Always Aubrey

Friday, March 24, 2017

Morton Salt's Next Door Chef: Nashville!

Do you remember the teaser back in November when I attended Morton Salt's Next Door Chef: Nashville?  Morton Salt partnered with local chef Karl Worley to teach a Nashville local, Travis, how to cook... and then they turned his home and backyard into a pop-up restaurant!  On March 20th, the video from the event at "Indie's Kitchen", named after Travis's daughter, went live, and I couldn't be happier to share the big reveal.

photo courtesy of Morton

Upon arrival at Travis & wife Claire's house, we were truly transported to a beautiful outdoor restaurant!  I loved all of the spring flowers, and the entire menu was tied around springtime cooking, perfect for this time of year.

We started with a cocktail hour, featuring a Lemon Spring Tea cocktail.  The lemons preserved in Morton Kosher Salt really enhanced the flavor of the drink!  Super refreshing for spring as the weather get warmer, and you know Southerners can't live without their tea.  You can find the recipe *here*.

As for the meal, for me it was more than just eating the amazing food that Travis learned to make.  It was about noticing to the subtle flavors enhanced by different types of salt!  I never thought about the salt that enhances pimento cheese; Chef Karl recommended Morton Fine Sea Salt, which easily blends and dissolves for consistent seasoning.  (Find the pimento cheese recipe *here*.)

If you've been using table salt in all of your cooking, you need to check out their tips and recipes.   Kosher salt, coarse sea salt, and fine sea salt all have the ability to bring out the flavor in your home-cooked meals.  All of the dishes we tried, from cocktails to main course to dessert, were transformed by the proper use of various types of salt.

A few lessons I learned at the dinner... 
  • Morton Kosher Salt is the preferred salt of many chefs because it is easy to control for perfectly seasoned food.  It's the salt that I keep in my salt keeper by the stove.
  • Morton Coarse Sea Salt adds a visual "pop" that you can see and taste.  I like to sprinkle a little bit of this on top of warm brownies, or caramel ice cream.  I think it's great for a little contrast with sweet desserts.
  • Morton Fine Sea Salt is perfect for blending while cooking.  The crystals dissolve quickly, which means it's the best for marinades, soups, sauces, and dressings.  I can't tell you the number of times I've cooked a dish where I realized too late that I didn't mix well enough for the larger salt crystals to dissolve!

The dish that surprised me the most?  The Salt Roasted Beet Salad.  I'm not a fan of beets!  But these didn't have all of that beet juice runoff I'm used to seeing, because Chef Karl says the Morton Kosher salt absorbs it during roasting.  I was much happier with the flavor and taste of these beets as a result.

Salt Roasted Beet Salad

The Chicken Country Captain with curry, served over cheesy grits, was probably my favorite dish of them all.  There were so many great flavors, all in one perfect dish.

Chicken Country Captain

I didn't get a great picture of dessert, because I devoured it!  So I had to steal one from the professional photographer.  But I think I could make this Biscuit Strawberry Shortcake at home... using the *recipe* provided of course!

photo courtesy of Morton

Travis and Claire (and baby Indie!) were so brave to open their home to a bunch of strangers like us... it was so much fun!  I'm sure it has inspired them to turn to their kitchen for well-seasoned meals more often.

You can go to to see more from our meal and learn how you can host your own Next Door Chef with the same recipes we had at our event.

photo courtesy of Morton

Morton Salt has shared that they will be releasing video and recipes from their third Next Door Chef, in New Orleans, this summer. Stay tuned to the website for some amazing grilling inspiration.

Thank you to Morton Salt for sponsoring this event and blog post!
The images (unless noted), text, and opinions expressed are all my own.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Stitch Fix: 14th Fix

Disclosure:  I paid for my own Stitch Fix; all opinions are my own.  If you're interested in trying Stitch Fix, I'd love for you to use my referral link so I can get $25 towards my next Fix!

Even though I only kept one items from my last Fix, I enjoyed it so much that I moved my next box up to March!  This box was a tough one, because there was one item I didn't love, and at least one that I liked but was on the fence about keeping.  Here's how it played out.

Skies Are Blue Verne Tie Sleeve Top
First, my stylist hit me with my favorite color, mustard yellow, with the Skies Are Blue Verne Tie Sleeve Top.  The picture isn't fantastic, but I really liked the "peasant" look of it for an easy weekend shirt.  I could wear it for work too.  I liked this one a lot, not love, but strong like.

I had another "strong like" moment with the Pixley Lagio Mixed Material Top.  I thought the floral was a little abstract, but I realized it would be great under a lot of my cardigans and jackets.  I also loved the comfortable back panel, super soft!  It was a maybe for me...

The photo isn't the most flattering, but I needed a true red blazer and this Kensie Rebekah Mini Checkered Crepe jacket fit the bill.  Patriotic colors always work for me, considering all of the DAR and Veterans events that I attend.  Plus, perfect for office attire too!  I pegged this as a keeper early on.

The only item I didn't love in this Fix was this French Grey Rosanna Neck Tie Detail dress. It was too short for my preference, and very plain.  I decided I would only keep it if I kept the whole box.  Meh.

I was on the fence about collarless jackets.  But this color, again, patriotic and on trend, and I loved the feel and fit.  41Hawthorn Dorie Stretch Collarless Blazer, for the win.

 This is the point where you might be guessing that I kept the whole box.  Yep.  Basically, the entire box was $352, but if I kept the entire box, it came to $264.  I wanted to keep 4 of the 5 items, so keeping the whole box made sense, because it would "cost" me money to return a single item.  Even though I really liked the tops versus love, I know they'll be worn.  If not, I'll resell them on Poshmark.

I don't plan on having another fix until June, so if I buy more for my closet, I'll be shopping for myself!

Past Stitch Fix Reviews
(all reviews, in reverse order)

Disclosure:  I paid for my own Stitch Fix; all opinions are my own.  If you're interested in trying Stitch Fix, I'd love for you to use my referral link so I can get $25 towards my next Fix!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Modern Map Art Pillow

I received a free Modern Map Art pillow in exchange for my honest review.
The images, text, and opinions expressed are my own.

The folks at Modern Map Art e-mailed me to let me know that they had posters of the street grid and map of my hometown of Bloomington, Indiana.  Modern Map Art was created last year, inspired by world travel during the founders honeymoon.  They turn city street maps and trail maps into wall art and more.

While some of the bigger city maps would make fantastic wall art, I wasn't ready to dedicate that much wall space to a Btown poster yet.  So I opted for something that remind me of home, but adds a little pop to my living room: a pillow!

The pillow is soft, and of good quality.  It also has a zipper for washing.  It's probably not as firm of a pillow as I would expect for the $40 price tag, but you could also take the map cover off and place it over a better pillow if you want.  I don't mind paying more for something unique and special, individually printed and made in the USA.

It's not always easy being so far from family, but little things like this pillow can be subtle happy reminders of home.  I can pick out on the pillow where I worked in high school, where my business school is, where my mother works.  It's a nice little touch of Btown!

If you had a map pillow, what city would you feature?

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