PHIRKIN

Magic" cooking ingredients

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It may be bold or brash, but a long-time lurker is starting a (first) thread. Little sailing now, whats  left is food and beer (at least for me). Y,all drink what you like.

We've all been there: the giant pot of tasty stuff you made that you're getting tired of, the bunch of meaty stuff the party hostess gifted you as one of the last people to leave the party (there was still good beer there), or just trying to glean an interesting tasty meal of what remains in the fridge.

What's in those bottles in your spice cupboard or in your refrigerator that you employ to transform "meh" into "yummy"?

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Oh yea, Vegemite......good stuff.

 

 

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5 hours ago, PHIRKIN said:

It may be bold or brash, but a long-time lurker is starting a (first) thread. Little sailing now, whats  left is food and beer (at least for me). Y,all drink what you like.

We've all been there: the giant pot of tasty stuff you made that you're getting tired of, the bunch of meaty stuff the party hostess gifted you as one of the last people to leave the party (there was still good beer there), or just trying to glean an interesting tasty meal of what remains in the fridge.

What's in those bottles in your spice cupboard or in your refrigerator that you employ to transform "meh" into "yummy"?

Sea salt. Put some in everything including oatmeal

Garlic. Put in almost everything but not oatmeal.

That's about all, from here.

- DSK

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Several - Cumin, Old Bay, FRESH leafy spices ( basil, tarragon, oregano, cilantro, etc) and as others mentioned, fresh garlic and fresh ground salt/pepper.  I like adding fresh-ground ginger to lots of stuff, and hawaiian chili water for heat. 

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Wine reductions.

Fresh herbs (basil, oregano, rosemary, etc.)

garlic, onions, fennel, celery, capers, fresh ginger

curry powder (cinnamon, cumin, tumeric, coriander, garam masala. . .)

Black peppercorns, green peppercorns, hot red pepper powder or flakes

Hot sauce (cholula, Louisiana, Sriracha.  Don't care for Tabasco), soy sauce, Hoisin sauce

Mustard (all kinds), cider vinegar, wine vinegar, limes, lemons

It's quite often the wife will bring home a bag of groceries, and say "make me something good."  Given the above, I can usually pull it off.  It's never the same twice.

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Butter

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I can't believe nobody mentioned mushrooms, the magic ones.

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33 minutes ago, bplipschitz said:

Wine reductions.

Fresh herbs (basil, oregano, rosemary, etc.)

garlic, onions, fennel, celery, capers, fresh ginger

curry powder (cinnamon, cumin, tumeric, coriander, garam masala. . .)

Black peppercorns, green peppercorns, hot red pepper powder or flakes

Hot sauce (cholula, Louisiana, Sriracha.  Don't care for Tabasco), soy sauce, Hoisin sauce

Mustard (all kinds), cider vinegar, wine vinegar, limes, lemons

It's quite often the wife will bring home a bag of groceries, and say "make me something good."  Given the above, I can usually pull it off.  It's never the same twice.

My wife prefer's my cooking over hers for that reason.  I mix and match flavors so chicken and salad never is quite the same twice.   A little of this a little of that, and never make it the same way twice.  

 

Variety is the spice of life.

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Anchovy paste. Napoleon brand comes in a small foil tube. Squeeze an inch or two per portion into almost any savory dish while it's cooking and before you add the salt. You're welcome.

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Kecap Manis is an Indonesian sweet soy sauce that you can to just about anything. Great stuff. It is a staple of Indonesian cooking and on every table in every restaurant it seems. We have lots of Asian supermarkets in Toronto so we can get it. Available on Amazon at four times the supermarket price. Also like Bermuda sherry pepper sauce. When we start to run out it is time for another sail to St George's - and yes I know you can buy it locally but that is cheating.

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el-yucateco-haba-copy.jpg

My current favorite. Sherry pepper sauce: can't one replicate by putting fresh peppers into a moderately priced bottle of dry sherry?

 

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40 minutes ago, PHIRKIN said:

el-yucateco-haba-copy.jpg

My current favorite. Sherry pepper sauce: can't one replicate by putting fresh peppers into a moderately priced bottle of dry sherry?

 

We have eaten Bermuda fish chowder in probably two dozen places on the island. One place in St David's, the least touristy part of Bermuda had just that on the table. I assume this was the traditional way to do it before Outerbridge's started doing it commercially. I imagine it would depend on the particular sherry and especially peppers used.

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My go to list - in order.....

