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What's your "secret ingredient?"

FriedClamFanatic Sep 24, 2008 04:18 PM

We all have something we add to one recipe or another that lifts it way out of the ordinary.

For me, whenever I make most types of chicken soup, I add a TBS or so of Peanut Butter. It gives it a velvety texture and a strange little taste that few folks can guess but all seem to like.

What's yours?

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  1. c
    chez cherie RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 24, 2008 04:20 PM

    smoked paprika.

    2 Replies
    1. re: chez cherie
      twilight goddess RE: chez cherie Jun 1, 2010 01:52 PM

      me too, and also Aleppo chile (discovered through chowhound, actually)

      1. re: chez cherie
        skamama RE: chez cherie Nov 4, 2011 12:59 PM

        Spanish smoked paprika rules, but I've also been using some applewood smoked salt when appropriate. It is an amazing substitute that can be used in sauces to simulate wood-fired barbecue (alder smoked salt is similar).

      2. s
        shivani RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 24, 2008 04:24 PM

        lavendar salt. great with pretty much any meat, fish or veggie.

        1. d
          DonnaG RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 24, 2008 04:43 PM

          aleppo peppers; a very good chicken bullion (spoonable, and not too salty), lots of butter.

          1. diablo RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 24, 2008 04:48 PM

            Old Bay seasoning.

            12 Replies
            1. re: diablo
              oldbaycupcake RE: diablo Nov 6, 2008 12:21 PM

              Ditto the Old Bay. Also bacon fat, nutmeg and Worcestershire sauce.

              1. re: oldbaycupcake
                diablo RE: oldbaycupcake Nov 6, 2008 04:50 PM

                I made this tonight, and bot was it delicious. Kept number of shrimp the same but doubled the sauce. A great "secret ingredient" use of Old bay. Lets give a see if this link works....
                http://the pioneerwoman.com/cooking/2008/11/spicy-orange-garlic-shrimp/

                1. re: diablo
                  alkapal RE: diablo Nov 7, 2008 04:04 AM

                  try this: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/20...

                  the link reads the same, but yours didn't work for me. i like pioneer woman, and think her new design for her blog is very pretty.

                  1. re: alkapal
                    diablo RE: alkapal Nov 8, 2008 02:37 PM

                    Thanks alkapal. I had the leftovers for lunch today and they were great. Appreciate the help!

              2. re: diablo
                julseydesign RE: diablo Nov 21, 2008 02:00 PM

                Old bay, for me too!!!
                and allspice - just a pinch

                1. re: diablo
                  BabsW RE: diablo Dec 16, 2009 03:56 AM

                  Ditto the Old Bay and smoked paprika.

                  Another special ingredient of mine is New England portuguese chouriço.

                  1. re: BabsW
                    Lady_Tenar RE: BabsW Jun 7, 2010 04:01 PM

                    Love smoked paprika! I put a lot of it in my chili and my red beans and rice.

                    Also, in savory soups and stews (like a nice beef stew), I tend to use either minced anchovy fillets (they dissolve in the liquid) or thai fish sauce a lot. Nobody can tell it's in there (and plenty would probably run screaming if I told them) but it's a great way to add umami.

                    1. re: Lady_Tenar
                      Richard 16 RE: Lady_Tenar Jun 7, 2010 09:21 PM

                      Allergy to anchovies is relatively common and can be very serious. Anchovies are also used in a variety of sauces including Caesar salad dressing sauce, fish sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Sure to ask your guests if they have *any* food allergies. Having a guest on the floor gasping can be a real downer to any party.

                      1. re: Richard 16
                        goodhealthgourmet RE: Richard 16 Jun 11, 2010 09:28 PM

                        "Anchovies are also used in a variety of sauces including Caesar salad dressing"
                        and if there's no anchovy in the dressing (or on the salad), there's really no point in ordering/eating it ;)

                        seriously though, you make a good point - i warn people all the time about using potential allergens as "secret" or "hidden" ingredients. it's an innocent but potentially very dangerous tactic, and those who have never dealt with food allergies sometime just don't think about the ramifications.

                        1. re: Richard 16
                          cosmogrrl RE: Richard 16 Jun 13, 2010 01:34 AM

                          Always do ask for allergies, and for their dislikes too. Makes dinner parties easier!

                          My secret ingredient is allspice, especially for lamb!

                          1. re: cosmogrrl
                            DishDelish RE: cosmogrrl Jun 18, 2010 06:31 PM

                            I never thought about anchovies as being an allergen but that definitely makes sense since it is seafood.

                          2. re: Richard 16
                            Hopefulone RE: Richard 16 Oct 7, 2013 06:44 PM

                            "Secret ingredients" scare me as well. My son had an anaphylactic reaction when someone added peanut butter to their chili. (Life threatening)

                    2. scuzzo RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 24, 2008 05:10 PM

                      I like to add cajun spice blend or jamaican jerk paste (my favorite Walkerswood) to many soups and other savory dishes, including eggs. I often add a small amount so it's not obvious, but it provides a certain "brightness" to the flavors.

                      1. b
                        Brandon Nelson RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 24, 2008 05:18 PM

                        Salt cured lemon

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Brandon Nelson
                          Goatjunky RE: Brandon Nelson Aug 30, 2013 05:55 PM

                          Im curious. I have a batch i made but have not really been using.

                        2. TheSnowpea RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 24, 2008 05:49 PM

                          Like Chez Cherie, smoked paprika (pimentón). And in chilis, a dollop of cocoa powder for a deep colour and more complex flavour.

                          1. digkv RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 24, 2008 06:12 PM

                            Chiles de arbol add a little heat to any dish if you add it to the oil while it is heating up, letting it sizzle. Of course, also anchovies which improves many boring dishes. My favorite way to prepare green beans is to blanch them and cool them off then stir fry them in evoo which has a chile de arbol cooking in it, add a couple cloves of chopped garlic and a couple filets of anchovies smashed and let it brown and dissolve. Add the green beans and cook until heated through. I like to top it off with some fresh bread crumbs that have been toasted in olive oil. Those 2 ingredients work well with any vegetable really.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: digkv
                              mebby RE: digkv Dec 28, 2009 06:34 PM


                            2. Quine RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 24, 2008 06:18 PM

                              fish sauce

                              19 Replies
                              1. re: Quine
                                dani_k RE: Quine Sep 25, 2008 08:03 PM

                                i second that one.

                                1. re: dani_k
                                  mlgb RE: dani_k Sep 27, 2008 10:33 AM

                                  Third on the fish sauce.

                                  Also sherry vinegar.

                                  1. re: mlgb
                                    lunchbox RE: mlgb Sep 30, 2008 10:15 PM

                                    What you said, mlgb, in reverse order.

                                2. re: Quine
                                  ajcraig RE: Quine Nov 8, 2008 04:29 PM

                                  HEY! How can fish sauce be MY secret when you are all using it as well? Looks like I'm in good company ; ) Lots of inspiration here!

                                  1. re: ajcraig
                                    ideabaker RE: ajcraig Nov 27, 2008 04:13 AM

                                    I use fish sauce to make a Vietnamese dipping sauce... am obviously in the dark as to other uses. Would you mind enlightening me??? (I have a LOT of fish sauce)

                                    1. re: ideabaker
                                      alkapal RE: ideabaker Nov 28, 2008 05:10 AM

                                      i used fish sauce yesterday to bump up the flavor in some crabcakes i made.

                                      i think there was a fish sauce thread not too long ago: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/526806

                                      1. re: alkapal
                                        ideabaker RE: alkapal Dec 18, 2008 02:59 PM

                                        Thanks for that reference alkapal!

                                        1. re: ideabaker
                                          alkapal RE: ideabaker Jan 1, 2009 04:12 AM

                                          hi ideabaker! have you ever made the thai/laotian dish "som tum" -- green papaya salad? fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar (or thai sugar -- palm sugar), dried shrimp, green chillies and garlic blenderized and poured onto shredded/julienned green papaya, tomato and green bean that have been "beaten" to soften in a big mortar and pestle, or smashed with a mallet or rolling pin in a plastic bag. that dressing is drinkably-delicious!!!!!!


                                          i'm a som tum cheerleader!!!!

                                          1. re: alkapal
                                            ideabaker RE: alkapal Jan 1, 2009 04:35 AM

                                            Alkapal, I think I slept three hours last night, awakening to the delight of your message this morning. That som tum (especially with the salted crab) sounds just incredible. I just have to figure out what "salted crab" is at my local Asian Marketplace, since almost all the workers are Chinese and don't speak many words of English... any tips, pics, etc.?? I have a habit of showing up at home with the wrong ingredients (which actually helps create new recipes, necessity being the mother of invention and all...).

                                            Happy New Year! Thanks for steering me in the right direction right off the bat!

                                            1. re: ideabaker
                                              alkapal RE: ideabaker Jan 1, 2009 05:11 AM

                                              i use the dried shrimp that comes in a plastic bag from shopper's food warehouse here in d.c. -northern va. 'burbs (large asian population).

                                              it looks like this: http://www.amazon.com/Importfood-com-...

                                              i've heard the thai-origin shrimp are better than the chinese. i can't recall where mine are from. i store in a glass jar in the freezer -- but they can also be stored in a glass jar on the shelf ('cause i just made some dressing down in florida, and used some shrimp i had taken down from my "stock" earlier in the year).

                                              some places add fresh chopped roasted peanuts (unsalted), but don't let that hold you up!

                                              a nice video how-to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCgN7j...

                                              i don't use the fermented fish or eggplant as in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXabvu...

                                              worth watching JUST for the "play that funky music white boy" sung in thai (?): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_suAD...

                                              for the dressing, just "doctor" it till you get the flavor you crave! and if you can't get the green papaya, try making it with shredded cabbage. really, it is the dressing that drives me crazy-yummy-wacky!

                                              1. re: alkapal
                                                ideabaker RE: alkapal Jan 1, 2009 05:20 AM

                                                I will look for those shrimp when I next go to the Asian Market (just went about a week ago to stock up for winter, but their baby bok choy, tender fresh basil, and fresh mung bean sprouts keep me popping in every other week or so). Didn't have a new year's resolution until right now... to make Som Tum. Am already trying to think of a good wine pairing with the sauce, which I'd likely use on fish or chicken... how do you use it?

                                              2. re: ideabaker
                                                alkapal RE: ideabaker Jan 1, 2009 05:25 AM

                                                salted crab seems like it is just dried, salted crab. the crab paste seems like it would be a substiute where the texture of the crab itself is not paramount. http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-crab-...

                                                1. re: alkapal
                                                  ideabaker RE: alkapal Jan 1, 2009 05:29 AM

                                                  I think I might even prefer the salted crab, again I just don't know what it looks like. Thanks for the link to that helpful site. I'll look for others maybe with a pic I could show to one of the workers at the Asian Market. (Because from experience, it can take hours to try to explain something if you don't speak the language!) A pic would certainly help in this case...

                                                  1. re: ideabaker
                                                    alkapal RE: ideabaker Jan 2, 2009 06:28 AM

                                                    here is another recipe, with video, and an additional idea for papaya and noodle salad (with rice noodles). sounds so good! : http://thai-laos-food.blogspot.com/20...

                                                    1. re: alkapal
                                                      yummyrice RE: alkapal Jul 23, 2009 03:15 PM

                                                      The use of vermicelli noodles with green papaya is a typical Lao thing to do when eating Lao papaya salad so it's actually not a secret or an uncommon thing to do. Noodles are kind of like a substitute for Lao sticky rice. If not noodles, then sliced raw cabbage or raw leafy veggies like morning glory are also used. All of those items help to tone down the heat from the papaya salad. You're making me drool just thinking about spicy Lao papaya salad. =)

                                                      1. re: yummyrice
                                                        alkapal RE: yummyrice Jul 25, 2009 04:17 AM

                                                        yes, yummyrice, i'm an addict of the stuff. but, i now have to go to my thai places alone, as mr. alka says he can't handle the heat anymore. (but i did pick him up a takeout cashew chicken curry when i ate thai yesterday).

                                                        when you say vermicelli noodles, are you talking about rice "vermicelli"? i just always associate vermicelli with italian flour pasta noodles.

                                                        1. re: alkapal
                                                          yummyrice RE: alkapal Jul 25, 2009 03:15 PM

                                                          LOL! Yes, rice vermicelli because Italian flour pasta noodles would not go well with spicy Lao papaya salad. I can't speak for other countries, but in Laos our rice vermicelli noodles are usually handmade at least the ones who live out in the villages. The ones in the cities will typically use store bought rice vermicelli.

                                        2. re: ideabaker
                                          jmckee RE: ideabaker Jul 23, 2009 04:03 PM

                                          I'm not allowed to use fish sauce. I made one recipe that included a teaspoon of it -- ONE TEASPOON -- and my wife hated the flavor.

                                      2. re: Quine
                                        chicgail RE: Quine Oct 4, 2011 07:35 PM

                                        How do you use fish sauce? Like in what kinds of dishes? Do you substitute it for something else?

                                      3. Will Owen RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 24, 2008 06:29 PM

                                        Chile oil (not the sesame kind) to mix with olive oil and bathe meat, fish or fowl in prior to cooking. Anchovy paste: adds depth to both beef and fish casserole-y things (beef stew, pot roast, tuna-noodle casserole, tuna salad), and to mix with oil when braising broccoli or broccolini. Smoked sea salt on sliced tomatoes.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Will Owen
                                          fluffernutter RE: Will Owen Sep 26, 2008 11:21 AM

                                          Hey will! Chile oil is mine, too. Just a touch adds a warm chile flavor and none of the heat. Great minds and all that...

                                        2. m
                                          mpalmer6c RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 24, 2008 06:50 PM

                                          Chinese 5 spice (in moderation).

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: mpalmer6c
                                            weinstein5 RE: mpalmer6c Sep 24, 2008 08:30 PM

                                            I second this - and for my rubs I use Maple Sugar

                                            1. re: mpalmer6c
                                              Budino RE: mpalmer6c Nov 7, 2008 11:35 AM

                                              me too. I use it in place of cinnamon in all things baked.

                                            2. Gio RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 24, 2008 06:55 PM

                                              Depending on what I'm making:
                                              1. Red pepper flakes
                                              2. Chilis in adobo sauce
                                              3. A few minced anchovies in oil

                                              The secret is moderation and just enough to kick up the flavor.

                                              1. s
                                                stormshadow RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 24, 2008 08:18 PM

                                                Lately, it has been smoked paprika.

                                                1. IndyGirl RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 24, 2008 08:27 PM

                                                  grey salt
                                                  red pepper flakes
                                                  smoked paprika

                                                  I can't pick just one!

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: IndyGirl
                                                    RGC1982 RE: IndyGirl Oct 4, 2008 07:45 PM

                                                    I can't pick one either. I would say:

                                                    smoked paprika
                                                    soy sauce

                                                  2. Emmmily RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 24, 2008 08:31 PM

                                                    A little cumin gives some nice round flavor, even in things like artichoke dip where you wouldn't expect it. Just a bit though or it starts to taste like Indian food. (I love Indian food, but not in my artichoke dip.)

