A Food52 100?

The Saveur magazine Top 100 issue arrived about a week ago. In the old days I really used to look forward to this but these days less and less. This year I actually noticed a few things I actually agreed with such as olive oil from California Olive Ranch and Gil Marks' Encyclopedia of Jewish Food. What are the five or ten things you discovered in 2011 that you would share? Maybe we can come up with our own 100.

  • Posted by: pierino
  • January 2, 2012


Hagerty February 19, 2012
Lucero Olive Oil. Just off I5 in Corning CA they have a tasting room open 7 days a week with some amazing olive oils and balsamic vinegars. Their traditional balsamic is the BEST I have ever tasted, and I buy their EVOO by the gallon.
lorigoldsby February 2, 2012
My number one...Food52. Winning on my first entry set the bar really high...and I've enjoyed every moment.
2. Using my iPad when cooking. Love how I can enlarge a section and actually be able to read directions (hopefully in 2012 I'll learn to start FOLLOWING them!)
3. The Food52 iPad Holiday app
4. MarthaWrap...a foil and parchment paper in one! Great for fish...wonderful for candies, best for making apple pie in a bag.
5. Eataly...found a stateside resource for truffle gatherer's sauce.
6. Bologna, Italy ...with side trips to Parma, Modena and seeing cheese being made.
7. A "bagwell" this little plastic x that holds a gallon ziplock bag for me while I pour in soups, stews, etc. it's that extra set of hands that you need.
8. "Hotline" aka foodpickle...what a cool feature!
9. Temecula Olive Oil company...their citrus late reserve is divine!
10. Grains...Israeli tri-color Couscous, Red Quinoa and Azuki beans...definitely added to our regular couscous and quinoa rotation...love the additional colors.
Louisa February 2, 2012
A friend gave me a flat whisk, and I use it all the time now. Great for roux, sauces, gravy and lots more. How did I not know about this great tool?!
creamtea February 2, 2012
I love my flat whisk,. Sometimes I even use it as a sort of slotted spoon.
Hagerty February 2, 2012
Lucero olive oil and balsamic vinegar. This balsamic vinegar is unlike any I have ever tasted! Visit their tasting room right off I5 in Corning Ca.
melissav January 12, 2012
Homemade giardiniera (recipe from Mrs. Wheelbarrow's blog). It has changed my life; well, at least the quality of a quick lunch. It is amazing stirred into a can of tuna. I made it the first time in December, then again later than month and have already blown through all eight jars.
Marishka January 12, 2012

Queen Creek Olive Oil (Arizona)
creamtea January 12, 2012
Oh wait. The movie "The Trip". The restaurants they visit! (because we have to laugh at ourselves sometimes).

"To bed, gentlemen. For we rise at.....9:30."
creamtea January 12, 2012
I thought I posted this before but can't find it in the thread, so excuse me if I may have double-posted: Eagle Rare bourbon. In fact, any bourbon; personally I'd never tried it before 2011. (thanks f52!).
inthebow January 11, 2012
Japanese Hot Pots! My husband bought me the cookbook Japanese Hot Pots by Ono/Salat for Christmas. I've made eight or ten of them over the last several weeks and they're fantastic! It's been so much fun exploring new ingredients: yuzu kosho, negi, chrysanthemum leaves, and a bunch of sakes to pair with the hot pots.
AntoniaJames January 11, 2012
Phulka roti -- a totally generic product found in the refrigerator case of every good Indian grocer in this area. Also, paneer from the same refrigerated case has become a go-to convenience food since discovering it. I'm always learning about and trying new and useful ingredients/techniques, many of which quickly become a regular part of my culinary life, so this question presents a bit of a challenge. ;o)
drbabs January 11, 2012
Oh, and yesterday's section contained Merrill's article about making food for the freezer!
drbabs January 11, 2012
I have one more: Zite-- my new favorite iPad app. (yes, i broke down and i am in love with my ipad!) It's a magazine that you customize to your interests, and it has a food and cooking section... Food news, recipes, articles all in one space.
sandyms January 11, 2012
Here in Maine, I learned that making lobster stock is easy and makes lobster risotto so delicious. I'll never throw out lobster shells again

Favorite sandwich 2011: canned Italian tuna in olive oil mixed with sundried tomatoes, lemon juice, basil, chopped olives on toasted olive bread.

