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What new food have you discovered recently?

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Don't be embarrassed if your foodie friends have known about it for years. If it's new to you, it's new!

My recent discovery is halloumi cheese. I'd seen it for years and hadn't been interested, but them I bought it on a whim, grilled it with some lamb, and now I am hooked. The delicious, salty ,charred exterior paired with the tangy, vaguely minty interior are beyond description. Can't get enough of it.

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  1. Ponzu sauce. I still don't know what it's used for, though.

    3 Replies
    1. re: ChesterhillGirl

      Dipping or dressing.

      1. re: tatamagouche

        just to expand on the dipping aspect....tempura.

      2. re: ChesterhillGirl

        I use ponzu on asparagus - either let it marinate for a while then grill it, or drizzle some on before I eat it (or both).

      3. Chayote. I fell in love. Hard.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Emme

          yum... I love chayote!

          1. re: mday

            I've fallen in love with chaoyte shoots/leaves - in Chinese they're called Dragon Whisker Vegetable, which is pretty cool by itself. They're absolutely fantastic steamed or stirfried, and are wonderful blanched, chilled and used in salad (ponzu sauce is good here).

            If you expand recently to the past couple of years, I've also discovered the simplicity of cooking whole fish, just how easy it is to cook squid at home (as long as you have access to cheap good squid), and the joys of chicken gizzards. I've also been introduced to tororo, which is quite tasty when you get used to the odd combination of crispy ad slimy. I've also learned to make homemade paneer, yoghurt and yoghurt cheese.

            1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

              how do you cook your whole fish? i keep saying i'm going to do it, but haven't gotten around to it...

              1. re: Emme

                Tilapia is great broiled. Finely dice onions and green peppers, mix with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and red pepper flakes. Smear this inside and out of the fish, and broil in the oven.

                Smaller fish can be pan fried in a bit of butter - I do this with butter fish.

                I've also done salt-grilled ayu, also in the oven, although I think it would be better on a barbeque.

                I've also done steamed. I use my biggest frying pan, with a steamer rack. The fish goes on with some sliced ginger, and steams for about ten minutes. While it steams I make a sauce of soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame and a bit of sugar. The fish is served with shredded onion, scallion and hot pepper, and the sauce poured over the whole thing, piping hot.

          2. re: Emme

            We creoles call them mirlitons. Google it. You will find tons of good creole recipes. I am waiting for them to come in season in the fall and make lots of mirliton pickles.

            1. re: NOLA_Pam

              I almost died when my vines succumbed to a hard freeze. I did not know what a miriliton was growing up in New Orleans. We always called them "mel-la-tons".

          3. Yak...yes yak, as in from Tibet, but raised here in Alberta and crossed with an angus cow. It is meaty, juicy and a wee bit exotic. We eat many kinds of meat in this house, but this one is a favourite

            1 Reply
            1. re: foodiesnorth

              That sounds so interesting. I'd love to try it out. If I'm ever in an area where there's yak.

            2. how recently? i haven't made any new discoveries in the past year or so, but i officially fell in love with ostrich and bison a couple of years ago.

              1. Gobo, or burdock root. Mm, I love this stuff. I had kinpira gobo at a Japanese restaurant and then bought some of the root and made it myself. It's the best new food I've had in quite some time.

                1. Naga jolokia or bhut jolokia, the ghost pepper from India. It is 3-4 times hotter than a habenero and the world's hottest pepper. A teaspoon of the powder (bought it online from a store in Cali) in a pot of chili makes it excruciatingly hot and yes delicious.

                  1. Nehari
                    and even more recently: Jerk Chicken.
                    2nd wknd in a row that I've marinated with Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning paste, and smoked chicken parts with mesquite, hickory, and apple. Insanely delicious, and good & spicy hot. I'm a full blown addict. Jerk seasonings and real bbq were made for each other. Maybe next week, I'll rub some spares with the stuff, and cue em up.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: gordeaux

                      I love a really spicy rich nehari. It is one of my favorite things to eat on the planet.

