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Great ingredient combos

don giovanni Mar 11, 2007 09:07 PM

Anyone ever get temporarily obsessed with a great combination of ingredients and put it in every dish you can for about a week (or longer)?

Most recent examples from my kitchen:

*Holy Trinity (bell peppers, onions, celery)

*Burgundy mustard, Oregon white truffles (Oregon, just 'cause they're easier to get than Italian) and tarragon

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  1. Kitchen Queen RE: don giovanni Mar 11, 2007 09:42 PM

    Garlic and EVOO! On, everything but, pancakes!

    1. wyf4lyf RE: don giovanni Mar 11, 2007 10:33 PM

      EVOO and lemon juice

      1. f
        Franken RE: don giovanni Mar 11, 2007 10:49 PM

        Wow, truffles for a week. Would you share your source. I have gotten some in the past from Oregon but feel my product was not as good as my friends reports.
        Soy Sauce and Balsamic vinegar.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Franken
          don giovanni RE: Franken Mar 11, 2007 11:37 PM

          Phoenix grocery chain called AJ's Fine Foods (doesn't help you much in Fresno!) has them in little containers for $250/lb. Many of them are not very good, but if I get in there when they've just re-stocked, I can find a good package. The good are off white and firm...the bad are rubbery and almost black. I don't know where AJ's gets them (but obviously, Oregon lol).
          As for the quality, I'm really not an expert on truffles, but they taste good to me; admittedly, they are not as good as the ones from Europe that I've had, but they are still a nice ingredient.
          There is an Oregon Truffle Festival (I think annually), but I've never made it. I bet you could meet good suppliers and buy some good product there. I'll have to plan a trip around this soon, I think (grew up in Oregon, so I visit frequently).


          1. re: Franken
            Emme RE: Franken Mar 12, 2007 09:02 PM

            Concur. Soy sauce (Bragg's Aminos usually b/c the gluten kills my stomach) and Balsamic (white or brown). In addition, sometimes a tad of lemon juice, depending on the dish. And most often garlic as well or garlic salt.

            1. re: Franken
              don giovanni RE: Franken Mar 12, 2007 10:17 PM

              I don't cook with soy very often, but this combo is sounding good.

            2. calla0413 RE: don giovanni Mar 11, 2007 10:58 PM

              Soy Sauce
              Sesame Oil
              Light Brown Sugar

              Marinate everything with this combo. Fish, chicken, beef - haven't tried pork.

              BTW, this is the combination for bulgogi. I vary the amounts of each ingredient depending what I'm in the mood for but, basically these five ingredients.

              1. JasmineG RE: don giovanni Mar 11, 2007 11:54 PM

                Spinach and feta. Or chard and feta. I've definitely had whole weeks where I was doing one of the two every which way. Spanikopita, in puff pastry pockets, as filling for stuffed peppers, with pasta, with chicken, in a sandwich (especially with some tomato or some proscuitto) in a frittata...anyone have any other ideas?

                5 Replies
                1. re: JasmineG
                  don giovanni RE: JasmineG Mar 12, 2007 12:08 AM

                  mmm...spinach and feta stuffed peppers. that sounds good.

                  1. re: don giovanni
                    JasmineG RE: don giovanni Mar 12, 2007 10:19 AM

                    Oh, it's so good. I cook and chop the spinach, then cool it, combine it with feta, some sauteed onions and garlic, an egg, some spices and breadcrumbs (and sometimes some other vegetables), and stuff and bake the peppers. Yum!

                    1. re: JasmineG
                      don giovanni RE: JasmineG Mar 12, 2007 10:19 PM


                      1. re: JasmineG
                        tastytamarind RE: JasmineG Mar 13, 2007 01:04 AM

                        add some fennel and then a bit of ricotta on each one -- to die for.

                        1. re: tastytamarind
                          don giovanni RE: tastytamarind Mar 13, 2007 01:09 AM

                          *drools even more*

                  2. c
                    ChiliDude RE: don giovanni Mar 12, 2007 05:52 AM

                    Yo don giovanni,

                    Your Holy Trinity is known as 'soffritto' in the language of my wife's ancestors.

