Secret Ingredients

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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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What are dried red lentils?

These legumes cook to a creamy texture that enriches many dishes. —by Naomi Duguid, award-winning cookbook author I love having a stash of red lentils (actually they are a gorgeous orange-pink color) in a glass jar in my pantry—they are just so beautiful. They are also a flexible go-to ingredient: They cook quickly in boiling water (about 20 minutes), provide […]

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Global Ingredient: Halloumi

In grilling season, Greek halloumi stands alone among cheeses. This briny goat- and sheep-milk cheese hails from Cyprus and boasts a high melting temp: The outside gets golden and crispy, while the inside softens lusciously. Grill slabs of it to accompany meat or veggie kebabs, or brown it in a nonstick pan over medium heat to add to summer veggie […]

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Fresh Right Now: Morel Mushrooms

Morel madness sets in with seasonal-food fiends this time of year. If you haven’t had a fresh morel, the $30-a-pound price might seem insane. But you don’t need many to get that morel essence, and they’re not heavy. What you get is this: a delightfully chewy texture and woodsy, almost smoky flavor in a mushroom that has a pleasing honeycomb […]

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Global Ingredient: White Miso

The mildest, most versatile miso, this fermented soybean paste is salty, lightly sweet, and packed with meaty umami flavor. A teaspoon or two makes for a brilliant accent in dressings, sauces, and mayo. You can also combine a smidge with butter or sesame oil to top steamed or grilled vegetables or roasted fish. It keeps for ages in the fridge.

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Global Ingredient: Saigon Cinnamon

Cinnamon fans love winter, the time to put a pinch in everything from pies and muffins to eggnog and pork roast. True fans of this spice need the good stuff: whole (not ground) Saigon cinnamon. A fresh grate from the aromatic sticks releases deeper sweetness and more intense spiciness than regular ground cinnamon—profound complexity that stands out but doesn’t overwhelm a dish. (From […]

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Global Finds: Pickapeppa Sauce

This mellow, slightly sweet Caribbean condiment has been called the Jamaican ketchup. The blend of tomatoes, mangoes, raisins, tamarind, and cane vinegar makes an excellent marinade for grilled chicken and pork. Look for it on the international aisle. Try it out: Pickapeppa Chicken and Mango Kababs Combine 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch pieces; ¼ cup […]

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