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Foods that surprise you?

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So last night I threw a chicken in the oven to roast. With a young baby, I'm just getting back to cooking again, and I figured, it's not too difficult to season a chicken and pop it in the oven! But I am telling you, no matter how often I have roasted chicken, I am ALWAYS surprised and delighted at how simple and delicious it is! So my question to you all is, What foods are so simple that they surprise YOU at how delicious they are?
Warm from the garden tomatoes sprinkled with salt is another one...

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  1. Perfectly cooked white rice

    Strawberries and creme

    Bag of granola (or GORP)

    Ripe avocado with sea salt

    1. Spaghetti with olio e aglio. Grilled brie sandwiches on sourdough.

      1. Spaghetti with truffle oil and fresh aged parmesan (not cheap, but simple and really (Tyler Florence over-use)) delicious!

        TT

        2 Replies
        1. re: TexasToast

          Fresh Aged parmesan...a new oxymoron for me!

          1. re: Marge

            Well, so is fresh sour cream.

            TT

        2. Fish in parchment.

          1. Eggs. Every time, no matter how they're prepared. (OK, not too keen on the hard-boiled.)

            Grapes. The red ones. I'm addicted.

            Watermelon, too.

            Fresh tofu. It tastes clean. As does fresh cottage cheese.

            Naan. Possibly other types of bread as well.

            6 Replies
            1. re: piccola

              You know, I've been on an egg kick lately. I was watching Jacques Pepin the other day- he did bowtie pasta tossed with cheese (I think it was gruyere, but I did butter & parm), then topped it with a fried egg- you break up the yolk & it coats the pasta- Oh so good!

              1. re: sweet ginger

                I like the poached-egg-on-salad meal for that same reason.

                1. re: piccola

                  I was watching the movie "Spanglish" where Adam Sandler's character, a chef, prepares a sandwich of lettuce, tomato and sunny-side up egg on toasted artisan bread. I made one for myself and - oh my - so simple and so good!

                  1. re: Divamac

                    Thomas Keller of The French Laundry was a consultant on that movie and actually made (or taught Sandler how to make) that sandwich. Rent the DVD and watch the extras! It's pretty good food TV.

                    1. re: Divamac

                      Lettuce tomato and cold "real" (not processed) chicken breast on toast is also very good.

                      1. re: Divamac

                        Thank you Steinpilz for recognizing the difference between "real" and processed chicken!

                        I still pity the people who buy sliced "deli-meat" because they don't want the "pre-packaged" stuff off the shelves. Unless it's a real breast, it's the same slop!

                        TT

                2. Pot roast

                  Fresh cucumbers from the garden with rice wine vinegar

                  Thin, crisp brown toast with very good butter

                  Mussels steamed in white wine with fresh herbs and crusty bread

                  Plums, halved and roasted on the grill

                  1. Some mornings, I'm so rushed that I throw roasted peanuts or even better, mixed nuts and raisins together to eat in the car on the way to work, especially with the raisins thrown into the nut container & you shake it up, the salt adheres to the raisins a bit...SO delicious--it's that sweet and salty thing, I guess, but it usually holds me til lunchtime!

                    1. Really good bread is always a surprise to me. The ingredients are so mundane and yet, dang, the result - when properly prepared - is just wonderful.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jillp

                        I have to agree that great bread is so simple once you understand the theory and have a little experience. Its amazing that just 5-6 ingredients can make something so beautiful and necessary for a great meal.

                        I have to add,
                        Onion soup
                        Cinnamon rolls
                        pot roast
                        pizza
                        bacon
                        waffles
                        roast potatoes
                        vegetable curries.

                      2. Somewhere in Elizabeth David's "English Bread and Yeast Cookery" she says "toast is nothing more than a vehicle for getting more butter into your mouth". My favorite.