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Emmmily
                                                      goodegg333 RE: Emmmily Oct 2, 2008 04:04 PM

                                                      A pinch of cumin also adds a great, subtle smokiness to guacamole

                                                      1. re: goodegg333
                                                        alkapal RE: goodegg333 Oct 3, 2008 05:18 AM

                                                        yes, i always add cumin to guac!

                                                    2. BamiaWruz RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 24, 2008 08:37 PM

                                                      Granulated garlic and soy sauce ( I think I add those things to just about everything!)

                                                      Also dried mint.

                                                      12 Replies
                                                      1. re: BamiaWruz
                                                        alkapal RE: BamiaWruz Sep 25, 2008 05:14 AM

                                                        is granulated garlic different from garlic powder?

                                                        1. re: alkapal
                                                          dani_k RE: alkapal Sep 25, 2008 08:05 PM

                                                          yes. granulated is dried garlic but more around the size of grains of salt (though containing no salt)...i find it shakes on things more evenly instead of poofing all over like powder does.

                                                          1. re: dani_k
                                                            tonka11_99 RE: dani_k Mar 16, 2010 06:58 AM

                                                            It tastes much more lke garlic than powder... don't know why.

                                                        2. re: BamiaWruz
                                                          BabsW RE: BamiaWruz May 10, 2011 10:04 AM

                                                          I recently bought some granulated garlic on the basis of eveyrthing I've read here and have fallen in love with it. It really has more oomph than garlic powder.

                                                          1. re: BabsW
                                                            LAfoodie72 RE: BabsW Aug 30, 2011 04:32 PM

                                                            I have recently fallen head over heals in love with FREEZE DRIED GARLIC. It's different than any other type of dried garlic I've ever tasted (whether granulated, powdered, salted, etc.) and you would SWEAR it's fresh! That's how great it is!! I use it for EVERYTHING now! I personally love garlic salt as a finishing salt for many things and now I make my own. So many of us have salt grinders/mills ... try this! 1/3 large crystal sea salt to 2/3 FD garlic. I add a generous amount of dried parsley to the mix.. but use to taste. Mix it up and pour into the salt mill. You will not believe how much better it is over the pre-mixed store bought types. TOO GOOD!!

                                                            1. re: LAfoodie72
                                                              DishDelish RE: LAfoodie72 Aug 31, 2011 02:34 AM

                                                              Awesome! Thanks for the tip. I am always excited to hear of food types! :)

                                                              1. re: LAfoodie72
                                                                alkapal RE: LAfoodie72 Sep 28, 2011 06:12 AM

                                                                i've never seen it. is this freeze dried garlic only at specialty shops?

                                                                1. re: alkapal
                                                                  FriedClamFanatic RE: alkapal Oct 3, 2011 07:51 AM

                                                                  I* haven't seen it yet at my locla Supermarket (Giants) but I have seen it in my Penzey's catalog

                                                                  1. re: FriedClamFanatic
                                                                    alkapal RE: FriedClamFanatic Oct 3, 2011 07:55 AM

                                                                    i need to make it over to penzey's, as there is one not too far at all from me -- in falls church, va. i think i should go without my credit card, though ;-)).

                                                                    1. re: alkapal
                                                                      kubasd23 RE: alkapal Jan 5, 2012 11:20 PM

                                                                      I made that mistake once, alka! I lived about 3 blocks from that Penzey's and I spent wayyyyy too much money there!!

                                                                      1. re: kubasd23
                                                                        alkapal RE: kubasd23 Jan 13, 2012 03:59 PM

                                                                        were you still living on that area when mad fox opened?

                                                                        1. re: alkapal
                                                                          kubasd RE: alkapal Aug 29, 2012 02:32 AM

                                                                          Sorry for the late reply, I just saw this. I don't think I was... at least I dont' remember a mad fox.

                                                          2. lulubelle RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 24, 2008 10:28 PM

                                                            in my house the expression "Secret Ingredient" is code for nutmeg. Spinach bland? Add some "Secret Ingredient".

                                                            Bacon fat makes everything taste good.

                                                            6 Replies
                                                            1. re: lulubelle
                                                              scuzzo RE: lulubelle Sep 25, 2008 09:00 AM

                                                              I LOVE nutmeg with cooked spinach!!! But I forget about it...

                                                              1. re: scuzzo
                                                                budlit RE: scuzzo Sep 25, 2008 11:22 AM

                                                                a small amount of nutmeg with mushrooms is good too

                                                                1. re: budlit
                                                                  scuzzo RE: budlit Sep 25, 2008 05:27 PM

                                                                  I'll bet you're right! I'll try it.

                                                                  And while I sometimes use garlic powder, I would never use anything but fresh grated nutmeg. A thousand percent better!!!

                                                                  1. re: scuzzo
                                                                    budlit RE: scuzzo Sep 26, 2008 09:25 AM

                                                                    yes, only freshly grated

                                                                2. re: scuzzo
                                                                  goodegg333 RE: scuzzo Oct 2, 2008 04:02 PM

                                                                  Nutmeg is a wonderful addition to alfredo sauce too!

                                                                  1. re: goodegg333
                                                                    alkapal RE: goodegg333 Oct 3, 2008 05:20 AM

                                                                    i just saw nutmeg used on oven "fried" potato strips. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/da...

                                                              2. f
                                                                FriedClamFanatic RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 24, 2008 11:04 PM

                                                                WOW! some great ideas here!

                                                                1. stricken RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 24, 2008 11:12 PM

                                                                  pecan smoked salt, maple syrup. toasted fennel seed

                                                                  1. BarmyFotheringayPhipps RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 25, 2008 12:17 AM

                                                                    Thyme. There are very few dishes that aren't improved by a pinch of thyme.

                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                    1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
                                                                      goodhealthgourmet RE: BarmyFotheringayPhipps Oct 2, 2008 05:09 PM

                                                                      yes! thyme can really elevate so many things, and it's become indispensable in most of my savory recipes that involve cooked tomatoes.

                                                                      i have so many "secret" ingredients - it depends on the dish. for various savory recipes: smoked paprika, cumin, anchovies, fish sauce, chipotles in adobo, the oaking liquid from dried mushrooms or sun-dried tomatoes, liquid smoke, capers, miso, tamarind paste or concentrate, nutmeg, bragg's aminos, dried chipotle flakes, fire-roasted tomato flakes

                                                                      and in chocolate desserts...coffee or espresso.

                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                        alkapal RE: goodhealthgourmet Oct 3, 2008 05:22 AM

                                                                        ghg, tell us about bragg's aminos, please! flavor, texture, uses, function.....?

                                                                        1. re: alkapal
                                                                          goodhealthgourmet RE: alkapal Oct 3, 2008 02:02 PM

                                                                          it's a liquid, actually a non-fermented soybean extract.

                                                                          interestingly, although i can't eat whole soy foods or straight soy protein [for health reasons], i don't have an issue with this particular form of soy...and a little goes a long way. it's very salty, even though it's much lower in sodium than traditional soy sauce - it contains 220 mg sodium per tsp, which is pretty comparable to low-sodium soy.

                                                                          it's got a great salty, umami flavor, sort of like a mellow soy sauce...or miso, almost.

                                                                          you can find it at WFM or any natural food store, and it comes in either a large pourable bottle with a spout, or a small spray bottle. i keep the spray bottle in the cabinet & refill it from a large bottle when it runs low. it's super-convenient for spritzing on popcorn, steamed veggies, salad, etc.

                                                                          btw, this also got me thinking about another of my "secret" ingredients that i left off the list..nutritional yeast flakes.

                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                            keith2000 RE: goodhealthgourmet Oct 3, 2008 11:19 PM

                                                                            wow if you hadn't ended the post with nutritional yeast I would have posted "what about nutritional yeast" A little and you have cheese a lot and you have chicken. Leeks are good for a butter flavor if you want to eliminate butter. Cashew cream is also very nice.

                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                              Hunicsz RE: goodhealthgourmet Oct 4, 2008 04:08 PM

                                                                              Yes, Bragg's aminos are great. They have a slightly different flavor than soy, more fermented and vaguely miso-esque, as noted above. They're a god send for those of us with high blood pressure who love salt. I find that I use much, much less than even low sodium soy sauce or salt.

                                                                              1. re: Hunicsz
                                                                                lexpatti RE: Hunicsz Nov 4, 2008 04:23 AM

                                                                                I too always have Braggs in my cabinet. I love sauted vegies in it (mix of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflour, carrots slices), over a nice brown rice and shredded cheese on top. One of the dishes at the healthfood counter I ran many moons ago.

                                                                                Also a fantastic mushroom burger (sliced mushroom quick saute with Braggs) then layer mushrooms, cheese (melted under broiler), guacomole, shredded carrots, sprouts, spike seasoning, cayenne and garlic powder - alll on a really nice whole grain bun.

                                                                                1. re: lexpatti
                                                                                  toveggiegirl RE: lexpatti Nov 24, 2010 09:38 PM

                                                                                  Bragg's is my secret ingredient too! I find it really adds an umami flavour to a lot of vegetarian dishes.

                                                                      2. t
                                                                        tmso RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 25, 2008 04:04 AM

                                                                        Anchovies were already mentioned ... for me they're less secret than ubiquitous. Almost anytime I make mushrooms, I reconstitute some ancho, mince it, and use the broth in the prep. Not too much, but its earthiness plays so well with mushrooms.

                                                                        1. c
                                                                          CeeBee RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 25, 2008 12:48 PM

                                                                          Sriracha, chilis in adobo, Worcestershire sauce, cumin...

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: CeeBee
                                                                            Rene RE: CeeBee Sep 26, 2008 03:39 PM

                                                                            You sound like my kind of cook! Those are some of my faves.

                                                                          2. c
                                                                            cookingodyssey RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 25, 2008 01:31 PM

                                                                            I like using vanilla paste instead of vanilla extract in baking recipes. While the taste isn't dramatically different it is deeper and more intense.

                                                                            1. s
                                                                              SpareRib RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 25, 2008 03:23 PM

                                                                              A good quality Truffle Butter in mashed potato, polenta, on grilled meat, or on pasta.

                                                                              1. d
                                                                                DaisyM RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 25, 2008 04:23 PM

                                                                                Shallots that have been carmelized and fresh lemon juice.

                                                                                1. o
                                                                                  oryza RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 25, 2008 04:59 PM

                                                                                  nutmeg... in savory dishes. It makes cream and butter sing

                                                                                  1. Mawrter RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 25, 2008 05:44 PM

                                                                                    Lately I'm really into:

                                                                                    * frying in grapeseed oil (WF store brand!)
                                                                                    * fish sauce
                                                                                    * the end of the jar of fruit butter, jelly or jam as a base for (savory) marinade... fig preserves, peach butter, apple butter, quince jelly, orange marmalade, etc.
                                                                                    * or molasses in marinades
                                                                                    * dry mustard powder
                                                                                    * Pernod
                                                                                    * already mentioned, but bears repeating: anchovy paste
                                                                                    * Marsala - lasts a long time once it's open and you can use it in lieu of wine in many recipes
                                                                                    * chicken stock
                                                                                    * herbed butter, especially thyme butter
                                                                                    * rendered duck fat
                                                                                    * Herbes de Provence or the variation Paula Wolfert describes
                                                                                    * potato starch - as a thickener, generally, totally different taste & texture than flour or cornstarch, and kosher, too (I think)
                                                                                    * lemon peel
                                                                                    * pomegranite syrup (globe-trotting friend spoils me)
                                                                                    * Plugra
                                                                                    * cultured butter
                                                                                    * raw milk, fresh or soured

                                                                                    1. p
                                                                                      Potomac Bob RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 25, 2008 06:41 PM

                                                                                      Chimmichurri. Spozed to be served as a condiment with meats, but I find it adds a nice little oomph to lots of dishes. (Haven't been able to convince myself that it would work with anything sweet.)

                                                                                      1. OCAnn RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 25, 2008 08:18 PM

                                                                                        Similar threads, each with over 100 responses:

                                                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/492125 --Weird or Secret Ingredients?
                                                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/338509 --What's Your Secret Ingredient?

                                                                                        1. b
                                                                                          budlit RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 26, 2008 09:29 AM

                                                                                          I put grated citrus zests and a tiny bit of mace in crab cakes

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: budlit
                                                                                            lollya RE: budlit Oct 1, 2008 05:56 PM

                                                                                            i would LOVE that recipe...if you care to share. :)

                                                                                          2. m
                                                                                            missfunkysoul RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 26, 2008 11:21 AM

                                                                                            hot paprika - in my house, it's the "homefries spice".

                                                                                            also, split pea soup must always have curry powder.

                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: missfunkysoul
                                                                                              fern RE: missfunkysoul Sep 27, 2008 07:32 PM

                                                                                              I use curry powder in turkey and chicken broth soups, makes a wonderful difference. Never have used it in split pea, though, and I happen to have some in the freezer. I'll have try that soon. Thanks for the idea!

                                                                                              1. re: fern
                                                                                                BamiaWruz RE: fern Sep 27, 2008 10:59 PM

                                                                                                My mother uses turmeric actually, she says it takes away from the fatty chicken "smell". It's nice, just a dash.

                                                                                                1. re: BamiaWruz
                                                                                                  fallingup RE: BamiaWruz Nov 8, 2008 10:36 PM

                                                                                                  My mom always put turmeric on meat too. She said it killed germs. Who knows.

                                                                                                  1. re: fallingup
                                                                                                    souschef RE: fallingup Jul 25, 2009 06:39 AM

                                                                                                    I once asked my mother what spices she used in a meat dish that she made. She looked at me like I was crazy, and said, "Meat spices". When I asked her to elaborate, she said, "Cumin, turmeric, and ground cloves". I now use that combination very often.

                                                                                                    I love to use pancetta when cooking. Gives a lovely flavour.

                                                                                                    1. re: souschef
                                                                                                      buttertart RE: souschef Jul 25, 2009 07:00 AM

                                                                                                      If I may ask, where is your mother from? Cooking background? It's an interesting combination (and sounds good).

                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                        souschef RE: buttertart Jul 25, 2009 07:55 AM

                                                                                                        My late mother was from Goa, so her cooking was from that region (Portuguese-influenced and lots of fish), plus we lived in Africa. She was a great cook.

                                                                                                        1. re: souschef
                                                                                                          buttertart RE: souschef Jul 25, 2009 07:59 AM

                                                                                                          I should have known from the cloves. Lucky you! (My mother's idea of meat spices was salt and pepper.)

                                                                                              2. re: missfunkysoul
                                                                                                jpc8015 RE: missfunkysoul Sep 30, 2008 11:03 PM

                                                                                                I love Split Pea Soup with curry. Here is a great recipe from Alton Brown on the Food Network.


