Sometimes you find spice in the most unexpected of places.
Like just this morning, I found a little piece of red chili pepper flake in my tooth. (This is probably way too much information, but let’s continue).
It was from breakfast: Rice crackers, a slather of Greek yogurt, no-salt added turkey meat, and yes, chili pepper flake on top. And I have to admit, I was pretty excited when that little burn suddenly burst in my mouth.
Good morning is right!
Red chili pepper flakes aside, the real point I want to make is that, when taking on low-sodium cooking, it is important to look not only beyond the salt shaker, but all of those “ordinary” spices (even chili pepper flake) to find flavors that wake up your food and your taste buds. And your expectations. AND your culinary outlook.
That means playing with turmeric and cardamom. Using dried mushrooms and low-sodium sundried tomatoes. Pairing sweet things (apricot jam) with savory things (pan fried pork).
And yes, hanging out a lot with your oven.
Sure, you may know it best from such recipes as Low-Sodium Lemon Meringue Pots and other thrilling baking adventures.
Or even savory appearances, like Low-Sodium Risotto Cupcakes.
You heard me right. I said risotto cupcakes.
But did you know that your oven also moonlights as a magician? And can transform the taste of your favorite, simple ingredients?
With a quick roast, everything from tomatoes to grapefruit perform a flavor 180, taking on new notes of sweetness, smokiness, and yes, spice. And when you use these ingredients in their roasted form, they suddenly morph what could be ho-hum, low-sodium dishes, like soups and salsas and salads and sauces, to creations of a crowd-pleasing nature.
So I encourage you to put down the cayenne and play around with your oven this week. It won’t bite. It will only make your radishes and turnips more exciting.
And yes, if your try to broil pine nuts, it may almost set your house on fire.
So do watch it carefully and use this recipe for Salt and Stove-Free Pasta if necessary.
And on Thursday, we’ll continue to explore the power of the oven when we dip into Holy Low-Sodium Posole.
Until then, get roasting and chow on.
(And don’t tell anyone about that whole chili pepper flake in the tooth thing. Thanks.)