Secret Ingredients

How to Manage Habanero Heat

As peppers go, habaneros  are near the top of the capsaicin scale (the compound that contributes spicy heat). Try these techniques to take control of the flames. For maximum heat: Use the whole habanero. To lessen the heat just a little: Remove seeds. To bring heat down moderately: Shave away all inner membranes. To eliminate as much heat as possible: Blanch […]

Read More

Rice Wine vs. Rice Vinegar vs. Seasoned Rice Vinegar: What’s the Difference?

Rice vinegar pickles the green beans in our Sweet and Sour Pickled Green Beans, but don’t confuse it with rice wine or seasoned rice vinegar. They each play different roles in cooking: RICE WINE (also called aji-mirin) is slightly sweet and mildly acidic and helps balance salty ingredients like miso and soy sauce. Alcohol content is very low. RICE VINEGAR is a […]

Read More

What Is Peanut Butter Powder? How Do I Use It?

You’ve probably started seeing powdered peanut butter on the grocery shelves—right there next to standard peanut butter. No doubt, it’s becoming increasingly available, but what exactly is it? It’s a product that’s made by pressing roasted peanuts to remove most of the natural oils, and the remaining peanut “particles” are ground into a fine powder. Out with the oil/fat go […]

Read More

Your Burger Craves This Sauce

In the South, we have Comeback Sauce. Everyone’s Comeback Sauce is different. Each restaurant, mother, and cook guards their sauce with their lives, knowing it is what (as the name suggests) keeps people coming back again and again. Addictive, unique, and special–that’s Comeback Sauce. Sir Kensington’s just might put all those Comeback Sauces to bed. Their new Special Sauce, which […]

Read More

Global Ingredient: Achiote

When a spoonful of just one ingredient lends amazing depth to a dish, it becomes a secret weapon in your culinary arsenal. Achiote paste is just such an item: A Mexican blend of annatto seed, oregano, nutmeg, cinnamon, garlic, and vinegar, it lends smoky, tart, and musky notes that make simple dishes sublime. Work a teaspoon or two into marinades […]

Read More

Exotic Flavor in a Flash: Aleppo Pepper

I’m always looking for fast, nutritionally neutral ways to jazz up dishes, and a favorite of mine is Aleppo pepper. Named for the town in northern Syria, Aleppo pepper is made from dried and coarsely ground halaby chiles and can be used much like crushed red pepper in recipes and dishes. It has a smoky, sweet (almost fruity) backbone and a […]

Read More

Superfast Flavor Bombs: Quick Sugar-Salt Pickles

Around these parts, we’re always looking to brighten things up on the plate and palate with an emphasis on quickness, freshness, and—above all—flavor. With pickling being all the rage these days, one implement that I’ve added to my culinary toolbox of late is the quick sugar-salt pickle. It’s a great way to transform fresh veggies to punchy accompaniments that can really add some visual […]

Read More

Global Ingredient: Matcha Powder

Matcha mania has come stateside. The Japanese green tea powder packed with antioxidants makes for a delicious hot beverage with vegetal notes and subtle sweetness. But think outside the cup as well: Stir a teaspoon or two into Greek yogurt or hummus to add delightful color, surprising favor complexity, and an instant nutrition boost. Shop online at matchasource.com. Matcha Recipes: Matcha […]

Read More

Global Ingredient: Kecap Manis

Prized as an all-purpose condiment in its native Indonesia, kecap manis (pronounced KEH-chup MAH-nees) is a syrup-thick soy sauce sweetened with palm sugar and infused with garlic and star anise. When soup, stew, or chili needs a little depth, a teaspoon or two of kecap manis may be just the thing. You can even try it in desserts: A smidge in […]

Read More

Global Pantry: Cooking with Cardamom

Cardamom, the intensely aromatic sweet spice native to India, is a precious asset to cooks all over the world. You’ll see it sold pre-ground or as green pods with small seeds packed inside. Buy the pods, if possible; the spice loses aroma and flavor quickly once ground. Crack open the pods, remove the seeds, and grind to a powder in […]

Read More