                        1. Kamut cereal with unsalted roasted peanuts, golden raisins, and ice cold milk.

                          Toasted bagel with cream cheese and honey drizzled on top.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Cheese Boy

                            Ah, one of the simple pleasures I miss when I'm not in NYC is a hot sesame bagel from Essa Bagel with cream cheese and honey. Sadly, it is true that bagels aren't as good anywhere else in the world.

                            1. re: Non Cognomina

                              Have a look at the top left of their homepage to navigate (menus, etc).

                              Big, plump, chewy: http://www.ess-a-bagel.com/door/

                              IMO, the best, especially for sandwiches.

                              1. re: Non Cognomina

                                Amen to that! I went to NYC for the first time this summer and stayed around the corner from Essa. I only had a bagel there on the last day and have been missing it ever since! So crisp and salty on the outside, so chewy and great on the inside! You can't find a bagel that good in Toronto (good, but not that good).

                            2. Applying the "nothing added" and "works every time" tests:

                              Peanut butter, right off the spoon
                              (Current pick: Trader Joe's Organic Crunchy)

                              Tortilla chips, especially slightly warmed

                              Raw hamachi or salmon or scallop, deftly sliced by a sushi chef

                              (Darn it, I'm drooling!)

                              Unfortunately, there are so many foods that CAN be amazing but too seldom are. Sigh.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Jefferson

                                Absolutely! Raw fish with good soy sauce is fantatic when sliced right and the texture is bang on.

                              2. The very best is a tomato eaten in the garden.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Janet

                                  That really does have to be among the best, especially when they are still warm from the sun and you eat them whole like peaches.

                                  1. re: Janet

                                    Warm from the sun!

                                  2. roasted and salted TRUE Virginia peanuts
                                    seasonal fruit
                                    toro (sashimi form)
                                    cardamom pod
                                    honey and abbamele
                                    freshly whipped cream
                                    roasted vegetables

                                    1. Macaroni and cheese
                                      Meat loaf
                                      Grilled cheese sandwich
                                      Cheese enchiladas
                                      Grape nuts cereal

                                      1. Whole wheat toast with butter and honey. Takes no thought, but it's so utterly satisfying every single time. I make it thinking how satisfying I know I find it, but then it still surprises me.

                                        1. I'm with you on the roast chicken. There is nothing like it.
                                          And I agree with Jllp, properly made bread is overwhelming to me. I'm not a baker at all and I'm just in awe of the art of taking such simple ingredients and producing something so utterly satisfying

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: sivyaleah

                                            Me too. Can't wait until it's oven weather again...

                                          2. crunchy & creamy:oven roasted or fried red potatoes

                                            1. buttered noodles with freshly grated parm and asiago, cracked black pepper and smoked sea salt

                                              1. Eating an early MacIntosh apple right off the tree!!!

                                                Did this today at Barton Orchards in Fishkill, NY.

                                                Absolutely nothing better, nothing more simple.

                                                1. Concur on the roast chicken, particularly those that have been brined like those from Costco. Also, spaghetti with butter and parmesan.

                                                  Roasted or steamed cauliflower, grilled vidalia or maui onions when in season, and burnt (yes burnt) asparagus as it takes on a sesame-ish flavor.

                                                  Rice cakes with apple butter or apricot jam.

                                                  1. The roasted chicken for me as well. I am also a new mom and have not liked chicken on the bone due to many bad chicken and dumpling episodes with my mom. But now with the baby I love to season a whole chicken and throw it in the oven. So easy and so yummy.

                                                    1. BLT!

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: chowmeow

                                                        yes..

                                                      2. black beans (pinch of cumin), avocado, fresh! corn tortilla

                                                        1. Creat any kind of savory sandwich/burger and put a fried egg into the mix. Yum.

                                                          1. In the good old days when you applied for a job in a kitchen you were asked to prepare three things: an omelet, a vinaigrette and to roast a chicken.

                                                            A roasted chicken with mushrooms, pancetta and buttery mashed potatoes is damn close to perfection for me.