                    I've been obsessed with chiles for a couple decades and a half. I grow my own and buy them when I run out of the harvested ones. Can't grow them in the winter. Chiles (or peperoncini) go great as part of soffritto.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: ChiliDude
                      don giovanni RE: ChiliDude Mar 12, 2007 08:31 AM

                      Oh, good call! I like replacing the bell peppers with chiles. Haven't done that in a while though. Is your wife Italian? Soffritto means something like 'lightly fried' in Italian. Does she generally fry the mixture?

                      1. re: don giovanni
                        ChiliDude RE: don giovanni Mar 12, 2007 12:40 PM

                        My wife's maternal grandparents came from Petilia Policastro in the province of Crotone and the region of Calabria. Her paternal grandparents came from the city and province of Potenza in the region of Baslicata. I do the peperoncini picante thing. My wife physiologically is unable to tolerate those spicy devils. She fries only sweet bells of all colors.

                        How many people of Italian heritage here in the US do you know who can pinpoint from where there ancestors came? I'm the family historian, and I'm not of Italian heritage.

                        1. re: ChiliDude
                          don giovanni RE: ChiliDude Mar 12, 2007 01:04 PM

                          I know very few...that's impressive!

                    2. e
                      eimac RE: don giovanni Mar 12, 2007 06:03 AM

                      Broccoli rabe
                      Italian sausage

                      1. With penne and white beans
                      2. In a frittata
                      3. Mix with roasted potatoes ( either frozen bagged or make your own)

                      1. JungMann RE: don giovanni Mar 12, 2007 07:33 AM

                        Often enough something goes on sale or I'm finally won over by the ads at the market that I have to buy some product I've never had before and use it obssessively for about a week and then forget about until I have to throw it away. Recent examples:
                        Caraway seeds (which I actually finish more quickly than any other spice, including salt)
                        Goat cheese
                        This past week has been all about variations on tuna casserole.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: JungMann
                          don giovanni RE: JungMann Mar 12, 2007 01:58 PM

                          lol JMan, that's the story of my life as a single guy. Once you buy those perishables it's like an overload until you just can't stand anymore or you finally use it up! Happening to me right now with anchovies. (Does anyone know how long you can store those in olive oil, once they're open? And anyone got some good ideas what to do with them? So far, I'm putting them in pasta, frittate and salads, usually accompanied by capers and similar ingredients.)

                          I'd never heard of harissa (how did I miss a great spicy ingredient all these years?). Once I use up my little fish filets, I think that may be next.

                          1. re: don giovanni
                            JungMann RE: don giovanni Mar 13, 2007 08:22 AM

                            Some idiot gave me tins upon tins of anchovies thinking that they were the same thing as the kippers I eat for breakfast. So I had to find a way to use the little salt suckers. Best use so far has been Königsberger Klopse (German meatballs seasoned with anchovies). Drool-worthy. I also sauté escarole with anchovies, garlic and pine nuts quite often. And then there's always mozzarella en carozza: the greatest sandwich Italy has given the world.

                            1. re: JungMann
                              don giovanni RE: JungMann Mar 13, 2007 10:43 AM

                              lol that's funny. All good ideas. Thanks!

                            2. re: don giovanni
                              AmandaEd RE: don giovanni Mar 13, 2007 08:33 AM

                              You sure have, don g! Harissa is a moroccan spice paste. Do try it!

                          2. Megiac RE: don giovanni Mar 12, 2007 09:58 AM

                            Italian sausages, bell peppers, and ricotta.

                            1. m
                              Mill City Modern RE: don giovanni Mar 12, 2007 10:01 AM

                              Chèvre, beets, and balsamic vinegar.

                              1. choctastic RE: don giovanni Mar 12, 2007 10:31 AM

                                kimchi and spam

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: choctastic
                                  Sam Fujisaka RE: choctastic Mar 12, 2007 04:17 PM

                                  Such a great and funny reply that I going to try it (if I can get Spam).