- coupla teaspoons keens hot english mustard (powder) - give it some bite

- vegemite or soy - umami

- butter, umami and silkiness

- fresh herbs for lift

- spices... for earthy taste go middle eastern, earthy spicy, indian, fresh spicy asian etc etc.

 

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Garlic just because.

Lemon juice for brightness (veggies and salads)

Worcestershire sauce, different amounts for anything with meat

Kerry Gold butter for bread, popcorn, etc...

Unsalted butter for cooking

Sun dried tomatoes for a little extra surprise taste

Dash seasoning for cooked veggies and salads

McCormicks brown sugar bourbon seasoning for sprinkling on bacon while it cooks.

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11 hours ago, PHIRKIN said:

It may be bold or brash, but a long-time lurker is starting a (first) thread. Little sailing now, whats  left is food and beer (at least for me). Y,all drink what you like.

We've all been there: the giant pot of tasty stuff you made that you're getting tired of, the bunch of meaty stuff the party hostess gifted you as one of the last people to leave the party (there was still good beer there), or just trying to glean an interesting tasty meal of what remains in the fridge.

What's in those bottles in your spice cupboard or in your refrigerator that you employ to transform "meh" into "yummy"?

 

psilocybin1.jpg

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2 hours ago, hobot said:

Garlic just because.

Lemon juice for brightness (veggies and salads)

Worcestershire sauce, different amounts for anything with meat

Kerry Gold butter for bread, popcorn, etc...

Unsalted butter for cooking

Sun dried tomatoes for a little extra surprise taste

Dash seasoning for cooked veggies and salads

McCormicks brown sugar bourbon seasoning for sprinkling on bacon while it cooks.

Wife and daughter brought that into the kitchen after a trip to Ireland - that's a good as milk off the bulk tank,. 

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14 hours ago, PHIRKIN said:

It may be bold or brash, but a long-time lurker is starting a (first) thread. Little sailing now, whats  left is food and beer (at least for me). Y,all drink what you like.

We've all been there: the giant pot of tasty stuff you made that you're getting tired of, the bunch of meaty stuff the party hostess gifted you as one of the last people to leave the party (there was still good beer there), or just trying to glean an interesting tasty meal of what remains in the fridge.

What's in those bottles in your spice cupboard or in your refrigerator that you employ to transform "meh" into "yummy"?

  sirracha ,  vermouth,  miso , sauteed onions and garlic.. dry sherry

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I also use fruity wines Red for red meats white for white meats as part of marinades instead of the water portion.

 

Tacos made with wine instead of water as part of the sauce are delish

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If you have a Trader Joe's anywhere nearby, their 24 herb salute (dried herbs) is great for picking bland things up. 

And as other have said, some crushed garlic and ginger can't be wrong. 

If it's meaty, a good slosh of Worcestershire sauce can't hurt.

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A block of tamirind.

Home made hot apricot chilli sauce,even goes in gravy. But then again we find it hard to ever cook without some hot stuff in it somewhere.

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3 hours ago, P_Wop said:

If it's meaty, a good slosh of Worcestershire sauce can't hurt.

WS plusse buttere and honey mustarde = joye.                                             :)

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Maggi - red cap.

We used to say, at home, "maakt straatstenen lekker" - makes cobblestones taste good.

we_love_maggi3.jpg

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1 minute ago, Bowgirl said:

Maggi - red cap.

We used to say, at home, "maakt straatstenen lekker" - makes cobblestones taste good.

we_love_maggi3.jpg

Yesss!  A little slurp on an uitsmijter made Sunday breakfast extra good!

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5 hours ago, Snaggletooth said:

wowe, realley?

It is one of the best flavours out there. Used in lots of Asian cooking but can be added to lots of other recipes. Great addition to a wet rub for grilling. You can get the jar stuff, but I think the block of stuff, seeds and all, is a better flavour. Just tear a chunk off and mix with water.

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22 hours ago, bplipschitz said:

Wine reductions.

Fresh herbs (basil, oregano, rosemary, etc.)

garlic, onions, fennel, celery, capers, fresh ginger

curry powder (cinnamon, cumin, tumeric, coriander, garam masala. . .)

