Today is a BIG day: Marc and my 13th anniversary! (The equivalent of a junior high schooler, whose voice is starting to crack.) Thirteen years ago, Marc and I rented “Like Water for Chocolate.” (I’d already seen it twice in the theater and hoped he’d like it.) He did. We kissed. And the rest is history.
Pink Hawaiian salt in foreground, fine sea salt (back-left), coarse grey French salt (back-right)
Today also happens to be the beginning of a five-week fast, that among other things, requires us to consume absolutely no salt. It’s for a spiritual retreat I am taking at the end of March. There is quite a bit of preparation that goes into the retreat itself, but right now I’m in salt-fast mode. Everything you can think of has salt in it. Well, maybe not everything, but you’d be surprised. For a major foodie, being salt-free for over a month is big.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been making bread so that I could get get some practice before I HAD to make it. There are a couple decent salt-free breads on the market, Ezekiel and Alvarado Street, but I found this amazing recipe from a new bread book called “Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day” by Zoë Francois and Jeff Hertzberg. I heard Zoë and Jeff on The Splendid Table a few weeks back and am absolutely hooked. They have a great blog with Q & A between them and the home bakers that have tried out their recipes. Very cool resource.
Recently, I also found a recipe for paneer (Indian cheese) and tried it out last week. It was quite a hit and came out amazingly tasty (and salt-free).
So, to stock the fridge with some vegetarian food I can grab quickly, yesterday I made bread and baked up some tofu slices marinated in a meyer lemon juice, ginger, fresh garlic and sesame oil sauce. I have some ricotta (no-salt) that I made a few days ago too.
Straying from my usual predilection for seasonal produce, I bought some yellow bell peppers so that I can roast them. Yum. They make a great condiment, packing a ton of flavor…without salt. I also plan on making my own granola (with dates and banana) and another beloved condiment for salt-free sandwiches, caramelized onions.
The first time we did this, a few years ago, I was so unprepared, I suffered through many “meals” of unsalted peanuts, yogurt and clementine oranges. Not this time.
So, for the next few weeks, some of my recipes will be conspicuously salt-free. Some not so conspicuously (like an awesome Mexican chocolate pudding I plan on making again and writing up). And some salty recipes I just haven’t gotten around to writing yet, (but won’t be eating for a while).
Maybe you need to cut back on salt, or know someone who does? Maybe, you have a relative with hypertension, who needs some new recipes? Or maybe you’ll see a tempting recipe you just have to make and throw tons of salt into. Bon appetit!