Author Topic: Your best discoveries from 2012, recipes or ingredients  (Read 1463 times)

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buvezdevin

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Your best discoveries from 2012, recipes or ingredients
« on: January 02, 2013, 06:52:57 PM »
Some of you may be like me in that there are recipes and ingredients I learn of and love, but if for any reason they don't go into the roster of frequent rotation, I am apt to forget them.  I mean to be more mindful of that, but lest new acquaintance be forgot, I have a few "keepers" from the year past, and would love to hear of other's discoveries over the past year.

Leading my list with a couple of items I learned of through this forum:

1.  Roasting asparagus with some olive oil and sea salt.  It never occurred to me to do this till it was mentioned in a thread here.  This one is definitely in heavy rotation at our house now, I doubt we will ever steam it again, though still sometimes sautée.
2.  Lemon powder from King Arthur for "jooshing" up the lemon flavor in baked goods.  This was suggested in a thread I had started looking for the most lemony possible lemon cake.  It may have been PastryGoddess, who I know had some excellent suggestions, and whoever it was, soooooo many big thanks!

Not from this forum, but from a newspaper article boyfriend saw: Baked fennel and cheese with herbs.  This one now sees heavy rotation for us, and we sometimes add some sausage and have it as a meal by itself.

Ingredients (which can be easily tweaked to be healthier with less cheese, more veg, etc.)

Two or more fennel bulbs
1 cup Mozzarella, grated (while we love fresh, we actually prefer the firmer packaged stuff for this for meltiness in this dish)
1/3 cup grated parmesan
1/2 cup bread crumbs (even better if Italian seasoned; can use more if wanted)
3 tablespoons olive oil
Garlic cloves (suggest at least 2, we use 4)
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
Some oregano (could be up to a tablespoon, less if bread crumbs are seasoned)
Red pepper flakes (not essential, but they add a lot to the flavors, we use about 1/2 teaspoon)

Slice the fennel bulbs cross wise about 1/2 inch thick, and boil for 5 to 10 minutes, or steam (they need to be well on the way to "soft" - we used to boil, now just steam in the microwave)
While fennel is boiling/steaming, mash up fennel seeds with garlic and salt (we use a mortar and pestle, but could be done in small food processor, or chopped together), then mix this with the oil and pepper flakes.
Lay fennel bulb slices in a casserole dish, no need to be fastidiously neat, let them overlap.
Sprinkle grated mozzarella over fennel slices.
Sprinkle half of the bread crumbs over mozzarella
Drizzle about 2/3s of the oil/garlic/spice mix over bread crumbs.
Sprinkle grated parmesan and remaining breadcrumbs, then drizzle remaining oil mix.
Bake at 350f for 20 minutes.
Serve.

I admit, I am hoping to pick up some more good new ideas from those of you inclined to share!
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Stormtreader

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Re: Your best discoveries from 2012, recipes or ingredients
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2013, 12:34:23 PM »
Recipe from the NYEs party that was a huge hit:

2 ritz crackers
Add a layer of smooth peanut butter between them, about 1 crackers thickness
Dip in white chocolate and leave to cool on a baking tray
Eat in rapture :)

Shotochick

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Re: Your best discoveries from 2012, recipes or ingredients
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2013, 12:54:39 PM »
Pulled Pork with Asian Slaw which I found, tweaked, fell in love with and now rotate for parties for myself and for friends (http://aussiefoodie.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/asian-pulled-pork-with-cabbage-slaw.html if you are interested)

Chilli Threads - found them in a herb market in Munich, and they now go on and in most salads I make

Japanese Toasted Sesame Dressing- for when I am being lazy and cant be bothered making my own dressing

Arehucas Honey Rum from Gran Canaria - had it on holiday and fell in love

Its been a quiet year due to trying different diet/eating styles to find what works for me weight loss wise...but my aim this year is to be blogging my own healthy versions of recipes more often, sso I cant live without using www.myfitnesspal.com for tracking my workouts and breaking down the nutrional value of recipes.
An Aussie Foodies Adventures Abroad: www.aussiefoodie.blogspot.com

Betelnut

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Re: Your best discoveries from 2012, recipes or ingredients
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2013, 12:58:56 PM »
In 2012, this forum introduced me to Biscoff Spread. 

Curse you, eHell!!!!

 :P
"And thus the whirligig of time brings in his
revenges." -- Feste, Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare.

Native Texan, Marylander currently

Mikayla

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Re: Your best discoveries from 2012, recipes or ingredients
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2013, 12:43:17 PM »
From this forum, it was my own shout-outs for creative brownies and also sauces for squash pasta.  I've been playing around with ideas ever since!  Also, the thread in this section about ricotta - a substance I love but never know what to do with.

In the real world, now that I'm a meat eater, I've seriously gotten into rumaki.  Basically, it's a main ingredient like dates, scallops or water chestnuts, that get marinated and wrapped in bacon.  I have some great recipes if anyone wants them.

SamiHami

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Re: Your best discoveries from 2012, recipes or ingredients
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2013, 08:37:37 PM »
I started learning about cooking Indian cuisine, having found a small Indian grocery store nearby. I will pick a recipe from my very basic cookbook, and the lady who owns the grocery will explain the spices to me. So far every recipe has been successful!