                                                                                                It's a great and simple recipe. I bet you have most of the ingredients on hand right now.

                                                                                                1. re: jpc8015
                                                                                                  wineos RE: jpc8015 Feb 3, 2010 06:34 PM

                                                                                                  I agree, this recipe is great!

                                                                                                  1. re: jpc8015
                                                                                                    bayoucook RE: jpc8015 Aug 20, 2011 05:32 AM

                                                                                                    Got to try that one!

                                                                                                2. s
                                                                                                  SSqwerty RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 26, 2008 12:15 PM

                                                                                                  Equal amounts of salt and sugar. Fabulous on vegs, but I've even used it on meat. Gooses the food's natural flavor.

                                                                                                  1. f
                                                                                                    FriedClamFanatic RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 26, 2008 12:47 PM

                                                                                                    When i was in Mexico a few years back, I had a shrimp dish with veggies that was cooked in a chicken broth type sauce. There was a slight hint of "something else" besides garlic, onion, hot sauce, etc. I asked, but I'm not sure we could make it through the translation stage. It was superb!

                                                                                                    Later on, thinking about it, I realized it must have been a slight amout of caramel or butterscotch sauce. Sounds weird, biut it tasted heavenly. I've now made a similar type dish several times for guests and everyone raves.

                                                                                                    14 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: FriedClamFanatic
                                                                                                      allisonw RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 26, 2008 01:58 PM

                                                                                                      sherry or vermouth
                                                                                                      smoked salt
                                                                                                      unsweetened chocolate
                                                                                                      preserved lemons

                                                                                                      1. re: FriedClamFanatic
                                                                                                        alkapal RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 26, 2008 03:00 PM

                                                                                                        hey there fried clam fanatic, would you please give more details? i'm intrigued!

                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                          FriedClamFanatic RE: alkapal Sep 27, 2008 03:40 PM

                                                                                                          It was definitely a chicken broth base. What i do is for 4 people, I mix up some green peppers (or red), some onions, and maybe some slivered baby carots.

                                                                                                          These are all sauteed for about 6-8 minutes (if I use cooked, shelled shrimp, I add them for the last 2-3 minutes). Then a pre-mixed sauce that is about a cup of chicken broth, to which is added a bit of turmeric, a tsp of minced garlic,about a tsp or 2 of caramel sauce, and a little tarragon. I usually add 1/4 cup of Marsala, but not always.

                                                                                                          This gets "splashed" in the pan until frothy.about another 2-3 minutes. Then serve it over rice or pasta, maybe sprinkling a little parsley on top

                                                                                                          1. re: FriedClamFanatic
                                                                                                            alkapal RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 29, 2008 03:49 AM

                                                                                                            so the caramel sauce is made by you? or whom? like ice cream topping "caramel sauce"?

                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                              FriedClamFanatic RE: alkapal Sep 29, 2008 01:07 PM

                                                                                                              I just go to Giants and buy "someone's" caramel sauce...yep, the ice cream topping kind

                                                                                                              1. re: FriedClamFanatic
                                                                                                                alkapal RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 30, 2008 04:30 AM

                                                                                                                thanks, gotcha! will try that soon.

                                                                                                            2. re: FriedClamFanatic
                                                                                                              cuccubear RE: FriedClamFanatic Jan 2, 2009 07:34 AM

                                                                                                              Dang that sounds good! But how sweet does it turn out? Would a little spice "heat" complement the flavors?

                                                                                                          2. re: FriedClamFanatic
                                                                                                            Neta RE: FriedClamFanatic Dec 3, 2008 06:36 AM

                                                                                                            It could have been cajeta, a Mexican carmel type sauce that I think is made from goat or sheep's milk. It is available at most Mexican markets and in stores that have a good variety of ethnic foods.

                                                                                                            1. re: FriedClamFanatic
                                                                                                              ChristinaMason RE: FriedClamFanatic Oct 18, 2009 12:54 PM

                                                                                                              Sounds vaguely similar to Vietnamese caramel shrimp: http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/200...

                                                                                                              1. re: ChristinaMason
                                                                                                                FriedClamFanatic RE: ChristinaMason Nov 9, 2009 01:48 PM

                                                                                                                Wow thanks.tried it over the weekend and it was GOOD!

                                                                                                                1. re: ChristinaMason
                                                                                                                  goodhealthgourmet RE: ChristinaMason Dec 12, 2009 07:33 PM

                                                                                                                  i'm not a huge fan of sweet entrees, but when i read that recipe for some reason i immediately thought of serving the shrimp with a tart & spicy tamarind sauce. adding that to my list of recipes in development - thanks for the link!

                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                    HazelShade RE: goodhealthgourmet Jun 27, 2010 09:04 PM

                                                                                                                    This is my very favorite Vietnamese dish. They used to have a great version in a clay pot at Miss Saigon in DC (http://www.ms-saigonus.com/index.htm). Attempts to recreate it were less successful, and my roommate threatened to move out unless I promised never to use fish sauce again...

                                                                                                                2. re: FriedClamFanatic
                                                                                                                  Anonimo RE: FriedClamFanatic Apr 6, 2010 03:42 AM

                                                                                                                  Could that "caramel sauce" been "cajeta"?
                                                                                                                  Or possibly, a syrup of piloncillo.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Anonimo
                                                                                                                    FriedClamFanatic RE: Anonimo Apr 14, 2010 04:14 PM

                                                                                                                    Most likely that is what it is! Thanks for the reference! I make dulche de leche a lot with condensed milk and may try that in th future.

                                                                                                                3. w
                                                                                                                  wolive RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 26, 2008 03:30 PM

                                                                                                                  A tablespoon or so of Penzey's Raspberry Enlightenment adds a depth of flavor to soups, stews and chile.

                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: wolive
                                                                                                                    BurgJoy RE: wolive Sep 26, 2008 07:23 PM

                                                                                                                    Penzey's also got an English Rib Rub. All beef - especially grilled - benefit with this spice. Awesome on tenderloin or a burger - with just a bit of sea salt.

                                                                                                                    1. re: BurgJoy
                                                                                                                      weinstein5 RE: BurgJoy Sep 26, 2008 08:26 PM

                                                                                                                      Speaking the of Spices - The Spice House's Back of the Yards Rub is my go to spice for BBQ followed by their Gateway to the North rub -

                                                                                                                      1. re: BurgJoy
                                                                                                                        jezebeljones RE: BurgJoy Nov 7, 2008 09:34 AM

                                                                                                                        Penzey's makes some really wonderful blends; I also buy the single spices and make my own crazy concoctions. Love their Shallot Pepper, Ozark, and Jamaican Jerk. Bacon fat makes it all good--mushrooms, scallops, eggs, potatoes--just a little bit. Try this-Scallops pan-seared in bacon fat with shallot pepper...mmmmm.
                                                                                                                        Also love hugarian paprika, both hot and mild, and pasilla peppers.

                                                                                                                    2. jinet12 RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 26, 2008 06:32 PM

                                                                                                                      chocolate in chili or any mexican red sauce..and cayenne in everything

                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: jinet12
                                                                                                                        Neta RE: jinet12 Dec 3, 2008 06:37 AM

                                                                                                                        Also for Mexican red sauces, a little bit of ground cloves adds a certain zip.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Neta
                                                                                                                          alkapal RE: Neta Dec 3, 2008 07:13 AM

                                                                                                                          i noticed (on a recent "diners, drive-ins and dives", mexican place* in chicago) that cloves are a lot more prevalent in some mexican cooking than i ever thought!

                                                                                                                          * cemita's sandwiches. man, their homemade chipotle in adobo looked great! http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ce...

                                                                                                                      2. s
                                                                                                                        SLO RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 26, 2008 06:56 PM

                                                                                                                        Truffle oil ... just a little bit makes all the difference

                                                                                                                        1. Emme RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 26, 2008 11:08 PM

                                                                                                                          Bragg's Amino Acids. love 'em.

                                                                                                                          1. Vetter RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 27, 2008 10:17 AM

                                                                                                                            Hot paprika
                                                                                                                            Smoked paprika
                                                                                                                            Chipotle Tabasco
                                                                                                                            truffle salt
                                                                                                                            dark soy sauce or mushroom soy sauce

                                                                                                                            1. Mawrter RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 27, 2008 03:38 PM

                                                                                                                              Oh, yeah: in chocolate recipes, some instant espresso powder. Gives it some attitude, a nice tannic bite.

                                                                                                                              1. Adrienne RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 27, 2008 04:28 PM

                                                                                                                                Great ideas here. My favorites:
                                                                                                                                Nutmeg in savory --especially on pasta
                                                                                                                                Olive oil in sweet
                                                                                                                                Cayenne in sweet
                                                                                                                                Lemon rind in everything
                                                                                                                                Fresh mint in everything

                                                                                                                                12 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: Adrienne
                                                                                                                                  Emme RE: Adrienne Sep 27, 2008 06:35 PM

                                                                                                                                  that's funny.. almost all the things on your list are instant turnoffs to me in a dish... my palate recognizes even a hint of nutmeg, lemon rind or mint. and for some reason i don't like olive oil at all, and spicy and i don't get along well. im so weird.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Emme
                                                                                                                                    MplsM ary RE: Emme Sep 27, 2008 09:01 PM

                                                                                                                                    Same here on the nutmeg. The tiniest amount is instantly recognizable since my palate registers nutmeg as metallic, almost like tinfoil on a metal filling. Not such a secret ingredient then, is it?

                                                                                                                                    1. re: MplsM ary
                                                                                                                                      Vetter RE: MplsM ary Sep 28, 2008 11:12 AM

                                                                                                                                      That's how I taste nutmeg too! Wild!

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Vetter
                                                                                                                                        Mawrter RE: Vetter Sep 29, 2008 05:29 PM

                                                                                                                                        That is so interesting, like the way some people experience the taste of cilantro as "soapy". Thank you for posting about that!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Mawrter
                                                                                                                                          Emme RE: Mawrter Sep 29, 2008 08:21 PM

                                                                                                                                          that's me - cilantro and ginger esp taste like soap

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Emme
                                                                                                                                            jpc8015 RE: Emme Sep 30, 2008 11:05 PM

                                                                                                                                            I love rosemary but my wife says it tastes like soap.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: jpc8015
                                                                                                                                              alkapal RE: jpc8015 Oct 1, 2008 03:37 AM

                                                                                                                                              we went a little overboard with rosemary once in a beef stew. it was virtually inedible from the strong, resin-y presence of rosemary. nowadays, we don't grow any, and use veeeery little.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: Emme
                                                                                                                                              laliz RE: Emme Nov 6, 2008 10:31 AM

                                                                                                                                              mee tooooo
                                                                                                                                              Cilantro and ginger and curry

                                                                                                                                            3. re: Mawrter
                                                                                                                                              NoAddedSweetener RE: Mawrter Oct 6, 2008 09:42 AM

                                                                                                                                              I absolutely love rosemary, although maybe it's pine-like aroma makes people equate it with certain brands of soap. For me any dessert containing lavender instantly makes my taste buds scream "soap!"

                                                                                                                                              1. re: NoAddedSweetener
                                                                                                                                                jezebeljones RE: NoAddedSweetener Nov 7, 2008 09:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                For me, Gewurztraminer=soap.
                                                                                                                                                But I love cilantro, even cream of cilantro soup--the ultimate in soap for some people, an herbal delight for me!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: jezebeljones
                                                                                                                                                  chicgail RE: jezebeljones Oct 4, 2011 07:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                  Ok. You eat cilantro. I'll drink the Gewurtz. We'll both avoid soap.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: Emme
                                                                                                                                          fallingup RE: Emme Nov 8, 2008 10:38 PM

                                                                                                                                          oh lord i hate nutmeg too. i can smell it from a mile away and any food with nutmeg in it just tastes like nutmeg to me.

                                                                                                                                      2. pikawicca RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 27, 2008 07:28 PM

                                                                                                                                        urfa biber

                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: pikawicca
                                                                                                                                          FriedClamFanatic RE: pikawicca Sep 28, 2008 06:12 AM

                                                                                                                                          OK, you got me on that one! What is it?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: FriedClamFanatic
                                                                                                                                            pikawicca RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 28, 2008 08:07 AM

                                                                                                                                            Dark dried Turkish pepper flakes. Spicy, with a complex, somewhat fruity flavor. I put a pinch in just about everything. (You can order it from kalustyans.com.)

                                                                                                                                            1. re: pikawicca
                                                                                                                                              FriedClamFanatic RE: pikawicca Sep 28, 2008 08:47 AM

                                                                                                                                              Wow.thanks! I gotta try them

                                                                                                                                              1. re: pikawicca
                                                                                                                                                Delucacheesemonger RE: pikawicca Sep 30, 2008 11:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                Urfa are great, they are smoked, aleppo that someone mentioned are great as well, not smoked. Also
                                                                                                                                                use Thai chicken chili sauce, add a glop to many things, both sweet and hot

                                                                                                                                          2. marietinn RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 27, 2008 08:44 PM

                                                                                                                                            soy sauce! it makes everything better.

                                                                                                                                            1. Shane Greenwood RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 27, 2008 09:06 PM

                                                                                                                                              Sherry. A little splash in just about anything adds a great dimension of flavor. Also, sherry vinegar for a finishing touch is great.

                                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: Shane Greenwood
                                                                                                                                                FriedClamFanatic RE: Shane Greenwood Sep 28, 2008 06:14 AM

                                                                                                                                                Interesting! I used to use a lot of Sherry, but I find now, I"m using Marsala more often. It's a little sweeter.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: FriedClamFanatic
                                                                                                                                                  Shane Greenwood RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 29, 2008 07:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                  definitely check out the sherry vinegar then. It has a nice sweetness to it.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Shane Greenwood
                                                                                                                                                    alkapal RE: Shane Greenwood Sep 29, 2008 08:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                    i love sherry vinegar splashed on cuban black bean soup! with some nice finely chopped onions on top, too!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                      Caitlin McGrath RE: alkapal Nov 9, 2008 05:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                      Gotta agree, sherry vinegar is perfect i black bean soup. And a splash of sherry or sherry vinegar also really rounds out lentil soup like nothing else.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Shane Greenwood
                                                                                                                                                      dockhl RE: Shane Greenwood Nov 10, 2008 09:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                      I made a recipe last night (in anticipation of Thxgiving) for Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Chestnuts and the sherry vinegar was the STAR !

                                                                                                                                                2. c
                                                                                                                                                  cheesecake17 RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 28, 2008 09:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                  Lime juice.

                                                                                                                                                  I use it instead of lemon juice in a lot of recipes. Everyone always wonders what that secret something is.

                                                                                                                                                  10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cheesecake17
                                                                                                                                                    BamiaWruz RE: cheesecake17 Sep 28, 2008 10:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                    Same here, personally I never knew there was a flavour difference, limes were cheaper and we'd buy them instead of lemons, but my friend started pointing out and asking why I always used limes, she bought lemons. I told her I thought there was no difference, both add acidity and that's all I cared about in my salad/food... but I know now that people "do" notice it and that's why some recipes require lemons or limes depending on the flavour it adds and complements the dish.