                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                    don giovanni RE: Sam Fujisaka Mar 12, 2007 04:50 PM

                                    me too! It sounds intense, huh?

                                2. AmandaEd RE: don giovanni Mar 12, 2007 10:40 AM

                                  * chicken livers and balsamic vinegar - wow.
                                  * ricotta and spinach
                                  * pistachio and honey
                                  * fresh tomato sauce and anything

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: AmandaEd
                                    Sam Fujisaka RE: AmandaEd Mar 12, 2007 04:20 PM

                                    Are the chicken livers and balsamic served cold? And with what?

                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                      AmandaEd RE: Sam Fujisaka Mar 13, 2007 08:35 AM

                                      I make a chicken liver pate and then brule the top of it and serve it with a balsamic reduction. Such a killer combo! I have a recipe for a chicken liver pasta that might be nice drizzled with it too.

                                  2. xnyorkr RE: don giovanni Mar 12, 2007 11:33 AM

                                    I posted this about sofrito: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/378429

                                    It's mostly garlic, cilantro, culantro, onion, and oil made into almost a paste and used as an ingredient or topping.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: xnyorkr
                                      ChiliDude RE: xnyorkr Mar 12, 2007 12:46 PM

                                      Your spelling of 'sofrito' is Spanish, not Italian. Culantro is an herb grown mainly in Puerto Rico.

                                      1. re: ChiliDude
                                        Sam Fujisaka RE: ChiliDude Mar 12, 2007 04:16 PM

                                        "Sofrito" in Spanish is a fine sauteed vegetable dice that serves as a base for different dishes. It is not a paste in any way.

                                      2. re: xnyorkr
                                        don giovanni RE: xnyorkr Mar 12, 2007 01:59 PM

                                        regardless of where it's from, it sounds really good. I make something close (but with fewer ingredients) and call it "cilantro pesto." I'll definitely be trying this soon.

                                      3. revsharkie RE: don giovanni Mar 12, 2007 04:09 PM

                                        Here lately Sriracha sauce is finding its way into just about everything.

                                        A combo I've been enjoying, especially as a marinade, is achiote verde paste with lime juice.

                                        1. chowser RE: don giovanni Mar 12, 2007 04:25 PM

                                          I'm really into three flavors together right now--spicy (like jalapeno), salty, sweet. As in:

                                          shrimp w/ a slice of jalapeno wrapped in bacon sprinkled w/ brown sugar
                                          candied jalapeno on salty cracker w/ cheese
                                          butter jam cookies w/ jalapeno jam, sprinkled with fleur de sel

                                          1. Sam Fujisaka RE: don giovanni Mar 12, 2007 04:26 PM

                                            1. Caviar in an omlette
                                            2. Mild cheese and sliced jalapeno in escabeche on a saltine
                                            3. Mochi dipped in sugar-shoyu
                                            4. Steamed trout w/ just butter, garlic, salt, pepper, lime juice
                                            5. Hot gohan (Japanese rice) and ume (salted "plum")
                                            6. Cognac and chocolate
                                            7. Lao sticky rice and Lao sausage

                                            1. ipsedixit RE: don giovanni Mar 12, 2007 04:32 PM

                                              nutella and peanut butter

                                              1. QueenB RE: don giovanni Mar 12, 2007 05:05 PM

                                                Garlic, fresh rosemary and dijon rubbed on lots of things.
                                                I'm so stuck in the '90s!

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: QueenB
                                                  don giovanni RE: QueenB Mar 12, 2007 05:18 PM

                                                  Hey that's still a good rub, for sure!

                                                2. chowser RE: don giovanni Mar 12, 2007 06:39 PM

                                                  Having just made steamed cod--garlic, ginger and green onions

                                                  And, as a dipping sauce, soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil

                                                  1. s
                                                    Sam D. RE: don giovanni Mar 12, 2007 09:51 PM

                                                    Butter, garlic, fresh rosemary and a squeeze of lime.

