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Forgotten and underappreciated ingredients


Fat Guy
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Frozen peas.

Not just peas (though they're the hands-down frozen vegetable champion), but corn and especially artichoke quarters. Unadulterated by marinades or oil, they're a great way to add sophistication to any number of dishes. Ignore the package directions and cook them low and slow -- maybe 20 minutes' simmering in fat, salt and water, drained at the last-minute and sprinkled with lemon juice -- and they'll do you proud.

Back to peas: also great as an ice pack for injured knees, bruised elbows, or blackened eyes (cheaper than steak).

Ahem... I have a feeling I'm going to be going solo on my admission, but I've recently rediscovered canned snails.  Great in pasta dishes, doused in garlic butter and roasted in the oven, and most recently used in a new version of bagna cauda (substituting for the anchovies).

Tomorrow I plan to stuff squid with them (finely chopped, along with a bunch of other stuff).  :unsure:

I've never seen snails any way other than canned. Um, except for the ones in my childhood fish bowl.

Up here in the North Country, those egg nod=odles on the bottom shelf, and the canned beans are part and parecel of being a Good Wife.

But, please add to the list a can or two of creamed corn.  Add it to a corn bread, that will turn out more like a pudding and be a great Saturday morning vehicle for an over easy egg.

Or add a can to a half-pan of slightly stale cornbread and heat gently: instant side dish! Thanks for the reminder.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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Iceberg lettuce. Yeah, it's not very flavorful, but it's crisp, which makes it great for things like (American style) Chinese chicken salad or tostadas.

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Frozen peas.

One of my all-time faves...always on hand.

Good point about the iceberg, too - sometimes a wedge salad with a little spiced-up Thousand Island dressing is all you need.

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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Here I sit, in Northern Minnesota, where the first frost usually hits about Labor Day, we had measurable snow on the ground the second week of October, and forecast for this weekend are temperatures nearing 20 below zero, (actually not really that cold for this time of year) .... and I can enjoy a perfectly ripe banana!

SB (I really do appreciate it!) :biggrin:

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Well I never left those egg noodles behind, not for a minute.  :wink:

Amen. I guess I missed the memo that said they were "out."

Egg noodles tossed with butter, parsley and a little garlic are among my favorite foods on earth.

Yes! I have never stopped using egg noodles. Mmmm! Garlicky buttered noodles!

Also keep frozen petit peas on hand because they're better than any fresh peas in our local markets.

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We've got to be at the leading edge of an egg noodle trend. I wonder how they'd be with truffles.

hmmm..... I've got some D'Artagnan truffle butter sitting in the fridge with nothing to do....... That could be interesting on some noodles, I think.

"Fat is money." (Per a cracklings maker shown on Dirty Jobs.)
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For example, I have recently rediscovered egg noodles. You know, as in Pennsylvania Dutch Egg Noodles, Extra Broad. Not the fancy fresh refrigerated stuff. I'm talking old-school dry egg noodles from the bottom shelf of the pasta aisle. They're awesome, especially with braised meats. Why did I ever stop eating them?

Probably because of the availability of fresh Italian pasta, or because some of us make it ourselves. However, I've noticed that stores that only used to carry De Cecco's dried flour & water based-pastas are now carrying dried nests of egg pastas, too. Maybe PDEN's will have a comeback.

Meanwhile, here's something Armenian that a friend used to make all the time:

Yogurt Soup

3 c yogurt

2 c water

1 t salt

1 egg beaten

Mix together in a saucepan for 3 minutes with heat on high, stirring constantly, until boiling.

Add 1 c egg noodles and cook until tender

Sauté 1 small chopped onion in 2 T butter until clear and soft. (Garlic's okay too.)

Add 1 to 1/2 t crumbed dried mint to onions. Mix and add to yogurt mixture.

Cook all together for an additional 10 mins. Serve.

N.B. Thickens dramatically in fridge, so if there are leftovers, lots of water may be required with adjustments to seasonings made. I like adding spinach, according to notes, cooked separately and added to individual bowls.

Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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I second the Worcestershire. Thanks to my father, I grew up believing that it is the only acceptable condiment to pour over steak.

I put it on my eggs just about every day, and it is the secret ingredient in my famous Curried Squash Soup.

Underappreciated: LeSoeur canned peas. Or do those fall under the category of Guilty Pleasure?

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Canned beans -- navy, garbanzo, pinto, black -- dead cheap at my supermercado, perfect texture every time.  This is seriously underrated food.

These are the absolute only kind of canned vegetables I will eat, and I almost always use them in preference to dried beans. I find I sacrifice nothing in flavor, and they are more reliable for consistency and taxture than dried eans which can often stay hard as pebbles no matter how long they are soaked or cooked.

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Good point about the iceberg, too - sometimes a wedge salad with a little spiced-up Thousand Island dressing is all you need.

Green Goddess dressing. I bought a bottle last week and I've had it on a salad with dinner every night for the last week.

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Underappreciated: LeSoeur canned peas. Or do those fall under the category of Guilty Pleasure?

If just having peas as a side dish I prefer fresh or frozen, however, canned peas are wonderful with small pasta such as pastina, tubette, or orzo. The flavor marries perfectly with a little olive oil, onion and S&P. The soft texture goes well with the pasta too. I suppose that one can do this with egg noodles too, though I never have :wink:

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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More in the frigo category: that miserable frozen block of chopped spinach. Fresh spinach is a gritty PIA, and we've learned this year about the perils of bagged washed comely spinach. Frozen spinach is an easy addition to a pot of minestrone , or with ricotta to a stuffed pasta recipe. Squeezed seasoned and sauted, it's not a bad veg side.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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I think many frozen produce items are underrated, forgotten, and poised for comebacks. I'm going to start a topic on that.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Have there been revolutionary advances in canned pea technology since I was a lad (the last twenty years or so)? Because I remember them being pure evil.

No advances that I am aware of. The real uses are few, but I love them for what i described. In fact, there really is no substitute for that particular dish. Fresh and frozen are ok, but the dish is different and not quite as satisfying.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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One word: lard.

I take your lard and I raise you ... mutton.

I made the most stupendous curry the other day, without doubt the best I have ever eaten, whether in a home or a restaurant, and what made it seriously fly was the depth and complexity of flavour that came from the mutton I used, in place of the lamb the recipe (courtesy of Madhur Jaffray) called for. The difference in flavour between meat from a five year old and a five month old is staggering.

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.

Virginia Woolf

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I would list some of what y'all have mentioned:

worcestershire sauce (great over steak/french fries/frites)

lard (for the flakiest pastry crust or lightest bisquits)

mutton (my ky hubby swears by this as bbq or smoked mutton - drools over pics of Moonlight BBQ mutton dishes)

Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

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Have there been revolutionary advances in canned pea technology since I was a lad (the last twenty years or so)? Because I remember them being pure evil.

Try and see if you can get hold of one of the french brands - they come out looking a rather unappetising greyish colour but have great flavour.

Re the noodles, It's not something I have ever really tried, I have loads of old recipe books which recommend buttered noodles as an accompaniment to stroganoff (Now there is a forgotten recipe!) and stews, but I can't say I have ever felt the urge to try it - they don't seem absorbent enough to me.

while we are on about tinned products, how about tinned sardines? I know the top notch french and spanish ones are well regarded, but I like decent quality mid range ones as well, Waitrose in the uk do a brad packed with a chilli pepper that make an excellent bruschetta topping, just lighty mash them with the chilli, and they are a great storecupboard staple for a quick pasta dish.

And based on a broth I made last week (It was COLD near me!) pearl barley deserves a comeback.

I love animals.

They are delicious.

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Seasoned salt/garlic salt. Sure, I have an entire cabinet full of individual spices that I mix and balance with care, but sometimes I just want to add a little extra flavor when I'm salting something, and I don't want to mess with things.

Seasoned salt also makes the best roasted cauliflower to my taste. I've tried a wide range of seasonings but I keep coming back to the seasoned salt.

Marcia.

Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

eGullet foodblog

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