Artisanal breads and pizza from When Pigs Fly Bakery and Pizzeria in Kittery Maine.

Mike's Hot Honey made in Brooklyn - great sweet and spicy chicken wings.

dymnyno January 10, 2012
COTOGNA is my new favorite,wonderful, go-to restaurant whenever I am in SF and can get into for a great dinner!
Amanda H. January 10, 2012
Thanks, ChefJune -- just a reminder to all. For our round-up, we'll be focusing on things that were discovered/created in 2011. So let us know the best stuff you found last year. Thanks!
ChefJune January 10, 2012
I could list a lot of my favorite things, but I thought the point of this thread was to list wonderful things we discovered in 2011.
Devangi R. January 10, 2012
Best Lillikoi (passionfruit) Pancakes at Moke’s Bread and Breakfast in Kailua, Hawaii (I was told the recipe of these pancakes are Moke’s grandmother).
Liliha bakery coco puffs in Oahu.
Dinner with strangers at a communal table at Chef Jehangir Mehta's restaurant Graffitti, NY.
One of the best Falafel at Taim in NY
Attending the shoot of The Chew show at ABC studios , NY.
Having hosted dinner nights like Fondue Night, Italian, Indian with close friends.
Visit to Boudin Café and bakery at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. Best soup in sourdough bread bowl with grilled cheese sandwich.
First wine tasting get together at my colleague’s place with so many new friends.
And, First Bed and Breakfast stay experience in Luray, Virginia.
Huckleberry preserves from Luray.
And, the best thing ever being part of Food 52.
Jennifer E. January 10, 2012
Noosa Yoghurt. I know, something as basic as yoghurt. How could it be so special? Well, try it and you'll see! "Secret Aussie recipe from family owned Colorado cows". This isn't another "greek" variety. It's in a class all it's own. I favor the honey flavor. Creamy, smooth, rich...like cheesecake batter! Instant addiction.
EmilyC January 10, 2012
What a fun thread! Here are my additions:
--Nespresso Pixie and frother. I don't know how I lived without them!
--Canal House Cooking -- both the cookbooks and Canal House Cooks Lunch (http://lunch.thecanalhouse.com/)
--Evernote for digitally organizing recipes
--Le Creuset spatula spoon (so, so useful)
--Fagor pressure cooker (so versatile, but just the ability to make homemade stock in under an hour makes this a worthwhile purchase)
jenmmcd January 12, 2012
Thanks to Food52, I also discovered the Nespresso Pixie and the wonders of the pressure cooker in 2011. How did I live my whole life before the pressure cooker? It's so amazing... One more thing to add: the joy of making my own gnocchi (also Food52 inspired).
stilllifewithwhisk January 10, 2012
Maman's Homesick Pick: A Persian Heart in an American Kitchen by Donia Bijan. Lyrical writing, beautiful descriptions of pre-Revolution Iran, touching desciptions of Bijan's family (especially her beloved mother), and great recipes made this book one of my favorites of 2011. She has a blog, too, which is wonderful
Muffinj January 10, 2012
- Food 52 - best thing that has happened to my cooking in a long time
- Lusty Monk Mustard from Asheville, NC
- Sleepy Monk Coffee - Cannon Beach, OR
( there seems to be a thread in this)
- Lazy Mary's Lemon Tart - have served it so often I can make it blind folded !
- Fran's Chocolates - specifically the sea salt caramels
- salts - so many to have fun with !
Rivka January 10, 2012
I love Fran's chocolates. Those sea salt caramels are so, so good.
Beautiful, M. January 10, 2012
Coconut water. Not as wonderful as being in a tropical place and having a coconut freshly opened, but the taste is amazingly close. My favorite is Naked brand in individual tetra packs, perfect for bringing on a hike or bike ride and a better electrolyte replacement and thirst quencher than any "sports drink."
chefsallyjane January 10, 2012
I found a black smoked sea salt at the food hall at Galleries Lafayette in Paris that is just delicious with fish.
Panfusine January 10, 2012
1. Organic spices & foods from FabIndia & Mother Earth (2 eco friendly retail chains in India), & 2. rediscovering the value of cooking in traditional cookware.
dymnyno January 10, 2012
Community Coffee & chicory cold brew coffee...always in my fridge, Cowgirl Creamery cottage cheese, my vintage copper preserving pans,
healthierkitchen January 10, 2012
also love Cowgirl Creamery's herb fromage blanc
peartart January 10, 2012
Oh, and one more: Eat Your Books, a search engine for cookbooks. No more rifling through 300 cookbooks looking for that recipe you vaguely recall loving. Just punch in an ingredient or two, and EYB returns all the possible locations from your collection of books, magazines, even blogs.
ChefJune January 10, 2012
WOW! Thanks for that heads up.
Burnt O. January 10, 2012
yeah - add this to my digital reference above. Love it. Foodily is nice too, but having and online index of all your cookbooks is pretty awesome. Especially when you can tailor it to your collection.
peartart January 10, 2012
Shun's line of Kramer knives, available through Sur La Table - beautiful is the only word for these knives. Carbon steel for sharpness, and a balance that just seems to float in your hand.

