Skip to main content

The Best of 2010, Part Two

And the list continues:

9) Colatura, Nettuno Brand- This is an amazing fermented fish based sauce and somewhat similar to Thai fish sauce but softer and richer. It adds a wonderful depth to sauces, and pastas and risottos. As it says on the Gustiamo website, take a few Tbsp of EVO, a clove of crushed garlic and one teaspoon of Colatura and toss over spaghetti. No cheese will be needed. Experiment and enjoy it, but use sparingly as it is quite salty. You can find this at

10) Nunez de Prado EVO - This is just stunning. It has the fruitiness and grassy flavors of the Tuscan oils without the peppery bite. While that Tuscan flavor is wonderful in some dishes, I find that the subtleness of this Spanish oil is perfect when you want finesse. You can find this online at

11) Aleppo Chile Pepper - From southern Syria and the ancient city of Aleppo, this chili pepper is subtle and with a savory after taste and medium heat. I find that it adds an interesting nuance to eggplant, hummus and frankly any dish where you want some mild heat but unique flavor. You can find this and many other wonderful spices at

12) Vanilla Bean Sugar- This is one of those simple things you can do to vastly improve you baking. Take a bag of pure cane sugar and fill a glass container half way. Now add two whole vanilla beans and then fill with the other half of the sugar. In two days, you will have the most wonderfully flavored vanilla sugar and when you need a bean, you can just reach into your sugar and use one. You can find a vast selection of high quality vanilla beans at

13) King Arthur Flour - I have always been particular about my flour, but I have to say that since switching exclusively to King Arthur Flour I have more predictable results and find that the quality is always top notch. In addition they have a really comprehensive website which gives many recipes and they are a great source of the more difficult to find French style medium protein bread flours.

14) Mae Ploy, Sweet Chili Sauce - This is a really tasty sauce which is perfect on any grilled meat and also great for dipping spring rolls and any dumpling. Preservative free and all natural, it's the top brand in Thailand and you can find it at

15) Chicken Salt, MasterFoods Brand - I agree that this sounds pretty dodgy and you would think it's packed with artificial ingredients, but it isn't! It's a very flavorful salt which is versatile, and great on french fries, and anything baked or roasted. I like to sprinkle a bit on chicken and add some vegetables, cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for one hour, then remove the foil and broil it for 10 minutes to brown up the skin and then remove from the oven, put back the foil and let it rest for 10 minutes and you have perfect chicken and vegetables. As this is a product from Australia, I've yet to find a way to order it outright, but I'm sure there is someone bringing it into the US. In the meantime, make some Australian friends and they can hand carry it! Thanks Troy!

16) Mast Brothers Chocolate - As mentioned in a previous post, this is some of the best chocolate I have ever tasted. Maybe, THE best I have ever tasted. I think it is important to support the smaller manufacturers, so order away, you wont be disappointed.


Popular posts from this blog

Norfolk Style Seafood

This is such a good recipe and so simple to make. The story behind this recipe is interesting. When I was a young boy, we used to go to a seafood restaurant in Washington DC called O'Donnell's. They had wonderful food, and most importantly, they had Buck.

Buck was a gentle giant at 6' 2" and was always talking to me about his recipe. He had invented this style of cooking seafood and had even developed special pans which could be used over open flame and then it could be delivered to the tables still sizzling. He was rightfully very proud of this. 

After being there quite a few times, Buck shared his recipe with me and told me to keep it a secret. Since this was over 40 years ago, I guess I can reveal it now. 


1/2 lb Shrimp, Jumbo Lump Crab or Langoustines, raw and shelled
2 Tbsp Butter
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
Dash of Old Bay Seasoning
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
Few dashes of Tabasco
Splash of White Wine
Salt and Black Pepper

Heat your pan until fairly hot, then add butter an…

The garden enclosure is finished!

This weekend the garden enclosure was finished and most everything has been planted. I planted three types of potatoes, Yellow Finn, Purple Viking and Desiree. 

I also planted some garlic in with the tomatoes, as I heard that the garlic will keep down the aphids and hopefully the spider mites. However, interesting note, beans do not do well with garlic. 

I just have some of the late geminating hot chilies still to go in and then I will direct sow some collard greens and maybe some additional carrots. 

I think the linseed oil looks great as a finish and the wood seems to be very well nourished. I like the color it's taken on and the upkeep should be just a light coat just once a year.

For those who have asked, the panels swing outwards and upwards and then are propped with a pole, which you can see leaning against the right of the enclosure. 

It's such a simple system and effectively it has made the garden secure, and with the drip irrigation system, mostly self sufficient.

I fully u…

Whole Green Moong Dal-Indian Comfort Food

Dal is an Indian staple which can be eaten in the morning, lunch, dinner as a side dish or for a snack. It can be eaten with rice, bread or on its own. Bottom line, it is Indian comfort food. A thick stew of moong (mung) beans, spices and creamy goodness. It is often made with spilt moong dal, but I prefer to use the whole moong dal
I had eaten various types of dal in many places around the word, including India and was always impressed with its creaminess, but speaking frankly I wouldn't have gone out of my way to make it at home. A friend kept mentioning that he was gong to cook “mug” which was a recipe from his Indian friend and I finally asked what he meant and he said moong dal.
I was intrigued and after comparing many recipes from my own cookbooks and online, I came up with this recipe which is nothing short of amazing. The house smelled wonderful while it was cooking and the flavor was hearty, wholesome and a bit spicy and just perfect for a fall afternoon. 

Additionally, it i…