                      1. re: sekelmaan

                        Preaching to the choir.
                        Funny thing is, the first time I had it, the restaurant that made it used far too much thickener in the curry, and it totally put me off. Fast forward a few years, and I gave it another try at a different place, and it was totally delectable. So rich, so fragrant- totally mouthwatering. I make it at home now. I simply doctor up a shan nehari masala with fresh chiles, garlic, ginger, and curry leaf, and use choice grade shanks. I'm a full blown addict. It's easily in my top ten of best food ever.

                        1. re: gordeaux

                          Great idea. I have always shied away from the boxes, but I might use that.

                    2. Miticana de oveja, a Spanish sheep's milk cheese that's sort of like a cross between...burrata & feta or something.

                      http://www.epicurefoodscorp.com/compo...

                      http://www.denveater.com

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: tatamagouche

                        When I had my cheese shop, I carried this cheese, along with its partner, Miticana de cabra, which is made from goat's milk. They are both very good. If you want to try another soft sheep's milk cheese, look for Brebirousse d'Argental from France, which has a buttery texture like Brie or Camembert.

                        1. re: cheesemaestro

                          Mmm, will seek out.

                      2. Mangoes! Ha Ha! I actually had to post on CH to find out what to do w/ 'em and they are indeed delicious.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: JerryMe

                          I'm jealous...I developed an allergy to them years ago. I used to eat them by the pound once in season and made countless mango salsas...sigh! Enjoy. :)

                          1. re: eviemichael

                            I'm in your boat, eviemichael. Unless someone else prepares them for me (it's the oil in the peel I'm allergic to, a hangover from poison ivy sessions - they are related plants).

                            1. re: buttertart

                              wow, I've never met anyone else allergic to mangoes! I wonder if I avoid the peel, I could start eating them again...? Maybe I'll have my epi-pen close by just in case...(yes I love them that much) :)

                              1. re: eviemichael

                                It's apparently fairly common. No fun, though!

                                1. re: eviemichael

                                  i'm from florida. i know that mango allergies are probably 1/20 people (from my experience). i know that TYPICALLY it is the peel that is the problem. many people allergic to the peel can still enjoy the flesh, by using gloves to peel or having someone else peel it (even better ;-).

                                  1. re: alkapal

                                    Good to know...I wonder if I should risk it and try to eat it while avoiding the peel...(my mother would kill me if she knew I were considering it)...

                                    1. re: eviemichael

                                      Have a picnic on the hospital lawn! Then you're right there if there are any problems.

                                      1. re: tatamagouche

                                        LOL

                            2. re: JerryMe

                              You might want to look up a Thai green mango salad. Absolutely delish.

                              My mother in law has a mango tree in her front yard. When we're in Sri Lanka (we lived there for nine years), we'd get a huge amount of mangoes when they were in season. They were the best mangos I've ever had in my life. :)

                            3. Sriracha - about a month ago and I've been putting it on everything.
                              Curry - I don't eat a lot of it, but I used to be repulsed by it. So much so, I once got sick just from the smell.
                              Calabrese Salami - first tried it about a year ago and it's the best. Nice and spicy, but not overpowering.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: jhopp217

                                What brand of sriracha do you buy? The only one I've seen in the grocery stores near me have sodium benzoate in them, and that makes everything it touches taste bitter and nasty. Is there a brand that doesn't have preservatives (or at least sodium benzoate) in it?

                                1. re: Isoldamay

                                  I have three bottles in my fridge, let's see:

                                  No sodium benzoate in the Tuong Ot Sriracha from Huy Fong Foods in Rosemead, CA (but it does have sodium bisulfite)

                                  No additives at all in the Thai Sriracha sauce from Cock Brand, just chilli, vinegar, sugar, salt and garlic.

                                  The other Thai brand I have, Bright, has "flavour enhancers (E621), preservative (E202), stablilizer (E415)"

                                2. re: jhopp217

                                  Curry leaves add lovely flavour to dishes as well.

                                3. labneh!

                                  1. Green (wasabi-flavored) tobiko. Amazing when mixed into tuna tartare.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: BobB

                                      Pardon for reviving an old thread, but does anyone know if wasabi tobiko's a Japanese or an American invention?

                                      1. re: tatamagouche

                                        i've had it in both places. don't care who invented it - as long as no one forgets how to make it!