Another vote for Blood, Butter, and Bones. Can't wait to go to Prune next time I hit NYC.

Pressure canner for canning tomatoes and other low acid foods.

Blue Chair Jam Book - has expanded my jam-making proclivities exponentially.

Modernist Cuisine, the book(s). Worth the price for the photos alone.

The Smoking Gun. A smoky Bloody Mary (or Bloody Caesar) is heaven in a highball!
peartart January 10, 2012
Shun's line of Kramer knives, available through Sur La Table - beautiful is the only word for these knives. Carbon steel for sharpness, and a balance that just seems to float in your hand.

Another vote for Blood, Butter, and Bones. Can't wait to go to Prune next time I hit NYC.

Pressure canner for canning tomatoes and other low acid foods.

Blue Chair Jam Book - has expanded my jam-making proclivities exponentially.

Modernist Cuisine, the book(s). Worth the price for the photos alone.

The Smoking Gun. A smoky Bloody Mary (or Bloody Caesar) is heaven in a highball!
Burnt O. January 10, 2012
I'd like to add one item that I don't think has been mentioned here at all - and that's the whole notion of cooking digitally. It really emerged this year, and I for one, have embraced it completely. As much as I adore leafing through my gazillion cookbooks for inspiration and ideas while sitting in my big comfy chair with a glass of wine and the cats curled up around me, when it comes to actual production in my kitchen? I'm devoted to the iPad, the ability to adapt notes and recipes in Evernote, the ease of pulling up a recipe off the cloud on my smartphone in the grocery store to double check ingredients, video demos of techniques I'm trying to master, message boards like the Hotline on the fly, blogs, blogs, blogs, online editions of Bon Appetit, Saveur, etc., and all the while rocking out to my favorite playlist. No more printing out recipes. If I adapt or use a recipe in a cookbook that I like well enough to make again - it goes straight into Evernote with my notes attached. Digital cooking has changed the way I cook, and the way I eat in many respects.
EmilyC January 10, 2012
Love Evernote!
Shalini January 10, 2012
I'm adding to my list.

Food Writing at George Brown College.
Sweet Limes.
Madhur Jaffrey's Curry Easy.
DebJ January 10, 2012
Penzy's Spices (http://www.penzeys.com/). Discovered this purveyor of dried spices, herbs, flavorings, etc. on a visit to Milwaukee some years ago and now buy most of my seasonings through their website. They are fresh, well priced and they have EVERYTHING! They also create their own blends.
Niknud January 10, 2012
Have you tried their Sandwich Sprinkle? Turns a plain old sandwich into awesomeness!
BocaCindi January 10, 2012
If you're ever in Boca Raton, Florida -- and they have stores elsewhere -- there is a great shop called The Spice & Tea Exchange in Mizner Square. What I love about it is the incredible selection of spices and that they package up one ounce bags. I love their habanero sugar. Sprinkle a little on top of muffins for that 'What is that?' kick.
DebJ January 10, 2012
Penzy's Spices (http://www.penzeys.com/). Discovered this purveyor of dried spices, herbs, flavorings, etc. on a visit to Milwaukee some years ago and now buy most of my seasonings through their website. They are fresh, well priced and they have EVERYTHING! They also create their own blends.
Rivka January 10, 2012
What a great thread! Joining the fun:

Rye flour from Anson Mills. Be sure to stick your nose in the bag right when it arrives. Smells nutty, complex, and so fresh.

I'll second Mark Kurlansky's annotated translation of Emile Zola's Belly of Paris, which I got as a holiday gift from a colleague.

