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salt of the earth

Recipe: porcini salt

We are still in the throes of our Spring in Autumn Cleaning fest, but I’ve gotten my OCD under control enough to mentally ignore the disastrous mess on the ground floor – to be dealt with as time permits. It’s a constant nagging in the back of my mind. An itch that demands scratching. Then you realize there are other more pressing issues like eating, sleeping, and taking the pups out for exercise.

yuki and neva confined to the bedroom while evil vacuum works downstairs

this is what cabin fever looks like

The snow wasn’t great, but at least there was snow! And the entire point of this ski tour was to get dialed in with Yuki, not to get our jollies on turns. We are teaching her to respect the classic Nordic skis before working up to the backcountry skis in steeper and deeper snow. Neva could always use more training, too. We stopped a lot for the first mile, adjusting harnesses and leashes and belts. While Yuki has a thicker and warmer coat than Neva, Neva has the metabolism of a blast furnace. Yuki’s paws got cold in 20°F snow such that we had to pull out the booties to keep her paws from freezing. Neva plowed her face through the snow drifts, lying with her naked belly (it’s bare, we can’t figure out why her hair is super bald along her ventral midline) directly on the snow whenever we stopped. Yuki didn’t struggle as we put the booties on her and she completely ignored them the whole trip!

By the way, folks on Instagram have asked where we get the dog booties. out of Anchorage, Alaska sells inexpensive and super functional dog boots for $3/paw. I recommend buying spares and we always choose colors that are easiest to find in the snow. Neva tends to need them if the temperatures drop to single digits and the snow is deep. We did notice a little slippage as Yuki crossed a few sections of ice. I think an easy fix would be to buy some silicone gel and apply little dots to the booties. I’d put the dots all around the bootie because they don’t appear to remain in a preferred orientation.

figuring it all out

neva points in the direction she wants to go

this is why we get fluorescent orange booties (and spares)

For some reason, our holiday duties are on an accelerated schedule this year. I haven’t had the time to stop and figure out why. Instead, I’m determined to get it all done and hope I’m in one piece at the end. Which brings me to homemade gifts. EASY homemade gifts like a lovely jar of porcini salt. Maybe not so easy if you have to go and forage your own porcini mushrooms, dress them, and dry them. But SUPER easy if you buy the dried porcini. They are not inexpensive, however a little goes a long way. Fresh porcini have a delightful earthy, rich flavor. Once you dry porcini, the flavor becomes an intensely concentrated burst of heady umami. Pair that with salt, and you have MAGIC. I opt for Maldon sea salt or Murray River flake sea salt. Flake sea salt dissolves easily and has a big surface area to collect the porcini powder.

maldon sea salt and dried porcini

The easiest way to pulverize the dried porcini is in a coffee grinder or spice grinder. Except if you grind coffee in that coffee grinder, your porcini powder will have noticeable hints of coffee. I actually have a dedicated coffee grinder that I only use for spices and clean between uses. It’s best to weigh the porcini slices than measure them by volume because the pieces are large and flat and sometimes twisty. But the recipe is pretty forgiving. Nothing wrong with grabbing a handful of dried porcini and tossing them into the grinder. I try to grind the porcini slices into a very fine powder. A few flecks here and there are no big deal.

fill the grinder up to the lip of the metal cup

grind into a fine powder

An ounce of porcini slices gave me about 8 tablespoons of porcini powder. How much porcini powder you choose to mix into your sea salt is up to you. I think going light on the porcini sort of misses the point of porcini salt. I chose to go with a tablespoon of porcini powder for a quarter cup of Maldon sea salt, but you can certainly up the ratio if you desire. The salt flakes can be quite big. If you find that the porcini powder settles to the bottom rather than mixing into the salt, you can gently crush some of the salt flakes with your fingers or a pestle for better mixing.

add the porcini powder to the salt

stir together

And you’re done! Keep the porcini salt stored in an airtight jar. It makes a great finishing salt on meats, vegetables, butter, eggs, pasta. For gifts, I like to fill heavy-bottomed glass jars with about 2 ounces of the porcini salt. These are so much easier to ship because porcini salt doesn’t spoil even if the post office loses it for a few weeks. When throwing special dinners, set a small bowl of porcini salt out to go with that roast or on some potatoes. A little bit of work for a lot of awesome.

fill a jar with porcini salt

makes a great gift

a little goes a long way

umami bomb in a bowl

Porcini Salt
[print recipe]

1 oz. (about 1 1/2 cups) dried porcini mushrooms, purchased or homemade
4.5 oz. (about 1 cup) Maldon sea salt or other quality flake sea salt

Powder the dried porcini in a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder. Combine 1 tablespoon of porcini powder with 1/4 cup of the flake sea salt and gently mix until the flakes are coated in the powder. You can adjust the amount of porcini powder to taste. Repeat for the rest of your salt and powder. Store in an airtight jar. Makes about 1 cup of porcini salt.

more goodness from the use real butter archives

porcini butter buddha’s hand citron vodka bourbon vanilla bean paste vanilla sugar

8 nibbles at “salt of the earth”

  1. Hande says:

    You are too good making gifts for everyone! About the spice grinder and cleaning of it – you might already know this, but just in case… i grind a couple of tbsp of rice grains which seems to clean the grinder and absorb all smells.

  2. jill hyde says:

    We are also in the throws of cleaning and sorting and getting rid of stuff we no longer need. Very satisfying and overwhelming at the same time. I did find the jewelry box my mother used, that I inherited, and thought I had lost in our last move. What a satisfying find! Your ski treks look beautiful, and thank goodness Yuki doesn’t mind the boots. Such sweet doggies! xoxo, jill

  3. Mary Karen Euler says:

    Brilliant! Guess what my foodie friends are getting this Holiday? Thanks, Jen. And as always, it warms my heart seeing pix of the family enjoying our wonderful Colorado High Country.

  4. farmerpam says:

    I’m in for the umami bomb, thanks for the idea!

  5. Karen Peterson says:

    Going through and cleaning up my mailbox and noticed the shout out to the dog booties and here I am right outside anchorage; will have to check them out. Love how someone outside the area recommends a place I know nothing about!

  6. jenyu says:

    Hande – You are brilliant, my friend. Thank you for that tip! I didn’t know about it, but will use it from now on!

    jill – I wish I could unearth some things I’ve lost (just two items, but one was kind of important to me and has gone missing). Glad you found the jewelry box. xxoo

    MK – I hope your friends enjoy the gift!

    farmerpam – You’re most welcome, friend!

    Karen – How cool! I hope you found something useful :)

  7. Rose says:

    Just made a batch of this for gifts. It smells fantastic. And was so easy to make. My friends will be so thrilled. I’m already thinking about my next batch and who will be the benefactors. Jen, thanks for expanding my senses again.

  8. jenyu says:

    Rose – Wonderful! It’s ridiculously easy and such a nice gift!

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