                                                                                                                                                    It's cool that you use limes, I do too because that's mostly what I buy. My SO mixes both lime and lemon juice and brushes puff pastry them spreads the cinnamon sugar on, it tastes amazing! (interesting flavours) I think we had a beaver tail the other day with cinnamon and lemon, I told him his idea was brilliant and tasted better.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: BamiaWruz
                                                                                                                                                      alkapal RE: BamiaWruz Sep 29, 2008 03:52 AM

                                                                                                                                                      bamiawruz, i've never heard of eating beaver tail! what does it taste like? texture? do you eat all of the animal? i'm very intrigued!

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                        Jen76 RE: alkapal Sep 29, 2008 10:25 AM

                                                                                                                                                        I think BamiaWruz is referring to Beavertail pastry - not actual beaver tail.


                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Jen76
                                                                                                                                                          maplesugar RE: Jen76 Sep 29, 2008 10:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                          Yup Beavertails (the pastry, savory or sweet with a lot of delicious options) are a fixture o my youh and on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa during the winter months and if memory serves there are one or two places open year round.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: maplesugar
                                                                                                                                                            BamiaWruz RE: maplesugar Aug 13, 2009 12:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                            A pastry yes!! I'm so sorry for not being clear, hehe. The sweet is a canadian recipe I believe and it's very popular here.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                          BarmyFotheringayPhipps RE: alkapal Sep 29, 2008 01:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                          However, as a regular at the annual church game supper in Bradford VT, the Saturday before Thanksgiving, I can answer Alkapal's question: gamy to the point of outright funkiness, rather stringy, and unpleasantly greasy. It's similar to bear, although bear is generally a lot milder and leaner.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
                                                                                                                                                            alkapal RE: BarmyFotheringayPhipps Sep 30, 2008 04:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                            wow! thanks all! i laughed when i realized that bamia's beaver tail was a pastry, then was slightly unsettled by barmy's info about the "real" beaver tail!

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                              Jen76 RE: alkapal Sep 30, 2008 10:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                              As was I! I do believe an "ewww" escaped my lips.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                                DishDelish RE: alkapal Aug 13, 2009 02:46 AM

                                                                                                                                                                My jaw dropped. ;~)

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
                                                                                                                                                                BamiaWruz RE: BarmyFotheringayPhipps Aug 13, 2009 12:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                                Oh my!! I just saw your post. That's rather interesting. Thanks for sharing!

                                                                                                                                                        3. i
                                                                                                                                                          imachimper RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 28, 2008 09:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                          Jalapeno powder - I buy the dried jalapeno bits at Costco in the spice isle, then run them in my coffee (spice) grinder until they are a fine powder. Be careful not to breathe in the powder.
                                                                                                                                                          It replaced the shot of cumin to finish of my chili.

                                                                                                                                                          1. s
                                                                                                                                                            sheiladeedee RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 28, 2008 12:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                            lime juice and zest
                                                                                                                                                            maple syrup
                                                                                                                                                            sherry vinegar
                                                                                                                                                            pomegranate molasses

                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sheiladeedee
                                                                                                                                                              Mawrter RE: sheiladeedee Sep 29, 2008 05:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                              Lime zest - oooh, I've never done that. Must try it!

                                                                                                                                                              And I've never heard of pomegranate molasses... that sounds nifty. I wonder if it's anything like the pomegranate syrup I have from Turkey?

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Mawrter
                                                                                                                                                                sheiladeedee RE: Mawrter Sep 30, 2008 01:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                I suspect the pomegranate molasses is like the syrup, nice and thick. Wonderful glaze for chicken and so on.

                                                                                                                                                                I like lemons too, but that would be like saying my secret ingredient is salt. And I do use lime more than lemon these days. For one thing, they're smaller, and you don't end up with the half-a-lemon quandary. And somehow it tastes deeper than lemon.

                                                                                                                                                            2. alkapal RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 29, 2008 03:56 AM

                                                                                                                                                              i just tried gooseberry's suggestion of a little sprinkle of sugar with salt on my fresh tomato sandwich....

                                                                                                                                                              i use fish sauce
                                                                                                                                                              sherry vinegar
                                                                                                                                                              nutmeg in savory
                                                                                                                                                              cinnamon and coffee in chili
                                                                                                                                                              cumin in spaghetti sauce

                                                                                                                                                              just had the other day, but want to make myself: very finely minced mint on top of a delicious persian eggplant dip: http://jugalbandi.info/2008/09/kashk-...

                                                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                                oryza RE: alkapal Oct 1, 2008 11:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                sumac? I only know of this as the poisonous itchy plant in the woods... do enlighten me, please

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: oryza
                                                                                                                                                                  alkapal RE: oryza Oct 2, 2008 04:08 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  the spice sumac: http://www.theepicentre.com/Spices/su...

                                                                                                                                                                  my husband likes it on cooked calves' liver. a lebanese friend introduced the spice and that dish to us.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: oryza
                                                                                                                                                                    Sooeygun RE: oryza Oct 3, 2008 06:13 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    Oryza, you are talking about poison sumac. I think it has a whitish berry? The edible one has a red furry cluster of berries. My parents have them growing wild on their property. We made jelly from them one year, but wild, they are difficult to use, because the berry cluster can be full of bugs. We had to tear apart each cluster to look.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: oryza
                                                                                                                                                                      Ruthie789 RE: oryza Jul 21, 2012 05:49 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      Much used in Lebanese cooking, it is a dry red spice in small flakes with a fragrant smell. It is great on salad, and have seen it on chicken.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                                      fallingup RE: alkapal Nov 8, 2008 10:40 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      cumin in spaghetti sauce? yum yum! i will keep that in mind next time i make pasta.

                                                                                                                                                                    3. l
                                                                                                                                                                      LoN RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 29, 2008 05:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                                      Krazy Jane's Mixed Up Salt, and Mixed Up Pepper, maple syrup, thyme.......

                                                                                                                                                                      1. Richard 16 RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 29, 2008 06:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                        A lot of what's already been posted (smoked paprika, fish sauce, shoyu or tamari, a number of different vinegars, etc..).

                                                                                                                                                                        Paprika in/on chowders and home fries.
                                                                                                                                                                        Good quality mirin (like Mintoku's)
                                                                                                                                                                        Peanut butter in pancakes or waffles
                                                                                                                                                                        Lots of eggs in pancakes (like okonomiyaki.)
                                                                                                                                                                        Sake for cooking (and for me!) - cleaner tasting than wine. Nothin' wrong with wine, though...
                                                                                                                                                                        Toasting grains before cooking. (O.K., technique, not ingredient.)

                                                                                                                                                                        There''s more, but time....)

                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Richard 16
                                                                                                                                                                          FriedClamFanatic RE: Richard 16 Sep 29, 2008 01:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          I like to use Mirin in a lot of things too, especially dipping sauces or with fish

                                                                                                                                                                        2. p
                                                                                                                                                                          pigtails RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 30, 2008 06:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          sugar. i will even put a pinch in the boiling water for veggies if they don't seem perfectly fresh.

                                                                                                                                                                          by the same token, salt in sweet things.

                                                                                                                                                                          butter, in general.

                                                                                                                                                                          and cayenne. a pinch will liven up many things without anyone knowing the wiser, or thinking "spicy."

                                                                                                                                                                          i'm definitely with the rest of the crowd too on anchovies and nutmeg, lemon and sherry.

                                                                                                                                                                          i used to manage a kitchen where there were recipes that would say in the ingredient list, "a secret ingredient amount of cayenne" as an actual quantity, like, the teensiest, most imperceptible amount.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. keith2000 RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 30, 2008 10:42 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            Secret ingredient schmicret ingredient salt, spice, sweet, acid, alcohol, aeromatics. That's it. ok and some fat too. Most things can be punched up with lemon juice. Also fortified wine, tobasco, cayenne, butter, liquor, non-iodized salt, fish sauce, anchovies, capers, sherry vinegar, good evoo, honey, molasses, syrup, herbs and spices. Gray Kuntz narrowed it down to 14 elements of taste. Pretty smart guy if you ask me.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. s
                                                                                                                                                                              squabbit RE: FriedClamFanatic Oct 1, 2008 03:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              I save the confit jelly left over after making duck confit and freeze it. I use it whenever a recipe calls for chicken stock. Adds a depth and flavor that can't be beat.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. lollya RE: FriedClamFanatic Oct 1, 2008 06:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                cardamom seeds
                                                                                                                                                                                for sweet and black cardamom pods for savory

                                                                                                                                                                                so wickedly delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: lollya
                                                                                                                                                                                  keith2000 RE: lollya Oct 1, 2008 10:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  love the way cardamom smells one of my favorites.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: keith2000
                                                                                                                                                                                    lollya RE: keith2000 Oct 4, 2008 05:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    which? the sweet or the smokey?

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: keith2000
                                                                                                                                                                                      betsydiver RE: keith2000 Jun 10, 2010 02:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                      After returning from Israel some years ago, I started spiking my morning coffee with som cardamom; interesting combo...

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: lollya
                                                                                                                                                                                      alkapal RE: lollya Oct 2, 2008 04:15 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      did you see the cardamom threads a while back?


                                                                                                                                                                                      i love cardamom in my sour cream pound cake, among other spices and chocolate!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                                                        lollya RE: alkapal Oct 4, 2008 05:59 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        no! i didn't thank you so much for sharing. Oh my gosh, so go check out the variety at Penzeys. That's where I get mine from.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: lollya
                                                                                                                                                                                          alkapal RE: lollya Oct 5, 2008 10:14 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                          i get mine at the local indian shop.

                                                                                                                                                                                          and...you are very welcome! ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                    3. m
                                                                                                                                                                                      maxim0512 RE: FriedClamFanatic Oct 3, 2008 06:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      Lime. A little squeeze in a pot full of chili, a grilled chicken marinade, a sugar cookie batter, or a cold beverage brightens everything up.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. f
                                                                                                                                                                                        FriedClamFanatic RE: FriedClamFanatic Oct 3, 2008 02:25 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        I think I've found a new one! But I haven't tried it yet


                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: FriedClamFanatic
                                                                                                                                                                                          goodhealthgourmet RE: FriedClamFanatic Oct 3, 2008 03:32 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          bacon salt has been around for a while, and i know there have been some discussions in the boards about it - you might want to do a search.

                                                                                                                                                                                          the three original flavors contain all sorts of ingredients i'd rather not [or can't] consume, like MSG, corn syrup, maltodextrin, partially hydrogenated oil, and wheat flour. but they did finally come out with a "natural" version that doesn't contain any of the nasty stuff, so even i'd consider trying that one.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: FriedClamFanatic
                                                                                                                                                                                            alkapal RE: FriedClamFanatic Oct 3, 2008 03:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            i just bought some a while back. sprinkled a little on a tomato sandwich. a little goes a long way. i wasn't over the moon. maybe tonight i'll try it on some canned white acre peas -- along with my texas pete pepper sauce! http://www.texaspete.com/product_pepp...

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. c
                                                                                                                                                                                            CoconutMilk RE: FriedClamFanatic Oct 3, 2008 04:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            Kecap Manis

                                                                                                                                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: CoconutMilk
                                                                                                                                                                                              dockhl RE: CoconutMilk Oct 3, 2008 09:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                              how do you use it? I bought some and have never used it yet.............

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: dockhl
                                                                                                                                                                                                CoconutMilk RE: dockhl Oct 4, 2008 08:31 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                My absolute favorite way to use kecap manis is drizzled over fried rice with a fried egg on top. Its awesome. It's also great in asian-type marinades to add body, sweetness, and depth. A good all-purpose dipping sauce for dumplings, spring rolls, etc ( you can use it as is or liven it up with chilies/ginger/lime juice or whatever...). If you cook alot of spicy stir fries (which I do) and the results are sometimes overwhelmingly hot and pungent, a little kecap manis will round out the flavors really nicely. Or just eat it with plain rice, its that good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: CoconutMilk
                                                                                                                                                                                                  dockhl RE: CoconutMilk Oct 6, 2008 09:39 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thank you so much :)

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: CoconutMilk
                                                                                                                                                                                                smalt RE: CoconutMilk Nov 4, 2008 05:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                CM - I wondered about the kecap manis....sounds kind of like a thick oyster sauce....is it sweet? Salty? I'll have to get a little bottle to play with this weekend!

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: smalt
                                                                                                                                                                                                  alkapal RE: smalt Nov 5, 2008 05:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  i think it is sweet. it is useful in the kitchen in stir-fries, in soups, dipping sauces. i've only found it in a (quite) large bottle. one size fits all? here is an idea about its flavor profile: http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/equivale...

                                                                                                                                                                                                  or look, here is a recipe to make your own! http://www.melroseflowers.com/mkic/in...

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                                                                    smalt RE: alkapal Nov 5, 2008 05:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks, Alkapal! By the look of the two websites you referenced, it's sounding similar to what I use to make my soy sauce chicken - which does concentrate down to a thicker consistency.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'll plan on snagging a bottle this weekend and playing! :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: smalt
                                                                                                                                                                                                    mogo RE: smalt Nov 8, 2008 10:23 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Kecap manis is a sweet Indonesian style soy sauce. kecap = soy sauce, manis = sweet. It's still a little salty. You can more or less turn regular Chinese soy sauce into kecap manis by adding a lot of palm sugar. My dad makes his own that way, since he doesn't like any of the bottled ones he's found in stores around here. He also adds some star anise. You can use brown sugar instead of palm sugar, but don't use a Japanese soy sauce as those are fermented longer and won't taste right.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    You can use it for pretty much anything, but my favourite is satay ayam (chicken satay). Skewer chicken, dip in kecap manis and grill. Then eat with peanut sauce -- smash & fry some coriander seeds, shallots. Get some good peanut butter (this is key), add a little water to loosen it up, and some more kecap manis.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mogo
                                                                                                                                                                                                      smalt RE: mogo Nov 9, 2008 01:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks, mogo! I did look for a small bottle at the local Asian grocery store and only saw large ones, t'is true. With a diabetic in the house, perhaps I'd need to limit it to my own food instead of a group meal....sounds like fun to play with, though!

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. x
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Xacinta RE: FriedClamFanatic Oct 3, 2008 04:54 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  lime juice on chicken, some Tablespoons of grated beet on any chocolate bake, Epazote on quesadillas, vegetable stew, & beans. Salsa negra, salsa chiltipín, salsa macha on any pasta, meat, bread, meatballs etc..Sea salt instead of regular reg salt, Vodka with fish. Avocado leaf in tamales. i use cumin in only 2 or 3 sacred dishes. Dijon mustard in vinagrettes. Wolter Cocoa powder from Tabasco. Some honey, mollasses or dark sugar instead of just white sugar. Milk infused with mint leaves or anise seeds and then used on any dessert recipe. Tamarind syrup, little blue cheese, very little cognac, Scotish butter, good quality whole cream, the one used to make whipped cream, anytime cream is required, home made tart yogurt instead of buttermilk......