EcoGlatt and KOL Foods (www.ecoglatt.com/ and http://kolfoods.com/). I don't know how many folks on this site keep kosher homes, but for years, it's been impossible to find kosher meat that is raised sustainably and tastes good. Now it's just really expensive....but at least it's possible.

Pim Techamuanvivit (Chezpim)'s jam club: http://shop.chezpim.com/collections/jam. The woman is the jam whisperer, and her jam club is the easiest way to keep the jam IV flowing.

Concord grapes and concord grape focaccia. I used to pass on them at the market because they seemed expensive, and now that I've splurged (and splurged, and splurged again...) I feel like I've really been missing out. Concord grapes are so sweet and concentrated, and baking them into focaccia makes them even more so. A bit of red wine in the dough and some rosemary and maldon on top, and you're all set.

Bulleit's rye. It's very good and reasonably priced.

Technically I discovered this in 2010, but Royal Tokaji wine, specifically the Aszu red label. They're Hungarian sweet wines, and they're incredible. Perfect to serve at the end of a long dinner party.

Savory oatmeal and sweet breakfast quinoa - and generally swapping out flavor profiles for grains I eat regularly.

Homemade Texas Chili (specifically the one from Homesick Texan). I know, I know: the oldest of old news. Why did no one pull me out from under the rock earlier?

The ice cream at Goat Town, thanks to Melissa Clark. Watch this video and you'll see why everyone needs to go and try this stuff immediately: http://www.gilttaste.com/stories/1303-rad-ice-cream-recipes-bitter-chocolate-mint-cajeta-and-ice-cream-cones
creamtea January 11, 2012
Adding to the kosher sustainable meats: Grow and Behold (www.growandbehold.com): chicken, beef, sausages.
Beecher's flagship cheddar when produced in Brooklyn = kosher as are the Redwood Hills Farm goat cheeses (and yogurts) and the Point Reyes Blue I noted above.
cookshootblog January 10, 2012
Michael Ruhlman books - started with "Twenty" and worked backwards - they are all amazing!
Adding a pinch of curry to roasted vegetable really amps up their impact.
And don't laugh, but kale chips - I am utterly and completely addicted.
culby January 10, 2012
I would have to say Beecher's cheese shop in Seattle's Pike Place Market, it has hands down the best mac and cheese I or my wife have ever had, and thier grilled cheese sandwich is pretty much the best ever also.
Kristy M. January 10, 2012
This thread is so great! I'm going to compile an official list of FOOD52 favorites. Keep adding to this thread and I'll put a post together. Deadline for submissions is Thursday. Happy posting!
pierino January 10, 2012
Thank you for taking on that task. This has been fun.
Kristy M. January 10, 2012
Thank YOU for starting this conversation!
bugbitten January 8, 2012
I'm not familiar with the Saveur magazine Top 100, so I may be off the topic a bit, but the top thing I discovered in 2011 was to relax my grip on my knife and the product, after years of holding both in a vise-like grip. Relaxing from the elbows down has made me faster and more precise. I've also gotten over an undue caution about burning everything. My medium high heat has gotten a lot higher than it used to be.

Of course I still have a fire extinguisher and a red cross kit.
luvcookbooks January 7, 2012
Gabrielle Hamilton's book and restaurant for me, too. A friend and I both read it and then we went with her mom to the restaurant for lunch. Delicious eggs are what I remember best about the meal. I loved the personality of the restaurant and neighborhood-- so much fun all the way around.

Nunu's Chocolates in Brooklyn.

Maple cotton candy, available at NYC Farmer's Markets.

White Lily flour for biscuits. Available from the Smucker's web site.

Tried Claudia Fleming's Gingerbread Trifle with Candied Kumquats, Wine Poached Cranberries and Mascarpone Cream. Sounded complicated but wasn't, did make an extravaganza company dessert.

Hotline comment threads like this one. :)
creamtea January 7, 2012
Thanks for heads up on White Lily flour. I haven't been able to get it nor convince my local stores to stock it.
Hilarybee January 7, 2012
beanilla.com for vanilla beans in bulk- I've tried beans from Tonga, India, Madagascar, Indonesia. Loved it. They have a 2-Ply vanilla bean paste which I love and use frequently.

