Mind + Body: January 2017
Making Strides: A local fundraising event benefits children and adults with intellectual disabilities in Louisiana.
Special Olympics Louisiana recently held its annual NOLA Over the Edge: Special Weapons and Tactics (S.W.A.T) fundraising event to raise money and awareness for the organization. Each year, participants pay a $25 registration fee, raise a minimum of $1,000 and then have the opportunity to rappel the 25 stories down Benson Tower, followed by a helicopter ride across New Orleans to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office to undergo S.W.A.T. training. The 2016 Over the Edge event included 70 participants and raised more than $72,000. All proceeds go directly to the SOLA fund to provide sports training and competitions for more than 14,600 children and adults with intellectual disabilities across Louisiana.
“Without fundraising events such as Over the Edge, Special Olympics Louisiana would lack crucial funding for our programs,” says Casey Minton, director of communications and marketing for SOLA. “In addition to hosting over 100 yearly sporting events and competitions, we offer medical examinations through our Healthy Athletes Program, and, through our Unified Champion Schools program, it is our objective to make a large impact across the state and offer all of our life changing programs to Louisiana schools. I would like to extend a special thank you to Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s office, Kenner Police Department and all of our sponsors. Without them, this event wouldn’t be possible.”
Register for Over the Edge 2017 and get a head start on fundraising at specialolympicslouisiana.donordrive.com.
Cooking with Salt: Different types of salt can elevate your dishes from plain to extraordinary.
During a recent dining experience with acclaimed New Orleans chef Nina Compton, guests learned about the importance of salt in cooking. The event was part of a filming for Next Door Chef (presented by Morton Salt), which pairs a renowned chef with a novice cook to teach them how the proper usage of salt can transform home-cooked food into an elite dining experience. Using tips and tricks learned from Compton, the novice cook creates a restaurant-quality experience and serves a meal to a select group of family, friends and foodies.
“While many novice cooks assume that only cooking with table salt is fine, one of the most basic taste differences between restaurant and home cooking is the type of salt used,” says Ryan Fleming, brand marketing director at Morton Salt. “One of the first steps in elevating a meal is leaving table salt for the table, and using kosher and sea salts in your cooking and baking.”
According to Fleming, there are three easy ways to understand the difference between kosher a sea salt.
Morton Kosher Salt adds a gourmet touch to a dish. It is the preferred salt of many chefs because it is easy to control for perfectly seasoned food.
Morton Coarse Sea Salt adds an artistic “pop” that you can see and taste. The larger-than-table-salt crystals provide contrasting texture.
Morton Fine Sea Salt crystals dissolve quickly, making them perfect for marinades, soups, sauces and dressings.
While some recipes call specifically for kosher or sea salt , it is important to always abide by those guidelines. “Both kosher salt and coarse sea salt are also ideal for last-minute seasoning before you plate to add extra flavor and texture to a dish,” Fleming adds.
Of course, you should ensure that you don’t have too much salt in your diet, which can raise blood pressure — thereby increasing strain on your heart, arteries, kidneys and brain — possibly leading to heart attacks, strokes, dementia and kidney disease. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day and an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day. mortonsalt.com/nextdoorchef
Maria’s Pick — Spice It Up! A new book inspires cooks to try bold new flavor combinations and to create custom spice blends.
Lior Lev Sercarz, a New York spice purveyor, is a go-to source for fresh and unusual spices as well as small-batch custom blends for renowned chefs around the world including Eric Ripert and New Orleans acclaimed chef Alon Shaya. As the chef and owner of La Boîte, a spice shop that Sercarz opened in New York City, it’s no surprise that he knows his stuff. His new book, The Spice Companion: A Guide to the World of Spices (Clarkson Potter, $40) is a definitive guide to building flavor, with a breakdown of 102 accessible spices that will change how readers cook.
“Sercarz provides the history and origin of each spice, and he even includes helpful information on where to buy and how to store each one,” says Maria Muro, publisher of New Orleans Living.
“It’s an A to Z encyclopedia of all things tasty, with five different pairings, three quick suggestions for use, and a unique spice blend recipe and how to use it.” For example, Sercarz explains how a spice as simple as black pepper can transform dishes such as Steak a Poivre and Cacio e Pepe — and how an Aleppo chile can work wonders in guacamole and chocolate chip cookies alike. There’s also gorgeous illustrations and vibrant photography, so it’s a beautiful resource to add to your home cooking collection.