I've also discovered the joys of rutabagas! How wonderful they are...where had they been all my life?

Overall, 2012 was a year of *experimental cooking-trying new recipes, spices and ingredients. Hope to continue this trend in 2013.

*Luckily my husband likes everything and is happy to eat the "mistakes."  :D

What have you got? Is it food? Is it for me? I want it whatever it is!

JenJay

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Re: Your best discoveries from 2012, recipes or ingredients
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2013, 08:51:59 PM »
http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/olive-gardens-zuppa-toscana-soup-recipe/

^^That soup (not sure if it's okay to post the actual recipe, even credited to the author). My kids want it at least twice a month. I use chicken stock instead of broth and reduce the ratio to 6C stock and 4C water to keep the sodium down. Other than that I follow it exactly and it's SO good! Lately I've learned to double it because it's just as good reheated for lunch the next day. My kids even request I pack them some for their school lunches!  ;D

Speaking of, the best ingredient I've discovered are the Better Than Bouillon bases. I get the chicken and beef at Costco and keep it on hand at all times. Last time I made the above soup I had run out of the chicken and had to substitute one of those 4C boxes of broth to finish with. It was noticeably more watery/less flavorful than usual.

Edited to add -

I've had a few brussels sprouts recipes I've enjoyed but, so far, these are the only ones I've gone back for 2nds of -

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/bacon-brussels-sprouts-with-brown-butter-vinaigrette/#axzz2H3vOmHhL

I'm interested in your fennel recipe. What does fennel bulb taste like? I'm assuming not as strong as the seeds?  ;)
« Last Edit: January 04, 2013, 09:00:51 PM by JenJay »

cicero

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Re: Your best discoveries from 2012, recipes or ingredients
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2013, 07:48:36 AM »
thai food. i am quite adventurous in eating and cooking foods, but for some reason i *never* was willing to try food with coconut (i like my coconut in almond joys and that's about it). anyway, i was watching a local cooking show and she made thai chicken in red chili paste and coconut milk and it looked soooo good that i had to try it - and...wow. yum.

I also ventured out more into other asian food (not just "regular" chinese stir fry), and make a lot of Asian inspired/fusion chicken, chicken and veg, rice, etc. have yet to try black bean paste brownies but I'm sure i'll get there.

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sweetonsno

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Re: Your best discoveries from 2012, recipes or ingredients
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2013, 05:06:28 PM »
I discovered the joy that is fennel pollen. I also learned that pear ketchup (I just used pears instead of tomatoes) is yummy, especially on parsnips.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Your best discoveries from 2012, recipes or ingredients
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2013, 10:19:05 AM »
At Thanksgiving, I needed turkey wings for stock but the store was out.  They did have turkey butts so I bought and ended up with the richest most flavorful stock ever.

On a healthier note, I've become a wheat berry fan.  I cook them and keep in the fridge and then add to a ton of things like salads, soups/stews and pastas.  I even like them with a little maple syrup warmed for breakfast.

sweetonsno

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Re: Your best discoveries from 2012, recipes or ingredients
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2013, 02:25:10 AM »
At Thanksgiving, I needed turkey wings for stock but the store was out.  They did have turkey butts so I bought and ended up with the richest most flavorful stock ever.

On a healthier note, I've become a wheat berry fan.  I cook them and keep in the fridge and then add to a ton of things like salads, soups/stews and pastas.  I even like them with a little maple syrup warmed for breakfast.

Wheat berries are great in yogurt, too! You can use them to make your own perfect protein salad.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Your best discoveries from 2012, recipes or ingredients
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2013, 08:26:49 AM »
At Thanksgiving, I needed turkey wings for stock but the store was out.  They did have turkey butts so I bought and ended up with the richest most flavorful stock ever.

On a healthier note, I've become a wheat berry fan.  I cook them and keep in the fridge and then add to a ton of things like salads, soups/stews and pastas.  I even like them with a little maple syrup warmed for breakfast.

Wheat berries are great in yogurt, too! You can use them to make your own perfect protein salad.
That is a great idea.  I'm going to give it a try.

sourwolf

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Re: Your best discoveries from 2012, recipes or ingredients
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2013, 09:23:29 AM »
I discovered that biscotti is amazingly easy to make!

RebeccainGA

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Re: Your best discoveries from 2012, recipes or ingredients
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2013, 09:55:47 AM »
So agree with the Better Than Bullion recommendation - I also use Telma, which is a Kosher consomme, instead of bullion - it's got more body than a broth, almost a stock consistency. Love it!

I discovered that an old favorite was still wonderful, and even better with a little tweak - what we call 'Greek potatoes'. I used to use russets, which was OK, but deciding to make it when all I had in the house was some red skin potatoes, it was even better. It's just cubed, peeled potatoes, coated liberally in olive oil and Cavender's Greek seasoning, and roasted at 425 degrees until they are crispy on the bottom and fluffy in the middle. I used to make them all the time, and kind of stopped for a few months (with the move, I hadn't been doing a lot of cooking). May just make them tonight - they are WONDERFUL.