Category Archives: Himalayan salt cooking

Time to relax!

It’s time to RELAX!!!

By Chef Lippe

This week was a busy week with three days spent at the Fancy Food Show here in Washington, DC. The Convention Center was the host to over 2000 food and food related vendors.  I meet with lots of friends and met even more new friends.  I want to share with you what several of my new friends are doing:


Tonewood is redefining a standard for elegance and quality in maple products. Through collaboration with expert sugar makers, we produce pure maple syrups and other specialties. Our products are single-sourced, unblended, and free of additives.

Few things are as imbedded in North American history as maple production. Native Americans were harvesting maple sap and converting it to sugar long before Europeans arrived on the continent. Unique to the northeastern United States and part of Canada, Maple trees are the world’s only self-sustaining crop. They do not deplete the soil; they do not require chemicals, pesticides, cutting, or harvesting. As a result, maple production is environmentally-friendly, organic, and sustainable.

Maple syrup’s benefits extend beyond its great taste. Maple products contain 20 unique health promoting compounds including disease fighting anti-oxidants, minerals, and phenolic compounds. Loaded with nutrients, including manganese, iron, calcium, zinc, and potassium, maple is being hailed as a super food, capable of preventing and fighting diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Maple products are also fat free and contain fewer calories than other sweetening alternatives, including honey, corn syrup, and refined sugars. Since maple syrup and maple sugar can be used as direct substitutes for these other sweetening methods, a simple adjustment can turn your most decadent recipe into a guiltless indulgence.

Recent studies acknowledge the terroir, or “taste of place,” of maple syrup. Simply, just as wine varies in taste depending on where the grapes were grown, maple products vary in taste depending on where the maple trees are rooted. To produce superior maple syrup requires the ideal climate, growing conditions, topography, and geography.

Our location in Mad River Valley, VT combines rich soil, southern facing slopes, and high elevation with ideal maple climate, allowing us to produce sap of unparalleled quality.  Our artisan sugar makers use refined harvesting and crafting techniques to transform this sap into pure maple syrup with exquisite clarity, color, density, and flavor. Their artisan approach is outlined below:

1. In early spring, warm days and freezing nights mark the brief maple harvesting season.

2. In preparation for the harvesting season, sugar makers drill small holes and insert taps to allow for sap to run out of the trees.

3. As warm weather thaws the trees’ sap reserves, excess sap runs through the taps and is collected.

4Sugar makers carefully boil the sap over a fire, concentrating watery sap to less than 3% of its original volume to produce the thick, rich syrup.

5. Through a refined straining process, sugar makers remove any impurities from the syrup.

6. Syrup is sealed into our distinctive glass bottles to preserve freshness, taste, and purity as it makes its way from our producers to your home.

One of Tonewoods Special Projects is to ADOPT A Maple Tree

The Tonewood adoption program provides an opportunity to support small maple producers and sustainable farming practices, while enjoying an assortment of Tonewood’s specialty products. When you adopt, you offer small scale producers added financial security, with which they can run, improve, or grow their operations. Maple production is an expensive, specialized, and labor intensive industry, increasingly threatened by competition from inexpensive, imitation syrups and large scale producers, who blend their syrup from multiple sources. By adopting a tree, you can help preserve family-owned farms and the tradition of maple production.

Here is the story of one of the family farms:

Hartshorn Sugarbush has been family-worked and owned for eight generations. This sugarbush is situated on a picturesque mountainside in the Mad River Valley. Due to the steep terrain, the Hartshorns must cope with avalanches, which frequently bury production lines. However, the Hartshorns credit the difficult terrain for their syrup’s superior flavor. The Hartshorns won the coveted Best of Show award at the Vermont Farm Show on the 100th anniversary of Vermont’s Maple Association, and they have accumulated hundreds of awards over the years.