                                                            1. grilled cheese and tomato soup

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: janedoe67

                                                                Oh, too funny to see this! I was just talking this morning about how it's finally getting cool, and I was SOOOOOOO looking forward to my first big bowl of tomato soup and grilled cheese! Mr. Organic about melted when I mentioned it...that's the plan for supper tonight!

                                                                1. re: janedoe67

                                                                  You nailed it for sure! I've had the urge to inoculate myself with the flu just to have the relief of tomato soup and grilled cheese.

                                                                2. Tomatoe and cuke sandwich..with a dill mayo.

                                                                  1. Good fresh bread with any or all of the below

                                                                    Red and White Burgundy, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and Dry Creek Zinfandel

                                                                    Just about anything with mushrooms or truffles

                                                                    Stinky cheese

                                                                    1. Crunchy peanut butter
                                                                      really fresh, crisp greens/veggies
                                                                      granny smith apples in peak season

                                                                      1. cinnamon toast under the broiler
                                                                        chocolate milk
                                                                        really, really, really good watermelon!

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                          You know what my fiance did for me the other night... sprinkled a tiny little bit of Penzey's Vietnamese cinnamon on top of my chocolate milk... this just puts chocolate milk on a whole other level! So good!

                                                                        2. the combination of mayo, fresh tomato, and s&p on toast.
                                                                          rice dishes: fried rice, curry, risotto, so satisfying.
                                                                          white marinated boquerones (med. sardines)
                                                                          a good enchilada.
                                                                          juicy, salty meat with excellent french fries.
                                                                          fresh fettucine alla carbonara (w/bacon, egg, salt and pepper).

                                                                          1. Mild (American style) coffee and smoked bacon... all you need for a great breakfast!

                                                                            1. Caprese salad -- on or off a piece of ciabatta.
                                                                              Roasted chicken done well (as opposed to well-done).
                                                                              Black Mission figs with goat cheese and just a dab of honey.
                                                                              Perfectly cooked jasmine rice.
                                                                              Babaghannouj.
                                                                              Spätzle -- the one thing I can think of that tastes worse with white flour than whole wheat flour.
                                                                              Fish and chips -- cod, with tartar sauce.
                                                                              Cortado.

                                                                              1. a fresh-baked biscuit with melted butter and a drizzle of good honey

                                                                                1. buttered noodles

                                                                                  a dead-ripe Stanley plum

                                                                                  slow roasted pork shoulder, no rubs or anything, just salt and pepper it, put in a slow oven and cook all day until the skin is crisp and the meat falls apart. Well, maybe with a couple of onions in there too...

                                                                                  1. As white trash as it is...beer can chicken on the grill is always ridiculously good.
                                                                                    A fresh, real tomato from the garden.
                                                                                    Fresh raspberries right off the vine.
                                                                                    Grilled cheese sandwich with tomato and a nice mustard.
                                                                                    Gnocchi with black truffle oil.

                                                                                    And nice artisan bread toasted with butter. Or a smear of red raspberry jam.

                                                                                    1. Kay hit a lot that I'd second, as well as many earlier posts. I'll add:

                                                                                      fresh squeezed OJ
                                                                                      cereal and milk (I like JustRight)
                                                                                      fresh shucked oysters and clams
                                                                                      a good simple hamburger
                                                                                      sweet corn on the cob
                                                                                      Concord grapes right off the vine

                                                                                      1. BLT, made with super tomatoes and smoky bacon on white toast.

                                                                                        Open face grilled cheese with tomato, made with white toast that is buttered, then super thin sliced ripe tomato layered on, a nice sprinkle of a good salt and fresh ground pepper, then layered with extra sharp cheddar and broiled.

                                                                                        Peruvian style aji verde. A paste made from jalapenos, queso blanco or ricotta, and mayo, with just a little olive oil, cilantro, salt, and lime juice. Sometimes add bread crumbs to thicken it. Amazing flavors that go great on bread, raw and cooked veggies, raw and cooked fish, meat, burgers, hot dogs, you name it.

