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photos by gluttonforlife

2.6.12 Flava Flav

I have a big collection of salts—Indonesian, Himalayan, Japanese, smoked, curried—and I am not shy about liberally sprinkling them as finishing touches on everything from salad to oatmeal. I've also experimented with adding my own flavors (black trumpet mushroom, wild lime, shiso seed) and recently was inspired by this lovely post to try some new ones. If you have not yet discovered the wonders of sea salt in all its sparkling, saline glory (maybe you missed this post?), this is your chance. Of late I have sprinkled black trumpet salt on mushroom risotto, smoked salt on ricotta, cacao salt on beans, citrus salt on tempura and cumin salt on lamb. It adds a wonderful crunch and a pure burst of flavor that dissolves on the tongue. Irresistible.
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Tagged — askinosie
Love-guru-790-xxx
what's not to love?

2.5.11 Weekend Update

A very quick post to urge you to treat yourself to a viewing of the grossly underrated 2008 movie, The Love Guru, starring the incomparable Mike Meyers as "the second best guru" (after Deepak, of course). I have watched this at least 6 times now and never fail to laugh at Meyers' hilarious Peter-Sellers-worthy performance: his accent, the gleam in his eye, the sheer delight he takes in his performance, the fabulous musical numbers, not to mention all the infantile scatalogical jokes. And Ben Kingsley as the cross-eyed Guru Tugginmapudha is absolutely priceless.
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sir ben, doing what he does best

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Tagged — askinosie
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shawn askinosie (all photos courtesy of askinosie)

2.1.11 The Ask: Shawn Askinosie

You may remember a post from a couple of months ago about a fantastic chocolate company, Askinosie. Not only do I love their chocolate, but I love what they stand for and how they give back. The Candy Man is a cultural icon—a jolly, twinkly-eyed fellow with a big heart and a fondness for children—and while Shawn Askinosie is nowhere near as eccentric as Willy Wonka, I do think he delights in the power of chocolate.About 10 years ago, Shawn's career as a criminal defense attorney began to exact too high a toll. He was arguing back-to-back murder cases, and you only have to watch so much Law & Order to know how stressful that would be. But he couldn't really see any way clear of it, so he began to pray that an alternative would reveal itself. At the same time, he tried distracting himself with cooking, which led to baking, which led to an obsession with cupcakes (which even led to a pilgrimage to New York's Magnolia Bakery). After about 5 years of this, he up and decided he was going to try his hand at making his own chocolate, from scratch. At the time, he had no concept of what this even meant, but within 2 months he was up to his elbows in cocoa beans in the Amazon. We should all be so bold.
 

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Tagged — askinosie
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photos by gluttonforlife

11.2.10 Just Askin'

Forgive me, readers, for I have sinned. Somehow I neglected to tell you about one of my favorite treats. I do like having secret sources, but this one is too good not to share. Askinosie is a bean-to-bar chocolate operation based in, of all places, Springfield, Missouri. (No, not all groovy handcrafted chocolate is from the new Brooklyn.) The owner, Shawn Askinosie, had a sort of chocolate epiphany in 2005 and got really distracted from his career as a criminal defense attorney. He studied cocoa post-harvest techniques in the Amazon rain forest and worked in a chocolate factory in Guayaquil, Ecuador, and the result is a very interesting company that is not at all pretentious despite its sophistication. They seek out farmers in Latin America, really understand the beans and process them into award-winning bars at their factory located in a historic building from 1894. Not only is their single-origin dark chocolate some of the best I've ever sampled, but they also do a Soconusco White Chocolate bar made from non-deodorized cocoa butter and goat's milk powder that is studded with pistachios; a Dark Milk Chocolate with Fleur de Sel; and their new Malted Moo Moo Dark Milk Chocolate Bar, with the robust, funky flavor of malt that I find totally irresistible. (Full disclosure: Shawn just mailed me one of these to try after I sent the family chocoholic an Askinosie gift certificate for his recent birthday.)
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Tagged — askinosie
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