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. g
                                                                                                                                                                                                    gwendolynmarie RE: FriedClamFanatic Oct 4, 2008 03:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Bragg's and Nutritional Yeast and Marmite
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Smoked salt or pimenton
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sauerkraut juice or olive brine
                                                                                                                                                                                                    A modest glug of liqueurs- Cynar, for example
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Vanilla in rich, dark sauces
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Nut milks
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ground, dried porcini
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ume vinegar
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Dried fruit in savory dishes
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Strong distinct teas (like lapsang)
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Cloves or anise, when unexpected

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: gwendolynmarie
                                                                                                                                                                                                      alkapal RE: gwendolynmarie Oct 5, 2008 10:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      i'd like to try cynar -- it is artichoke, right? does it have a pronounced flavor of artichoke? would you add it to soup, sauce, what? would you add a splash into the recipe for a hot artichoke dip concoction?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      just wiki'd it: i see it is an herbal-driven aperitif with predominant artichoke notes. is it thus similar to a dry or sweet vermouth (minus the artichoke, of course)?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      i think you hounds may enjoy this italian cynar commercial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_2Duf...

                                                                                                                                                                                                      and its predecessor from the sixties: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_ouhq...

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                                                                        gwendolynmarie RE: alkapal Oct 5, 2008 03:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        The flavor of artichokes, I find, is not so pronounced, and not what comes to mind when taken strait- just the bitter, the sweet, and a somewhat earthy/vegetal complexity. It's closer to Campari, although it does not taste like Campari, than vermouth, and it would be sweet vermouth. It's in the family of all those bitter aperitifs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I've added it to soups, stews, marinades, salad dressings, and used it for enhancing sauces, when caramelizing, in sabayon, while pickling, and in lemon-lime sorbet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. n
                                                                                                                                                                                                      NoAddedSweetener RE: FriedClamFanatic Oct 6, 2008 09:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Here are some of my staples:

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Spicy chili sesame oil for anything stir-fried (a little goes a looooong way)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      White Truffle oil lends an unsurpassed richness to many foods
                                                                                                                                                                                                      A dash of cinnamon in pretty much any dessert

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. a
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Al_Pal RE: FriedClamFanatic Oct 6, 2008 09:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Add some brandy, red wine, or sherry to pomodoro sauce and cook until it thickens. Everyone seems to love it, and it's amazing how different (but awesome) the sauce turns out, depending on which one you use.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Al_Pal
                                                                                                                                                                                                          goodhealthgourmet RE: Al_Pal Oct 7, 2008 07:13 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          i don't use sherry, but i do add sherry vinegar to my tomato sauce...it really rounds out the flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Al_Pal
                                                                                                                                                                                                            budlit RE: Al_Pal Oct 7, 2008 08:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I add a squeeze of fresh orange to my tomato sauce at the end of cooking

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: budlit
                                                                                                                                                                                                              FriedClamFanatic RE: budlit Oct 7, 2008 01:54 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Interesting! What type of sauce do you make? I would think many tomato sauces would overpower the orange

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: FriedClamFanatic
                                                                                                                                                                                                                budlit RE: FriedClamFanatic Oct 7, 2008 03:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Saute onion then garlic (in evoo) add tomato (summer, fresh through a mill, winter, d.o.p. san marzanos) couple branches of thyme, s & p, cook for a while, add fresh chopped parsley and basil add a squeeze of orange or tangerine. Optional, I swirl in a bit of butter at the end too. The orange really brings out the tomato flavor in a very subtle way. Try it, and let me know how you like it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: budlit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  keith2000 RE: budlit Oct 8, 2008 11:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  the orange sounds like a great idea but the part I love is the finish it with butter. Your tomato sauce sounds deliscious. What about deglazing the onions and garlic with a little fortified wine like Marsala. Just a thought.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: budlit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    FriedClamFanatic RE: budlit Oct 8, 2008 01:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You're on! The next batch, however won't be for a while since I just made about 20 containers worth due to the end of summer harvest. Half of those will get "stolen" by adult kids visiting on weekends, so it might not be too long

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. v
                                                                                                                                                                                                              verily RE: FriedClamFanatic Oct 7, 2008 04:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Chicken broth and cumin.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. pilotgirl210 RE: FriedClamFanatic Oct 8, 2008 12:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I add dry sherry to my stroganoff. And extra splashes of Worchestershire. Yummmy! A bit of nutmeg really punches up soups and sauces. And my three-day spaghetti sauce, which I make in a huge electric Dutch oven and freeze for later use, always requires a tablespoon or two of sugar to cut the acidity of the tomato paste/sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. c
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  carignane RE: FriedClamFanatic Oct 9, 2008 06:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  grains of paradise

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. jinet12 RE: FriedClamFanatic Oct 10, 2008 08:38 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Always a bit of chocolate in my beef chili along with the chipoltes and grape jelly with the chili sauce for the topping of my meatloaf...Of course I add a bit of chipolte steak sauce and Tabasco as well...but the grape jelly just makes the difference...always has!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      smalt RE: FriedClamFanatic Nov 4, 2008 05:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm into baking.....I've gotten addicted to slipping in some Godiva chocolate liquer into the chocolatey things....Always have been known for chocolate cheesecake, but apparently the liquer elevated it to new heights - since I don't eat cheesecake, however, perhaps they were just being polite. Also customized a brownie recipe this year that has been termed "wicked evil good"....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. c
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        chowfamily RE: FriedClamFanatic Nov 4, 2008 06:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Not so secret, but Garam Masala in lentil vegetable soup, or a bit of flavor in other foods, could be an interesting addition to this worthy list.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. r
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          RPMcMurphy RE: FriedClamFanatic Nov 4, 2008 06:11 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Maggi seasoning sauce (curious if you guys in the south west/so-cal use this a lot)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          my savings of bacon or duck fat I keep in the freezer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          for drinks/cocktails, recently it's been home made Falernum.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: RPMcMurphy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            dianne0712 RE: RPMcMurphy Aug 30, 2012 05:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I saw Maggiseasoning in a store yesterday.How do you use it? What does it taste like?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. e
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            easily amused RE: FriedClamFanatic Nov 4, 2008 02:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Just discovered this new product this summer.."Bacon Salt"... Great on almost anything...potatoes, vegetables. Ribs..... A nice unique flavor.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            They have a website which lists where the product is available. I bought it in Minnesota this summer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Funwithfood RE: FriedClamFanatic Nov 5, 2008 08:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Nueske bacon au jus.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. i
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Isabella RE: FriedClamFanatic Nov 6, 2008 03:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have several.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Bayou Bang
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                (it's a local Cajun Seasoning Mix- the best this N.O. native has ever tasted)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Garam Masala
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. Apple Pie Spice
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                4. Cake Spice Mix
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                5. Honey (just a tad)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                6. Bell's Poultry Seasoning
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                7. Tarragon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Isabella
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Antilope RE: Isabella Nov 26, 2009 03:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Here's a copy cat recipe that I use all the time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It tastes exactly like Bell's Poultry Seasoning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  BELL'S POULTRY SEASONING - copy cat recipe

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  4 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  4 tsp dried oregano
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3 3/4 tsp dried sage
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3 1/2 tsp ground dried ginger
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3 tsp dried marjoram
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 3/4 tsp dried thyme
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3/4 tsp ground black pepper

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mix together and grind to fine powder in a coffee or spice grinder.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Makes about 1/2-cup.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. l
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  laliz RE: FriedClamFanatic Nov 6, 2008 10:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Smoked paprika
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  red wine vinegar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  worchestershire (esp. in tuna salad -- I consume a lot of tuna salad)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  coarse kosher salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  chicken broth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. f
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    foodcheck RE: FriedClamFanatic Nov 6, 2008 12:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sauce of very finely chopped mushrooms sauteed slowly for at least 30 minutes in EVO and butter with marsala. Adds great flavor as gravy to veal or poultry scallopini.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: foodcheck
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      FriedClamFanatic RE: foodcheck Nov 8, 2008 09:30 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I find I"m using Marsala more and more. Most of my recipes that called for sherry, wine or even beef broth, I'm using at least some Marsala now

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. fmed RE: FriedClamFanatic Nov 8, 2008 10:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I often use some of my wife's herbal teas (in bags) to infuse stocks, braises, etc. Tonight, for example, I used a fennel tea in a cooking liquid for carrots.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. f
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        fallingup RE: FriedClamFanatic Nov 8, 2008 10:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Star anise in fried rice. Its a common ingredient in authentic Chinese dishes so it makes a simple fried rice taste special and "real"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. marielee RE: FriedClamFanatic Nov 8, 2008 11:27 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ver juice. It is made from unripened grape juice and can be used in the place of lemon juice or white wine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And homemade chicken stock...most people I know use the packs from the supermarket but nothing beats a good home made one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I can't say I've ever thought of adding peanut butter to chicken soup but I seem to be learning here that peanut butter goes with everything!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: marielee
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            FriedClamFanatic RE: marielee Nov 11, 2008 06:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I agree on the homemade stock. There is just no comparison - and you get to control the sodium factor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The trick with peanut butter is to not add too much. It keeps the folks guessing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: FriedClamFanatic
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              betsydiver RE: FriedClamFanatic Jun 10, 2010 02:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I sometimes use it in my hummus instead of tahini,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: betsydiver
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Emme RE: betsydiver Jun 10, 2010 03:38 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                walnut or almond butter is also great in hummus. or baba ghanoush for that matter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            sweethaven RE: FriedClamFanatic Nov 14, 2008 06:29 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            use evaporated milk instead of fresh milk in cupcake recipes. cupcakes always turn out moist and flavorful!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sweethaven
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              alkapal RE: sweethaven Nov 15, 2008 03:19 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              to a boxed cake mix, add extra vanilla extract. once, i also added half-n-half instead of milk/water, and an extra egg. was like pound cake (i made triangular cupcakes in silicone molds). duncan hines super deluxe yellow cake, iirc. this one: http://www.duncanhines.com/newDuncan/...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              quite good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. m
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mary64 RE: FriedClamFanatic Nov 14, 2008 02:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              As someone who is slightly allergic to peanuts (thankfully not very much - but I avoid them when I can), I would worry about adding peanut butter as a secret ingredient. This would be even more true where someone might not expect it - like chicken soup. If you know that none of your guests have allergies to peanuts that's fine. But I would never think to ask a host if chicken soup had peanuts in it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                adamshoe RE: FriedClamFanatic Nov 14, 2008 03:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                No one's mentioned "kitchen bouquet"....? A 1/2 tsp. rubbed on a burger, or added to a brown stock or gravy=mmm. Mostly natural, I think, lots of root veggies make up the ingredients.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Frank's Hot Sauce- hot, but not insane and not too vinegary.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Garam massala
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Turmeric-a great immune system booster, apparently.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Fresh as opposed to dry Bay Leaf-I've got tree's all over my neighborhood, and no-one misses a few leaves now and then....
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Cinnamon- just a dash in meatballs makes 'em so-o-o good.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Bragg's Aminos- see other posts...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Brown sugar- a few tablespoons in a homemade red sauce; delicious. (Unless your tomatoes are incredibly sweet...) Adam

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: adamshoe
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Isabella RE: adamshoe Nov 15, 2008 01:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I've never, ever used Kitchen Bouquet, but I do know a few folks who have used this if pressed for time in making a roux for gumbo if they feel the roux was too light. They use it as a fix after the gumbo is made.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And speaking of gumbo - your mentioning bay leaf trees all over your neighborhood makes me wonder where you live! I could be mistaken, but do you live in New Orleans?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks for mentioning Tumeric. I need to start using this in one of my spice blends that I make for people. Good Idea!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: adamshoe
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    nyxpooka RE: adamshoe Feb 13, 2011 11:30 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    How cool...it seems like we have the same tastes!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Turmeric is my most used secret cooking weapon! I often use it in conjunction with paprika and Lawrys to season fried potatoes...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I use Kitchen Bouquet to make pork chops (salt, pepper, garlic, dry mustard cooked on top of carmelized onions) and add it to beef stew (mom's secret recipe...I sure miss her cooking). Its subtle but if I dont add it, I really am not happy with the result.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. h
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    HillJ RE: FriedClamFanatic Nov 14, 2008 03:49 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Lately, lite coconut milk. Added to rice, chicken dishes, ice cream recipes, french toast, casseroles, smoothies...I'm still finding new ways to use it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. v
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Virginia Girl RE: FriedClamFanatic Nov 16, 2008 04:28 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Anchovy paste!!! Add it to butter and spread on your next steak after it just comes out of the oven. You will never taste anchovies, but it takes steak to another level. Add it to your vinagrette (not as much as for a ceasar salad). The flavor is amazing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Virginia Girl
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Funwithfood RE: Virginia Girl Nov 21, 2008 07:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sounds good!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Virginia Girl
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          chicgail RE: Virginia Girl Oct 4, 2011 07:49 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think it's pure umami.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. m
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Mel.D RE: FriedClamFanatic Nov 21, 2008 02:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          White truffle oil
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Vermouth instead of white wine

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. ideabaker RE: FriedClamFanatic Nov 22, 2008 01:59 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ground (dried/powdered) ginger on pork. It adds a special flavor (enhanced with S and P) that no one can seem to put their finger on, but people love it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. grampart RE: FriedClamFanatic Nov 28, 2008 05:47 AM


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. howlin RE: FriedClamFanatic Dec 2, 2008 07:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                smoked paprika ,grains of paridise ,and juniper berries (not in the same mix thou) ketjap manis is also good as well as garum masala.imake my own smoked salt as well