Black peppercorns, green peppercorns, hot red pepper powder or flakes

Hot sauce (cholula, Louisiana, Sriracha.  Don't care for Tabasco), soy sauce, Hoisin sauce

Mustard (all kinds), cider vinegar, wine vinegar, limes, lemons

It's quite often the wife will bring home a bag of groceries, and say "make me something good."  Given the above, I can usually pull it off.  It's never the same twice.

most of that plus

thyme .. the most used of all i have

cajun spice

chinese 5 spice

all spice

cayenne pepper

more buit i dont feel like getting up and looking whats in the spice containers atm

best

thyme and cajun spice

ohh and a big bag already made up of KFC mix ( with a few of my mods to it )

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On 5/30/2020 at 12:57 AM, A guy in the Chesapeake said:
On 5/29/2020 at 6:08 PM, Ease the sheet. said:

Vegemite.

UGHGHGHG!!!!!   Remind me that I volunteer to cook if we ever meet in person....   

A bit of Vegemite in a stew doesn't taste like Vegemite, just adds to flavor.  You should really try is, it works well.

 

Curry, not enough to make the dish you are making a Curry (unless you are making a Curry of course) just enough to add fullness to the other flavors.  The right amount when nobody eating it knows that there is Curry in it.

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35 minutes ago, floating dutchman said:

Curry, not enough to make the dish you are making a Curry (unless you are making a Curry of course)

That's pretty much what the white Australian population does with it.  Until I left home I thought curry was a food coloring

Yellow stew.  Yellow sausages and rice.

It was revelation to find out what it tasted like.

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11 minutes ago, astro said:

That's pretty much what the white Australian population does with it.  

OLD white population. Stuff that my mother can't eat because it is too spicy, my kids think is bland.

Of course, my daughter does only realise she is hungry when her arsehole stops burning.

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2 hours ago, floating dutchman said:

A bit of Vegemite in a stew doesn't taste like Vegemite, just adds to flavor.  You should really try is, it works well.

 

Curry, not enough to make the dish you are making a Curry (unless you are making a Curry of course) just enough to add fullness to the other flavors.  The right amount when nobody eating it knows that there is Curry in it.

We've got a jar that a crazy british lady who's a dear friend gave to us.   I tried it smeared on a cracker and didn't care for it like that.   As you suggest it, do you flavor the broth or the meat w/the vegemite? 

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8 minutes ago, A guy in the Chesapeake said:

 I tried it smeared on a cracker and didn't care for it like that.

no matter how much the average american puts on

its way to much

seriously

its great on hot buttered toast

but ...  put on as little as you can as thinly as you can then scrape of as much off as you can ( seriously do every step )

that should be about the right amount .. you dont even cover the whole side just dabs here and there

then come back and comment on the taste

 

i had the same problem teaching a yank how much mustard to use ( when you have tried english v american mustard you will understand the difference )

its in the same ballpark .. about the right amount of english mustard is the same quantity as the right amount of Vegemite

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1 minute ago, phill_nz said:

no matter how much the average american puts on

its way to much

seriously

its great on hot buttered toast

but ...  put on as little as you can as thinly as you can then scrape of as much off as you can ( seriously do every step )

that should be about the right amount .. you dont even cover the whole side just dabs here and there

then come back and comment on the taste

I'm OK accepting that we're generally ignorant of proper application - and game for trying again after receiving proper instruction.   

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5 minutes ago, A guy in the Chesapeake said:

I'm OK accepting that we're generally ignorant of proper application - and game for trying again after receiving proper instruction.   

i added more as an explanation

its not ignorance its just the way america makes food additives .. large quantities all about the same amount used .. ketchup / mustard / tomato sauce etc

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I've come to the conclusion that I must be one of those "supertasters". Ever since I was a kid, I've applied condiments to bread exactly as you describe. Any more was too much. My best friend in high school called my sandwiches "stained bread". 

There was a line in a movie I saw once that went something like, "every sandwich with mustard in it is a mustard sandwich". The way most places make sandwiches, true dat.

 

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11 hours ago, A guy in the Chesapeake said:

We've got a jar that a crazy british lady who's a dear friend gave to us.   I tried it smeared on a cracker and didn't care for it like that.   As you suggest it, do you flavor the broth or the meat w/the vegemite? 

The trick is to use enough to overall improve the dish, but not enough to taste it

Add it to a sauce/broth.

 

Disclaimer, I fucking hate the stuff. And haven't eaten in for almost 50 years. And I refuse to eat it, refuse to even be in the same room as somebody eating it.

 

But good luck!

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On 6/3/2020 at 8:06 AM, phill_nz said:

 

i had the same problem teaching a yank how much mustard to use ( when you have tried english v american mustard you will understand the difference )

its in the same ballpark .. about the right amount of english mustard is the same quantity as the right amount of Vegemite

Most Americans are only familiar with mustard that comes out of a squeeze bottle. 

