a great taste. The special shape of the flakes gives this salt the maximum of salt flavor with the minimum of salt used.

Black Salt
Other Names: Kala Namak, Sanchal

Black salt is an unrefined mineral salt. It is actually a pearly pinkish gray rather than black, and has a strong, sulfuric flavor. Uses: Use in authentic Indian cooking. Available in very fine or coarse grain.

Celtic Salt
Other Names: French Grey Sea Salt

Celtic salt refers to naturally moist salts harvested from the pristine Atlantic seawater off the coast of Brittany, France. These salts, which are rich in trace mineral content, are hand harvested using the Celtic method of wooden rakes allowing no metal to touch the salt. Celtic salts are available in coarse, stone ground fine and extra fine grain.

Coarse Salt
Other Names: Gos Sel, Sale Grosso

Coarse salt is a larger grained sea salt crystal. Most recipes calling for salt intend using finely ground salt, however, many professional chefs prefer cooking with coarse salt because they can easily measure it with their fingers. It is less moisture sensitive so it resists caking and is easily stored. Uses: Salt crusts on meat or fish, and flavoring for soups, stews and pasta.

Flake Salt
Other Names: Flaky Salt

Flake sea salt is a light crystal reminiscent of snowflakes. Seawaters are evaporated using the natural processes of sun and wind producing salt brine that is fed into an open evaporating pan. The brine is then slowly heated to the point where delicate pyramids shaped crystals of salt appear. The finished product is light, flaky sea salt.

French Sea Salt
French sea salts are harvested from pristine Atlantic seawater. Unlike most American Sea salts, they are usually unrefined, so they retain more of the trace minerals that naturally occur in seawater. These minerals include natural iodine. Uses: Ideal for salads, cooked fresh vegetables and grilled meat. They are available in coarse, stone ground fine and extra fine grain.

Grey Salt
Other Names: Sel Gris, Celtic Sea Salt

Grey Salt is a “moist” unrefined sea salt usually found on the coastal areas of France. Its light grey, almost light purple color comes from the clay found in the salt flats. The salt is collected by hand using traditional Celtic methods. Grey Salt has gained great fame in the mainstream culinary world in the last few years and is considered by many to be the best quality salt available. It is available in coarse, stone ground fine and extra fine grain.

Grinder Salt
Grinder salts are typically large dry crystals suitable to a salt mill or grinder. The white salt crystals are easy to grind in the mills and the lower moisture content allows the salt to flow through with little hassle. Uses: For flavoring foods at the table when the host determines that a finer, higher grade finishing salt is not required. Note: Always use a salt mill with a ceramic or plastic grinding mechanism. Metal, including stainless steel, will corrode and adversely flavor the salt.

Hawaiian Sea Salt
Other Names: Alaea, Alae, Hawaiian Red Salt

Alaea Sea Salt is a traditional Hawaiian table salt used to season and preserve. A natural mineral called “Alaea” (volcanic baked red clay) is added to enrich the salt with iron oxide. This natural additive is what gives the salt its distinctive pink color. The clay imparts a subtle flavor that is said to be mellower than regular sea salt. Uses: It is the traditional and authentic seasoning for native Hawaiian dishes such as Kalua Pig, Poke and Hawaiian Jerky. Also good on prime rib and pork loin. Hawaiian Sea Salt comes in fine and coarse grain.

Italian Sea Salt
Other Names: Sicilian Sea Salt, Sale Marino

Italian sea salt is produced from the low waters of the Mediterranean Sea along the coast of Sicily. It is a natural salt rich in minerals such as iodine, fluorine, magnesium and potassium with a much lower percentage of sodium chloride than regular table salt. The salt pans are filled with the seawater in the spring and left to evaporate relying on the heat of the Sicilian sun and strong African winds. Harvesting takes place once the water has evaporated and it is crushed and ground without further refining. These salts have a delicate taste and plenty of flavor without being too strong or salty. Uses: Highlight salads, finish roasts and sauces. Great as a garnish on bruschetta. Available in coarse and fine grain.

Organic Salt
Although salt is not certified organic by the same standards as botanicals, agriculture or livestock, there are at least three organizations that have set up rigorous guidelines for the production of salt. This includes ensuring the purity of the water, cleanliness of the salt beds and strict procedures on how the salt is harvested and packaged. These certifications include:
Nature & Progres – France
Bio-Gro – New Zealand
Soil Association Certified – Wales

Sea Salt
Other Names: Sal Del Mar, Sel De Mer, Sale Marino

Sea salt is a broad term that generally refers to unrefined salt derived directly from a living ocean or sea. It is harvested through channeling ocean water into large clay trays and allowing the sun and wind to evaporate it naturally. Manufacturers of sea salt typically do not refine sea salt as much as other kinds of salt, so it still contains traces of other minerals, including iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc and iodine. Proponents of sea salt rave about its bright, pure, clean flavor, and about the subtleties lent to it by these other trace minerals. Some of the most common sources for sea salt include the Mediterranean Sea, the North Sea, and the Atlantic Ocean (particularly in France, on the coast of Brittany). Sea salt is thought to be healthier and more flavorful that traditional table salt. Available in coarse, fine & extra fine grain size.