                                    2. Some Asian greens that I'd not had before: tatsoi, sensopai and maruba santoh. The CSA that we joined this year is growing them. A delightful change from boring broccoli.

                                      10 Replies
                                      1. re: cheesemaestro

                                        "Real" Sichuan food, that uses the peppercorns and peppers that give food ma la or the spicy hot tingle. I grew up on Cantonized Sichuan food, which can be very tasty but is not too authentic, according to my mentor in these things.

                                        1. re: grayelf

                                          me too! mapo tofu for that numbing sensation!! love it.
                                          cold szechwan bacon-cut pork
                                          manila mangos - only had the other kind before this summer.
                                          homemade hummus made with fresh green garbanzo beans.
                                          roasted favas, in their pods, eaten whole, with salt and olive oil.

                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                            maria, I know this is not the home cooking board, but if you can share the prep for the whole fava beans I would be in your debt (or email me if that is more appropriate). I had the whole beans at La Ciccia in SF and have been dreaming about them ever since but can't figure out how to do it. All the recipes I'm finding talk about peeling, blanching, then peeling again...

                                            1. re: grayelf

                                              be happy to! how do i email you? i went to your profile but couldn't figure it out.

                                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                                Sorry about that. I was trying to "hide" the address from those automated email collector thingies. I moved it to the real name space which removed the extraneous http that the blog line was adding. All of which is irrelevant since you have kindly provided the method here.

                                                Once you string them, do you eat the whole pod??

                                                1. re: grayelf

                                                  yep!

                                              2. re: grayelf

                                                The peeling, blanching, peeling is the best part! It's fun. Time-consuming, yes, but fun.

                                                1. re: grayelf

                                                  alright, it's really easy, so i'll just give it quick: whole pods, roll around in evoo, sprinkle with kosher salt, put in broiler for about 15 mins, stirring every now and then. they're done when you see browned spots. you still have to deal with the stringy bit, but the pods themselves have a lovely perfumey flavor. they're best when they're young pods, tho.... so you may have to wait until spring....

                                            2. re: cheesemaestro

                                              We got those in our CSA share, too. Delicious blanched and served with tahini-lemon sauce. Not a traditional Asian treatment, but perfect!

                                              1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                I love tatsoi. There is a super greens mix at whole foods that has it in there. The mix has a distinctive flavor unlike any other salad mix. I can't get enough of it.

                                              2. French strawberries

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: Island

                                                  Tell me more. Where do you find fresh French strawberries, except in France?

                                                  1. re: Isoldamay

                                                    Same place I get Japanese eggplant. No, Chino Farms a produce stand in San Diego grows that variety. Someone on the San Diego Chowhound board was talking about them and I had to try them.

                                                    1. re: Isoldamay

                                                      fragaria vesca: http://www.allaboutstuff.com/garden_t...

                                                      quite interesting strawberry info.

                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                        Thanks!

                                                  2. bleu du bocage. and this is within the last couple of years, but Allagash Curieux.

                                                    1. Li Hing Mui powder from Hawaii. Delicious sprinkled on fresh pineapple or frozen yogurt!

                                                      6 Replies
                                                      1. re: woodleyparkhound

                                                        That's that super-super-super salty (also sour) stuff, right? I tried salditos recently and they were one of of the rare things I really couldn't wrap my mouth around...maybe the powdered form is easier?

                                                        1. re: tatamagouche

                                                          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Li_hing_mui

                                                          I also like umeboshi - didn't know until reading this that they were related. I'd call li hing mui powder an acquired taste. It's sweet, salty and sour all at once, with a flavor like nothing else. It's one of those foods (like umeboshi, anchovies, etc.) that I love but I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that someone else felt differently.

                                                          The Wiki article mentions using it in cocktails...I bet that would be delicious!

                                                          1. re: woodleyparkhound

                                                            You can buy suan mei (Chinese sour plum) concentrate in bottles the shape and size of Johnny Walker Scotch bottles in Chinese stores. I like it in hot water in the winter, you could also use it in cocktails or with plain or bubbly water.