I get mine from craft fairs, and other types of local events.

This is my current favorite I got mild, and if I get more than a thin layer I feel it. Though it is mild.

.https://smokintinroof.com/shop/ols/products/bacon-stout-mustard-hot2

 

I love it on fish.  A thin layer to boost the flavor.

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Real mustard, 

LE81023ULR.jpg

And real Worcestershire sauce 

lea_perrins_-_worcestershire_sauce_-_150_ml.jpg

None of that fake Kraft rubbish.. 

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8 hours ago, The Q said:

Real mustard, 

And real Worcestershire sauce 

None of that fake Kraft rubbish.. 

What you must have in any kitchen is the real Colman's mustard powder.  A teaspoon in a small bowl, a few dribbles of water, mix it round to the right consistancy and wait ten minutes.

As others have said, one belt of this is worth 5 of your average bottled US stuff.  When it gets the sweat coming out of the back of your skull, you'll know.

It's also a fine sharpening ingredient sprinkled lightly into a vinaigrette.  Keep a small can in your galley locker.

Available on Amazon, BTW.

 

The Perfect Pantry®: Colman's Mustard (Recipe: mustard with honey ...

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I appreciate the "hot" posts  above but I am not into heartburn and burning my taste buds.  I do a chili for our club chili cook off (proceeds to Sea Scouts) with no canned ingredients.  Dry beans, fresh tomatoes,  five or eight different kinds of fresh peppers. Clean the pepper seeds out and you get flavor without heat.

Oriental, add some sesame oil and a roasted ginger garlic marinade (Choy Lee or other brands) along with a Teriyaki sauce to marinade shrimp,  chicken, pork or beef. Skewering strips with your choice of peppers onions, mushrooms, pineapple etc served with rice and a salad will get you laid bigtime. :D

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image.thumb.png.d997f9eb2de453966eebc733a8221648.png

Thai yellow curry, coconut milk and or cream, and a demerara sugar.  

 

 

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4 hours ago, P_Wop said:

What you must have in any kitchen is the real Colman's mustard powder.  A teaspoon in a small bowl, a few dribbles of water, mix it round to the right consistancy and wait ten minutes.

As others have said, one belt of this is worth 5 of your average bottled US stuff.  When it gets the sweat coming out of the back of your skull, you'll know.

It's also a fine sharpening ingredient sprinkled lightly into a vinaigrette.  Keep a small can in your galley locker.

Available on Amazon, BTW.

 

The Perfect Pantry®: Colman's Mustard (Recipe: mustard with honey ...

Colman's, hey?

Not keen ..  

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I learned to cook by watching my Italian mother work magic in our kitchen.

The secret to good food is that it doesn't need to be complex, but it is essential to use the best, freshest, quality ingredients you can find.

And the biggest secret ingredient is a passion for cooking and good food.  

Many people eat to live, some people live to eat.  I am one of the latter.

The best cooks cook from their soul, not a cookbook.

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On 5/29/2020 at 9:21 AM, Mrleft8 said:

Butter

Sometimes upgraded to cannabutter.

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My wife has a spice rack that holds 60 bottles. She uses every one of them and has others in a cabinet. I don’t think I could pick 1 or 5 that are the secret special ingredient. They are all good when used correctly.
 

Now that said. None of them are as important as kosher salt and/or butter. 

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I would rate wine as the most essential ingredient to any good cooking, you don’t need to waste it by putting it in the food, but a never empty glass of the good stuff should always be in easy reach in the kitchen or at the fire.

Keith Floyd knew how to cook with wine!

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2 hours ago, Major Tom said:

I would rate wine as the most essential ingredient to any good cooking, you don’t need to waste it by putting it in the food, but a never empty glass of the good stuff should always be in easy reach in the kitchen or at the fire.

Keith Floyd knew how to cook with wine!

Justin Wilson knew how to cook with wine...     

"a little for the stew,  a little for me...  a little more for me... a tad more for the stew'''

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3 hours ago, Grande Mastere Dreade said:

Justin Wilson knew how to cook with wine...     

"a little for the stew,  a little for me...  a little more for me... a tad more for the stew'''

Graham Kerr, the Galloping Gourmet liked a little wine while he was cooking too.

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I suck as a cook.  decent with a grill and a slab of beef, but anything that has three or more ingredients, it's a crap shoot.

