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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Secret Stash Sea Salts

Secret Stash salts

Remember the days when salt meant only the fine white stuff that poured from the blue cylinder? When I was a kid, I had never heard of sea salt, much less tasted sea salt flavored with coconut marsala.

Thanks goodness I'm not a kid anymore.

A few months ago, a friend walked into our home and stuffed my hands with little jars of colored salts. "Here. You have to try these!" In the midst of welcoming people, I nodded and smiled, looking askance at what appeared to be specimen jars filled with odd flavors. The salts were shoved to the back of the counter by the pile of arriving food and people's drinks splayed haphazardly about the kitchen. It was only days later that I remembered the salts.

"Bloody Mary?" I said to the Chef.
"That sounds weird," he harumphed. (He has a sort of stubborn wall up about new food sometimes, which I can tumble down, eventually. And it also allows me to use harumph as a verb.)
"Yeah, but think about it. Tomato, celery, cayenne pepper. You love those."
"Hm."

A few days later, I opened the Nicoise olive salt. Give me an olive, any time. I was poaching eggs for breakfast. At the last moment, I crushed some of the salt onto my eggs, leaving the Chef's bare. He noticed, right away.
"Want a taste of mine?"
He loved it. So did I.

Every salt in the Secret Stash collection, at least the ones we have tried, brings a surprise kick to the foods we make, a sort of ohhhhhh! in the mouth. That's because they're not flavored salts. They're infused with real food: vanilla beans; lemon zest; dried lavender; cumin; fresh pineapple juice; ground cardamom. Because the folks who make these salts are dedicated to doing this right, they don't use any preservatives or un-recognizeable ingredients. And no anti-caking agents, which is good news for those of us who are gluten-free. These are safe.

The people behind Secret Stash? Two folks, partners who worked in a Seattle restaurant that has now folded. Even in these economic times, they are trying hard to do what they love, live a life of food, and make a few moments taste better. Hm. Sounds like someone else I know. Of course we like them.

But the salts really are the story. The Chef ended up liking the Bloody Mary salt, after all. We've sprinkled a bit of vanilla salt on top of creme brulees for a surprising bite. I like lavender rosemary salt and jasmine rice. But I always go back to the nicoise olive, especially on the top of bread I've baked, just before pulling it out of the oven.

Food just tastes better with salt.


For those of you in Seattle, the Secret Stash folks have a stand at the Sunday Ballard farmers' market. If you're not from around here, then you can order on their website.

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8 Comments:

Blogger Allison the Meep said...

These sound so good. I've been eyeballing some flavored salt at Whole Foods lately, and now I need to buy some.

March 4, 2009 at 8:02 AM  
Anonymous Elizabeth said...

I recently purchased an Alder Wood Smoked Sea Salt in the bulk spice aisle - both the aroma and the flavor were remarkable. It's amazing what a difference good salt can make. I'll be sure to check out the Secret Stash website.

March 4, 2009 at 9:04 AM  
Blogger nicole said...

I would love some of that lavender-rosemary! It sounds delicious (also, I have a wee obsession with lavender ...).

March 4, 2009 at 9:32 AM  
Anonymous Angela@SpinachTiger said...

I know the olive would be my choice also. Right now I'm crazy about grey sea salt on fruit on anything.

March 4, 2009 at 10:29 AM  
Blogger Jenn Sutherland said...

Mmmm...the olive salt sounds divine, especially on fresh baked bread! And the bloody mary salt on scrabled eggs sound excellent as well. I think I'll have to order a few salts. Love supporting good folks making good things.

March 4, 2009 at 6:03 PM  
Blogger emie said...

i'm definitely more of a savory flavor kind of girl, and when something doesn't cut it (i.e. way too bland for my taste buds), i always end up sprinkling on a bunch of salt. but, i'm always scared of what kind of preservatives go into packaged foods and spices, so it's great to know that a local company is looking out for our best interest, and providing us with not only things that are good for us, but things that we can love.

with the extra ingredients in these salts, it sounds like i won't have to be pouring on salt, in order to get more flavor. i can't wait to go to their market stall!

ps: thanks, shauna, for sharing all of your special foods with us. if it were me, i'd be hoarding them to myself!

March 4, 2009 at 6:21 PM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

Please note!

The soy flavored salt contains wheat. I confirmed this by email with the company. (The other salts are made on shared equipment but only on separate days of the week. They state the equipment is "thoroughly cleaned" in between.)

March 11, 2009 at 5:54 PM  
Blogger KCitN said...

I can't recommend Secret Stash Salts enough. I got their olive salt at a craft fair and the three weeks it lasted were the best of my life.

September 28, 2009 at 12:12 PM  

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