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What is your newest favorite ingredient??

I bought a container of pimenton (smoked paprika) and have been using it on everything
sparingly. What are some other newish ingredients I can add to my cooking repertoire?

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  1. Aleppo Pepper!!
    It's not quite as hot as cayenne but has a bit of a bite with a spicier taste.

    Sumac powder:
    Not as strong as lemon zest it has a fruity citrusy flavor.

    You can buy it at spice markets or make it yourself. It's great on anything from meats, poultry and veggies. It's kind of tangy
    1/4 cup sumac
    2 tblspns dried thyme
    1 tblspn toasted sesame seeds
    2 tblspns dried marjoram
    2 tblspns dried oregano
    1 tspn Kosher salt

    12 Replies
    1. re: Gio

      Sounds like we may shop at the same spice website, Gia. World Spice? Anyway, that's where I get my Allepo pepper and sumac.

      As for the OP's question, I've been playing with different peppers. Tellecherry has been my primary pepper for... ummm... let's just say a very very long time. But lately I'm also enjoying Allepo pepper, Urfa biber (pepper from Urfa, Turkey), Szichuan pepper, and grains of paradise. All peppery, some more than others, all interesting.

      I've also discovered that using ground dried (real) wasabi makes a very interesting "condiment" just sprinkled dry on foods. When used this way it has a nutty flavor that I never precieved when mixed with water into a paste and allowed to "develop". I now prefer it sprinkled on sushi instead of the paste form, whether real wasabi or fake. But I've never tried sprinkling fake wasabi. hmmm... I wonder....?

      1. re: Caroline1

        I bounce between Penzey's and my new found spice on-line shop Savory Spice Shop:

        I've been using Tellicherry peppercorns for about 15 years now, Caroline. I first bought the one pound bags White Flower Farm sells and gave them to friends and family as gifts. I was surprised when some folks complained the pepper was too "strong." (???????) Now I only order it for myself from Penzey's, tho.

        1. re: Gio

          When I was a kid and young (and maybe not so young?) adult, as I recall all pepper was Tellicherry, even the preground Schilling in the red and white can.. Now you have to look for it. It's like we've been downgraded from sturgeon caviar to lumpfish without our permission! Thanks for the link.

          1. re: Gio

            I was a Savory Spice Shop customer when I rec'd this item. So surprising, so many uses!

            Gio, Have you ever purchased their gift sets? The popcorn gift set is a huge hit with several of my friends. The honey dust is particularly good.
            I find World Spice better priced than Savory Spice on indiv. spice orders but the gift sets @ Savory are a great deal.

        2. re: Gio

          If you like Aleppo pepper, these Chicken kebabs are to die for!


          1. re: newfoodie

            It only took me 2 days to notice your post and Newfoodie's. Not bad. LOL
            I have not bought any of Savory's gift sets, but thanx for recommending them. Their shipping is wonderful, tho. Now that both you and Caroline mentioned World Spice, I'll have to look into that source too. Yesterday I got a few things from Kalustyan's in NYC and their packaging was absolutely bomb proof. First time order from them... couldn't find what I wanted around here.

            Many thanks for the kebab link. Looks scrumptious.

            1. re: Gio

              World Spice will blow your mind. They do not take credit cards, but they ship your order to you immediately with an invoice in it, which you then pay by check and mail back to them. I was dumbfounded! Seemed like yesteryear! And their prices and products are great too.

              1. re: Caroline1

                Couldn't agree more Caroline1. World Spice rocks. Their loose teas are also fabulous. I wish more businesses would offer their invoicing method.

                1. re: HillJ

                  Ohhhhh....I like that company already. I won't tell you that some scum just charged 1000.00 $ on my credit card. It was not swiped so it must have been hacked. Thankfully my cc co. has fraud protection! !! And good for me for catching it in time!

              2. re: Gio

                Gio, Ask me how many x's I've missed a reply on CH! N.p.!
                When you order from WS, give the cinnamons a go. Fantastic!