                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                              Hmmm... wonder if they sell this at H Mart. I'll have to check the next time I'm there.

                                                              1. re: woodleyparkhound

                                                                It's a Taiwanese thing, if you have Chinese stores it would be more likely to be there (although it may be with that citrus jam Koreans use to make a tea I sppose).

                                                            2. re: woodleyparkhound

                                                              I love umeboshi and anchovies and most "acquired tastes" too. Salditos seemed like a natural. Maybe I didn't do something right with them, or didn't get good ones, I don't know...but for me it was bascially like licking salt edged with acid. There was no sweetness to the ones I tried at all.

                                                        2. Porcini mushrooms and truffle cream sauces, both from a recent trip to Italy

                                                          1. Just tried the Ortiz Ventresca Tuna and YES! it is ALL THAT!! Smooth buttery tasting, nice size flakes, added a few drops of lemon juice and had it with crackers. I must add this to my "special reward" pantry. Wegman's had it for 9.99 a tin. Great price, considering I've seen it for $14-17. I promise, you will never look at regular canned (cat food) tuna the same way again!

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: kpaumer

                                                              oh my gosh, i just had some conservas ortiz el veleno -- onndarroa (viscaya) tuna (oval can, with no coloring on the can itself, but black lettering on the pull-top; may've been in a box, but the grocery manager who gave it to us gratis must've thrown that away). i think it must've been the yellowfin ventresca fillets. http://www.conservasortiz.com/ingles/...

                                                              yowza it was so good -- silky, tuna-y, buttery, luscious, and *in little meaty strips* (doh! fillets!) and not small pieces. bee-yoo-ti-ful! ;-)).

                                                              a manager at whole foods gave it to us to try, but i doubt i would pay so much for tuna on my own. on the other hand, it was utterly delicious. i wonder if fresh tuna would be cheaper? but i couldn't get that texture! now i'm spoiled. dang it!

                                                            2. Fig preserves...delicious with goat cheese on crackers.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: coney with everything

                                                                I make this regularly and love it with goat cheese as well as with pork and duck. Yummmmm!

                                                              2. I recently went to a peruvian resto and had beef heart for the first time. I am not sure why but I was thinking liver like taste and it was more like steak tough and chewy but steak-like none the less. I know it's a muscle not on organ but that is where i went mentally. that being said I need to rethink all my currant thoughts

                                                                6 Replies
                                                                1. re: pikiliz

                                                                  I had beef heart in some tacos once. I didn't love the flavor, but when I recognized a valve in the meat, that did me in. I'll try anything vegetarian, but am not adventurous at all when it comes to meat.

                                                                  1. re: pikiliz

                                                                    I went to a Peruvian restaraunt and discovered Peruvian corn - delicious!

                                                                    1. re: jbsiegel

                                                                      My son's g/f is from Lima. I took her to a Peruvian restaurant when she was visiting. Afterward, we went to a Peruvian grocery store and she showed me the frozen corn, imported from Peru. All I can say is blech....... it looks like something we would feed animals with. How can those huge kernals be tender? I didn't want to offend her, so I never asked, lol! ;)

                                                                    2. re: pikiliz

                                                                      Heart I've tasted a couple of times and for me it does have a bit of that liver savor, but milder. I think I sort of thought it would be so different from every other type of offal because it's THE HEART...but it wasn't.

                                                                      1. re: pikiliz

                                                                        A friend of mine is Peruvian and he used to make anticuchos all the time with cumin and vinegar. Then a dab of this Peruvian hot sauce that was bright yellow. The trick, his father showed us, was the cleaning of them and making sure that no tough or grisly parts remain. It was like the best filet mignon I've ever had. One of my favorite flavors.

                                                                        1. re: jhopp217

                                                                          i know this is an old post, but i wanted to chime in - love anticuchos, have been eating them since i was a child. also crucial to their tenderness/flavor is marinating them in the vinegar/cumin blend for at least 18 hours. a local restaurant (now closed) made them and the chef told me that was key. when they left and another peruvian place went into the same spot, you could tell they did not adhere to that standard.

                                                                      2. Hummus - good hummus. I'd had it before and thought - so ? what about it ? But at the farmers market this year I bought some from a local vendor. It is heaven !