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Steady Habits RE: FriedClamFanatic Dec 2, 2008 09:46 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Depending on what I'm making, the secret ingredient is either a dash of Chili oil, or a splash of Sherry vinegar. Even when they're not featured in the recipe, and you might not *know* they're there, they just have a way of picking things up or rounding out the background flavor of a dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Steady Habits
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    alkapal RE: Steady Habits Dec 3, 2008 04:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    like this chili oil ? http://chinesefood.about.com/od/szech...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Steady Habits
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      gourmet wife RE: Steady Habits Dec 3, 2008 10:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Like many of you, butter, truffle oil is awesome in certain recipes. As many of you may know, cocoa/choclate works well with chilli and stews. One of my favorite ways to braise meat such as bouef bourguignon (sp?) or short ribs is to use about a cup of brewed mild-medium coffee. Don't use too much otherwise your recipe will become too bitter. It gives it a nice smokeyness and your guests wondering why it's so different.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Father Kitchen RE: FriedClamFanatic Dec 18, 2008 03:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Anchovies are a wonderful addition to stews. Either straight or in a prepared sauce like Worcesershire sauce (my mother's secret ingredient) or a southeastern Asian fish sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. i
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ideefixed RE: FriedClamFanatic Jan 1, 2009 12:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        With so many people having peanut allergies, you do tell them first, right?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Paula76 RE: FriedClamFanatic Jan 2, 2009 07:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          - Worcestershire sauce to sauteé vegetables and added to falafel, soups, burgers and many other dishes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          - I have recently discovered the virtues of roasted garlic. I sometimes add it chopped, sometimes whole, depending on the dish
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          - Like others have mentioned, curry powder or garam masala to stews, soups, burgers, meatballs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. louuuuu RE: FriedClamFanatic Jul 23, 2009 05:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Cinnamon in tomato pasta sauce
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Brown sugar in sauted onions
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A touch of dijon in scrambled eggs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            and not so secret but amazingly tasty tho it sounds preposterous... peanut butter stuffed hot dogs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: louuuuu
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              FriedClamFanatic RE: louuuuu Aug 5, 2009 07:57 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LOL I gotta ask about the peanut butter and hot dogs! Two of my favs but I have never combined them! You just lather some on the roll? And what else do you put on it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: FriedClamFanatic
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                kubasd RE: FriedClamFanatic Jan 4, 2010 07:50 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                my boyfriends father puts mustard and peanut butter on his hot dogs. other than him i'd never heard of it before!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: louuuuu
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                MyKitchenBroke RE: louuuuu Jun 1, 2010 12:59 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Cinnamon in pasta sauce, I'm trying that one. Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: MyKitchenBroke
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  alkapal RE: MyKitchenBroke Jun 1, 2010 01:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  it is greek (well, broader in the middle-east, but more noticeable in greek food) and thus also got into cincinnati chili (via greek immigrants there), i understand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  i use a pinch; you don't "taste" it but it gives a little depth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  you've tried adding anchovies to your pasta sauce? that's good; they "melt" but give great flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    buttertart RE: alkapal Jun 1, 2010 01:25 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Or a shake of fish sauce, ditto.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: MyKitchenBroke
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DishDelish RE: MyKitchenBroke Jun 18, 2010 06:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I love fennel seeds in my pasta sauce now. Yum!!! It reminds me of licorice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: DishDelish
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      alkapal RE: DishDelish Jun 21, 2010 03:48 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      i've gotta put in the fennel seeds! i put them in my spice grinder first.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DishDelish RE: alkapal Jun 26, 2010 02:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I am definitely having a love affair with the fennel these days. I'll have to try the spice grinder idea. It is also delicious in homemade chicken noodle soup. A little extra comfort when your under the weather.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: DishDelish
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Emme RE: DishDelish Jun 26, 2010 08:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i love fresh fennel in stews, as well as part of the bed for roasted chicken. i love how it mellows as it cooks...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Emme
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            DishDelish RE: Emme Jun 30, 2010 03:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm going to try that in my next Roasted Chicken.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Emme
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              alkapal RE: Emme Sep 28, 2011 06:14 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              my sister makes a fabulous weight watchers italian soup with escarole and fennel. it is low calorie but is so filling and delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: DishDelish
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ruthie789 RE: DishDelish Jul 21, 2012 05:52 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It is great in tomato based soups as well, and fennel seems to thicken a soup.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. c
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      cinnamon girl RE: FriedClamFanatic Jul 23, 2009 08:28 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      allspice - rounds out the black pepper flavour
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ancho powder

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. h
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        heatcrave RE: FriedClamFanatic Jul 23, 2009 08:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sriracha- It really gives another dimension to most savory dishes, even if it is just a dash for those who are sensitive to the heat. Also, cayenne pepper. When people hear that they think of steam blowing out of the ears, but I find for most savory foods even just a dash adds a whole new dynamic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. l
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LadyCook61 RE: FriedClamFanatic Jul 23, 2009 04:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Smoked sea salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Steak Dust
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Smoked Paprika
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Dried Wine powders

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LadyCook61
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            pikawicca RE: LadyCook61 Jul 23, 2009 04:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            dried wine powders?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. shaogo RE: FriedClamFanatic Jul 25, 2009 06:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Curry Powder
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Pernod liqueur

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'll use just a scant pinch of the first two in the most unlikely dishes -- can't tell they're there, but miss 'em if they're not.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Pernod goes very well in most creamy things, esp. Seafood in cream/garlic sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. AndrewK512 RE: FriedClamFanatic Jul 25, 2009 10:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Cinnamon. A little bit totally ups the flavor of lots of savory things.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It's good in chocolate chip cookies too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Yukari RE: FriedClamFanatic Jul 25, 2009 06:38 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                miso - in salad dressings, meat sauce for spaghetti, taco meat mix, ground chicken for chicken burgers, mashed potatoes, meatloaf, and even the sweet miso mixed with cream cheese for a fruit dip.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                miso adds umami and rounds out the flavor of whatever dish I put it into.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. j
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  judka RE: FriedClamFanatic Jul 26, 2009 09:08 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Anchovy paste and coffee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. d
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DishDelish RE: FriedClamFanatic Jul 30, 2009 06:42 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hawaiian rock sea salt. It is sun evaporated unlike other sea salts. It is the best. My hubby who is from Hawaii is the first to tell me it was best but I didn't fully believe him until i made some of my favorite pasta recipes and also steak and roast recipes with it and it increased the yummy factor on all my recipes. Sooooo ono! =) My brand is Hawaiian Pa'akai inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Also I love freshly ground coriander seed (it brings out the flavor of the fresh cilantro when added), and and cumin when making fresh salsa and chili. Cumin when making my homemade hummus. The sea salt also makes a difference in these recipes. Oh yes... and I love fresh ground pepper (the one with three peppercorns).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. BamiaWruz RE: FriedClamFanatic Aug 13, 2009 12:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oyster sauce
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Soy Sauce
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Paprika (hungarian and spanish)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. MinkeyMonkey RE: FriedClamFanatic Oct 18, 2009 12:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Depends on what I'm cooking:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        balsamic vinegar to anything with tomatoes including sauces
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        nutritional yeast
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        rapadura or sucanat in place of white sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ground mustard
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        fresh thyme
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        flower water
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        almond extract
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        my guy's secrets are:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        peanut butter
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        fish sauce
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        fresh, local-made H'Mong chili paste...the best!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: MinkeyMonkey
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          goodhealthgourmet RE: MinkeyMonkey Dec 12, 2009 07:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          MinkeyMonkey - have you ever paired sherry vinegar with tomato instead of balsamic? it's one of my favorites - try it sometime!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. ChristinaMason RE: FriedClamFanatic Oct 18, 2009 01:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -bay leaf in most sauces, soups, and stews (even good in the bechamel base of mac 'n cheese and Hollandaise)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -ditto for white pepper
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -a pinch of sugar when searing meats/seafood and on fajita veggies (onions and peppers)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -ground coriander -- excellent on roasted/grilled asparagus and Brussels sprouts and in creamed broccoli soup
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -a splash of soy sauce or Bragg's to perk up soups/sauces
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -lemon zest (in unexpected places, like an eggplant pasta sauce or meat marinades)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -herb d'provence (just a dash)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -pinch of cayenne to brighten flavors
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -cinnamon and smoked paprika in Mexican food
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -allspice in beef vegetable soup (so good!)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -swapping almond extract for vanilla

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. EarlyBird RE: FriedClamFanatic Oct 23, 2009 03:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Allspice, added to soups, sauces and stews.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. f
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              foiegras RE: FriedClamFanatic Dec 12, 2009 02:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Jalapeno juice
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Brown sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              White pepper
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Soy sauce
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Black cocoa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. m
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                MMaineroe RE: FriedClamFanatic Dec 12, 2009 04:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have several:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Golden syrup, which is a British sugar syrup sort of like a light molasses. It's got a smoky flavor and balances salty or bitter flavors.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Anchovy paste, very salty and not really fishy.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                White pepper in some dishes, it's got a different profile than black pepper.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Grade B maple syrup as a generic sweetner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Now one common ingredient I don't use: I never cook in olive oil because I think cooking ruins the taste, and I've read that raising the temp of olive oil releases toxins. I use grapeseed oll instead, but I ill use high quality olive oil for dressings or dipping, or something like pesto--anything that's not cooked.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I also use coffee as a seasoning quite a bit. It's a fine addition to lentil soup. I;m starting to use teas as well. I think that counts as a secret ingredient.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: MMaineroe
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  DishDelish RE: MMaineroe Dec 14, 2009 03:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  How interesting. Do you just add a strong brew to your lentil soup? How much do you add? What type of recipe is it and what additional seasonings do you use with the coffee?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MMaineroe
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    FriedClamFanatic RE: MMaineroe Dec 15, 2009 10:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh Coffee! Interesting!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MMaineroe
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      alkapal RE: MMaineroe Dec 16, 2009 04:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      >>>>I never cook in olive oil because I think cooking ruins the taste, and I've read that raising the temp of olive oil releases toxins<<<<<

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      eric ripert only dresses dishes with olive oil, as he says it becomes too strong when cooked. mario batali ONLY cooks in olive oil, for sautés to deep-frying. lidia sometimes uses olive oil, but not *always*.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      but... i've never heard about olive oil releasing "toxins" at higher temperatures. do you have any more info on that?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        MyKitchenBroke RE: alkapal Jun 1, 2010 01:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I've heard that one before. I've heard it referenced as "going rancid" when heated. I came across this when researching coconut oil. If you do a search for coconut oil information you will get a whole list of websites that claim vegetable oil and olive oil go rancid when heated releasing toxins that harm your body.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        While I do believe that high heat can cause this effect on olive oil, I'm not yet willing to believe the claims that harmful toxins are being released when it is heated.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          cuccubear RE: alkapal Jun 7, 2010 10:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Searching on the Internet you're going to find conflicting information, but "Angie"'s response on the following link seems very convincing.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm no scientist and have no proof one way or the other but, overall, the consensus seems to be that cooking with olive oil is fine, but deep frying with it should be avoided.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cuccubear
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            goodhealthgourmet RE: cuccubear Jun 11, 2010 09:23 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "the consensus seems to be that cooking with olive oil is fine, but deep frying with it should be avoided."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            not necessarily. it depends on the frying temperature and the purity of the oil - we had a recent discussion about this: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/708315

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              cuccubear RE: goodhealthgourmet Jun 15, 2010 01:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks for the link ghg, I missed that thread. Again, I wasn’t making any firm claims either way. For me it comes down to cost - olive oil is too expensive to use for deep frying, health benefits and flavor aside.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cuccubear
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                alkapal RE: cuccubear Jun 18, 2010 06:22 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                cuccs! let's get us a big vat of peanut oil and start frying out in the back yard! whadya say?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  cuccubear RE: alkapal Jun 21, 2010 08:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sounds good to me! You bring the oil, I'll bring the turkey!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. k
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        KristieB RE: FriedClamFanatic Dec 12, 2009 06:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Cavender's Greek Seasoning. I put it on pork chops, chicken breast and fish. I put it in all sorts of things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ditto Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute. A fabulous sprinkle on pork chops then grilled.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: KristieB
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          fldhkybnva RE: KristieB Aug 1, 2013 08:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I love love Cavendar's Greek seasoning - it's great on everything as you mention - pork, steak, chicken, fish and it's wonderful with roasted vegetables as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. f
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          foiegras RE: FriedClamFanatic Dec 12, 2009 07:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Forgot to mention vodka ... that's how secret it is ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. jgg13 RE: FriedClamFanatic Dec 15, 2009 12:52 PM


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jgg13
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              yummyrice RE: jgg13 Dec 15, 2009 08:18 PM


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: yummyrice
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                jgg13 RE: yummyrice Dec 16, 2009 06:39 AM


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I was only half kidding though. I do put some MSG in a lot of stuff. It is funny how I have friends who swear up and down that they're ultrasensitive to MSG and can tell immediately if there's MSG in something but yet they never notice. I have two friends who don't believe me when I tell them that they've eaten things of mine that had MSG in them as they are *sure* that they'd know. Doh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jgg13
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  buttertart RE: jgg13 Dec 16, 2009 09:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  When I was a priggish teenager (a bit on the crunchy granola side) my mother used to enjoy faking me out by putting MSG in vegetables etc. to see if I noticed. Whenever I commented something tasted especially good, she had invariably used Ac'cent in it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    jgg13 RE: buttertart Dec 16, 2009 10:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That's pretty much exactly how those friends who didn't believe me found out. "This tastes better than usual, what did you change?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jgg13
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      buttertart RE: jgg13 Dec 16, 2009 11:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I can imagine. Whenever food in one of the Chinese places we go to tastes especially fantastic we just look at ach other and say "MSG". The Chinese name for it is wei jing - flavor powder - and not for nothing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: jgg13
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Joe MacBu RE: jgg13 Jan 8, 2010 09:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I second MSG.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Get over it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jgg13
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  scubadoo97 RE: jgg13 Jan 23, 2010 07:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes MSG does make things taste better. I sneak it into some soups and other dishes. If you use too much you can certainly taste the msg but if you use a sparing amount it gives that yummy taste called umami. I recently made a caldo verde soup and added just a 1/3 tsp to a large pot of soup. I had tasted it before and after the addition of msg. With the msg the flavor was addicting. It really elevated it IMO. My guests liked it too as all thought it was fantastic and couldn't get enough. So to me this is a secret ingredient because no one wants to know it's in there and I'm not telling. There is such a negative feeling attached to those 3 letters.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: scubadoo97
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    yummyrice RE: scubadoo97 Jan 23, 2010 12:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    MSG is my friend.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: scubadoo97
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      foiegras RE: scubadoo97 Sep 3, 2011 08:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      MSG is a migraine trigger.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: foiegras
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        mateo21 RE: foiegras Oct 4, 2011 07:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        foie, I'd check this thread out.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: foiegras
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          jgg13 RE: foiegras Jan 23, 2012 02:29 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Prove it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jgg13
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            sandylc RE: jgg13 Jan 23, 2012 02:40 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I understand why you would say this. Two points, though...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            People who gets migraines, if they are lucky, can identify a trigger(s).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            While some people might have similar triggers, such as a sudden bright light, everyone is nonetheless different (and this applies to most other health things, as well - such as weight loss. This is why I think most "studies" are innately flawed).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If foiegras gets migraines and his/her trigger is MSG, then this is a real thing that happens for this person. Doctors would call this "anecdotal"; I call it real.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              jgg13 RE: sandylc Jan 23, 2012 03:37 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              There are so many things wrong with simply letting some random schmo make claims like this - not the least of which is conflating causation & correlation. Until I see a double blind study that demonstrates MSG causes migraines I'm going to continue to believe that the extreme majority of those claiming to have said malady are incorrect and perpetuating dangerous false claims.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The amount of pseudoscience used to demonize MSG is astounding.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: jgg13
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Jay F RE: jgg13 Jan 27, 2012 02:49 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              My migraine specialist says to avoid MSG. He must have some reason to believe it's true. I used to get a headache on Saturdays, after eating Chinese food. I stopped eating Chinese food. No more headache.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. stuck in Hartford County RE: FriedClamFanatic Dec 16, 2009 05:13 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ground cayenne pepper
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        good salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        good butter
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        various liquors (e.g. flavored brandies, rum, flavored vodkas)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        worcestershire sauce
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Frank's Hot Sauce

