It’s Saturday again! That means we’re serving up all the most delectable dishes from our S&L Classic pancakes, with our signature blend of lemon and ricotta, to the new Huevos Rancheros. Our take on the popular traditional Mexican dish boasts our homemade corn tortillas, green and red chile sauces and a southwestern hash blend of Red Bliss potatoes, corn and tomatoes.
How are incredible dishes like this possible you ask?
Here at Salt and Light, we are a scratch kitchen. Cooking “From Scratch” refers to food preparation that starts at the very beginning.
Doesn’t all cooking start at the beginning?
Very simply, no. Some cooking begins with pre-made mixes or heavily processed meats, canned or frozen goods.
We shun this practice as much as possible. Our team, led by Josiah, comes in every morning and preps all of the most basic building blocks such as fruits, vegetables and dry goods for a day of cooking.
When Josiah entered the workforce, he found himself in a kitchen where every meal originated from a jar, can or the freezer. When he became kitchen manager, he made the first moves to transition to more in-house preparation. It all began with making chocolate chip cookies from scratch rather than a tube of frozen mix. From there, the scratch method gained momentum with creating sauces, dressings, other baked goods and proteins.
“I grew up with my mom making everything for scratch,” Josiah said. Motivations were meal quality and family allergies.
By cooking from scratch, the kitchen has total control over what goes into every dish, which allows meals to be tailored to create safe options for allergy- sufferers.
“[Being a scratch kitchen allows us to be] extremely allergen sensitive. We know all of the ingredients and can remove them from a dish so that our guests can enjoy a meal without triggering a reaction,” said Josiah.
We’re proud of being free of all nuts and corn syrup, and being able to make dishes safe for those with intolerances to things such as lactose and gluten.
We hear those questions popping up : Pre-prepped foods can make everyday cooking easier and more efficient, right? What about those crazy lunch rushes during the week?
Our kitchen is dedicated to preparing quality, healthy and aesthetically pleasing dishes. To this end, the cooks have honed their skills and created routines to get them through busy times and remain faithful to whole food ingredients.
We’re proud to serve breakfast and lunch that is always guaranteed to be free of preservatives.
“The definitive plan for Salt and Light [and also Coleman Catering] was ‘If we can make it, we will’,” explained Josiah.
In the two years since opening, the S&L kitchen has maintained around 90% made-from-scratch items. House-made items include sauces, our famous kimchi, pickles, flavor syrups for espresso drinks, focaccia bread, roast turkey and pastrami.
The end goal is to make absolutely everything in-house.
“We are currently researching and testing recipes and techniques for making yogurt, ricotta, sausage and a couple additional breads,” Josiah hinted at new kitchen endeavors.
In the food industry today, there seem to be as many additives in foods as there are potholes in Massachusetts’ roadways. But you won’t find them here at Salt and Light.
Let’s break them down into a few categories.
Emulsifiers are added to foods such as salad dressing, peanut butter and chocolate, to keep these items from separating. Emulsifiers include polysorbates, soy lecithin and mono and diglycerides.
Some of these additives are derived from natural substances but are made using chemical processes that can also create dangerous carcinogens and trans fats.
Preservatives, added to endless items including baked goods, beverages, cereals and snack foods, include ascorbic acid, benzoate, calcium propionate and potassium sorbet. These have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration yet many are still being tested for adverse effects. There is a significant population with documented sensitivities that range from mild irritation to severe reactions such as respiratory distress or accelerated cancer growth.
Artificial sweeteners are added in the interest of keeping calorie counts low. Soft drinks, sugar substances and baked goods can be made with fructose, saccharin, sucralose. These chemicals sometimes have bitter aftertastes but are chosen because for the most part are a super-sweet empty-calorie option. The dangers of these additives are still under review in the medical community.
Fat replacers are added to foods such as desserts, dairy goods and dressings so they can be marketed as “low-fat” or “reduced fat”. Cellulose gel, carrageenan, polydextrose and whey protein concentrate are added to give foods the proper textures and creaminess that they would normally have.
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