Where have you been all my life? 3 new ingredients in my kitchen

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September 22, 2010 by Ashlee Clark Thompson

There I am, cooking and stuff. Photo courtesy of Marianne Hale's Facebook page.

Cooking has become my therapy.

I make simple dishes like omelets or twice-baked potatoes when I need to mull over something important. I cook a tedious recipe when I need to be distracted.

But cooking can get mundane if I don’t switch it up a bit and try new ingredients.

I’ve been playing around with some new-to-me food items and jazzing up my meals. These are my three favorite ingredients that I’ve recently discovered:

1. Golden raisins

Photo courtesy of shauna | glutenfreegirl via Flickr.

I used golden raisins for the first time when I made honey-carrot-raisin muffins. I was initially pissed that I had to buy a new kind of raisin (I keep a box of regular raisins on hand for impromptu oatmeal-raisin cookie making), but there is a noticeable difference between the light and dark varieties of dried fruit. Golden raisins are more tart and tangy than the dark raisins and work well in many recipes:

  • Waffles. Prepare mix according to the directions on the box. Throw in a mashed banana, a handful of chopped walnuts and a handful of golden raisins. Cook according to instructions.
  • Peanut butter and banana sandwich. Toast your favorite type of bread (white, wheat, English muffin, sandwich thin, etc.). Spread a hearty scoop of peanut butter on one side. Top with sliced banana. Sprinkle with golden raisins.
  • Trail mix. Mix golden raisins with walnuts, almonds, peanuts and chocolate chips.

2. Sesame oil. I’ve held up on buying sesame oil because I thought I would never use it. But it turns out that many Asian recipes call for this ingredient. I cooked this recipe for sesame chicken from Food Network Magazine as my inaugural run with sesame oil, and it was a success. The rich, pungent oil gave an authentic Asian flavor to the dish. If you prepare this recipe, however, be prepared to stand in front of the stove for a long time and be willing to wash a large stack of dishes.

3. Freshly ground mixed peppercorns. I bought a handy little pepper grinder a few weeks ago at Kroger for just $1.99 (a manager’s special). This has been the best two bucks I’ve spent in a while. Adding pepper seems very basic, but freshly ground pepper can make a dish sing with flavor. I use my pepper grinder on everything, including eggs, potatoes and broccoli. Unfortunately, the pepper in my cute shaker has sat on the stove unused for days. Sorry, little guy.

One thought on “Where have you been all my life? 3 new ingredients in my kitchen

  1. […] fruity: Dried fruit (raisins, golden raisins, Craisins, etc.), mashed banana, chopped apple, […]

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