                                                    1. f
                                                      foodrocks RE: don giovanni Mar 12, 2007 09:57 PM

                                                      *leek, tomato and bacon...it makes a killer blt soup
                                                      *swiss cheese, cherry tomatoes and caramelized onions(hit with a little balsamic)
                                                      *bacon fat with just about ANYTHING
                                                      *bacon and green olives
                                                      *bacon and avocado
                                                      *bacon and arugala
                                                      *roasted asparagus with garlic and balsamic (i think i ate this every day for a month straight)

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: foodrocks
                                                        don giovanni RE: foodrocks Mar 12, 2007 10:16 PM

                                                        I do asparagus with garlic and lemon juice normally; I'll have to try the balsamic instead. I never would have thought of swiss, tomatoes and carmelized onion, outside of the context of a burger. I will definitely do that soon.

                                                      2. spigot RE: don giovanni Mar 12, 2007 10:10 PM

                                                        Great thread! Here're some of mine:

                                                        - chicken and oranges
                                                        - tuna and walnuts and olives and lemon
                                                        - soy sauce and maple syrup
                                                        - soy sauce and garlic and honey and ginger and vinegar
                                                        - rosemary and sage and dijon and olive oil
                                                        - sausage and rapini and chiles
                                                        - pork and sour cherries and port
                                                        - mint and berries
                                                        - salt and caramel
                                                        - bacon and mayonnaise and jam
                                                        - raw fish and lime and chiles
                                                        - sausage and sweet peppers
                                                        - sausage and maple mustard
                                                        - goat cheese and raw garlic and balsamic vinegar
                                                        - goat cheese and roasted garlic and pear jam
                                                        - caramel and chocolate and Lay's curry potato chips ;-)

                                                        1. don giovanni RE: don giovanni Mar 12, 2007 10:20 PM

                                                          everyone, these are great! I won't have a boring meal for months after this! keep 'em coming.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: don giovanni
                                                            Franken RE: don giovanni Mar 12, 2007 11:05 PM

                                                            don g, thank you for your response. I have had the same success with imported truffles. Still very interested in enjoying domestic. So its AJ's or Oregon. I'll get out a map and check the difference in distance but I might as well go to the source.
                                                            thanks again.

                                                            1. re: Franken
                                                              don giovanni RE: Franken Mar 12, 2007 11:14 PM

                                                              Yes, do go to Oregon, if you're going to make a trip. The truffles at AJ's are worth buying if you live here, but they aren't good enough for a drive all the way from Fresno, imo. btw, I just found out from a website (http://www.trufflezone.com) that they are only available fresh for a couple more weeks. :((

                                                          2. t
                                                            tastytamarind RE: don giovanni Mar 13, 2007 01:06 AM

                                                            my latest obsession is whole sesame butter, miso, lemon juice, toasted garlic and fresh ginger, with a bit of hot water to thin it out. Goes on everything -- chicken breasts, green beans, artichokes, noodles, you name it. amazing.

                                                            1. Marianna215 RE: don giovanni Mar 13, 2007 08:36 AM

                                                              I've been in love with a dressing I found in Oprah's magazine and it's been my staple for the past three months -
                                                              Dijon Mustard, shallots, White wine vinegar, olive oil, lemon and s+P.
                                                              This makes a delicious dressing for salad, but it doesn't stop there - I drizzle it over roasted asparagus and other veggies, I use it as my new tuna salad mix - just add celery, It's a great marinade/cooking sauce for fish and chicken, a good spread for sandwiches, dip, -- the possibilities are endless.
                                                              I recently made some potato and Pea samosas, w/ the traditional green dipping sauce, but ended up prefering the mustard dressing instead.
                                                              I make up a big batch at the beginning of the week and keep it in the fridge.

