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What is Grapeseed Oil?
Made from the same grapes used for wine making, grapeseed oil is extracted from the tiny inner seeds. Commonly imported from countries like France and Switzerland, this light and fresh oil is becoming more widely available in the United States.
Its clean and mild flavor makes it a better choice in dishes where you don’t want the flavor of the oil to compete with the other ingredients.
Grapeseed also has an extremely high smoke point, making it ideal for high cooking temps in cooking techniques like stir frying, sautéing, baking and frying,
What is Coconut Milk?
Coconut milk is made from the pulverized flesh of coconut, blended with water. Shoppers can most commonly find it in the Asian, Indian or international section of the grocery store, packaged in 13.5 ounce cans.
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, there’s no denying that anchovies are chock full of nutritional goodness. Now is the perfect time to give these small fish a first or second chance.
What Are Anchovies?
These small, silvery fish are members of the herring family. They are about 1 to 4 inches in length and have been eaten around the world for thousands of years. These fish taste pretty fishy and salty—which can make them overwhelming if you don’t know how to balance their flavor. Anchovies also have a fifth taste, called umami, a savory taste found in foods high in the amino acid glutamate.
Anchovies are typically filleted, salt-cured and canned in oil. They can be found in the canned tuna and salmon section at your grocery store. Canned anchovies can be stored for up to 1 year in a cool, dry place. Once opened, store in the refrigerator in a sealed container covered with oil for up to 2 months. To decrease its saltiness, soak in cool water for about 20-30 minutes, drain and pat dry with a paper towel.
What Are Artichoke Hearts?
Buried within the rough leaves of an artichoke, is the sweet and tender “heart.” These little treasures have a buttery texture and earthy flavor that you can deepen with olive oil and garlic or liven up with a squirt of fresh lemon. You can find them bagged and frozen, canned in water or jarred, marinated in olive oil and spices. The oil-packed ones are a little higher in healthy fat but draining the oil will help save some calories.
Lemon curd is an outstanding combination of smooth, sweet, tart and tangy. You may be familiar with lemon meringue pie but have you paid attention to the star ingredient?
What Is Lemon Curd?
The basic recipe is simple. Cook down sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, eggs and butter until thick. Once the mixture cools, you’re left with a silky spread that’s bursting with sweet citrus flavor.
A “cultured milk product” may sound foreign, but if you’ve ever eaten yogurt, you’re closer to kefir than you thought. Find out what makes it just a little more special.
What Is Kefir?
Kefir has the mild tang of yogurt, only with a thinner and more drinkable consistency. Plain is the traditional variety but its increasing popularity has caused manufacturers to produce flavors like cherry, strawberry, chocolate, cappuccino and pomegranate. Low-carb flavors are also available but are sweetened with artificial sweeteners.
Kefir is available in non-fat, low-fat and whole milk forms. Brands such as Lifeway also offer frozen, scoop-able versions, with a texture similar to frozen yogurt.
It’s hard to believe that a tiny part of a flower can also be a highly prized spice. Have you ever tasted the most expensive spice in the world?
What Is Saffron?
The delicate threads of saffron are actually the stigma of the purple crocus. Each flower gives only three strands that must be hand-picked. An acre of crocus flowers will yield 5 to 7 pounds of saffron, which is why the price tag for one ounce (approximately 13,000 threads) can easily approach $500.00! You may be able to find ground powdered saffron for less money but it’s not nearly as flavorful and loses its “umph” quickly.
Thankfully a little goes a long way. Trying to figure on how much to buy? The spice gurus at Penzey’s give these helpful conversions: 1 gram = 2 teaspoons whole, 1 teaspoon crumbled or ½ teaspoon powdered.
Once you bring some home, store in a cool, dark place for up to six months.
Goat cheese is tangy and full of flavor, yet some folks shy away from this creamy delight. Give it a try; you won’t want to miss out on this wonderfully versatile cheese.
What is Goat Cheese?
Also known as “chevre” (French for goat), goat cheese has a distinct tangy flavor. Made from (you guessed it) goat’s milk, it’s available in soft, semi-soft and firm varieties. Check labels when you can; some brands are made from a mixture of both goat and cows milk.
Some might consider it an acquired taste but the tangy bite and super creamy texture of goat cheese lends itself to all kinds of foods. Enjoy cold and crumbled over a salad or smooth and melty on a burger. Commonly shaped into logs or rounds, you might also find this delicate cheese rolled in herbs or spices – great for spreading on crackers.
Store fresh goat cheese in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic for up to 2 weeks.
The fiery red sauce in the green-topped squeeze bottle is a staple in my kitchen. Loyal fans will not go near another chili sauce – it’s so popular it has its own Facebook page.
What is Sriracha?
Sriracha was developed in Los Angeles, California in the early 1980’s by David Tran. His Chinese and Vietnamese roots were the inspiration for this American-born chili sauce.
Pronounced “SIR-rotch-ah” this sauce made from chili peppers, garlic, sugar, salt and vinegar is the perfect balance of hot, spicy, tangy and sweet. Instead of just being hot, Sriracha has serious flavor that keeps food-lovers coming back for more. It even has a nickname – affectionately dubbed “rooster sauce” (the bottle dotes the image of a rooster – Tran’s astrological sign).