Home Brewing. We now enjoy exactly what we like- creamy milk stout with vanilla and sarsparilla, nice pilsner with honey and grapefruit, smoked porter made with hazelnut and cocoa. We started using BrooklynBrewShop's beer cookbook, but my husband (chemical and electrical engineer) has got the maths down. It was easy to start and continues to be a fun project that we do together.

Homemade infused vinegars and oils- especially with tarragon and other forgotten herbs.

Elderflower and Elderberry. Love, especially with chocolate.

Silver Cloud Estates extracts. They have some truly original extracts, and some that are really fantastic for baking. I like the blueberry, butterscotch and green tea.

Spelt and Buckwheat. My two new favorite kind of flours.

Vermont Butter & Cheese- spreadable butter with flaked sea salt.
ChefJune January 6, 2012
Thought of another discovery for 2011: Diana Kennedy's Chicken Soup (from her Oaxaca book. Oh yes, and the book, too -- which came out last Spring.
creamtea January 6, 2012
oops. I do hope you try this. good stuff.
creamtea January 6, 2012
Add your answer here
creamtea January 6, 2012
Beecher's Flagship Cheddar
Point Reyes Blue
Redwood Hills Farm: Camellia, Terra, and goat-cheddar. I just love goats.
ChefJune January 6, 2012
lucky you! Point Reyes Blue and Redwood Hills Farm cheeses have been loves of mine for years. But you've just peeped me to a new-for-me Cheddar. Can't wait to find and try it. Merci bien!
Bevi January 6, 2012
A Beecher's grilled cheese sandwich is about the best anywhere!
Bevi January 6, 2012
A Beecher's grilled cheese sandwich is about the best anywhere!
ChefJune January 6, 2012
I'd like to add our own 1st edition of the Food52 book to the tops for 2011....

My big 2011 discoveries: Patrick Roger's chocolate (the BARS, folks!) Not sure they're available outside Paris, but they're unbelievably wonderful (and I am not a chocoholic).
Alice Rion's ethereal Meursault 2010, her first cuvee. bottled under the label of her parents, Armelle & Bernard Rion in Vosne-Romanee.

Imho, both items are worth a journey.

About that Rachael/Guy tv collaboration... I can't even bring myself to mention it. :-p
Niknud January 6, 2012
Some of these things have already been mentioned, but it's my list and I've been busy so cut me some slack.... 1. Grilled bread (as in cooked on your grill outside next to your burgers). Wow. Thank you June Bon Appetit. For those of us who don't have a wood-burning stove, this is almost as good. Plus it makes you look like a total pro when you pull delcious rounds of olive oil brushed, spice-sprinkled, grill-marked flatbread off the weber and bear it triumphantly into you dining room! 2. California Olive Oil. As several other people have mentioned. I would conduct rituals with this stuff if I could. Like licking the underside of my lawn-mower (in an awesome, grassy way). 3. King Arthur Flour website. I know, duh, right? Still, I didn't know it existed before a few weeks ago and am already churning out bangin' loaves of sandwhich bread - no more expensive grocery store loaves for me! 4. NY Times Raw Broccoli Salad (from around 2005). Garlic, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, cumin seeds, olive oil. Sauteed briefly and poured over broccoli with kosher salt and red wine vinegar. Let it sit for about an hour. Divine. Genius. Have converted legions of broccoli-haters with this one. Even the kiddies love it (!!!!). 5. My new japanese fuzzy logic rice maker. I had no idea that I was living like a wild animal. Thought that dried out or soggy rice with a burnt bottom was the only option. It has a timer that you can set for, wait for it......when you want your rice to be done. I say again, not for when you want it to start, but when you want to eat! Can't tell you the amount of times I've gone off to work knowing that delicious fluffy grains of perfection will be waiting for me when I get back. Can't eat on time? No worries - keeps it perfect for hours! Plus, it plays a cute litte jingle when it's done. Phew, I should probably stop there. But not before mentioning Food52! Awesome - so many amazing people, so welcoming for amateurs like me, so non-judgemental...like a cashmere blanket for my cooking soul.
Midge January 6, 2012
Lucky Peach!
lloreen January 6, 2012
Sautéed beet and turnip greens! Why did I always throw them away before? They are cheap and delicious.

Persian rose water ice cream!!

Dorie Greenspan's pear and almond tart, which has become my impressive but easy pot luck speciality.

