Sunday, December 18, 2011

On the Eighth day of Christmas... Eight Ingredients

Now we've talked about things to read, things to make and places to make them, now its time to talk about some great ingredients. These are things I've come to love and use regularly in my own kitchen and a few that I'd like to try. As someone who cooks as often as possible in the week, I still hesitate to try new things from time to time. I don't usually want to spend the money to order something I can't find in stores or a spice that is a bit more expensive for something I have yet to try, that's why these items can make great gifts. They're special and but always welcome.

Madras Curry Powder. This is a simple one, but very versatile. I bought madras curry powder a sometime last summer and started mixing it with all sorts of things and love the complete flavor it gives. Great tossed with chicken, squash, potatoes and more. Try this version from Whole Spice

Mike's Hot Honey. I had the pleasure of receiving Mike's (amazing) Hot Honey sometime after watching food.curated's video about it. Pizza will never be the same without it. I love it (and am out and need to order more). It will make a delectable gift for anyone who loves their sweet spicy and their spicy sweet. Order enough as gifts and one for yourself. 

Avocado Oil. Since I read this feature on Avocado oil in Saveur I've been keeping an eye out for it in Fairway. The fact that the oil comes from the flesh from the avocado, not the pit seems so cool to me. This is one to order

Tazo Rest (rose) Tea. My floral love stems in part from my macaron love, but I found this Tazo rose tea and completely love it. A great find for the tea lover in your life. Look for it at the grocery store, friends have had luck finding it at Target as well. Give it with a lovely teacup.

Chipotle Olive Oil from the Filling Station. This olive oil is infused with chipotle and adds a warm spice to anything you use it with. I like to heat a little up in a pan and cook some chicken in it for spicy dishes like nachos and quesadillas. Delicious as is with bread for dipping. Be generous enough when ordering and get the 150ml so they can make sure they like it without running out within a week.

Nutella. Overrated? Underrated? Nutella is magical. I think every Nutella lover deserves an emergency jar as a Christmas present. If they go through it slow, but steady a regular sized jar is good. If they are fanataic consider the big to monster sized jars that they use at creperies. Fun. Simple. Versatile. Delicious. 

Chez Pim jams. Jeffrey Steingarten recently gave Pim a serious Vogue shoutout which has her working overtime jamming it up. I'd love to try some of the unique flavors she has and think a little combination back paired with some gourmet crackers would make an excellent gift. Check them out and order from her recently upgraded online shop (she used to sell them on etsy). 

Saffron. That beautiful threadlike stamen of the crocus flower is one of the most treasured of spices. This is one of those things that a cook might not buy for their own kitchen but which adds a lot of luxury and beauty to cooking. The bright red threads will turn any dish a golden yellow with a subtle floral hint that is difficult to describe. A good way to stretch you saffron is to make saffron water with it, see Paula Wolfert's recipe here and send/print the link to your saffron receiving friends. Pick up a some from the spice aisle of the super market or ramp it up with this Moroccan saffron from Mustapha's.

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