Every year, David Hartshorn and his children tap 5,000 trees and produce roughly 1500 gallons of maple syrup. The family has implemented a modern pipeline network, vacuum system, and reverse osmosis system to increase harvesting efficiency, allowing sugar makers to focus on their craft.

Adopt one of David Hartshorn’s trees for a year and you’ll receive an assortment of gourmet maple products produced at the Hartshorn sugarbush. Proceeds from adoptions support our partnering sugarmakers and fund research to protect future maple production. Adoption provides an opportunity for you to support talented craftsmen and protect the environment, while indulging in a sweet treat.


To purchase any of Tonewoods Maple Syrup Products visit our web site at  We look forward to seeing you this September at the Farmers Markets.



Our approach is to work slowly and steadily and make everything from scratch. We like to consider ourselves an incubator for gastronomic ideas. It is in this spirit that we will always strive to explore and experiment with new recipes and new products.

Our intention is to preserve gastronomic tradition and to help integrate it into the time in which we live. Our emphasis is on technique and ingredients. Our products are simple and made with the cleanest, best ingredients we can find, with technique that has survived and evolved through generations.

All of our products are made by hand, slowly, in small batches. You will find a hand-written batch number on every item.

Charlito’s Story is:

About Charlito’s Cocina

Founded in 2011, C.C.’s aim is to explore and utilize the rich gastronomic traditions used to preserve food prior to the days of refrigeration and freezers. It is in the spirit of this robust tradition that we strive to create delicious, shelf stable foods using the cleanest, most well raised ingredients possible.

Because the curing of meat plays such a prominent role in the tradition of food preservation, it is one of our primary focuses. We derive our influence in this category primarily from the curing traditions of Spain, while striving, one product at a time, to distinguish a style that is uniquely our own. All the meat we use is 100% pasture raised, heritage breed pork. The salt we use is all hand harvested fleur de sel.

About “Charlito,” by Charles

After gaining a wealth of knowledge working under two mentor-chefs who produced much of their own charcuterie, I attended the French Culinary Institute in New York City, where I was fortunate to work closely with a master charcutier. After finishing at FCI, I traveled to Spain to study the Spanish tradition of curing meats and preserving food with family in Salamanca and Extremadura who had been curing meats and olives, and making wine, among other things, in their home for generations.

Born Charles Samuel Wekselbaum, and Raised in New York City in a Cuban-American household, I took on the nickname, “Charlito,” derived partially from a difficulty that Spanish speakers close to me seemed to  have pronouncing “Charles,” and partially of a willingness to bestow an affectionate nickname upon “little Charles.” The nickname stuck. It is rife with love, affection, and now, history. The name “Charlito’s Cocina” seemed a most fitting way to give proud and accurate identity to this gastronomic adventure.

One taste of their wonderful salami’s and you will think you are in heaven! We are proud to offer their line of products at  and we will see you at the Farmer’s Market this September.

And now it time to relax with an old friend!

Melissa Kushi, Founder, President, Sustainable Sourcing, LLC

Melissa Kushi, Founder and President of Sustainable Sourcing, has devoted much of her life’s work to sustainable foods, macrobiotics, and ethical business models. As a social entrepreneur she traveled the world – creating bamboo micro-industries in Africa, replacing coca crops in the jungles of Peru, and introducing Japanese Hokkaido heirloom soybeans to organic farmers in the US.

At an early age, Kushi was trained by the legendary pioneers of the Natural Foods Industry, and leaders of the international Macrobiotic movement, Michio and Aveline Kushi, her father and late mother-in-law. Studying in Japan, she learned the traditional arts of making miso, umeboshi, tofu, and traditional Japanese cooking, where she came to fully understand the value and importance of high quality salt for health and longevity.  She also completed her Masters in Chinese Metaphysics, and was a successful natural foods cooking teacher, macrobiotic educator, and an international organic commodities trader.  Being passionate to share her childhood experiences of growing up on an organic farm in the south, Melissa taught organic gardening at a Rudolf Steiner school, where her children attended.