                                                              1. ArikaDawn RE: don giovanni Mar 13, 2007 08:42 AM

                                                                I got this great jar of apple butter made on an Amish farm and I have been pairing with all different combos of fruits, cheeses, and breads. It's a bit common, but has been hitting the spot.
                                                                Also, been obsessed with marinating in soy sauce and fresh pineapple juice.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: ArikaDawn
                                                                  don giovanni RE: ArikaDawn Mar 13, 2007 10:49 AM

                                                                  Soy and pineapple are good together. They're part of the base for this really great whiskey barBQ sauce. I'll have to dig up that recipe.

                                                                2. l
                                                                  laylag RE: don giovanni Mar 13, 2007 12:11 PM

                                                                  Mushrooms and thyme - fresh and/or dried. The thyme that is. Aside from the fact that I love both of these items, together they are sublime.

                                                                  Feta with spinach has been mentioned a lot but feta and tomatoes (good tomatoes) is phenomenal too. The salty, slightly crumbly and dryish feta with sweet, juicy tomatoes are perfect.

                                                                  I'm also on a chicken with something sweet bender lately, generally a chicken dish that includes fruit and/or honey.

                                                                  And, I found something amazing (to me) a while ago. One evening I was eating a nighttime snack of prepackaged, nonfat vanilla pudding (I know, blasphemy) and also having a few roasted chestnuts. I dipped the chestnut into the pudding and wow- epiphany. Kind of like the old peanut butter in my chocolate commercials for reese's. The chestnut and the custardy pudding were so delicious together, I figured there must be dessert recipes that combined these two ingredients but I've yet to find any. Is it possible I've come up with a whole new overlooked flavor combination or is this just a vaguery of my own palate? I don't know but I ate it a few times more after that and it was still good.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: laylag
                                                                    don giovanni RE: laylag Mar 13, 2007 02:33 PM

                                                                    It is hard to believe nobody would have tried chestnuts with vanilla custard, but that said, I've never actually heard of it.

                                                                  2. Jenblossom RE: don giovanni Mar 13, 2007 12:17 PM

                                                                    Tomatoes + capers + olives
                                                                    Chiles + mint
                                                                    Lemon zest + parsley
                                                                    Tomatoes + feta
                                                                    Mushrooms + tarragon
                                                                    Meyer lemons + fennel

                                                                    I'm getting hungry. :)

                                                                    1. p
                                                                      Paul Maipork RE: don giovanni Mar 13, 2007 12:31 PM


                                                                      Add olive oil and basil or oregano and toss with pasta
                                                                      Add olive oil and basil for a topping on bruschetta
                                                                      Add vinegar, cilantro and peppers for salsa

                                                                      1. oakjoan RE: don giovanni Mar 13, 2007 01:02 PM

                                                                        Nut flours or meals in cakes, e.g., almond, hazelnut, pistachio, walnut. I went through a period .... actually I'm still going through it (about a year and a half since I found a Nigella recipe for a flourless orange cake - also in Roden's Book of Jewish Food and the Rose Bakery cookbook) Jamie Oliver's Kitchen book and cooked that great hazelnut torte. He also has a fabulous (as long as you don't overcook because it gets REALLY dry but is still great if you serve it with about a pint of vanil. ice cream) choc. torte with ground almonds and walnuts. Rose Bakery also has a great pistachio cake made with nut flours and a bit of wheat flour.

                                                                        I find it really interesting, as well as tasty, to make these cakes with little or no "real" flour, and have had lots of opportunities to make them for dinner parties. We seem to have had lots of get-togethers with relatives and old friends in the past couple of years..

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: oakjoan
                                                                          JasmineG RE: oakjoan Mar 13, 2007 02:09 PM

                                                                          Have you found a source for nut flours and meals that isn't that expensive? I wanted to make that Nigella cake, but balked at only finding one small package of almond flour that was $11!

                                                                        2. yumyumyogi RE: don giovanni Mar 13, 2007 04:15 PM

                                                                          - Butternut squash, sage, pancetta
                                                                          - Fennel, orange, parmesan
                                                                          - A recent discovery: watermelon with chocolate or watermelon with nutella

                                                                          This thread is making me hungry.

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