Cook like a Pro with these Secret Holiday Tips

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Maybe you think you need an arsenal of spices, organic produce, and expensive ingredients to wow your friends and family this holiday season.  Not so, we say.  We’ll dish out the grainy details that others won’t tell you.  Top chefs know that a dash of the right kind of salt can turn your ho hum holiday grub into a restaurant quality meal.  The secret is in the flake!

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We were treated to a fabulous dinner at Morton Salt’s Next Door Chef: Chicago where we got to smell, touch, taste and see the difference that Morton Salt can make.  At this exclusive event, amateur kitchen dweller, Cara, was paired with an experienced chef, Jason Vincent of Chicago’s hot restaurant Giant, to show us how salt can change the blah to viola in your own kitchen.  Cara’s Wicker Park condo was transformed into an intimate pop up restaurant, simply named Cara’s.  There, we learned to ditch the table salt and shake up our salt types to alter a typical dish into a prized plate.

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Next Door Chef Cara, in her home. Copyright Photo Provided by Morton Salt.

Here are three Morton salts to master your meal:

  • Morton Kosher Salt – Chefs swear by kosher salt for it’s ability to dissolve quickly and its adaptability to any recipe.  Kosher salt is also easier to control than table salt, thus avoiding overly salty sadness.  The name comes from the fact that its crystals are good at drawing out moisture from meat, making it ideal for the koshering process.
  • Morton Coarse Sea Salt – Larger salt crystals make this salt the bomb for finishing dishes by added flavor and texture.  Get your chef on with this extra flare in your meals.
  • Morton Fine Sea Salt – The fine salt crystals melt away, making this salt the go-to for stocks, broths and sauces.

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Now let’s see how these salts stand up in the dinner service!  Recipes are linked throughout to get your holiday guide going.

For Craft Cocktail Aficionados:

Get this!  You can feel like a mixologist by crafting a simple cocktail and making it pop with saline solution.  A sweet and salty sip will bring tears of joy to your guests.

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Try the Salty Rita with gin, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, Combier and 2 drops of saline solution (boiled water with dissolved Morton Fine Sea Salt).  Garnish the rim with Morton Kosher Salt for a pre-sip crunch for your punch.

For a Tempting Turkey:

Tired of dried up turkey?  Tease out tenderness with a tantalizing turkey brined in Morton Kosher Salt.  Soaking your turkey in a dissolved Morton Kosher Salt and water solution (brining) will lock in moisture, kicking dehydrated meat to the curb.

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After brining, continue the turkey party with a Morton’s Kosher Salt rub enhanced with fragrant cardamom, cumin and dill to slap on before roasting.

No need to waste the turkey bones after the feast!  Make your own turkey stock with the remaining bones, carrots, onions, cloves and Morton Fine Sea Salt.

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For Veg Heads (who love all the sides!):

Here’s our top secret from Chef Jason Vincent.  Shh…you can impress your guests with this one.  Remember those nightmares of mushy boiled veggies from your childhood?  No more!!
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Chef Jason Vincent of Giant restaurant. Copyright Photo Provided by Morton Salt.

Soak vegetables high in H2O content in a salt water mix for couple hours before cooking to stave off limp and lame veggies.  Salting can also reduce bitterness in veggies like eggplant.  Monica voraciously ate a hearty veggie plate with crisp zucchini and a pop of Morton Coarse Sea Salt, invented especially for her by Chef Vincent.
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One of the most delectable parts of the dinner was the roasted then mashed sweet potatoes with Morton Kosher Salt.  The mix of salty and sweet truly pleased the palate.
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Chef Jason and Cara also served up a veggie dream of crispy brussel sprouts with Bosc pears, golden raisins, toasted walnuts, toasted almonds and pecorino cheese!  Sprinkle a touch of Morton Coarse Sea Salt to create a meatier texture, drool worthy to veg and non veg peeps alike.
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Just Desserts:

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Can you believe salt can create the ultimate chocolate chip cookie?  We finished our fantastic dinner at Cara’s by munching on chewy cookies with Morton Coarse Sea Salt that added a final satisfying crunch to close the meal in style.  No need for fancy pie when you can savor the warmth of a fresh baked classic.
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It’s Your Turn to be a Next Door Chef!

We hope we gave your some confidence in your kitchen!  Now you don’t have to feel salty this holiday season because you’ll be a seasoned pro with Morton Salt.

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Next Door Chef, Cara, and her kitchen team! Copyright Photo Provided by Morton Salt.

Go to MortonSalt.com/NextDoorChef to download your own hosting kit complete with recipes and directions to dominate dinner time.

If you host your own fancy version of “Next Door Chef” for Friendsgiving or wanna develop a recipe using Morton Kosher or Sea Salt, share the love (we need a lot of love right now) and post your photos using #NextDoorChef.

Oh and invite us too because we wanna continue our path to future chef-dom like Cara!  And last bite of news is do not forget to learn more about our dining experience on The Food Network commercial airing soon!

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*This is a sponsored post for Morton Salt.  We were financially compensated for eating yummy food and reviewing Morton Salt products.*

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