Rule number one: you eat with your eyes. In a sensory-overload kind of way. Not in actual chewing and digesting.
Which brings us to rule number two: do not try to stick a forkful of food near those pretty little lids of yours. It will only lead to disaster.
But back to the first lesson…presentation is perhaps one of the most important tools for a low-sodium cook, other than an immersion blender. It can be just as flavor-enhancing as a good shake of cayenne and salt. And if you play around with the look, feel, or structure of a traditional recipe, the concept becomes as intriguing as the taste.
For ejemplo, cornbread.
All by itself, in its original form, cornbread is a great option for low-sodium cooks. It is a quick, no-knead means of adding a bit of carbs to a meal. And it requires very few ingredients. But to avoid salt, you need to forgo buttermilk and add some special ingredients, like whole corn kernals, honey, low-sodium yogurt, creme fraiche, herbs, or spice to perk up the dense texture. Which is all very doable and delicious.
But since we are already diverging from the original recipe, let’s really have some fun. And instead of cooking our now salt-free’d cornbread in a regular old baking pan (boring) or a skillet (so last year), let’s cook it in a madeleine mold. Better yet, let’s bake it in a mini madeleine mold.
And then, when you serve these little goodies in a little basket alongside your honey baked pork chops or whiskey pulled pork, you and your guests will be so overwhelmed by the cute-factor that no one will even notice the lack of salt.
If you don’t have a madeleine mold (thank you sis-in-law for letting me use yours), try mini muffins or even mini doughnut pans. And if you have any other genius ideas, do share in the comments below. I love genius ideas as much as mini madeleines.
So remember that the look of a meal can be a powerful addition to its overall satisfaction level. And as for rule number three, please, please, please play with your food. Not in the messy kind of way, but in the creative sense. Because cooking in general, with and without salt, is about having fun. Eating it is just the proverbial cherry on top.
- 1 cup cornmeal (whole grain, medium grind)
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 pinch (or two) cayenne or chili powder
- 3/4 cup low-sodium greek yogurt, mascarpone, or creme fraiche
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted but cooled to room temp (so as not to curdle the egg)
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 large egg
- madeleine pan, greased
Preheat oven to 375 dg F and place madeleine pan in the oven while temp rises.
In a large bowl, mix the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, fresh herbs, and spice together. In a separate bowl, whisk the orange juice, yogurt (or mascarpone or creme fraiche), melted butter, honey, and egg together. Then add the wet ingredients to your cornbread mixture and mix until combined. Batter will be runny.
When the oven is ready, take the madeleine pan out of the oven and grease it up. Pour the batter into the molds and fill until just below the top, because they will rise and puff up a bit as they bake. Bake until the edges of the madeleines turn a golden brown and you are able to insert a toothpick in and pull it out clean, 10 to 12 minutes.
Remove the cornbread madeleines from the oven and allow them to cool. Serve with anything from soup to Southwestern fare and enjoy.