                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                        1. re: chowmel

                                                                          It's true, good hummus is worlds away from most storebought stuff.

                                                                          1. re: chowmel

                                                                            And it's the easiest thing to make. There are only six ingredients in traditional hummus - chick peas, tahini, olive oil, salt, lemon juice and garlic. The trick is to find the blend that suits your taste. I find that too much lemon juice ruins it. I also like to add (even to store bought) some cumin or paprika.

                                                                            1. re: jhopp217

                                                                              from my lebanese friend's instruction, authentic hummus only has olive oil on top, as a "dressing," not integrated into the dish.

                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                I'd be surprised, though, if the recipe didn't differ from region to region.

                                                                                "Too much" lemon juice would ruin it, but it depends on your definition...I definitely favor lemony preparations. Also creamy ones over chunky or that weird fluffiness you sometime see in storebought—I assume with air whipped in for economy's sake.

                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                  I noticed in pictures a friend shared from Israel that the hummus was basically a bowl with olive oil basically pooled into the middle. The next picture was of the concoction mixed together. Not sure if this is standard or like tatamagouche stated if it's regional.

                                                                              2. re: chowmel

                                                                                It's especially good made from freshly cooked chickpeas.

                                                                                1. re: sisterfunkhaus

                                                                                  yes ma'am… even better when you peel them first. it doesn't take as long as you would think, and it does make a difference in smoothness. we're for the most part pretty traditional -- tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt, a little cooking water from chickpeas, and the peeled chickpeas. no olive oil, except maybe drizzled on top. sometimes when the mister wants a change of pace, i add in some chipotle in adobo sauce (no seeds, and equal parts pepper and sauce)… adds a nice smokey heat.
                                                                                  i am not a fan of hummus myself, as i don't much care for tahini; however, i don't mind it when i make it, esp with the adobo.

                                                                              3. There is a little Indian grocer right near me and on the weekends they make home made samosas that are heavenly. I never had one before and these are so good. Another samosa dish I just tried was Samosa Chaat, yum!

                                                                                1. How timely! Last night I used Bottarga for the first time. I made a pasta dish using butter sauteed bread crumbs, parsley, and this amazing ingredient. My friends all agreed that this was the simplest and most wonderful dish they have ever eaten.

                                                                                  Also cut into a wheel of Nettle Meadow Three Sisters cheese. It knocks the socks off of virtually every other American made cheese I've had. So, two great finds in one meal.

                                                                                  1. Quinoa

                                                                                    I was first introduced to Quinoa at a stir fry take-out joint where you pick one starch, one protein, three (or more) veggies, one sauce and pay a bit extra for condiments.

                                                                                    The owner of the small place was working the counter when I walked in. I was a bit overwhelmed with all of the options and he enthusiastically said he would take care of me. When he learned I am vegan and like spicy food he put together a quinoa based dish with chopped red onion, diced tomato and green pepper with a spicy tomatillo sauce garnished with sliced almonds and fresh cilantro. It was very good and I enjoyed the light quinoa grain. When he took my order I asked about the protein. His comment was "you don't want the tofu...trust me"

                                                                                    Since that time I have made variations of the above at home...including a marinated cubed tofu roasted at a high heat in the oven to give texture. My first purchase of quinoa was bulk. Fortunately, the clerk at the health food store told me that I needed to rinse the grain before cooking as it has a sour coat to protect from pests. The grain is too small to strain through my normal strainer. Cheesecoth would have been idea and none of it in my summer home. Without that on hand I wound up using a tea strainer in batches...haha...not ideal. The packaged quinoa grain doesn't need to be rinsed.

                                                                                    This weekend's NYT has a great recipe that I will try next.

                                                                                    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/13/hea...

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Windsor

                                                                                      I made this salad on Saturday - served it to friends for lunch with a chorizo and potato frittata. It was a huge hit. I used both blond and red quinoa, cooked separately then mixed so the colour from the red didn't bleed into the blond, red orange and yellow tomatoes, so it not only tasted great but looked amazing.