                1. re: HillJ

                  Thanks again HillJ. I'll surely give them a go in future!

            2. re: Gio

              gio, my lebanese friend makes a chicken livers with sumac dish that mr. alka flips over!

              1. re: sparkareno

                wow, that sounds good, where did you find it?

                1. re: geminigirl

                  You can get it online but I found it at both Ralph's & Albertson's in SoCal. It's more of a smoky flavor than bacon but I like it on scrambled eggs and baked potatoes. I got the regular but they also have peppered & hickory. It was $4.99

                    1. re: geminigirl

                      i can highly recommend using the bacon salt on a turkey and avocado sandwich. it's a really fabulous combination that is greater than the sum of its parts.

              2. I am a little frightened, because I read the title of your post & immediately thought, smoked paprika. My other newfound passion is nori sheets, which I cut into strips, toast in the oven & snack on.

                    1. re: buttertart

                      Biscuits, cornbread, pie crust (for savory fillings), french fries, bacon, and on and on and on ...

                  1. Star anise. Not new, by any means, but I've started added it all sorts of things - makes such a difference in Asian recipes and is my new "secret" ingredient in homemade marinara.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: thursday

                      Here's another "secret" to you new secret ingredient.

                      If you drink coffee, ground up some star anise and add just a touch (and use a light hand) to your coffee before brewing. Does wonders.

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        Mmm, thanks, I'll give it a try! I've tried a little cardamom with my coffee, which is good once in a while.

                        1. re: scuzzo

                          Because I was lazy, I put on one whole pod of star anise with my Dunkin' Donuts Decaf in my mini drip pot and made about 3 cups of coffee. it was very nice!

                        2. re: ipsedixit

                          ipse, tried that this a.m. with my one cup of joe...very very nice. I"ve also tried cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla in my brewed coffee (separately) but I like this "flavoring" the best! Nice call...now to find some aleppo pepper...do they sell it in Asian food markets?

                      2. My newest favourite is pickled and dilled garlic! Yummy and stinky :)

                        I also keep finding new oldies that I haven't used in years. One of which is allspice and another is plain old dried parsley.


                        1. Vanilla honey.
                          Pineapple syrup (this is the goo that's left over after making a batch of pineapple jam).
                          Raspberry smoke.
                          Grapefruit powder.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: wattacetti

                            Raspberry smoke? please elaborate..sounds interesting

                            1. re: wattacetti

                              Pineapple syrup/ Raspberry smoke/Grapefruit powder?? OMGoodness... doesn't That sound exotic....Do tell!

                              1. re: Gio

                                Raspberry smoke came from reading a local restaurant reviewer claiming that one couldn't infuse raspberry into something else. Take freeze-dried raspberry powder and add smoke gun.

                                Pineapple syrup: making pineapple jam to make Taiwanese pineapple cakes but the jam prep sloughs off a whole lot of liquid which is essentially a very sweet and very heavily pineapple-flavored syrup (recipe is essentially pureed pineapple and sugar that is slowly simmered; solids for cake filling, liquid is your syrup).

                                Grapefruit powder: two ways - buy it or slice grapefruit, dry in a dehydrator and powder in a coffee mill.

                                Been playing with all three with scallops just to see what would happen.

                            2. Bacon fat, not new at all, just forget to use it but oh what a difference it makes!

                              1. I think my newest favorite ingredient is "mushroom dust". I put dried porcinis in the blender and turned to dust. I sprinkled on and into all sorts of things, especially meats headed for the grill.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: scuzzo

                                  Scott...I've done that too but I have acoupla questions:
                                  Do you take off the stems or grind them up too? (I took off the stems)...
                                  How long do store the powder?

                                  1. re: Gio

                                    I used everything. I had a big container of porcinis so I just put a handful in the blender and turned 'em into powder. Stored in a dry jar. This should keep for a very long time. I used it for lots of things!

