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What is your newest favorite ingredient??

holldoll Oct 26, 2009 09:54 AM

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?

  1. Gio Oct 26, 2009 10:29 AM

    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
      Caroline1 Oct 26, 2009 01:35 PM

      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
        Gio Oct 26, 2009 07:03 PM

        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
          Caroline1 Oct 27, 2009 02:49 AM

          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
            HillJ Oct 27, 2009 09:20 AM

            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
          newfoodie Oct 27, 2009 09:44 AM

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


          1. re: newfoodie
            Gio Oct 29, 2009 10:18 AM

            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
              Caroline1 Oct 29, 2009 01:56 PM

              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
                HillJ Oct 29, 2009 02:14 PM

                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
                  Gio Oct 29, 2009 06:18 PM

                  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
                HillJ Oct 29, 2009 02:15 PM

                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
                  Gio Oct 29, 2009 06:19 PM

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

            2. re: Gio
              alkapal Oct 30, 2009 06:30 AM

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

            3. s
              sparkareno Oct 26, 2009 10:59 AM

              bacon salt

              4 Replies
              1. re: sparkareno
                geminigirl Oct 27, 2009 08:52 AM

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

                1. re: geminigirl
                  sparkareno Oct 27, 2009 09:22 AM

                  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: sparkareno
                    geminigirl Oct 28, 2009 01:09 PM

                    cool,, thanks

                    1. re: geminigirl
                      alkapal Oct 30, 2009 06:31 AM

                      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. s
                small h Oct 26, 2009 11:22 AM

                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. ipsedixit Oct 26, 2009 11:40 AM

                  Beef tallow.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: ipsedixit
                    buttertart Oct 27, 2009 07:32 AM

                    In what? Suet pastry?

                    1. re: buttertart
                      ipsedixit Oct 27, 2009 08:53 AM

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

                  2. t
                    thursday Oct 26, 2009 02:24 PM

                    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
                      ipsedixit Oct 26, 2009 02:47 PM

                      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
                        scuzzo Oct 26, 2009 09:15 PM

                        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
                          scuzzo Oct 29, 2009 10:53 AM

                          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
                          Val Oct 28, 2009 03:43 PM

                          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. MinkeyMonkey Oct 26, 2009 02:31 PM

                        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. w
                          wattacetti Oct 26, 2009 04:11 PM

                          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
                            sparkareno Oct 26, 2009 04:49 PM

                            Raspberry smoke? please elaborate..sounds interesting

                            1. re: wattacetti
                              Gio Oct 26, 2009 07:06 PM

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

                              1. re: Gio
                                wattacetti Oct 30, 2009 05:15 AM

                                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. chef chicklet Oct 26, 2009 05:01 PM

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

                              1. scuzzo Oct 27, 2009 07:06 AM

                                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
                                  Gio Oct 27, 2009 07:20 AM

                                  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
                                    scuzzo Oct 27, 2009 03:46 PM

                                    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
                                    Pata_Negra Oct 27, 2009 09:24 AM

                                    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. h
                                    hortscribe Oct 27, 2009 07:27 PM

                                    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
                                      scuzzo Oct 27, 2009 08:04 PM

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

                                      1. re: hortscribe
                                        Caroline1 Oct 27, 2009 08:46 PM

                                        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...

                                        1. re: Caroline1
                                          scuzzo Oct 27, 2009 09:19 PM

                                          Sounds great!

                                      2. k
                                        keencook1 Oct 28, 2009 11:44 AM

                                        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. f
                                          foodpoisoned Oct 28, 2009 02:24 PM

                                          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
                                            walker Oct 28, 2009 06:15 PM

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

                                            1. re: walker
                                              BobB Oct 29, 2009 07:27 AM

                                              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
                                                alkapal Oct 30, 2009 06:37 AM

                                                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. l
                                            LenNJ Oct 28, 2009 02:36 PM

                                            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. b
                                              btnfood Oct 29, 2009 04:51 AM

                                              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. tcamp Oct 29, 2009 07:41 AM

                                                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
                                                  smile81 Oct 29, 2009 10:44 AM

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

                                                  1. re: smile81
                                                    greenstate Oct 29, 2009 01:59 PM

                                                    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
                                                      cheesemaestro Oct 30, 2009 07:22 AM

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

                                                2. buttertart Oct 30, 2009 06:07 AM

                                                  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 salça - 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. alkapal Oct 30, 2009 06:38 AM


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

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: alkapal
                                                      holldoll Nov 1, 2009 06:41 PM

                                                      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!

                                                      1. re: holldoll
                                                        alkapal Nov 4, 2009 10:25 AM

                                                        emphasis on the very salty.

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