In her travels and while working with indigenous people, Melissa was inspired by their wealth of ancient knowledge, biodiversity and traditional heirloom foods.  Out of her study and work, she believes that this traditional body of knowledge, combined with today’s cutting edge green technologies, to be key to our collective future. She has also witnessed the effects of adopting a “modern” refined diet in these indigenous communities, and how it has eroded their health, natural farming practices and the rich biodiverse regions they inhabit. Out of this realization, Melissa began to work with communities on the Navajo reservation to create indigenous permaculture projects – bringing in much needed funds, heirloom seeds, low-tech green irrigation systems, and with her children, spent summers working fields of corn, beans, squash, chiles, and other high desert native foods in these communities.

It became clear to her that — as the third world seeks balance and survival, the first world seeks balance and meaning. Creating a circle of compassion and humanity between these two worlds inspired her to create Sustainable Sourcing as a means for nourishing both.

While Kushi possesses expertise at sourcing the highest quality natural products around the globe, she is passionately committed to creating products that bring added social value to consumers.  By providing products that increase wellbeing while making a difference, it helps to close the gap between consumers and the source community.  It also helps to supports and preserves the environment and a more humane, natural way of life.  This is accomplished through her 5% give back, so each time you do something as simple as use HimalaSalt or her organic peppercorns, you are making a difference on the planet.

Melissa has worked diligently to design her product lines with the least impact on the earth, leaving the smallest footprint possible.  All packaging is either 100% recycled, recyclable, refillable, or reusable, and her entire operation is offset with wind and solar certified by the Green-e.  Going far beyond the requirements for certification, which offsets electrical use only, Melissa, with the help of the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, has offset every aspect of her company’s fossil fuel consumption by calculating annual use for production, the creation of packaging, ocean freight, trucking, travel and shows, marketing, and what it takes to operate her new certified organic, kosher passover certified artisan production facility in the beautiful Berkshire Mountains of New England.

Melissa continues to support the renewal of traditional diet in indigenous regions as a way to recover health, biodiversity, and to create heirloom food security, with ongoing projects on Native American reservations and in the Himalayas.

Enjoy the video on massage with hot Himalayan salt stones and when your ready visit us at  to get your set.

All of our vendors and friends have one similar goal, to provide you with the best product, with the least amount of harm to either the animals or the planet.  At the convention I would tell the vendor that I wanted to be able to meet “Betsy” the cow and if Betsy and I liked each other then we could do business.  If they did not understand this way of doing business then I moved on.  I hope you take the time to visit our online store and meet some of our wonderful friends.  We look forward to seeing you again in September at the farmers Market.

 Himalayan Salt Stone Massage

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Filed under Artisan Maple Syrup and Sugar, Artisan Sausage, Chef Lippe, Food blog, gluten free, health through eating, heart health, Himalayan salt cooking, Maple sugar, maple syrup, Uncategorized

Cooking on Himalayan Salt Plates

Cooking on Himalayan Salt Plates

By Chef Lippe

Salt from the Himalayans is millions of years old. It is made up of 84 minerals all of them existing naturally in the human body. There are many healing benefits to using Himalayan salts, including lowering blood pressure and improving circulation. It is used for many things; you can take a hot sauna buried in it; cook with it; cook on it; bath with it; make lamps with it; or just use it for decoration. Himalayan salt is considered the purest form of salt.

The most common way of using these beautiful salt blocks is for serving sushi, salads and appetizers. But they are also great for cooking on. The wetter the food the more salt taste that transfers.  You can heat a 2 inch thick piece of salt safely to 900 degrees.  If you are using your stove top you will need to raise the block so that it does not come in direct contact with the heating element.

You can use it on your BBQ grill, in your oven, or even cook on it right at the table and the wonderful flavor will have you coming back for more. Seared scallops, thinly sliced beef or chicken, eggs and vegetables are some favorite items cooked on Himalayan Salt. If you freeze it you can serve ice cream on it and if you have never had salty ice cream you don’t know what you are missing.