Bevi January 6, 2012
Yes - Blood Bones and Butter, as well as the Canal House Series. My goal for 2012 is to eat at both restaurants. To complete the circle, I have returned to Peggy Knickerbocker's excellent cookbooks. Christopher Hirsheimer photographed Peg's latest book, Simple Soirees. Peggy has a great sense of fun and some wonderful, simple recipes.

Getting back into canning and preserving. Too many years have gone by since I last made jams, etc. It's been a joy to return to a simple and great way to spend a day, from harvest to finished product. And everyone loves to receive a jar of homemade preserves.

hardlikearmour January 4, 2012
I've got a few to add:
1. rillettes - where have they been all my life?? Perfect appetizer food - minimal hands-on time to make, make ahead, and very impressive to guests!
2. The Meadow - a specialty shop in Portland and New York which carries all manner of salts, bitters, and chocolate. http://www.atthemeadow.com/shop/
3. The Smoking Gun - was given one for Christmas, and it is a cool little piece of equipment. Have made smoked old-fashioneds and smoked roasted beets so far! Am contemplating a smoked caramel cheesecake, too... http://www.cuisinetechnology.com/the-smoking-gun.php
4. Bozzano Olive Ranch Olive Oil - My local grocer started stocking their oil over the last year or so, and I love it, particularly the Generations & A-squared! http://www.bozzanoranch.com/
5. The book "Artisan Cheese Making at Home" - my sister and I have started making cheese from the book. I've got some ricotta salata curing in the fridge, and we hope to work our way up to more complicated cheeses over the course of the year. My goal is the Lemon Vodka Spirited Goat Cheese! http://www.artisancheesemakingathome.com/
Angela @. January 4, 2012
Making mine own butter and using the 'buttermilk' in baking.
drbabs January 4, 2012
OK, here are mine:
1. Nespresso espresso machine with milk steamer for cappuccino. A total splurge and a lot of fun.
2. Grinding my own coffee beans for regular coffee (Can I just say that I was shocked by the difference in flavor? I know I'm late to the party on this, but oh well.)
3. I also loved Gabrielle Hamilton's book, but have not eaten at Prune. Yet.
4. My salad spinner. (I think I have you to thank for this, pierino.) No more pre-packaged greens.
5. Kuhn Rikon serrated peeler. http://www.amazon.com/Kuhn-Rikon-Piranha-Swivel-Peeler/dp/B0027Y0E1W For someone who spends the fall making apple pie and ginger apple torte, this peeler has been a godsend.
6. (Saved the best for last): getting to know--in person--some of my Food52 friends. And finding out that they are just as nice and fun in person as they seem to be on the website. Happy new year, y'all!
pierino January 4, 2012
About dinner at Prune; I've been there twice now and the food is superb and by New York standards reasonable. For my most recent visit in early December when NYC is packed with tourists. I booked 30 days ahead and was rewarded with an 8:00 reservation for myself and a colleague---a pretty valuable time slot for a highly rated, and tiny, New York restaurant. As it turned out we had an early morning meeting so I called a few days ahead and changed to 6:30, releasing the 8:00 res which I'm sure they were able to sell. I ordered the trippa milanese along with some brussels sprouts the size of the fingernail on your pinky finger. Absolutely delicious. It's located in a great neighborhood for restaurants and food in general.
The S. January 4, 2012
Can I give a link? Too long to copy/paste. I actually just posted my own top 11 list on my blog. I should have put Food 52 on it, now that I think of it. You guys have been a recent enough discovery that I'll just have to put you in for 2012! :)

beyondcelery January 3, 2012
Great idea! For me:
Finn River Dry Hopped hard apple cider - It tastes like ale, but it's cider. Utterly delicious and gluten-free!
Homemade sourdough starter - I love having this always available in my fridge. I also refer to it as my "pet."
Grinding my own meat - I'm ex-vegetarian, so I'm late to this, but totally in love with it.
Using ground flaxseed and chia seed to replace eggs or gums in baking - This has totally changed the way I create gluten-free recipes.
LLStone January 3, 2012
This is highly personal and reflects generally and not specifically:
1) Duck fat – Late, yes; delicious, yes.
2) California wine and olive oil – I love the oil just like the pic in the mag and others from tastings in Napa.
3) Salts - my goodness! There are so many good ones.
4) Pepper and spices - I’m so enjoying the discoveries.
5) Chiles in Adobo sauce - a very good secret ingredient.
6) Pho - I love all the possible combos of this soup.
7) Homemade liqueurs - very good and so fun – my fave is DIY Ginger Liqueur.
8) Canning - What a discovery - so many good things to preserve from garden!
9) Bread / Biscuits - why not make your own?
10) Quick pickling - I’m quick-pickling so much these days.
11) Weck canning jars – love them
12) Emile Henry flame ware – I have 2 pieces and I love them.
List overall: Generic – yes! Serious – yes!
gingerroot January 3, 2012
Definitely agree, Blood, Bones and Butter AND eating dinner there. I had a very memorable meal last Thursday and wish I were not at least an 11-hour flight away to enjoy another.

