Thursday, March 16, 2006

Kitchen Sorcery (have ingredients, will cook)

My top 30 ingredients in no particular order - excluding the obvious meat, seafood, veggies, salt, pepper, soy sauce, vinegar, patis, oil, butter, egg, flour and pang-gisa (sauteeing) trio of tomatoes, onions and garlic
1. wholegrain/dijon mustard: adds zing to everything from salad dressings, savory crusts, marinades, sandwiches...
2. hoisin sauce: for an instant Chinese meal, just stir-fry with chicken or pork; use as sauce for diced leftover roast duck wrapped in lettuce leaves; brush on grilled chicken wings
3. shallots: great for wine-based sauces for steaks and grilled items, fry 'em until aromatic and sprinkle on traditional Chinese soups, use them to flavor ground pork mixtures for spring rolls
4. pesto sauce: name it, pesto makes it remarkably distinct
5. sun-dried tomatoes: fantastic in salads, chili con carne, pasta and sundried tomato oil
6. cottage cheese/feta/mozzarella/fontina/bleu cheese/all kinds of cheese: vegetable gratin, dips galore, with fruits and honey, salad garnish, pinaputok na kesong puti (little firecracker- sized appetizers filled with a secret cheese mixture), sublime appetizers -- think crostini with roasted garlic, adobo flakes and feta, paired with an excellent bottle of wine and some crusty bread
7. peanut butter: licked from a spoon, coating a banana, on bread with jam or a sprinkling of sugar, Oriental dressings, kare-kare, desserts, cookies
8. tuna in brine: a dieter's dream! Nicoise salad, tunamelt sandwich, pasta, quesadilla filling , pizza topping
9. red wine/white wine: lends a deep flavor when reduced for sauces, perfect for marinating, flambeing, seafood dishes
10. fresh black mushroom: the buttery taste and sensual texture is perfect for salads, mushroom sauces, Chinese cooking and hubby's favorite- mushroom tempura! And in HK, it's abundant and affordable
11. Chinese cooking wine: Unbeatable for Chinese stir-fry and braised dishes, steamed fish
12. balsamic vinegar: I cannot get enough of this. I use it for dressings, as a marinade, and make balsamic reduction for drizzling over foie gras, grilled fish, salad
13. lemon: want zing? zest? flavors to come alive? lemon does the trick
14. extra-virgin olive oil: no explanations needed
15. fresh basil: salads, bruschetta, piadina, panini
16. tempura flour/breadcrumbs/panko/cornstarch: for the crispiest, crunchiest deep-fried dishes
17. Lea and Perrins/Knorr seasoning: salpicao, roast chicken, beef steak taste exceptionally marvellous with these enhancers
18. chicken powder: better than salt; use it to flavor sauces, pasta boiling water, as a spice rub, marinade (lots of msg though)
19. chicken stock, beef stock, veal stock, fish stock: made from the real thing, i.e. chicken, veal, fish bones. With these on hand, sauces and soups are done in a snap!
20. capsicum: grilled, stuffed and baked, sauteed; crunchy sweet goodness in three luscious colors
21. butternut squash: good as side dish for practically everything; lovely as a mash, grilled, tempura-fried or with native Pinoy vegetables and coconut milk; best for Cream of Apple Butternut Squash Soup
22. bagoong balayan (fermented fish sauce): pinakbet, monggo, Pinoy Caesar dressing, grilled eggplant, boiled okra, dinengdeng, veggies in coconut milk, all the Ilocano dishes hubby grew up eating
23. sesame oil: a drop here and there makes a big difference; divine, divine aroma
24. Meditteranean trio of capers, olives and anchovies: varying degrees of saltiness captured in each piece, slice, sliver
25. Mexican spices like cumin and chili powder: hubby has to have tacos, chili con carne, fajitas and nachos with the works at least once a month
26. chocolate: food for the gods; of the gods
27. paprika: color, flavor and aroma packed in small bottle, this is my "secret" ingredient for a lot of my recipes
28. Indian spices like coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, turmeric, masala: Indian food is best eaten at an authentic resto with a genuine Indian chef, but hubby likes to baon (packed lunch) Indian viands with pullao rice so I have to stock up
29. Yogurt or Sour Cream: like paprika, a "secret" ingredient, also the star of my favorite tsatziki, cucumber raita, Hungarian goulash
30. Rum: crepes, chicken wings, drinking while cooking, pineapple glazed with rum syrup, bananas with rum, roast fruits, rum butter cake (can you imagine a more delectable, sinful dessert?)

1 comment:

amz said...

Dawn! I found something that Derrick and I both grew up with!!!! Ilocano fooooood! So you know na how to cook all that? Naku, maslalo tuloy ako na-enganyo about coming moving to HK. hahahahaha