                                                                                      1. re: Dan G

                                                                                        I do a cold quinoa salad with roasted veggies. I do asparagus, red bell, and mushrooms. Toss in feta and a mustardy vinaigrette and it is wonderful.

                                                                                    2. Ground Hemp Seed

                                                                                      My local Co-op (in NC, USA) had a booth for National Hemp Awareness Week offering free samples of the soaps, shelled seeds, smoothie additives etc. I wound up buying a package of the shelled seeds and add them to every salad. A great nutty taste and packed with goodness such as 33% protein, Omega-3's. The produce I purchased was from Nutiva. I can't find the brochure. Here is their link: http://www.nutiva.com/nutrition/amazi...

                                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Windsor

                                                                                        I started eating hemp seeds about 1 month ago. I put about 10 grams on my bran flakes every morning. Mine are locally grown and processed, and for $6 a pound are a great deal. Have also started using hemp oil on salads.

                                                                                        1. re: Dan G

                                                                                          and to think of all the seeds i threw away in the 70's and 80's. along with the double vinyl covers they sat on.

                                                                                          i coulda been a contender

                                                                                          1. re: thew

                                                                                            go dig out your "physical graffiti" double album, thew. i'll bet you might find a few strays to get you started.

                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                              Somehow I knew that had to be a Led Zep, even though I wasn't a fan.

                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                played on some loud jbl speakers out a dorm window, it worked great to drown out the frat boys serenading some girls nearby. but i had to start out with "black dog"! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmd6fg...

                                                                                                ~~~~~~~
                                                                                                food related: gallo made a nice little hearty burgundy that i'd sip as i enjoyed the show. it was well-balanced, dry, and someone said that it was remarkably good for a mass-produced wine (back in the day). <zin1954? or whatever the number is....>

                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                  It always seemed like "guys'" music to me. Exile on Main Street, baby! Remember the Hearty Burgundy well, with the lingering slightly foxy aftertaste. Ah the olden days.

                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                    i'll call you jagger tart now ;-)).

                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                      Oh yeah. How about Jaggery tart to keep it foody? ;-)

                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                        okay.

                                                                                                        jaggery, for the edification of some, is palm sugar.

                                                                                                        ~~~~
                                                                                                        jaggery x butter + coconut (ice cream) = tropical food bliss

                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                          Jaggery syrup on plain yogurt ditto.

                                                                                      2. My most recent discovery was goat cheese marinated in olive oil, I found some at a farmer's market...it was so good. The funny thing was I normally don't enjoy goat cheese.

                                                                                        1. I just discovered roasted fava beans. They are deliciously crunchy and full of protein. I bought them on a whim but I think they'll be a staple for when I need a quick snack.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: Blush

                                                                                            Favas are one of my favorite things to make...I love popping them from their shells and skins. Save some money, have some fun...

                                                                                          2. Sea urchin! I thought I had had it before and hated it, but that turned out to be monkfish liver (fishy, fishy, fishy). The sea urchin topped cold nettle soup and was clean and pure tasting. I'm a convert!

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: mnosyne

                                                                                              Ankimo!

                                                                                              (I didn't like it either.)

                                                                                              1. re: DoobieWah

                                                                                                I had it (might've been the second time) earlier this year on a flight, and it was excellent.

                                                                                                How was yours prepared?

                                                                                                1. re: BuildingMyBento

                                                                                                  I think it was marinated. I had it at my favorite sushi bar. I didn't find it fishy, but it definitely had that "ironish", innards-y flavor and I didn't care for it.

                                                                                                  To be fair, our sushi chef assured us that this would be the case, but I knew someone would eventually bring it up on Chowhounds, so...

                                                                                            2. My Chinese co-workers just took me to a Northeastern Chinese restaurant, where one of the dishes was "chicken cooked with mushrooms" (xiao ji duin muo gu), which sounds pretty boring, but listen: a rich dark brown stew of dark bone-in chicken, wood ear fungus, some kind of awesome mushroom that looked like morels, and clear noodles with the whole thing served in an iron pot over a coal burner to keep it bubbling. Eating a bowl of rice soaked in the broth with tender "morels" on top... I can only describe it as a Chinese mushroom gumbo. I think, I will have dreams about this tonight...