Monkfish liver with soy and lemon on buttered toast at Prune. Amazing!

Having a raised bed garden and growing my own food. It changes your life (and the lives of those around you, especially children)

Discovering spices that I can't get enough of like whole allspice and black caraway.

healthierkitchen January 3, 2012
Farro pasta. Also, Burmese food - particularly tea leaf salad. And different red pepper pastes - Turkish, Korean (gochujang), etc.
Greenstuff January 4, 2012
Is it hard to find the tea leaves for Burmese tea leaf salad? A local restaurant mentions on their menu that they get them right from Burma and that it's worth it.
healthierkitchen January 4, 2012
I have only had the tea leaf salad in restaurants so far. I first tried it out in SF but then had it in the DC area and in NY. I just learned about a market attached to a Burmese restaurant in Northern Virginia that sells the tea leaves so I am hoping to get out there soon!
Greenstuff January 3, 2012
Emile Henry Flameware (got my first in February and I am addicted).

Domaine de Canton liqueurs.

An inexpensive Asian peeler for making green papaya salad (it's coarser than my expensive julienne peeler)

And I'll second the Mark Kurlansky and the Warren pears
pierino January 3, 2012
Yeah, I'm a great fan of Flameware and just cooking in earthenware period.
Anitalectric January 3, 2012
'Good cacao' superfood chocolate bars. Lemon+chocolate? Who new?!

Kuri squash: for when you want the rich flavor of kubocha, with three times the orange color (great for baking)

Sprouting. Started with mung beans and I'm hooked: the flavor is like an earthy coconut.

Google image search. Best way to get inspiration for recipes. What to do/NOT to do.

Trader Joe's tahini dip. It is basically whipped tahini. It is delicious. You never have to deal with the seperation of the oil and the solids that is such trouble with reg. tahini. So much better on sandwiches than mayo.

Cooking with beer. Chili, muffins, pasta, brownies. Nothing was safe.

Fermented black beans from Chinatown. All the stinky cheesy flavor with none of the dairy. Esp. for sauces.

Puerto Rican sea salt. Closer to home than the Euro brands and ten times the flavor.

Foodspotting. Best food app for urban living! Find foods close to your location by pictures, not menus.

Cooking with coconut cream. Chill a can of coconut milk and use the separated cream like butter. Learned from a Food52 instructional video, of course! (Mujadarra?)

That was fun. Thanks, pierino!

Voted the Best Reply!

Chef L. January 3, 2012
This blog/site. Certainly lots of foodies but also a a lot of beginners trying to do better.
vvvanessa January 3, 2012
Food Swaps: I've attened three this year, and they are so much fun. I love the whole process of deciding what to make and then having all kinds of great booty to take home. It's so inspiring to see what people are making and how delicious their efforts are.

Warren Pears: from Frog Hollow Farms in Brentwood, California. They're very dear at almost $4/pound, but totally worth the splurge. I can't imagine eating them any way but straight up. They're perfect.

Soda Stream: I know it's been around for a while, but I just got one, and it's about to change my beverage life.

Baking competitions at Omnivore Books in San Francisco: I attended one jam-packed cake-off, and it was so much fun. Omnivore creates a wonderful sense of community food-focused folks in the Bay Area, and I'm always look forward to attending events there.

Tasty n Sons in Portland, Oregon: The chocolate potato doughnuts? Or the Burmese pork stew? Or the glazed yams with maple and cumin? The shakshuka? The burger? The only thing that I don't like about it is having to choose what to eat. There's no lack of good food in Portland, but this is waaay good.
Midge January 6, 2012
Baking competitions and food swaps? Why don't I live out there?!
vvvanessa January 6, 2012
Swap away, Midge!

