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.

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