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What's Your Secret Ingredient?

I'm curious to know if other people have go-to ingredients they use to add a little extra flavor dimension to food. Some examples: nutmeg in creamy sauces or with various vegetables, lemon juice in or on almost anything, a little balsamic in a soup or stew.

Beyond salt and pepper, which can do good things for many dishes, what do you use? Is there an ingredient you added as an experiment, only to discover it took a favorite dish to new heights?

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  1. Lemon and parsley are my two favorite last-minute flavor boosters. Usually brightens the idsh considerably.

    1. besides the ones that you mentioned (lemon juice, balsamic), I often add a little bit of worchester sauce to soups, stews, etc. to give a little zing

      1. mustard.

        i add colman's powdered mustard to quiches and soups (when i'm sauteeing whatever veggies go in it), i added it to braised pork and butternut squash soup over the weekend, with excellent results. i don't even love mustard, but something about the colman's spicy powder that adds a little zing to stuff.

        1. Toasted caraway seeds to my cabbage soup and sweet and sour rolled meat in cabbage

          1. Mushroom Soy

            Adds depth to soups and stews, flavors stir frys