Midge January 6, 2012
That looks awesome but I've moved back to Charleston, SC, where I might just have start one. Thanks so much for checking that out though!
vvvanessa January 6, 2012
Or maybe we need more Secret Santa swaps!
Midge January 6, 2012
hmm, I think you're on to something, but maybe not so secret?
linzarella January 2, 2012
Tamar Adler's "An Everlasting Meal." She set out to write a modern day "How to Cook a Wolf," and she did a fantastic job. Nothing has inspired me to cook more.

Also, Marcella Hazan's recipe for braised celery and tomato with pancetta. It was truly a revelation to see celery become something to get really, really excited about. http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Sedano-e-Pomodori-Brasati-Braised-Celery-and-Tomato
pierino January 3, 2012
Celery lover here. In Rome it's used generously. Unfortunately most supermarkets take the tops off (God knows why). The leaves are full of delicious celery flavor. You can chop them up and add them to a braise or a soup.
linzarella January 3, 2012
Oh, yes, celery leaves! Thanks for reminding me of another thing I learned recently - to use the leaves for homemade celery salt. http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/homemade-celery-salt-recipe.html
healthierkitchen January 2, 2012
This might sound weird, but frozen kefir. It is a little tangy like frozen yogurt, particularly in the "natural" flavor. Hard to find in groceries, but worth it. Also, Barry Estabrook's Tomatoland. Oxo's travel mug is amazing - no spills.
Rivka January 10, 2012
I had OXO's travel mug for a long time, and it's true that there are no spills, but - and be prepared to be grossed out - the mug doesn't disassemble, and as a result, mold builds up in the mug's top over time. After a fair amount of research, I bought the Thermos Sipp. The Sipp also has a totally spill-proof silicone seal, but unlike the OXO one it actually comes apart and all the pieces are dishwasher safe. No spills AND no mold - it's a winner.
Shalini January 2, 2012
This is a nice idea. I too used to look forward to the Saveur 100. Must check it out this month!

I recently discovered 23 Degrees of Coffee, whose beans are roasted in Toronto and fair trade. Really nice stuff if you have a drip coffee maker or filter coffee as your only home brewing options.
Blood, Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton is a wonderful read.
Vanilla from India. There has been vanilla beans and extract available from Bangalore, India, it's fair trade and really good.
Arayuna Spices, imported from Sri Lanka and in beautiful woven raffia boxes, aren't too pricey but still special.
Panfusine January 2, 2012
OOH, I'll Heartily second that Rachael Ray/ Guy Fieri cook off in the bottom 100 category!
pierino January 2, 2012
I'll begin by answering my own question (in no particular order):

Gabrielle Hamilton's Blood, Bones, and Butter (along with a Sunday dinner reservation at Prune in NYC---this place is tiny).
Discovering that Yonah Schimmel's Knishery was right next door to my hotel.
Fresh goose eggs from Nature's Touch in Templeton.
Mark Kurlansky's annotated translation of Emile Zola's Belly of Paris.
Country Farmer antiques in Los Alamos, CA for old cooking stuff.
Yang San Park Korean B.B. Q. in Torrance, CA when I was stranded overnight nearby.
Carciofini Selvatici Torre Saracena. These are tiny, spicy artichokes (ordered through Zingerman's)
Internal brines, a technique I picked up from Primal Cuts, the book by Marrissa Guggiana
Fiori di Sicilia extract from King Arthur. Great in gelato.

After that we can take on the Bottom 100 maybe beginning with previews for the Rachael Ray, Guy Fieri collaboration "Celebrity Cook Off" or whatever it's called. How dumb is to dumb? Wait, I know! Rick Perry.
SKK January 2, 2012
Theos Chocolates - embarrassed to say I recently discovered them. And they are about 5 miles from my home! One of the few places that roasts their own organic cocoa beans. http://www.theochocolate.com/our-story/
boulangere January 2, 2012
I'll see your California Olive Ranch olive oil, and raise you Nigel Slater's Tender.
Amanda H. January 2, 2012
Ok, I'll start: CraftCoffee.com -- a subscription coffee service. They do an excellent job all around -- interesting sources, thoughtfully assembled -- and I really enjoy the element of surprise every month.
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