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Forgotten and underappreciated ingredients


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Cook's Illustrated did some work on button mushrooms a few years back and started pushing high-temperature roasting as a great way to bring out deep, earthy flavor in button mushrooms. It really works.

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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Button mushrooms.  Remember them?  I think they're underappreciated - these days it's all about the morel, oyster, lobster, etc.

Button mushrooms, rabbit, wine and egg noodles.. Throw in some peas for good measure.. Sticking with the Pdutch, I am going to say pigs stomache is way underappreciated, that and corn fritters with syrup.. Celery too is something very underappreciated.. I just love celery so many different ways..

Edited by Daniel (log)
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I love Sprats! The little round cans, no fancy opening tab, of well smoked sardines, neatly double layered by hand. There are usually 40 tiny perfect fish in a $1. can, sent all the way from Riga. I don't know know how much longer the Baltic countries can hold on to their old fashioned ways, with EU steamrollering everything in sight. But I do know that these tiny fish make a great sandwich with rye, a tomato slice, and Hellmann's.

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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.

Which brand of seasoned salt do you use?

Lawry's Seasoned Salt. I bought a pound container when I had the tea-room for one dish that I can't even remember now. The kids will probably be fighting over it with the rest of our worldy possessions someday...But actually it really perks up plain Triscuits so maybe we'll make a dent in it after all...But I never buy garlic salt only the powders and man that container is even bigger. :rolleyes:

I should probably make some seasoned salt with all this stuff...

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Which brand of seasoned salt do you use?

Lawry's. I'd like to try the Penzey's and probably should when I make another order, but Lawry's is pretty much the standard for me.

It's also good on frozen peas with butter.

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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Broad noodles are a favourite around here however I do have to say that the only ones I can buy at the grocery store have a strange taste to me. I used to splurge and buy what were called "Italian egg noodles" (upscale brand, came in a paper bag) but they were discontinued at my local Raley's. I guess I was the only one buying them. :sad:

I'd make them a lot more often if I could find some without the weird fishy taste.

Funny about the canned peas...weren't they in Saveur's 100 edition?

Can someone tell me what Wondra is?

I will confess to having (and using!) a bottle of gravy browning now and again. And then there's Bisto...

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One of my favorite things is a kugle made with egg noodles AND button mushrooms. :wink:

High-heat roasted mushrooms that were tossed in a little olive oil, garlic, S&P - fantastic.

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Wondra is a brand name of instantized flour, made by Gold Medal. Another brand is Shake & Blend. Instantized flour goes by many names: instant blend, quick blend, quick mixing, granular, maybe others. It's processed in such a way as to make it blend easily into liquids.

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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Wondra is a brand name of instantized flour, made by Gold Medal. Another brand is Shake & Blend. Instantized flour goes by many names: instant blend, quick blend, quick mixing, granular, maybe others. It's processed in such a way as to make it blend easily into liquids.

it's also the best for light crisp fried things. i don't know if it's the barley flour in it or what, but toss some onion rings in wondra, or calamari, or whatever, and see if you don't notice a difference between that and regular flour.

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Well, it looks like I might have to search out this Wondra product. I'm all for appreciating underappreciated ingredients. :biggrin:

I thought it might be similar to Bisto but without the colouring added but, when I checked my box of Bisto, its main ingredients are potato starch and wheat starch. No flour...

Edited to add: Thank you, FG and mrbigjas, for your explanations.

Edited by Jensen (log)
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Wondra is a brand name of instantized flour, made by Gold Medal. Another brand is Shake & Blend. Instantized flour goes by many names: instant blend, quick blend, quick mixing, granular, maybe others. It's processed in such a way as to make it blend easily into liquids.

it's also the best for light crisp fried things. i don't know if it's the barley flour in it or what, but toss some onion rings in wondra, or calamari, or whatever, and see if you don't notice a difference between that and regular flour.

If by regular you mean all purpose flour that actually has the malted barley flour in it too. Like White Lily brand all purpose flour is all wheat I believe, but 'regular' all purpose is 'enriched' with vitamins also. I think the reason Wondra is so desirable is because it's milled to be extra fine, no lumps.

Edited by K8memphis (log)
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K8, that's right, there's a very small amount of malted barley flour in most general purpose flours. I'm not sure it's part of the enriching process, though. I believe they add it because it gives fuel to yeast and makes bread recipes more predictable. For example, if you look at the ingredients for Pillsbury's all-purpose flour you'll see:

Bleached Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour (Improves Yeast Baking), Niacin, Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid.

I think it's the "Niacin, Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid" part that constitutes enrichment, whereas the addition of barley is a baking issue.

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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K8, that's right, there's a very small amount of malted barley flour in most general purpose flours. I'm not sure it's part of the enriching process, though. I believe they add it because it gives fuel to yeast and makes bread recipes more predictable. For example, if you look at the ingredients for Pillsbury's all-purpose flour you'll see:
Bleached Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour (Improves Yeast Baking), Niacin, Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid.

I think it's the "Niacin, Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid" part that constitutes enrichment, whereas the addition of barley is a baking issue.

Steven, yes, I used White Lily all purpose white flour for a while thinking it to be a better product for being all wheat and no malted barley flour in there. But you're right, it did not bake as well as 'regular' all purpose.

Edited by K8memphis (log)
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it's also the best for light crisp fried things.  i don't know if it's the barley flour in it or what, but toss some onion rings in wondra, or calamari, or whatever, and see if you don't notice a difference between that and regular flour.

If by regular you mean all purpose flour that actually has the malted barley flour in it too. Like White Lily brand all purpose flour is all wheat I believe, but 'regular' all purpose is 'enriched' with vitamins also. I think the reason Wondra is so desirable is because it's milled to be extra fine, no lumps.

good point. i bet that is it.

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Which brand of seasoned salt do you use?

I use McCormick Season-All. If you want a product that is much lower in salt content, I recommend Old Bay. I use it in all my rubs and I have a million other uses for it as well.

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Garlic salt. No, seriously. There is a time and place for fresh garlic (and right now my hands smell of garlic after chopping it), but garlic salt is handy for some things, like adding a last-minute jolt of garlicky taste to a soup or a stew. Or, my favorite, old school garlic toast like my mother used to make. Smear any kind of bread (the other night it was leftover onion buns) with garlic, sprinkle with garlic salt, and broil. Slightly trashy, but yummy goodness!

Also, celery salt. I couldn't figure out why I couldn't make decent cole slaw until my husband pointed out that celery salt was the key. I'm forever indebted to him for that.

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  • 2 months later...

Chow mein noodles -- the crispy ones. My mother used to add these to Chex mix, and also made "haystacks" with these and peanuts, covered in chocolate. Lately, I've rediscovered them for sprinkling over Asian-style salads.

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