Homemade Garlic Herb Salt [VIDEO]

Call me crazy, but I’ve decided that this year is the year of handmade gifts. I’m doing culinary gifts, body care gifts, and possibly even a few others that I haven’t quite ironed out yet. I’m excited to share ALL of them with you as I complete them, and today will be the first one of the bunch. 

homemade garlic herb salt recipe

Before we get started, I have to give credit where credit is due. I decided to try this homemade garlic herb salt concoction after listening to a Splendid Table episode that featured one of the Tuscan variety. While today I’ll feature some of the herbs Sally Schneider shares in her recipe, the personalization of this herb salt is as endless as the spices in your fridge or in your garden. You can really run wild with the possibilities. 

Proportions

The most fascinating thing about this herb salt concoction is the proportions. I know, it already doesn’t sound that fascinating. But seriously, you really don’t use a lot of salt when making this salt. You use a ton of garlic and as much as three times as many fresh herbs as salt in whatever amount you choose to make. You pack loads of flavor into this mixture without relying on the salt too terribly much — great if you’re watching your salt intake or trying to add more herbs and spices into your diet.
homemade garlic herb salt recipe

If you don’t often listen to Splendid Table (which you definitely should check out!), one of the things I love about it is that the guests (and the host) often promote what I like to call intuitive cooking. They encourage people to add ingredients to taste, a little of this, a little of that, using rough estimates and finding the right combination on your own. I find that style of cooking extremely empowering. It’s always been the way I’ve cooked (and the way my mom does), and making these herb salts was a pretty similar experience. I just tried to stick to the 3 to 1 proportion.

For those who really need a recipe though, there’s a great one right on the Splendid Table episode page. (linked under the video)

 

Check out Splendid Table

 

How to Make and Store Your Own Fresh Sweet Potato Puree

Happy New Year! 

It’s been a wonderful, relatively relaxing holiday season. I took a little break from the computer the last few days to rest my hand and my mind, and it’s been quite revitalizing. I’m happy to share that my new service offerings are getting some attention from interested readers, and that this year is already promising to be an exciting ride! If you’re on the fence about starting a wellness program with me, consider the free intro call to get an idea of what I do and how I might be able to help you achieve your goals, and we can take it from there. Simply send me a message from the Contact Me page to inquire, and I’ll get right back to you. 

Sweet Potato Puree

In this, my first post of 2015, I’m going to share a very simple set of instructions for creating an ingredient that often comes in a can — Sweet Potato Puree. I like making sweet potato puree myself, because I’m avoiding the BPA from the cans, and I’m also controlling how long it cooks and what varieties of sweet potatoes I use. (You’d be surprised at how many you can find!) It also just tastes better fresh, as most things do.

The most common use of sweet potato puree is probably to make pie around the holidays, but there are really quite a few delicious things you can do with this simple raw ingredient. This week and next, I’ll share an absolutely decadent Sweet Potato Soup and a simply delicious Sweet Potato Pound Cake, but those two examples are just the beginning. Sweet potato puree works great in smoothies, baking, gluten-free pancakes, and in casseroles. It works as a thickener in some recipes, and it’s even delicious as a snack mixed with Greek yogurt, chopped pecans, and a touch of maple syrup. Try it! It’s delicious. 

You Say Potato, I Say… 

Before we go any further, let’s clear up the difference between a sweet potato and a yam. It’s commonly thought that the root with bright orange flesh eaten around the holidays is called a yam. It’s not. It’s a sweet potato. Yes, a yam is a type of sweet potato, but very few true yams are sold in the US, according to the sweet potato experts over at North Carolina Sweet Potatoes. They get into the nitty gritty, so feel free to check out all the differences between a yam and a sweet potato there. An important distinction is that eating a raw sweet potato is perfectly harmless while eating a raw yam is bad news. 

I’m only going into this because I’ve been wrong about it in the past and was once again second-guessing my sweet potato taxonomy as I was preparing this entry. So there it is. In truth, this distinction in name doesn’t really matter all that much here in the US unless someone tries to correct you, in which case you can refer them to this post and tell them to shut their sweet potato pie hole. Aren’t you glad we cleared this up? I know I yam. 

homemade sweet potato puree

Roasting the Sweet Potatoes

The cooking step for making this puree could go a few different ways. The easiest way is to rinse the whole sweet potato, poke a few holes in it, wrap it in foil, and bake it for at least an hour. Then simply scrape the meat out, discard the skin, and pound out as I’ll show you in a moment.

Because my potatoes were peeled for a recipe that didn’t end up happening, I was left with 2 giant peeled potatoes that would have been a mess to bake skinless. This is why I roasted. As a side note, I thought it might take less time to roast this way, but in the end, it didn’t really. Here’s how I did it.