A Himalayan salt block will retain heat or cold for a long time which is why it is so popular as a serving and cooking utensil. To heat it start on low heat for 15 minutes and then increase it to medium for another 15 minutes. To cook on it, the temperature needs to be at least 500 degrees and the meat needs to sizzle when it touches the salt. It should retain its heat for at least 20 minutes. One word of caution is to make sure that your piece of Himalayan salt is cooking grade and not table grade.

To clean your Himalayan salt cool it overnight (or at least cool to room temperature). Rinse under warm water then scrub, and rinse again. DO NOT use soap on it, or wash in dishwasher. Store in a location that humidity is at a minimum, we recommend that you store it in a plastic bag as the salt can be corrosive over time. Do not store or lay on metal (copper, bronze, etc.) surfaces. With proper care your salt block will last for years.

Once your plate breaks and sooner or later it will save the pieces to be ground up and use it in cooking.

Here are some ways that you can use your Himalayan salt plates:

  • Arrange thinly sliced Capaccio or sashimi on a cool salt platter and watch as the food literally salt-cures while at the table.
  • Heat your platter and then set on a trivet at the table, and sauté fish, thin cut slices of beef and veggies while your family watches.
  • Use it on the BBQ grill to cook stuffed monkfish, flank steaks or even Portobello mushrooms.
  • Freeze your salt block for 2 hours and then slowly pour over it, lifting with a spatula a lightly whipped sweet heavy cream, egg, honey and aged bitters for ice custard that no one will soon forget.
  • One of our favorite uses for the smaller block is to use it as a butter dish.
  • Use it in the oven to cook bread, pizza or pastries on.
  • Once you block breaks, smash it up with a hammer and use in your bath or as a pumice stone or grind it up into a fine powder and use as table salt.

While impressing your guests with your culinary skills you can share your knowledge of history. This salt started out millions of years ago at the bottom of the sea. Over many lost ages the land encasing the seabed rose up and became the Himalayas. Fish began to swim in the sea and dinosaurs grew to towering heights while this salt laid hidden deep in the mountains.  Sometime around 326 BC, Alexander the Great found his horses licking the rocks in what is now known as Pakistan, and you had the discovery of salt. Some eighteen centuries later Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar became the greatest Mughal emperor and one of his two lasting contributions were art and the introduction of standardized salt mining.   Yes the salt that you are cooking on was made 500 million years ago.

A few things that you need to keep in mind when cooking on salt are:

  1. the amount of moisture in the food will dictate how much salt you will taste when eating your meal;
  2. Time matters, the longer you cook on it the more salt will be absorbed by your food. Have all your items cut into thin slices that will cook fast.
  3. Get the salt block nice and hot so that food is seared and not steamed.
  4. Use a light coating of olive oil (butter will add to the level of salt) on your salt block before you start.

Visit our online shop for your next piece of Himalayan salt and enjoy all the great ways to use it this summer.



2 pound of shrimp peeled and deveined

2 pound of sea scallops (try to get the same size as shrimp)

wooden skewers.

1 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 cup molasses

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon mustard

3 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon cayenne chili powder


Combine brown sugar, lemon juice, molasses, basil, oil, mustard, honey, clove,  cayenne powder in a large bowl.  Toss in shrimp and scallops and toss to cover, refrigerate for two hours. Meanwhile, put wooden skewers to soak.  About one hour before you are ready to cook start to heat up your Himalayan salt stones on the gas grill (heat stones on low heat for 15 minutes, and then medium heat for 15 minutes, then high heat for 15 minutes).  Stones should be 500 degrees before you start to cook.

Thread one shrimp, one scallop (two times) on skewers.

Place on heated stones and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until shrimp turns pink.

Serve with grilled corn and asparagus and a nice potato salad.

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Filed under Chef Lippe, Food, gluten free, Himalayan salt cooking, recipes, shrimp