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Feb 22, 2008 02:48 AM

Weird or Secret Ingredients?

I need to bring a dish to a potluck. The theme is "Secrets" so the dish has to contain something unlikely, or weird or whatever, that no one would think was in it.

I thought about making Coca-cola cake, but there will be several Southerners there, so I am guessing that someone else will make it. I am open to any suggestions, but have limited access to ingredients--I have almost no access to processed foods, so recipes that include a lot of box mixes are not going to work.


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  1. Beef stroganoff using sliced chicken hearts. Tastes like really tender beef. Don't over cook.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

      Yo Sam,
      I really like your suggestion about the use of chicken hearts. Problem here is that most markets do not carry them as a meat dept. item. I have a difficult enough time just finding chicken livers for chopped chicken liver spread. When I lived in Berwyn, IL back in the '50s, it was inhabited by a large Czech population and such chicken parts were always available. BTW, have you tried the same recipe using chicken gizzards instead of hearts?

      1. re: ChiliDude

        Have tried gizzards stronganoff. Its better because of their better/deeper flavor. The cost is the work trimming, ponding (with meat tenderizer mallet), and slicing.

        The stronganoff hearts takes me about 10 minutes to prepare. Last time I served to a guy from Oz and his Colombian girlfriend. Both were convinced that it was pricey steak.

        Are chicken hearts generally not available in the US?

        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

          They're available at my grocery store in Olathe, KS

          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

            At my store I can usually get them but they're mixed in with gizzards and there's maybe 5 hearts in a package of 20 gizzards. I can get chicken liver in tubs, though. Love that!

        2. re: Sam Fujisaka

          I am surprised you didn't suggest Wild Boar Anus a la Namibia

          1. re: Eat_Nopal

            Yes, yes, heart is weird and strange and scary.

            Thanks for the valuable input.

            (More anticuchos for me)

            1. re: Eat_Nopal

              Sorry, I use my WBA for sisig--that is, both ends of the boar can be used for the dish.

            2. re: Sam Fujisaka

              Hmmm... my meat store has chicken hearts... any special cleaning or cooking tips? Recipe?


              1. re: ldkelley

                Trim the fat at the top and the often protruding aortic arch followed by cutting lengthwise. Quick and easy.

            3. There are a lot of cakes and pies with unlikely vegetables in them - chocolate beet cake is a common one. My mother made a great spice cake with parsnips in it - none of us could guess what it was.

              5 Replies
              1. re: lupaglupa

                I saw a recipe for a parsnip cake in a Jane Grigson's book and have meant to try it.

                1. re: MMRuth

                  We all loved it - it was moist and had a great but undefineable taste. It helps that we all like parsnips anyway.

                  1. re: lupaglupa

                    I served a chocolate sauerkraut cake once and it was both delicious and completely undetected as made with pickled cabbage.

                    1. re: MobyRichard

                      Provided you remember to chop up the sauerkraut or else it is detectable as "worms". My BAD.

                  2. The fudge recipe made with velvetta

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: jlp8

                      I have a cousin that made fudge with tofu. I would have never guessed tofu was in it. I'm sure there is a recipe on the net.

                      1. re: scubadoo97

                        I've made a chocolate mousse with tofu and it is always wonderful. You use firm tofu, some sugar, very good bittersweet chocolate and grated orange peel. Whip it up in the food processor, put in a mold or individual ramekins and chill. It's truly delicious.

                        There are probably recipes for this online.

                        1. re: oakjoan

                          The chocolate mousse sounds great for summer and for a no-milk dessert. I looked online and some recipes used firm tofu and some silken tofu. As someone who doesn't often make tofu desserts, I wonder what you think might be an advantage of either?

                      2. re: jlp8

                        That's hilarious. My first thought exactly :-D.

                      3. If you can get hold of a box of Ritz crackers find the recipe for mock apple pie. I had it once and ifi hadn't been told there were no apples in it I would never have guessed

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: eimac

                          And apples cost less than a box of Ritz crackers.

                        2. The Cook's Illustrated pie crust made with vodka might be a good candidate. They also had a recipe for "Rustic Apple Tart" and the crust used Wondra flour. Not as intriguing, though, as some other secret ingredients. Mock Apple Pie made from Ritz crackers could fit the bill too.

                          Just make sure the secret ingredient isn't too wild - somebody might have a dietary restriction or allergy.