                                  2. re: scuzzo

                                    lol i was about to reply!

                                    not new but it's my favourite besides smoked salt: porcini salt. adding the 'dust' to maldon salt flakes and sprinkle them on griddled meats, and possibly everything. i'm going to try it on black salsifies tonight.

                                  3. My new crush is lemongrass. I had never used and didn't really know what to do with it so I made a simple syrup and put the lemongrass in it overnight. It thickens the syrup and the flavor was really pronounced. It is excellent drizzled over watermelon chunks with thai basil and red onion. The longer the syrup sits in the fridge, the thicker it gets. Then it clings nicely.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: hortscribe

                                      Did you use fresh or dried? I wonder about a lemongrass vinegar maybe???

                                      1. re: hortscribe

                                        Eric Ripert did an interesting dish with lemon grass on one of his TV shows. You tuck about a half stalk of lemon grass (well bruised) into a pot of jasmine/basmati rice and cook as normal. When done, remove the lemon grass and stir in some coconut milk. He served it with fish. I have a can of coconut milk, I just have to find some fresh lemon grass! You can find his recipe here: http://aveceric.com/episode-recipe-10...

                                      2. Chinese Five Spice Powder. Not terribly exotic, but I seem to be using it a lot more now. It's a nice change. And I second Star Anise.

                                        1. This is not new or exciting, but I bought chives on sale a few weeks ago and remembered how much I love them. They've been a regular purchase and in heavy rotation ever since. I've also been using a lot of dill, which is something I rarely bought in the past.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: foodpoisoned

                                            I love chives but mine go bad so fast -- any secrets on how to keep fresh???

                                            1. re: walker

                                              Grow them, then just pick what you need as you need it. They're easy to grow in a garden or a pot indoors.

                                              1. re: BobB

                                                chives are the absolute easiest thing to grow. i've had a clump for years and years in a container on the back patio (open to the elements -- snow. ice, everything). it goes through d.c. winters like a champ. i can cut chives year round.

                                          2. I LOVE hot sauce and collect tons of different types - lately I've become addicted to both sriracha and garlic chili sauce, I use the sriracha as a dipping sauce for tater tots and mix the chili sauce into everything from soups to marinades to pickleing recipes.



                                            1. Forage Organic Apple Glaze, an apple syrup from New Zealand. (I know there are similar products made in Vermont, but I haven't tried them.)

                                              This glaze adds great intensity of flavor to any dish, sweet or savory, made with apples. Makes a big difference in pie fillings.

                                              I've also used it as a glaze for turkey and other poultry and meats. An outstanding product.

                                              1. Golden Mountain seasoning sauce. Bought it for some recipe I was making and now use it frequently in stir fries, sauces, dressings, eggs, etc.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: tcamp

                                                  been using a lot of pomegranate vinegar lately, its amazing the variety of foods it brightens up, also meyer lemons

                                                  1. re: smile81

                                                    Fig vinegar; in braises and stews, reduced to syrup for dessert drizzles over fruit tarts, ice cream and grilled fruit. The possibilities are endless.

                                                    1. re: greenstate

                                                      Fig molasses from Calabria also works wonderfully for the same uses.

                                                2. The mention of Kalustyan's reminded me that their Indian Dehradhuni basmati rice is excellent - the grains cook up to almost an inch in length. Their Aleppo pepper and Turkish Urfa pepper are very good as well (as are all of their spices). My newest favorite ingredient is one not commercially available in the US as far as I know: handmade Turkish sal├ža - a paste of incredibly flavorful sundried tomatoes in oil and salt. Anything tomato-based or in which a bit of tomato would perk things up is enhanced to the power of 10 by this stuff.

                                                  1. ouzo.

                                                    love it for shrimp & feta dish with tomato sauce. great with seafood.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                      I am thrilled by all the responses!!
                                                      Another ingredient I am absolutely in love with is mango pickle.
                                                      Very salty and spicy and not at all sweet.
                                                      It's amazing!