                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                                                Yum. There's a whole thread I started about Northeastern Chinese a few weeks back:

                                                                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/718181

                                                                                                1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                                  I'll check it out, thanks

                                                                                                  1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                                                    Lots and lots about this cuisine and the several restaurants specializing in it in Flushing on the Outer Boroughs board, threads initiated by that intrepid food warrior, scoopG.

                                                                                              2. chipotles - have had them as part of dishes at restaurants but only just recently started using it at home. and the whole foods fresh chipotle salsa is seriously addictive.

                                                                                                1. Halloumi is awesome direct grilled as you do. Provolone works well for that, too. I love to drizzle with my best olive oil and scatter fresh herbs over it.

                                                                                                  Sorry - I was responding to the OP and it managed to end up here!

                                                                                                  New to me within the last year or two is amchur powder which is ground mango. Delicious!

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: chefathome

                                                                                                    Yup, we love halloumi as well. Saw it at the store a few years back, had no idea what it was, bought it, then looked up how to deal with it.

                                                                                                    We actually prefer our halloumi deep fried. Toss it in flour with chilli powder added first, then deep fry. Eat immediately. SO good. :)

                                                                                                  2. Spices! Im having a lot of fun learning how to use them

                                                                                                    Vietnamese, chinese, japenese etc. As a child I used to coil in disgust at the idea of
                                                                                                    asian food! But as I've matured so have my taste buds and I'm finding the asian style of
                                                                                                    cooking and eating really inspiring. Also re-discovered tofu and legumes.

                                                                                                    1. I just found pu-erh tea at Wegmans! The small individually wrapped discs. 79.99 a pound, I got 6 for five bucks.

                                                                                                      1. I'm a Canadian. I'm living in Asia. I've encountered SO many new foods in the last ten years, and it's been mostly delightful.

                                                                                                        Most recent discovery - gozleme. Which I heard about a week ago from watching a Masterchef Australia episode, and it looked interesting, so I looked up recipes and made it. We quite like it.

                                                                                                        I also buy mystery stuff at the grocery store, usually with me figuring out what to do with it after I get back home. This week's mystery veggies include purple spinach, which really isn't spinach. It went into yesterday's Thai salad with green apple and jambu - no green mango at the store. I don't know what half the mystery vegetables are called - they're labelled with their Chinese names translated into English letters, and I haven't got them sorted out yet. (We're in Singapore.)

                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: LMAshton

                                                                                                          i don't know how helpful it might be to you, but there is an app or two for smart phones to help with asian store ingredients. i think it is produce as well as condiments & sauces.

                                                                                                          here is a link to some http://www.seriouseats.com/2011/03/be...

                                                                                                          but i know there was a chowhound thread (or sub-thread) on this topic a while back -- maybe two years ago? i cannot search chowhound, so maybe someone knows the thread and will link it here.

                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                            Thanks, alkapal. I didn't know about these. It sure would be useful to have an app that explained what the veggies were and how they were used. :)

                                                                                                        2. Smoked cheeses - mozzarella and blue cheese so far, quite delicious

                                                                                                          1. Boneless & skinless Mackerel. In a tin like sardines, they're larger and milder.

                                                                                                            1. Carnita's - Had never ate it before and decided to just try making it. Read a couple different recipes and blended them to our tastes. Marinaded the pork shoulder pieces the night before in:

                                                                                                              Cumin
                                                                                                              Chile Powder
                                                                                                              Cayenne Powder
                                                                                                              Mexican Oregano
                                                                                                              Salt
                                                                                                              Pepper
                                                                                                              Lime Juice
                                                                                                              Quartered Onion
                                                                                                              Small can of Chipotle Peppers with Adobo Sauce (peppers sliced)
                                                                                                              A couple cloves of smashed Garlic

                                                                                                              Dumped all the above into a large, heavy bottomed pot and added a can of chicken stock and enough water to come up to the top of the meat. Brought that up to a boil and then turned it down to simmer covered for two hours. Removed the lid and brought it back to a solid boil and let it go until the liquid had evaporated. Cooked it a little longer in the remaining fat to crisp it up a bit.

