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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 www.gustiamo.com


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 www.deandeluca.com


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 www.thespicehouse.com


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 www.beanilla.com


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. www.kingarthurflour.com


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 www.importfood.com


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! www.masterfoods.com.au


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. www.mastbrotherschocolate.com

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