Having said that, my magic add-ons are
-- Johnny's seasoning salt (find it at the grocery store, similar to Lawry's, but really good addition to give some "pop" to things like guacamole)
-- Cajun's Choice blackened seasoning.  Good on fish or pork, I like my steak to taste like steak (BTW, used to use Chef Paul Prudhomme's, I like this stuff better)
-- good Thai sweet-chili sauce.  Current favorite is "Maggi" brand, but there are a bunch to choose from
-- real South African "peri-peri" sauce.  Current favorite is "Nando's".

What I'd love to find is something that I can stir into a sautee-pan full of chunks of chicken, and end up with something that tastes like a credible cut at Jamaican jerk-chicken.  Bonus points if it makes me cry a little.  I've tried some things that claimed to be "jerk sauce" (add your own punchline if you need to), but none of them grabbed my attention.

I'd also love to find a marinade (or something) that would allow me to convert some cubed Ahi to a credible poke.  I've tried a few, none grabbed me.  The thing I currently like the most is "poke sauce" from the sushi counter at the local "central market" (international grocery store), they make it up in-house and it is yummy but I'm not sure how well it travels. 

Oh, and a big +1 for Kerry Gold butter.  good stuff!

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17 minutes ago, sledracr said:


Oh, and a big +1 for Kerry Gold butter.  good stuff!

Sheffield butter is good too. I'm sporting Kerry Gold right now though.

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43 minutes ago, sledracr said:

I'd also love to find a marinade (or something) that would allow me to convert some cubed Ahi to a credible poke.  I've tried a few, none grabbed me.  The thing I currently like the most is "poke sauce" from the sushi counter at the local "central market" (international grocery store), they make it up in-house and it is yummy but I'm not sure how well it travels. 
 

Soy sauce
Marin
Sesame oil
Toasted sesame seeds
Green onions
Fresh lime
Sake
Sea salt

You can up it with some ginger and cayenne if want kick.

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1 hour ago, austin1972 said:

Soy sauce
Marin
Sesame oil
Toasted sesame seeds
Green onions
Fresh lime
Sake
Sea salt

You can up it with some ginger and cayenne if want kick.

Mirin

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7 hours ago, austin1972 said:

Soy sauce
Marin
Sesame oil
Toasted sesame seeds
Green onions
Fresh lime
Sake
Sea salt

You can up it with some ginger and cayenne if want kick.

Cool!  Any hints on amounts?

Otherwise... let's see, 8 ingredients, maybe try 5 different quantities of each... that's maybe eleventy-brazillian combinations I gotta test <lol>

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Agree entirely on the Coleman's English Mustard - Day vs. Night to American.

Also Coleman's Horseradish, excellent with Beef.

Then go French for "Maille" Whole Grain Mustard - everything else is fake, excellent in Vinagrettes and Dressings as well. Their Dijon is also quite good. But super mild.

Cannot believe that there has been no mention of good aged Balsamic Vinegar - proper Italian stuff, and even more so, Balsamic Glaze which is to die for over salads meats and a thousand other things.

Marmite over Vegemite - Teaspoon+ into Chillis and Bolognese instead of Salt Seasoning. Nice Savoury bite with the Saltiness. Excellent also with Mature Cheddar on Toast (No Butter ever).

Mexican Cholula Hot Sauce Original - enough heat with actual flavour - excellent in or with Eggs.

Japanese Kewpie Mayonnaise - hands down best mass produced version, over all that other garbage. Creamy, Tangy, Eggy. Sandwichs will love it. 

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6 hours ago, sledracr said:

Cool!  Any hints on amounts?

Otherwise... let's see, 8 ingredients, maybe try 5 different quantities of each... that's maybe eleventy-brazillian combinations I gotta test <lol>

I dunno. I just kind of wing it, thinking of each flavor as they're added. Just not a lot of salt but then I'm not a big salt fan. The soy sauce can do most of the lifting there.

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14 hours ago, sledracr said:

 


Oh, and a big +1 for Kerry Gold butter.  good stuff!

 

13 hours ago, austin1972 said:

Sheffield butter is good too. I'm sporting Kerry Gold right now though.

Wisconsin is "the Dairy State". There was a flap a while back about Kerry Gold Butter not being inspected to "state" standards and was removed from shelves:o

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14 minutes ago, warbird said:

 

Wisconsin is "the Dairy State". There was a flap a while back about Kerry Gold Butter not being inspected to "state" standards and was removed from shelves:o

Well, Wisconsin dairy pricing has been taking a beating for awhile now. I dunno how those folks do it. It's a labor intense business and they don't get paid jack for their efforts. It runs off of passion, I guess.

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