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Chop two large peeled sweet potatoes into equal-sized chunks
  3. Fill two loaf pans or one small deep pan (not a cookie sheet) with the chunks 
  4. Rinse and drain, then add in about an inch of water in each pan
  5. Scoop small amounts of coconut oil out of the jar with a spoon and place them evenly along the top of the potatoes
  6. Place in the oven and roast for about 30 minutes
  7. Remove the pans from the oven and stir, making sure the potatoes that were on the top are now on the bottom and vice versa to avoid any of them drying out 
  8. Check the bottom of the pan to make sure nothing is getting brown or burnt. If so, add a bit more water to the bottom.
  9. Place back in the oven and roast for another 30 minutes 
  10. Potatoes are done when a fork easily mashes the pieces

homemade sweet potato puree

Puree

For some reason, I wanted to complete this project without using my stove. But more importantly, my main goal was to end up with pure sweet potatoes, not watered-down mush that would be hard to store. The desire to skip the stove and not end up with a “baby food” consistency eliminated the immersion blender and brought out the kitchen mallet! The following instructions are the next steps whether you bake the potatoes whole or roast them in cubes. The puree should keep in your fridge for up to 3 months.

  1. Once the potatoes have cooled to room temperature, transfer them to a gallon sized freezer bag (I only needed one for 2 giant sweet potatoes, but just make sure you have enough room to work; otherwise split it into two bags)
  2. Zip the bag up leaving just about an inch or two of the bag open to allow for air to escape
  3. Using the flat side of a kitchen mallet, hammer out the potatoes until they become one smooth consistency
  4. If you’d like to portion out the potatoes into 1 cup servings, do so with smaller freezer bags, otherwise it works to freeze it all together
  5. Label with the date and freeze in the flattened state for a quick defrost when you’re ready to use it

NEXT UP: Sweet Potato Soup

Get excited for this decadent, warming soup that’s sweet all on its own. I didn’t add even a drop of maple syrup, and I couldn’t believe my taste buds! See you Friday!home made sweet potato puree

[VIDEO] Instant Homemade Coconut Mayonnaise

I’m so excited to share my first how-to video with you at the end of this post!

I have to admit that I’ve spent the vast majority of my life hating mayonnaise. It’s only been with the semi-recent trend of “aioli” on menus in nicer restaurants that I’ve learned to like it.

Aioli is just fancy mayonnaise after all.

I’ve started to occasionally use flavored mayonnaise (like lemon or wasabi) in certain salad dressings and sauces, and especially in dipping sauces for steamed crab and artichoke, but the plain-Jane mayo in the stores has always still repulsed me a bit, even if I only plan to mix it into something else. On my trips down the aisles of my local grocer, I’ve noticed that the mayonnaise on the shelves is chalk-full of industrial oils like canola and soy, and even those claiming to be superior for your health contained refined seed oils. There are a few brands out there that use olive oil, but even then, it’s refined olive oil and often accompanied by a less desirable oil in the blend.

Aside from the obvious problems with corn and soy, the issue I have with store-bought mayonnaise is not only with quality, but with its shelf life and potential rancidity of the oils. Store-bought mayo lasts forever unopened on the shelf and then almost as long in the fridge. I don’t really want to eat anything that lasts forever (except raw honey). The consumer also can’t control for the quality of eggs or the extraction process of the oil that’s used in store-bought mayonnaise. I happen to like to control as many variables as possible when it comes to my own kitchen and what I stock for my family, so…

I decided to make my own mayonnaise – one that would pass my own health and wellness test:

  1. Would I be able to cook with this mayo without destroying the healthy components or turning the oil rancid?
  2. Would this mayo contain healthy fats that haven’t been overly heated or deodorized using toxic chemicals?
  3. Would this mayo have a mild enough flavor that I could use it on just about anything?

The one oil that passed this test was coconut oil. I used extra virgin organic coconut oil, gently melted just enough for it to change from solid to liquid. It can’t be too hot, because it could accidentally cook some of the egg when you drop it in. We definitely don’t want that, so just warm it enough that it liquifies.

 

Tools:

You need exactly two tools to make this mayo (well, three if you count the knife to cut the lemon before squeezing). One of them is a wide-mouthed jar. Easy enough, but this is not negotiable. It doesn’t work in a bowl. Needs to be a jar or some sort of cylinder with a bottom and open top that’s wide enough to fit the head of the immersion blender inside.

And that’s the second thing: you MUST have an immersion blender. It’s a must. I tried making this in a regular blender and it was liquid disaster — even after a solid minute of blending. If you don’t have an immersion blender, I’m making an appeal to you to get yourself a good one. They’re great for blended soups, cauliflower mash, and electric mixing. They also work great for fatty coffee.

The one I have has held up for a long time. It’s a single-speed, and I’ve lost the attachment for whisking, so I’m ready for an upgrade. This is the one I plan on getting. I’m a big fan of KitchenAid products, and this one is sweet. If you’re in the market for a new, inexpensive kitchen gadget, consider getting an immersion blender.immersion blender coconut mayonnaise

 

There are definitely cheaper options (I’ve even seen some as low as $16 without the attachments), so if you want to go the cheaper route, give it a try. I spent about $40 on the one I use in this video, and it’s lasted for literally almost 10 years — and it still works just fine. For a few bucks more, you can get the 3-speeds and more attachments. 

Ok, on to the show … Watch the magic unfold in mere seconds with my first-ever how-to video!

Homemade Coconut Mayonnaise


FTC DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive monetary compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. All opinions are my own.

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