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: stuck in Hartford County
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          yummyrice RE: stuck in Hartford County Dec 16, 2009 10:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Please define what "good salt" is to you. =)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: yummyrice
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            stuck in Hartford County RE: yummyrice Dec 16, 2009 11:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I received a large collection of salt-samples from a co-worker from a company called the Meadow. I like the smoked salts and the collection of "finishing salts" included. I think they are a mail-order company or something. I use David's Kosher salt or Diamond Crystal. I like the crunchy texture of Davids.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I've been using a butter from Vermont that's called Kate's. They appear to be a relatively small operation, but I'm seeing it at more and more groceries so who knows. I also use a butter made in New Zealand- my parents spend a couple of months there each year, so it's a nostalgic choice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: stuck in Hartford County
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              yummyrice RE: stuck in Hartford County Dec 17, 2009 11:23 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Wow, there's such a thing as smoked salt?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: yummyrice
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                stuck in Hartford County RE: yummyrice Dec 18, 2009 04:28 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I know. A strange thing, for sure. But unusually tasty. It's funny to watch for a person's reaction after trying it- the initial shock, the "I know this, but can't quite place it..." face. The frustration frown. And the "Oh well, it was good" smile.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Definitely a "secret ingredient", although not a mainstream one. As I stated earlier, I love Frank's Hot Sauce just as much. And much more economical!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: yummyrice
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  cinnamon girl RE: yummyrice Dec 22, 2009 06:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  There's smoked pepper too; it's useful when you want a bit of smokiness but you've used as much smoked salt as you can w/o the dish becoming too salty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: yummyrice
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    cuccubear RE: yummyrice Dec 28, 2009 10:08 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    One of my favorite seasonings for popcorn is Hickory Smoked salt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. r
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              redwood2bay RE: FriedClamFanatic Dec 16, 2009 11:22 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Bacon grease.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Chicken bouillon.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Marie Sharp's hot sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: redwood2bay
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                halaby88 RE: redwood2bay Jan 23, 2011 03:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Marie Sharp's is one of the best hot sauces around and is entirely underappreciated.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. l
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LEsherick2008 RE: FriedClamFanatic Dec 22, 2009 09:23 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Old Bay
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Hot Sauce Tabasco or Franks Red Hot
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Bacon Fat
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Fresh Ground Pepper(not the powdery stuff)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Fresh Ground Sea Salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Anchovy Paste

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. vorpal RE: FriedClamFanatic Dec 28, 2009 11:46 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Shallots, sliced very thin and then deep fried. They make everything savory taste ten times better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Also, I deep fry the shallots in a small quantity of oil, and then use the oil in my cooking. It's infused with the shallot flavour and is absolutely delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Anything bacony, too, as many people have already mentioned: crumbled bacon, bacon fat, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. n
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    nasilemak RE: FriedClamFanatic Dec 28, 2009 06:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Fennel pollen over roasted meats, roasted veggies and yogurt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. mebby RE: FriedClamFanatic Dec 28, 2009 06:40 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A pinch of Ras El Hanout improves many things well beyond North African foods I find -- a little sweet, a little spicy, warm and very subtle. I'm also seriously addicted to a pinch of chipotle powder for a little depth in nearly everything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. t
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        tissue RE: FriedClamFanatic Jan 4, 2010 08:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Brand chicken essence into any meat, just a tbsp. Taiwan rice cooking wine (michu), adds a subtle fabulous sweetness to any veggie dish. Any type of vinegar, just a little bit elevates the savory flavors.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. alkapal RE: FriedClamFanatic Jan 5, 2010 07:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          recently, my secret ingredient in a very tasty new year's day chili was red wine! maybe it's not a secret, but it was good. i got the idea from craig claiborne's "friends/parties" cookbook, and another cookbook too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I also used tomato puree, beef broth, onion, garlic, diced pickled jalapeños, oregano, chili powder, cumin, coriander (!), a dash of cinnamon, small cubes of under blade chuck roast, kidney beans (look away, you texans), and a little flour for thickening. i cooked it for about 13 hours in the crockpot. near the end i added in a piece of smoked turkey wing, but i should've added it much sooner (but didn't have it at hand until i went to the store again!).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            stuck in Hartford County RE: alkapal Jan 5, 2010 09:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ooooh, I'm w/you except for the pickled jalapenos-I have an unexplained aversion to them, but I love fresh ones. Maybe I'll make chili tonite w/your recipe. Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: stuck in Hartford County
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              alkapal RE: stuck in Hartford County Jan 6, 2010 05:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i probably would've used fresh jalapeños (and other kinds of chiles, dried and fresh) if they were readily available. i used the pickled diced out of convenience. i think the key flavors that made it so good were the red wine and the coriander (two things which i'd never considered in chili). the great thing about chili in a crockpot is that the flavors can evolve and be tweaked over time ;-)).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              one of the cookbooks was "a feast made for laughter" by craig claiborne. i think the other may've been the "sheraton world cookbook." (or maybe not... these are from my cookbook stash down in florida, at my mom's house).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                stuck in Hartford County RE: alkapal Jan 6, 2010 05:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I love that classic Claiborne book! BTW, the chili came out great. Here in CT (near Hartford) fresh chilies are available just about anywhere-as long as you can get to the store. It's one of the pleasures of living in such a diverse area! Take that book away from mom, as she has no need for an awesome chili recipe in FL, alka!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: stuck in Hartford County
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  alkapal RE: stuck in Hartford County Jan 6, 2010 07:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  stuck, mom doesn't use it, and i'm SURE would be thrilled to get it and its colleagues out of the house! the problem is...i have way too many here in my house. glad you had some good chili!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  DishDelish RE: alkapal Jan 16, 2010 07:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Coriander makes all the difference in my chili. Also putting the spices directly onto the hot oil brings out their distinct flavors even more. A tip I learned from Cooks Illustrated.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                sisterfunkhaus RE: alkapal Jan 8, 2010 05:37 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Cinnamon and good unsweetened cocoa make for a great chili. I will have to try the red wine, sounds devine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I just recently started making my chili with meat chunks instead of ground meat and it is so much better that way. And I am a Texan who often puts beans in my chili.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sisterfunkhaus
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  dianne0712 RE: sisterfunkhaus Aug 30, 2012 06:02 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I put strong coffee and unsweetened cocoa in my chili. Great colour and depth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. j
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Jeffo405 RE: FriedClamFanatic Jan 8, 2010 05:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                anchovy paste

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  sisterfunkhaus RE: FriedClamFanatic Jan 8, 2010 05:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hot hungarian paprika, and the Mexican seasoning from Morton and Bassett. I looked to see what was in it and used the same seasonings in my Tex-Mex stuffed peppers and it tasted even better than when I use the Morton's.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sisterfunkhaus
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    alkapal RE: sisterfunkhaus Jan 9, 2010 04:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    wonder if it has some glutamates! ;-)).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      stuck in Hartford County RE: alkapal Jan 10, 2010 05:59 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Recently, I've been "obsessed" w/Morton & Bassett- and I'd be surprised (really surprised!) if there is MSG in the mix. Don't say it's so!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: stuck in Hartford County
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        alkapal RE: stuck in Hartford County Jan 11, 2010 06:41 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        i have no idea, but the company sounds like it would **not** add msg. http://www.worldpantry.com/cgi-bin/nc...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        anyone, how does morton and bassett compare with penzey's on quality and price?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          cuccubear RE: alkapal Jan 19, 2010 07:52 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Looking at the pictured label, they claim not to use salt or msg.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cuccubear
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            alkapal RE: cuccubear Jan 21, 2010 08:05 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            to be fair, that's just chervil, and not a blend.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            i'm not saying they add msg, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            cuccs, how do you compare their products on price and quality vis-á-vis penzey's?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              cuccubear RE: alkapal Jan 21, 2010 12:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ah, blends, well, now, um, you see, I didn't realize that's what you were talking about...shucks. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Have never bought anything from M&B, but doing a web price comparison, a .28 oz jar of parsley at M&B is $4.59 and Penzey's .2 oz jar is $2.79.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cuccubear
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                stuck in Hartford County RE: cuccubear Jan 22, 2010 04:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I always stayed away from our Penzey's store in town, and purchased M&B at my favorite local "upscale" grocery. I've got many of their spices, and have no complaints-but they are pricey. Maybe it's time to check out Penzeys.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. r
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Riatta RE: FriedClamFanatic Jan 11, 2010 03:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A container of fresh salsa in my chili. It really brightens the flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Riatta
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      alkapal RE: Riatta Jan 11, 2010 06:48 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      i'll use fresh pico de gallo plus some chick peas, fresh spinach, a hint of cumin and garam masala, nutmeg (optional), cinnamon stick (optional) and a little cream (or yogurt) for a delicious and satisfying quickie indian dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        toveggiegirl RE: alkapal Jan 16, 2011 10:52 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I also use salsa a lot - in eggs, salads, tuna, pasta... - pretty much everywhere.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Soop RE: FriedClamFanatic Jan 11, 2010 07:08 AM


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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        sciencesdg RE: FriedClamFanatic Jan 20, 2010 03:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        i make Emeril's essence spice blend in huge batches, so so good and spicy!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        also love kalustans medium spicy curry powder, great!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. h
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          HillJ RE: FriedClamFanatic Jan 21, 2010 06:13 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Blue corn meal and in this stellar cake it's unexpected "blue" color paired with a lovely homemade or (if you must canned) Dulce de Leche frosting is just a winner.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: HillJ
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            smokeandapancake RE: HillJ Jan 24, 2010 07:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ricotta in my meatballs!!!!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: smokeandapancake
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              jvanderh RE: smokeandapancake Jun 1, 2010 07:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Interesting! About what ratio of meat to ricotta?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. r
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            runwestierun RE: FriedClamFanatic Jan 30, 2010 09:19 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I bought a bunch of Grains of Paradise online for a specific recipe and then had a boatload left over. It tastes peppery and is botanically related to cardamon. It's from Northern Africa and it is freakin' delicious. It was a happy accident that I had such a surfeit. It's my new secret ingredient.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh, that and sambal olek.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: runwestierun
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              stuck in Hartford County RE: runwestierun Jan 30, 2010 09:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I saw an episode of Alton Brown's show on Food Network that was about Grains of Paradise. It was very interesting and I remember thinking that I need to try it. I never did. Maybe this is the time!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: stuck in Hartford County
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                HillJ RE: stuck in Hartford County Jan 30, 2010 09:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                stuck in HC, I run Grains of Paradise through my pepper mill and often use it in place of black pepper. Lovely.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: HillJ
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  stuck in Hartford County RE: HillJ Jan 30, 2010 11:24 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Interesting. Where do you buy it? I'll check out my local groceries/gourmets. I hope I don't have to order those Grains!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: stuck in Hartford County
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    HillJ RE: stuck in Hartford County Jan 30, 2010 11:30 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I do order it online & have it shipped thru Seattle's World Spice Merchants; they have a great price on GoP but you should be able to find it at a health food, spice shops that carry African foodstuffs or Whole Foods w/out a problem locally.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. junescook RE: FriedClamFanatic Feb 2, 2010 11:46 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Minor's bases. I keep them on hand for making odd amounts of stock or broth; great for making rice, couscous, etc. I remember Tony Bourdain writing that students at the CIA used to hide them under their jackets to beef up the flavor of their sauces (no pun intended.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: junescook
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Funwithfood RE: junescook Feb 7, 2010 12:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I use those also, keep them in the freezer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: junescook
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  tonka11_99 RE: junescook Apr 2, 2010 09:16 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I was wondering about them. I have been using "better than bouillion" because it is at the store. Hard to justify the shipping charges of minors because you have to buy it online.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Are they powdered or a syrup/paste?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: tonka11_99
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    stuck in Hartford County RE: tonka11_99 Apr 4, 2010 10:12 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I forgot about those bases b/c I use them so often, I don't consider them "secret". I especially like the Better Than Bullion clam and lobster bases. I also frequently use More Than Gourmet's demi-glace (veal)- a silky, thick, concentrate that can be frozen and found at our local Super S&S. CHEAT CHEAT CHEAT to up the flavor! Nobody knows but you!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Another cheaty thing I do is save bacon fat/duck fat to substitute for other fats in certain recipes. Potatoes fried in duck fat?! Amazing. And everything is better w/bacon (fat). Except for the cholesterol levels. And the waistline. They prefer olive oil.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh, one more thing that's kinda secret- I use Crisco to "oil a pan". No taste, easy removal from pan. Also no frying smell w/Crisco. But that's truly secret, and I keep my blue canister hidden WAAAAAY back in the pantry in case any of my friends see it. I freely admit that I have the Club Med "Hands Up" song (plus a few Barry Manilow tunes) on my iPod than to EVER using Crisco (or, gasp, LARD!).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: tonka11_99
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Funwithfood RE: tonka11_99 Apr 5, 2010 08:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      They are a paste--indispensible, but make sure you get the low-sodium option.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: tonka11_99
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        junescook RE: tonka11_99 Sep 30, 2010 01:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I buy Minor's at the local BJ's club. They always have the chicken and beef in stock, so to speak.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. l
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      lyntc10 RE: FriedClamFanatic Feb 2, 2010 04:28 PM


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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: lyntc10
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        alkapal RE: lyntc10 Feb 2, 2010 05:59 PM


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          lyntc10 RE: alkapal Feb 3, 2010 05:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Haha, I'm impressed! I was just kidding, I thought it'd be interesting to see how many people knew what I was talking about. I always laugh whenever I see commercials for Kikkoman raving about "umammi" and thinking about how many people who are terrified of MSG then run and go buy products with "umammi"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: lyntc10
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            yummyrice RE: lyntc10 Feb 3, 2010 08:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I find those commercials hillarious too! They should revise their commercials to state that "umami is MSG". =)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh well, I'm a fan of MSG.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lyntc10
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              vorpal RE: lyntc10 Apr 15, 2010 10:14 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              MSG != umami, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. c
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          cornflower55 RE: FriedClamFanatic Feb 3, 2010 10:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          yuzu juice

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. miranda0 RE: FriedClamFanatic Feb 3, 2010 10:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Not really much of a secret ingredient, but I stick garlic in almost everything. Slice it fine enough and u can;'t even taste it but it makes everything else taste so good. And it's good for you as well http://www.womenrepublic.co.uk/diet_f... It doesn't even smell that bad.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: miranda0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              FriedClamFanatic RE: miranda0 Feb 6, 2010 10:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              If you don't like garlic or onions.....................you're gonna starve in my house!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: FriedClamFanatic
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                yummyrice RE: FriedClamFanatic Feb 7, 2010 03:28 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LOL! I second that!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. k
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              kpaxonite RE: FriedClamFanatic Feb 5, 2010 05:21 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              herbes de provence

