A little over a month ago, I applied to enter an Iron Foodie challenge hosted by Marx Foods. While my entry did not make the cut (despite the presence of the Swedish Chef), my consolation prize consisted of five samples of some more eccentric ingredients. Although I am under no obligation to post about my experiments with these foodstuffs, it has been suggested that recipients concoct a recipe from several of these component pieces and blog about it prior to December 22nd. Ah me, that's today ... here goes.
The Ingredients: Hawaiian pink salt; maple sugar; vanilla bean; juniper berries; dried shitake mushrooms
I look at these ingredients and wonder where my creativity has gone. Let’s examine the particulars of these and decide what makes sense.
Hawaiian pink salt – large crystalline structure, pink hue, and slight earthy/smoky undertones.
Maple sugar – fine sweetener with a distinct maple syrup flavor.
Vanilla bean – um, fresh and vanilla-y?
Juniper berries – peppery and perfumy ... not a fan
Dried shitakes - very concentrated mushroomy flavor, earthy
Goodness gracious, what to do? The maple, vanilla, and juniper would clash like the Titans, I fear. Plus, I decidedly dislike the bitter unberriness of the juniper; that's another challenge on its own. So, with three dessert-y ingredients I set forth on festive food fun. After some failures (including a juniper berry shortbread), I decided on a maple butternut squash bar.