It’s OFFICIALLY been spring time for almost a month now!
The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming, and the patios are hopping. Glory, glory hallelujah!
I’ve been dreaming up my ideal spring dinner party for months. Which has actually required zero effort because I just plan on incorporating all the details from the most perfect spring alfresco dinner I experienced last November.
That’s right. Spring in November thanks to Morton Salt.
On Monday, March 20th, the video from my meal at Morton Salt’s Next Door Chef: Nashville event went live. As you may remember from my previous post, I had the opportunity to enjoy a phenomenal meal prepared by local Nashville resident, Travis Nunn, who was coached by acclaimed local chef, Karl Worley.
BISCUIT LOVE IN THE HOUSE, FOLKS!!
If you’ve been living on Mars for the last couple of years, Biscuit Love, located in the Gulch neighborhood of Nashville, is an amazing restaurant that has been recognized as one of the best Southern brunches in the country.
Listen to me closely. Go to Biscuit Love, order the Bonuts, the Princess and a side of Chronic Bacon. If you don’t know, now you know.
How did Travis Nunn get chosen for this honor, you may ask?
Well, Travis is a traveling full-time musician, husband to Claire and father to daughter, Indie. With a full work and family life, he, understandably, hasn’t had a lot of time to dedicate to the art of cooking but has always appreciated the delicious meals Claire made sure he came home to. Relatable, right?
But, Travis being the obvious genius he is, realized that food is the universal language of love and decided that, in order to really show his appreciation to his wife and daughter, he would flip the script and completely up his cooking game.
To help Travis in this endeavor, Morton paired Travis with Chef Worley to not only learn the basics of cooking, but how the proper use of salt instantly upgrades any meal to perfection.
Together, they created a menu Travis could easily prepare as Morton transformed his home into a fully decorated pop-up restaurant dubbed “Indie’s Kitchen,”—named after Travis’s daughter—where they served an amazing meal that blew his family – AND ME – away.
Now, not only can Travis bust out some delicious meals in the kitchen, he can also grow and share this lifelong skill with his sweet baby girl. And that’s what cooking is all about, folks. Spreading the love.
This was Morton Salt’s second Next Door Chef event and was tied around Spring-time cooking. Basically, the perfect menu to whip up right now for all those you love!
Word on the street is, the next stop for Next Door Chef is New Orleans and Morton Salt will be releasing video and recipes from the third installment this summer. I’m currently scheming how to finagle my way into that dinner situation.
Stay tuned to the website for some amazing summer cooking and grilling inspiration coming out of the Nola event and if you haven’t checked out the recipes from the first Next Door Chef event in Chicago, get down on that!
It’s not a real party until the wine starts flowing and somebody spikes the iced tea, amiright?!
And YES, that iced tea was spiked. And very, very delicious. Recipe coming at ya right here.
The details, y’all. I can’t stop with them. Honestly, I think I walked around for the first thirty minutes, not speaking to anyone, and just touched everything and whispered “OhHOHohh, you’re coming home with me.”
There was even a songstress serenading us throughout the evening! Magic, I tell you. All magic.
But let’s get to the most important part and why, I can only assume, most of you have bopped on over to my little blog.
I can tell you two things, for certain, about this dinner.
- There was not one. single. morsel. left on any of my plates.
- I now know salt is a game changer and I’ve been doing it wrong my whole life. (THANKS FOR NOTHING, MOM!)
I wrote about the importance of utilizing different kinds of salts in this post, so I won’t delve to deep with it here. But, rule of thumb:
- Morton Kosher Salt
- Easy to control
- Preferred salt of chefs
- Morton Coarse Sea Salt
- Adds a “pop” that your guests can see and taste
- Provide contrasting texture
- Morton Fine Sea Salt
- Great for blending in all cooking
- Crystals dissolve quickly, making them perfect for marinades, soups, sauces and dressings
The first course was Pimento Cheese Spread with Twice-Baked Crackers. Chef Worley used Morton Fine Sea Salt in the cheese spread and made his own buttery, salty crackers by baking unsalted Saltines with butter and Morton Coarse Sea Salt.
They had me at “cheese” and I will never eat Saltines another way again.
The second course was a beautiful Salt Roasted Beet Salad. Chef Worley roasted the beets on a bed of Morton Kosher Salt and then, once roasted, tossed the beets with a little vinegar and Morton Coarse Sea Salt.
This dish was, unexpectedly, my favorite. It was delightfully fresh and simple for a spring night. The goat cheese brought a nice tang and the sweetness of the beets was cut perfectly by the use of salt.
Chicken Country Captain over Cheese Grits was the third course. Not to wax too poetic, but as the sun set and the night got a little cooler, this dish was exactly what I wanted next- warm, comforting and delicious.
I don’t often use curry spice when I cook at home so it was lovely to see it done in such an approachable and delicious way. Chef Worley incorporated Morton Kosher Salt across the board in this dish for its clean taste and ease of control.
Last, but certainly not least, was the dessert course. Behold, Biscuit Strawberry Shortcake! (actually, this picture is terrible and in no way does this dish justice but it was dark and I couldn’t wait to dig in! Sorry not sorry!)
Y’all know I was going to be reeeaallll upset if Chef Worley was there and we didn’t get to try any of his famous biscuits!
But, looks like dreams do come true! Not only did I get to eat some of his incredible food, but he also came out to mix and mingle and couldn’t have been a cooler or nicer guy.
Chef Worley brined (or as I like to say, macerated) the strawberries in a combo of sugar and Morton Kosher Salt. Normally, when I’ve brined berries, I would just use sugar but the addition of salt definitely amplifies the fruit flavor without them becoming overly sweet.
I ‘m providing the recipe for the Salt Roasted Beet Salad below but you can visit MortonSalt.com/NextDoorChef 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. Biscuit Strawberry Shortcake for breakfast, anyone?!
If you decide to celebrate spring and host your own “Next Door Chef” party or have a recipe idea for using Morton Kosher or Sea Salt, don’t forget to post your photos using #NextDoorChef!
See you little spring chickadees later! And don’t forget – salt can make it or break it!
SALT ROASTED BEET SALAD
- 5 fresh beets, skin on
- 1 lb. Morton Kosher Salt
- 2 tsp Champagne vinegar
- 2 tsp Morton Coarse Sea Salt
- 6 ounces of goat cheese
- 1/4 cup of EVOO
- 1/2 cup of Pistachios, shell off
- Heat oven to 350˚ F.
- Pour Morton Kosher Salt into bottom of a glass 8-inch baking dish or skillet.
- Place beets on top and roast for 45 minutes.
- Check beets by inserting a sharp knife into the center. You are looking for little resistance. If the knife will not easily pierce through beets, continue roasting for 15 minutes at a time until the beets are cooked.
- Allow to cool on salt for 30 minutes, then peel and dice beets.
- Toss sliced beets in champagne vinegar and Morton Coarse Sea Salt.
- Place goat cheese and olive oil in a mixing bowl and whisk until combined and whipped.
- Place a spoonful of goat cheese on the bottom of a plate.
- Top with 6 ounces of beets and 2 tablespoons of pistachios.
- Eat and ENJOY!
This post was sponsored by Morton Salt but, as always, all opinions are 100% my own!