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kpaxonite
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                lexpatti RE: kpaxonite Mar 16, 2010 08:05 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I love herbes de prov as well, great on roasted veggies and my own pita chips made from pocket bread!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. g
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                gerbil balls RE: FriedClamFanatic Mar 30, 2010 06:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Mak ken a spice from Laos
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Berberhe from Ethiopia
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Fleur de sel -The basic one bought in plastic bags in France
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Fish Sauce for almost everything
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Pork Paste for fresh green beans and other veggies

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gerbil balls
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  vorpal RE: gerbil balls Apr 15, 2010 10:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't really "get" fleur de ael, I guess. Whar do you do with it? Got any recipe recommendations that will hopefully make me fall in love with it? I have some here and I've scarcely touched it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: vorpal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    AnotherMother RE: vorpal Jun 11, 2010 08:29 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And I thought I was the only one!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It's fine, but you know... it's salt...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Certainly I prefer it over supermarket table salt, but it just isn't that special...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: vorpal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Emme RE: vorpal Jun 11, 2010 09:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      i bought a jar for truffles i was making last weekend. i plan on using it this weekend to top my apple tarte tatin after inverting, but thinking about more uses...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: vorpal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        foiegras RE: vorpal Sep 3, 2011 08:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You don't use it in recipes ... it's a finishing salt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A pet peeve all my life is food that's improperly salted during cooking, because I don't like the 'grains' of traditional table salt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The texture of fleur de sel is actually a plus, and it 'melts' easily into your food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I use it on eggs & anything that needs a bit of additional salt. Great on salads (like a bean or field pea salad).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. melpy RE: FriedClamFanatic Apr 2, 2010 07:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      a pinch of cinnamon in meat dishes or certain tomato sauces

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: melpy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        vorpal RE: melpy Apr 15, 2010 10:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Indian cuisine certainly backs up this recommendation, and despite how weird it sounds, I definitely have to agree that it's delicious.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          BabsW RE: melpy May 10, 2011 10:12 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cinnamon is my "secret" seasoning ingredient in pastitsio. lol

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            oldunc RE: BabsW Aug 19, 2011 08:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I suppose that was facetious, but it ain't pastitsio without cinnamon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: BabsW
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DishDelish RE: BabsW Aug 30, 2011 02:31 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              cinnamon in my banana bread. yum!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Anonimo RE: FriedClamFanatic Apr 6, 2010 03:48 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            White Wine Worcestershire Sauce, for chicken and seafood dishes.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Anonimo
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              tullius RE: Anonimo Apr 15, 2010 01:39 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Milk is for drinking, evaporated milk is for cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Wine, stock , vegetable juice or milk in soups, sauces & gravies, never water. OK use bouillon or "better than bouillon" if you have to use water.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Some combination of worcestershire, soy, fish sauce, kitchen bouquet, liquid smoke or tobasco in most soups, sauces & gravies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Fresh lemon or lime juice to brighten most dishes. Use it at the last minute. Heat destroys the flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Bacon or sausage fat. Schmaltz (rendered chicken fat). Don't have a heart attack, just a little mixed with a heart healthy olive or canola oil.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Freshly ground & toasted spices.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sour milk in cakes, breads, quick breads, pancakes, biscuits, ect. Gives a tart buttermilk flavor but doesn't overthicken. You can sour milk by adding 1T vinegar to 1 C milk, let sit a minute. If using in a recipe that calls for reg milk, add 1t baking soda to bring the ph back down so the baking powder will leaven properly. This isn't needed if recipe calls for buttermilk.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Those little cans of curry paste from the Thai import store. Put it in coconut curries of course but also stir fry, spring rolls, noodle bowls, dipping sauces, soups & such or add to marinades, BBQ sauces. Yes I know I'm crossing cuisine borders here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. boyzoma RE: FriedClamFanatic Apr 15, 2010 02:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I will sometimes use coffee (either in "leftover" form from breakfast or in instant form) in a poultry gravy (usually turkey for me) that I want to look like a richer brown. You can't tell it is in there, but you can sure see the difference in the color.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ChristinaMason RE: boyzoma May 29, 2010 05:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                cool tip; wish I knew this at Thanksgiving!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. amokscience RE: FriedClamFanatic Apr 15, 2010 11:32 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A lot of the other suggestions are all the same basic thing. Some sort of glutamate (umami) heavy item which is usually lacking in Western home cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                For me:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Dashida (powdered beef stock base+salt+msg). Korean item, get it at an Asian market. Basically adding stock to any dish while you season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Alternatively, use soy sauce/fish sauce instead of salt. Same idea, less savory flavor, more pronounced Asian accent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Ashley12 RE: FriedClamFanatic May 9, 2010 06:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  chili flakes and worcestershire sauce

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Tenorissimo RE: FriedClamFanatic May 29, 2010 01:31 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ashley12 just reminded me, I couldn't function without Worcestershire sauce.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      alkapal RE: Tenorissimo May 29, 2010 04:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      just used some worcestershire (plus soy sauce) in my chicken salad (with curry powder). with mayo, it is a mysterious and delicious combination in many junior league cookbooks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Chicken Salad Fit for a Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3/4 cup mayonnaise

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 teaspoons lemon juice

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 teaspoon curry powder

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 teaspoons soy sauce

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 cups cooked chicken, cut in chunks

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1/4 cup sliced water chestnuts

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1/2 pound seedless grapes, halved

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1/2 cup chopped celery

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1/2 cup toasted, slivered almonds

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 (8-ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Mix first 4 ingredients together to make sauce. Toss all ingredients together with sauce. Chill several hours and serve on lettuce leaves. Makes 5 servings.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      i omit the pineapple and serve it *in* a pineapple --- or on a croissant. gosh, it is savory and wonderful. try it next time you have leftover roast chicken.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        buttertart RE: alkapal Jun 1, 2010 05:43 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Goodness that sounds great, alkapal, must try!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          alkapal RE: buttertart Jun 1, 2010 12:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          hello miss tart one! the curry powder - soy sauce -mayo combo is what really makes it. sounds weird, tastes fantastic. be sure and let it chill for the flavors to meld well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            buttertart RE: alkapal Jun 1, 2010 01:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It sounds right up my Iowa family's street, they're always looking for a nice lunch dish. Thanks dear alkap!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          FriedClamFanatic RE: alkapal Jun 3, 2010 04:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          yep.that is a definite keeper! Nice.thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: FriedClamFanatic
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            alkapal RE: FriedClamFanatic Jun 3, 2010 05:13 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            hey there, fcF! you are most welcome. was this the first time you've had it, or is it something you just needed reminding of that you've loved in the past? i first had it probably 15 years ago, and went crazy for it -- esp. on a buttery croissant (so decadent). i guess that may've been when it was first making its debut. my sister in florida served it because she had gotten the recipe from a friend from church, and so on; i think its popularity spread like wildfire.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              FriedClamFanatic RE: alkapal Jun 4, 2010 02:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              No can't say as I have had it before.....but it got me drooling

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            CarrieSeas RE: alkapal Sep 3, 2012 12:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This sounds absolutely out of this world good and I will be making it!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. m
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          MyKitchenBroke RE: FriedClamFanatic Jun 1, 2010 01:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Pomegranate juice. Still finding new uses, but my favorite is in BBQ sauce. Simmer it with lemon juice and brown sugar for about 5 minutes and then add the rest of the sauce ingredients. Add some heat and it's a good balance of sweet and spicy.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            bgbc RE: FriedClamFanatic Jun 7, 2010 11:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thai fish sauce. Ginger, fresh grated, ground or crystallized in anything. Marzipan in fruit crumbles.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. g
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Gillcer RE: FriedClamFanatic Jun 10, 2010 04:46 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Instant coffee-- I always use it to flavor gravy, even lighter gravies like turkey or chicken.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              (I've also been known to drink it from time to time!)

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gillcer
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                FriedClamFanatic RE: Gillcer Jun 20, 2010 12:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                now that's interesting!......I"ll have try it next time....what sort of ratio?

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sparklebright RE: Gillcer Jul 17, 2012 03:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh I like the instant coffee idea! Especially when something needs just a little punch on the dark and bitter side!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  SeattleHusky RE: FriedClamFanatic Jun 26, 2010 10:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Truffle Salt of Course!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: SeattleHusky
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    junescook RE: SeattleHusky Sep 30, 2010 01:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I bought this great tasting truffle oil at a craft show a couple of months ago. Used it to make popcorn and mashed potatoes. Any other things that it's good for?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: junescook
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      kpaxonite RE: junescook Sep 30, 2010 04:00 PM


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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Saradara RE: SeattleHusky Nov 24, 2010 08:06 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Drizzle om soups like cauliflower or Jerusalem artichoke.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. Pzz RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 29, 2010 05:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Apparently all of my "secret" ingredients are already being used by other people here. Except for one: cola. Either cola syrup or any cola soft drink which has been allowed - or encouraged to - go flat. It's particularly good in homemade/ home-modified barbecue sauce, sauerbraten, and even carnitas. And nobody will know what that flavor is unless you tell them.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        FriedClamFanatic RE: Pzz Oct 4, 2010 03:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        OH!.that's agood one! I once did hotdogs in coca-cola.and they were ok, but seemed like a waste.............the BBQ idea is much better

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Kathleen is Cooking in Mexico RE: FriedClamFanatic Nov 20, 2010 01:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Salt. It is the most under-rated, under-used ingredient. Too little, and the dish is flat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Kathleen is Cooking in Mexico
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Jay F RE: Kathleen is Cooking in Mexico Nov 20, 2010 02:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Salt is exactly what I was thinking of. I live alone, and don't entertain very often, so I don't have many secret ingredients, strictly speaking. But I've noticed over the years that when I get the biggest compliments, it's because I put enough salt in something, and the person doing the complimenting is perhaps a bit saltophobic in her own cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A subset of salt that I use in almost everything is parmigiano-reggiano. I've given a lot of people their first experience with the King of Cheeses, and nobody doesn't love my pasta dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I used to use dark sesame oil with a chicken salad that also featured garlic, cilantro, ginger and sherry vinegar. Lots of people didn't know what that weird, wonderful flavor was. But I've gotten away from Asian cooking. When I realized I liked sushi better when I got it in a restaurant, I kind of moved away from making anything else Asian.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Saradara RE: FriedClamFanatic Nov 24, 2010 08:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cold pressed Austrian pumpkin seed oil (Kürbiskernöl). Wonderful nutty flavor. Drizzle on pumpkin soup, vegetables. Use with white balsamic vinegar for a simple salad dressing. Cook eggs in it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. h
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            hardtail60 RE: FriedClamFanatic Nov 24, 2010 05:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            celery salt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. g
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              guilty RE: FriedClamFanatic Nov 24, 2010 05:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Vanilla extract in anything that needs "balancing." Cocktail too strong? Add a little vanilla extract. Savory sauce a little on the bitter side? Vanilla extract. Cranberry sauce need an extra something? Vanilla extract. Making brownies? Use twice as much vanilla extract. Hot sauce? Haven't tried it. Yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              And cinnamon is a great addition to tomato-based sauces--even just for marinara. You wouldn't think so, but it is.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: guilty
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                cosmogrrl RE: guilty Dec 2, 2010 07:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have a recipe for winter tomatoes, the bland boring kind one is presented with. Slice, sprinkle with S & P and then also sprinkle with a tiny pinch of cinnamon. Fry up in olive oil.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thought the addition of cinnamon was crazy, until I tasted it. Made those winter tomatoes so much nicer! People think I'm crazy when I tell them this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. t
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Toronto Fastfoodie RE: FriedClamFanatic Nov 24, 2010 06:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Well, after reading through all the posts, it was really difficult to find a secret ingredient that y'all don't already know! But I think I found a couple:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                a big dollop of tomato paste mixed into roasted potatoes 1/2 way through the cooking process for extra richness, sweetness, and colour.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Always replace the water in boxed chocolate cake mix with milk (I know...boxed cake mix...don't judge) for an extra moistness and its a little healthier. In addition, replace the most of the oil with applesauce. Add a mashed banana and you pretty much justify serving it your kids for breakfast (at least I do)


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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  buttertart RE: Toronto Fastfoodie Nov 25, 2010 02:25 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And your kids love you for it, I'm sure. Nothing whatsoever wrong with that!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. r
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  resips RE: FriedClamFanatic Dec 30, 2010 09:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Truffle Salt!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I agree with Seattle Husky, truffle salt is the secret ingredient. It's magic in any savory dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. dearcallie RE: FriedClamFanatic Jan 10, 2011 05:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Dry vermouth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It functions better than either red or white wine in almost anything... spaghetti sauce, chicken in any kind of sauce... I even dollop some into pea soup (heavy on oregano and garlic, my version will convert pea soup haters... ;-)).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Shoot, I douse frozen fish fillets with dry vermouth, sprinkle with Tony Chachere's ,spray with olive oil and cook in the toaster oven for a quick meal for my 10 yr. old son, with a salad and weekend baked sweet potato.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Also? How else are you gonna use up that bottle of dry vermouth, even if you ARE a martini lover?


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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      c oliver RE: dearcallie Jan 18, 2011 07:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      IMO dry vermouth is a satisfactory substitute for white wine. But I don't think it "functions better" and certainly not for red.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: dearcallie
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        moreover RE: dearcallie Feb 21, 2012 09:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Vermouth is perfect for fish and sauces. It's spiced wine which serves the purpose of making dishes more flavorful. I've had great results using the cheap varieties.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. g
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        gmk1322 RE: FriedClamFanatic Jan 10, 2011 09:32 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Pepper Plant Hot Sauce (made in Gilroy, CA)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Comes in a variety of flavors, lite on sodium, and it adds a nice zing/kick without over heating the dish (e.g. making it inedible or causing one to break out in sweats)!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Pzz RE: gmk1322 Jan 18, 2011 06:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And available in irresponsibly huge jugs at Smart & Final. Just so you won't run out of it when you need it most. The Chunky Garlic variant is my personal addiction.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Pzz
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            gmk1322 RE: Pzz Jan 18, 2011 09:29 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            gasp...jugs!!! Now I know I am going to make a stop on the way home after lecture tomorrow!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: gmk1322
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            c oliver RE: gmk1322 Jan 18, 2011 07:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I never thought about salt in hot sauce(s). I'll have to check that out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. eclecticsynergy RE: FriedClamFanatic Jan 16, 2011 07:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I second the recommendation upthread for Maggi seasoning. It's instant umami for any sauce or gravy, soups, stews, meats and veggies, just about anything Have never tried it on ice cream, but it's mighty good with melon. Maggi & butter on a steak is heaven.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            In recent years it's become hard to find in the big supermarkets around here but Latin markets usually have it.