                                                                                        South American style roast corn slathered with mayo, pecorino romano, and cayenne.

                                                                                        Fresh squeezed orange juice and fresh made lemonade or limeade. Also chicha morada, Peruvian spiced purple corn drink, well chilled.

                                                                                        Thai green curry. So simple to make and sooo tasty.

                                                                                        1. Avocado and bacon sandwich on whole wheat toast with mayo and iceberg lettuce, sea salt and pepper.

                                                                                          Nearly-halved figs stuffed with fresh goat cheese, wrapped in prosciutto and baked just until warmed through.

                                                                                          1. Grilled Cheese Sandwich - EVOO, pain de mie, a mix of shredded gruyere and fontina.

                                                                                            1. big fat Medjool dates (dried, not fresh), plain or with a small morsel of sharp cheese.

                                                                                              1. Grilled rustic bread, topped with goat cheese, diced tomatoes dressed with EVOO, and shredded basil. Summer personified.

                                                                                                Baked bacon wrapped dates.

                                                                                                1. I've got to add another simple (ingredient-wise) food that never ceases to surprise me and send me over the moon with its deliciousness: caramelized onions.

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                    I could eat caramelized onions on just about anything! There's almost nothing better (almost).

                                                                                                  2. dates...hot little peppers..or just about ANYTHING wrapped in BACON!!!!!
                                                                                                    -jennyfur

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: jennyfur

                                                                                                      Oh, yeah. Bacon is good, and high-quality bacon (I've been buying Neuske, thick cut from a slab) is transcendent.

                                                                                                      The other day I had a bowl of thick, full-fat Greek yogurt with fresh cherries mixed in, drizzled with honey. I couldn't believe how delicious it was.

                                                                                                    2. The goodness of fresh fruit. The goodness of fresh fish, freshly baked bread. Fresh anything really. I love it all. :)

                                                                                                      1. Scrambled eggs at my favorite diner.

                                                                                                        1. Just the smell of onions cooking in butter (or better yet, duck fat), is enough to, uh...I better not go there.

                                                                                                          1. • garlic pizza
                                                                                                            • pizza with portobello mushrooms
                                                                                                            • grilled asparagus
                                                                                                            • a freshly toasted whole grain bagel with extra virgin olive oil drizzled over it... (this was first discovered a couple of years ago while cramming with a studying group.)

                                                                                                            1. Baked whole sweet potatoes with butter
                                                                                                              A BLT on wheat toast with lots of mayo
                                                                                                              Home-fried hard shell tacos with anything, tomatoes, lettuce, shredded cheese and salsa

                                                                                                              1. Spaghetti with olive oil, fresh garlic, oregano, ground pepper and parmesan cheese

                                                                                                                Bacon (bacon well done) and eggs, good homefries, brown toast

                                                                                                                Fresh ontario peaches or strawberries

                                                                                                                Fresh butter croissants

                                                                                                                A good hamburger with prepared mustard, relish, onions and tomato

                                                                                                                Corn on the cob

                                                                                                                Plain yogurt with good honey drizzled on it

                                                                                                                Oatmeal with honey or maple syrup, raisins, milk and blanched almonds

                                                                                                                Steamed broccoli

                                                                                                                1. IN leaner times, like post college, I would boil penne, saute whole garlic cloves in half butter and olive oil, throw in half can of dice tomato with juice, reduce to au sec,throw in pasta and just a dash of balsamic vinegar. Season with S/P and sugar.

                                                                                                                  I lived on that for almost 2 years. I think I just make myself some pasta today.

                                                                                                                  1. Growing up one of my favoritre meals was Fried eggs with rice and tomato salad. I still love this for dinner and in the summer try to make it at least once a week. The tomato salad has to have green onions and parsley and a dressing of red wine vinegar and olive oil.