                                                                                                              The meat was so tender and still juicy. Could taste the pork with the hint of spicy heat in the background. I ate mine on flour tortillas with some cheddar cheese and sour cream. Would love to have some fresh pico to go with it, but didn't have all the ingredients on hand, so a little salsa worked.

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: THoey1963

                                                                                                                carnitas! love 'em! sounds like you did it right!

                                                                                                              2. Just when I thought I'd seen them all - today, I came across the crisp "Kuih Cincin" (or 'ring cakes'), which are native to Sabah, formerly British North Borneo.

                                                                                                                The knuckleduster-shaped pastry is rice-flour batter-coated, with palm sugar filling, and twice-fried to obtain its crisp, crackling texture. "Kuih Cincin" is usually made by the Bruneian-Malay ethnic group in Sabah, but I bought these ones from a Kadazan-Dusun (Sabah's largest indigenous tribe) lady manning a sweets stall during lunch today. It's rare to find such treats from Borneo in Kuala Lumpur.

                                                                                                                The pastry was slightly sweet, very crunchy and notoriously addictive!

                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: klyeoh

                                                                                                                  That sounds really nice. I take it this treat isn't usually found outside of Sabah and I likely won't find it in, say, Johor Bahru?

                                                                                                                  1. re: LMAshton

                                                                                                                    Actually, you *might* find it in JB, seeing how many East Malaysians (Sabahans & Sarawakians) have come to work in Peninsula Malaysia & Singapore. Just keep an eye out for it.

                                                                                                                    1. re: klyeoh

                                                                                                                      Oh cool! I'll look for it then. :)

                                                                                                                2. Colatura di Alici. Ancient Italian fish sauce. I heard an article recently on NPR about it. I found and made this recipe: (It was wonderful! I made it with Red Boat fish sauce though.)

                                                                                                                  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                  http://mattbites.com/2009/12/01/genie...

                                                                                                                  Spaghetti with Olive Oil & Colatura

                                                                                                                  Trust your cooking instincts on this recipe, folks. Cook your spaghetti as you like and toss with a sauce made of 3 tablespoons high quality olive oil, 1 tablespoon Colatura, chopped garlic, chopped parsley and red chile flakes. You can adjust the quantities based on your preferences but start light on the Colatura. A little goes a long way. I haven’t tried this on greens like spinach or chard yet but I can only imagine how delicious it is on vegetables.

                                                                                                                  Matt’s Notes: I haven’t seen it in many specialty or gourmet markets here but purchasing Colatura from Zingerman’s is a safe bet. Those folks are awesome.

                                                                                                                  - See more at: http://mattbites.com/2009/12/01/genie...

                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: sekelmaan

                                                                                                                    i wish i could find the red boat fish sauce.

                                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                      Alka,

                                                                                                                      I ordered it right off their website:

                                                                                                                      http://redboatfishsauce.com/shop/

                                                                                                                      It is amazing. I bought the square bottle of 40N and they sent me a couple of the small bottles of the 50N to try. I'll never be able to go back to the other stuff.

                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                        Whole Foods Markets stock it in all their locations.

                                                                                                                        1. re: amanitamuscaria

                                                                                                                          I will have to check. When I first discovered it I was in Montana. No Whole Foods there. Thanks!

                                                                                                                    2. I didn't just discover it, but just started making it--pan con tomate. It's so easy. I pile some good Serrano ham and imported manchego cheese onto it. I use olive oil tortas instead of bread. It is divine. I can't get enough.

                                                                                                                      1. Marmite! I have fallen madly in love with it as an early morning treat either smeared sparingly on warm rye bread, sometimes with melted
                                                                                                                        cheddar, or mixed into very hot water as a beverage before my coffee. Yes, I know it's literally from the bottom of the (beer) barrel. But am sad to be scraping the last of the savory, yeasty goo from its
                                                                                                                        little glass pot.

                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: amanitamuscaria

                                                                                                                          There are so many of these threads I guess my new fascination marmite didnt make it here...great stuff!

                                                                                                                          1. re: amanitamuscaria

                                                                                                                            Bovril is its beefy uncle and is much better to my humble taste buds.