Smoked Sea Salt
Smoked Sea Salts are a relatively new and exciting gourmet salt in the US! They are naturally smoked over real wood fires to infuse the salt crystals with 100% natural smoke flavor. Smoked Sea Salts add a unique flavor to a wide range of dishes including roasts, chicken, salads and sandwiches. Unlike artificially infused smoke flavored salts all of our smoked sea salts are naturally smoked. Uses: Great when grilling or oven roasting. This is a must when cooking Salmon. Also adds an authentic smoke house flavor to soups, salads, pasta and sandwiches. Available in coarse grain size

Table Salt
Table salt is the most common kind of salt found in the average kitchen. It usually comes from salt mines and once it’s mined, it is refined and most minerals are removed from it until it is pure sodium chloride. Most table salt is available either plain or iodized. American salt manufacturers began iodizing salt in the 1920’s, in cooperation with the government, after people in some parts of the country were found to be suffering from goiter, an enlargement of the thyroid gland caused by an easily-preventable iodine deficiency. People require less than 225 micrograms of iodine a day. Seafood as well as sea salt contains iodine naturally and the supplement is unnecessary if there are sufficient quantities of either in one’s diet. Note: Natural sea salt is a healthy replacement for ordinary table salt.


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Varieties of Olives

Following is a guide to the many types of olives now readily available. The diversity of size and flavor, as well as the possibilities of use in various dishes is exciting. This information has been provided by Whole Foods Market.

Varieties of Olives

In general, olive types get their distinctive qualities based on their genetics, the conditions of their origin and how they are cured, resulting in hundreds of varieties. Factor in the common practices of marinating, seasoning and stuffing and the menu of olives grows infinitely! Here are some of our favorites:
Arbequinas: A popular Spanish olive, small, crisp texture, slightly bitter bite.
Beldi: A small, fruity olive from Morocco. Brine-cured, it is often used in olive mixes and in cooking.
Bitetto
: Named for the Southern Italian town from where olives have been grown since Biblical times, Bitetto Olives are sweeter than most. They bear the regional qualities of delicate fruitiness and almond tones.
Cerignola: Harvested in Cerignola, Italy, just north of Bari, in the Puglia region. These green olives are extremely meaty, giant-sized Italian olives. The large size and deep, bright green color are the Cerignola’s most distinguishing qualities. A milder, meaty taste makes them a satisfying appetizer, and an impressive accompaniment to any antipasto. They’re also good for stuffing with garlic, cheese, peppers, capers, anchovies, tuna or almonds.
Gaeta: A small, Italian olive that packs a salty, flavorful punch. When brine-cured, Gaetas are smooth and a brownish-purple color. They are fun to snack on but difficult to pit for use in recipes.
Halkidiki: A tangy green olive grown only on Greece’s Halkidiki peninsula. Often served as an appetizer with wine and feta cheese.
Kalamata: From the Peloponnese peninsula of Greece, these popular purple-black olives are cured in a red wine vinegar brine to create their rich and smoky flavors. The classic choice for Greek salads, olive bread, pizza, puttanesca or any hearty fare.
Manzanilla: This is the familiar medium-sized green olive from Spain. Brine cured, they offer a refreshing crispness and a slight smoky flavor. Manzanilla olives are commonly grown in California as well as Spain. Traditionally, they are stuffed with sweet peppers (pimientos), but are also delicious plain.
Mt. Athos Green Olives with Kritamo: Green olives paired with kritamo, also known as rock samphire, a wild herb that grows on the rocky shoreline of Crete.
Niçoise: These famed tiny, meaty olives from Nice, France, are tree-ripened to create their intensely rich flavor. Toss with anchovies, potatoes, green beans, tuna and Dijon mustard vinaigrette for the summer classic, Salade Niçoise.
Nyon: A small, jet black, shiny variety from southern France, Nyon olives have a mild, salty bitterness. They are usually dry-cured and packed in a little olive oil, which makes them easy to crack and pit
Picholine: These French green olives are wonderfully crisp and crunchy, with a refreshingly tart flavor, similar to Granny Smith apples. Simple and elegant, they make perfect hors d’oeuvres for holiday gatherings.
Sevillano: A giant, pale green Spanish olive, often grown in California. The most common green olive in the U.S., often sold stuffed with the sweet peppers called pimientos. Mild and crisp.

Whole Foods Market : Products : Guide to Olives

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