                                                                                                                    1. maple sugar candy, maple syrup!
                                                                                                                      sweet potatoes (any way they come, mashed steamed, etc),
                                                                                                                      roasted vegetables (especially asparagus, onions, butternut squash, garlic, etcetc)
                                                                                                                      the perfect peach, mango or pineapple
                                                                                                                      pumpernickel bread, or pumpernickel pretzels
                                                                                                                      all tomatoes, in their prime
                                                                                                                      lemon sorbet
                                                                                                                      homemade jam, pickles
                                                                                                                      medjool dates! always, my favorite.
                                                                                                                      bananas! oh! i have eaten one every day for years
                                                                                                                      tamari almonds in the fridge. they snap when you bite them. mm
                                                                                                                      pickled anything
                                                                                                                      wilted greens with garlic

                                                                                                                      1. Sabra hummous, sliced summer tomato on FRESH pita.
                                                                                                                        Sliced REAL white meat chicken, Hellman's mayo, lots of s, & p. on any really good bread.
                                                                                                                        Any hot home-made soup (mushroom/barley, split pea, sweet/sour cabbage, fish chowder, etc.) on a cold, rainy day.
                                                                                                                        Sliced summer tomato on any sandwich.

                                                                                                                        1. EllenMM, absolutely agree..and will add
                                                                                                                          Fresh served, frozen yogurt from the health food store
                                                                                                                          Anything that involves raspberries
                                                                                                                          Fish tacos

                                                                                                                          1. ripe, juicy nectarines and heirloom tomatoes

                                                                                                                            roasted sweet potato slices with butter and caramelized brown sugar

                                                                                                                            fresh baked crusty bread dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar

                                                                                                                            buttered white bread with cinnamon and sugar on top

                                                                                                                            and of course, prosciutto.

                                                                                                                            1. - pasta tossed in a wok w/ butter & garlic until it roasts.
                                                                                                                              - warm flatbread served w/ fresh,cold tzatziki.
                                                                                                                              - expertly made french toast, steaming hot & cruncy from carmelized sugar. (my husband is the only one who makes it up to par for me)
                                                                                                                              - well made sweet potato casserole. i could eat WAY too much of this.
                                                                                                                              - silk vanilla yogurt w / honey, cinnamon & peach puree. Mmm!

                                                                                                                              1. Pho -- noodles, broth, meat, herbs! So good.
                                                                                                                                Fresh garden tomatoes with fresh mozzarella.
                                                                                                                                Warm Baguette.
                                                                                                                                Pasta with lemon, butter, parm., salt.
                                                                                                                                Sushi, Sashimi.
                                                                                                                                Soba.
                                                                                                                                Cucumber salad with rice winegar, salt, and cilantro then tossed with a small touch of sesame oil that is heated up with sichuan pepper corns and chile flakes. I went without sichuan pepper corn for a month this summer and being deprived of this salad hurt.

                                                                                                                                There are so many more, but Pho and soba in particular needed onto this list.

                                                                                                                                1. A good fresh oyster

                                                                                                                                  Well cooked jasmine rice

                                                                                                                                  Thai takeout broccoli and bean sauce wide noodles

                                                                                                                                  A good hunk of summer sausage

                                                                                                                                  Yes, yogurt and good honey

                                                                                                                                  Acme bread with soft Organic Valley butter and a bit of salt

                                                                                                                                  Braised dark greens (kale, chard, dandelion etc.)

                                                                                                                                  Salmon eggs with quail eggs on toast or nigiri

                                                                                                                                  Brown rice O-nigiri with umeboshi(plum paste)

                                                                                                                                  Late season melon

                                                                                                                                  Mango Lassi

                                                                                                                                  Red Stripe

                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                  1. re: mielemaiale

                                                                                                                                    How do take-out places make broccoli in soy and garlic taste SO good?

                                                                                                                                    TT