What were your favorite products in 2013?
Food52 wants to know: What were your favorite products in 2013?
We'd love to know what you loved in the following categories:
- Pantry staples (What tomatoes do you swear by for Marcella's tomato sauce? Which bag of flour do you buy?)
- Kitchen tools
- Appliances (in any room of the house!)
Can't wait to hear everyone's responses!
Recommended by Food52
“Preservation Kitchen,” by Paul Virant, published in 2012 but not discovered by me until early summer 2013. I bought West’s “Saving the Seasons,” which I like for the non-recipe content (and the recipes are good, too), but I like Virant’s book even better. He’s a one Michelin star chef in Chicago who preserves dozens of items, in interesting ways, which he uses in the restaurant. The book includes recipes from the restaurant in which the preserved items are used. So much wisdom, so many great recipes. I used over a dozen of them. His pumpkin butter, made by roasting butternut squash, spices and dairy butter in the oven, could easily be my favorite new recipe discovery of the year.
Anything from Oaktown Spice Shop. (They’re five minutes away. I go there almost every week. I’d live there if I could.)
Corn flour in artisanal breads (30 grams to 345 grams of other flours), courtesy of William Alexander (interesting, witty, non-professional baker and author of “52 Loaves,” a fun read; I recommend his method for creating a wild yeast levain), who learned of this trick from Dan Lepard. Wonderful how one simple change can make such a difference. ;o)
Genmai-cha--green tea with toasted rice. I've become enamored of its toasty, smooth flavor.
Flaky sea salt--we love Jacobsen, but any flaky finishing salt that adds a nice crunch will do.
Quince--I had never tasted it before this year, but I've fallen in love with its delicate, floral flavor. I know it's an ancient fruit, but it seems to have been rediscovered. At least by me ;)
Buckwheat honey--honey with almost molasses-like notes
Saving the Seasons by Kevin West--by far the best canning and preserving book to hit the shelves in a good long while. Highly readable, educational, and entertaining with solid recipes, no gimmicks.
Tartine Book 3--I'm completely bowled over by it. They taught me how to successfully make my first sourdough a few years ago, and now they're going to guide me through making whole grain sourdough breads. I'm in love.
As for coffee, we've been using our Aeropress for a few years now and still love it. We only drink a cup of coffee apiece in the morning, so this works perfectly for us and it brews damn fine coffee to boot. We also take it with us whenever we go on a road trip (grind the beans before you leave, and all you need is hot water from a gas station to make great coffee) or on vacation. Oh, and it's great for camping, too.
Went another year without buying any gadgets. In fact, tossed out about 2 dozen wooden spoons. I discovered the 10 inch one works just as good as the 8 inch or 12 inch. Toss, toss, toss.
Nespresso ! I started to drink coffee again after 20 years - decaf mind you. We now travel with it...car trips that is.
And, I continue to advise everyone to invest in a good vacuum packer. I used to toss out dozens of ziplock bags from the freezer not knowing what was inside. No more.
--Nespresso with milk frother: can't imagine life without it.
--Duralex glasses in various sizes: they stack, they're good for hot or cold beverages, they get used every day.
--mortar and pestle: a little elbow grease makes for the best pesto and salsa verde.
--Le Creuset large spatula spoon: I reach for it all of the time. So much better than any other heat-resistant spatula I've used.
--orange and lavender bitters: easy way to make a glass of cheap bubbly a little more interesting.
We also found that muffin tins work amazingly well for making pasteles
Pierino, I couldn't get anything out of that long link you posted for Eater National - it just wants me to log into Outlook. Please post the link so we can all take a look - thanks!
Best food-book purchase in 2013:
"Pretty Good, Number #1" by Matthew Amster-Burton. A highly entertaining book about eating and food in Tokyo. Now all I want to do is go to Tokyo and eat my way around it.
Ghost chili salt and Chai Mix, both purchased at Oaktown Spice Shop.
My Viking hand mixer (prize from Food52!) And my Cuisinart food processor.
And on the stove front, a bit of efficiency. Cook a pound of dried beans in the pressure cooker, pack them in 'can sized' containers (1 1/2 cups), then make a soup, a spread, a chili, a salad... or whatever, and I have meals and leftovers. Sounds (relatively) simple, and it is, and I am actually doing it!
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Making Sauerkraut with just cabbage, salt and a jar. Taking some time to use cheaper choice cuts of steak and properly salt them and rest them for turning budget items to better items. Planing menus to use left overs effectively. Using the bread machine to mix and rise the bread instead of baking it...for pizza dough and keeping that ready to use for using up left overs.
I seem to have to plenty of 'products' and food toys, I'm not even using my rice cooker anymore. I'm rediscovering old ways of doing things and it's pretty good.
-Spatula my mother bought me for my Birthday
-The kitchen aid mixer that she sent to my house by accident, but bless her let me keep. Only have had it for two weeks and been used at least 4 times per week. (life changing)
Van Leeuwen Artisan ice cream (Ginger, green tea, and gianduija)
A rotisserie cage for grilling.
An enameled cast iron grill pan.
Diced tomatoes with chilies
Homemade infused olive oils
$0.99 16 oz Lime juice concentrate from Dollar Tree
Haven't used yet, but candied citron in half lb piece, available in Little Italy in the Bronx, and candied angelica, available on line-- if you are really interested, I will trace back and tell you.
Smoked paprika, both hot and sweet.
All kinds of rice, including Vietnamese sticky rice. Got the special pot and straw cone to steam it at the Asian store, across the street from Poe Cottage in the Bronx.
Vietnamese coffee single cup brewing system. $3.50 or so, also available at the Asian grocery store, and no moving parts, makes a deep rich cup of coffee. If you put condensed milk at the bottom, you have sort of the same coffee you get in Vietnamese restaurants.
Appliances. I am a Luddite but inherited my mom's KitchenAid this year (so sad). Noticed it has a dough hook. I have never used a stand mixer but want to make good use of this one. Suggestions and thoughts welcome.
Buy Red Pack diced tomatoes. Wish I had a big enough garden to bottle my own tomatoes.
Chocolate for quick dessert: like Scharffenberger's Nibby Bar, luv Nunu's chocolates, like Russell Stover (sorry, folks), love Mondel's on the Upper West Side even though they don't make nougat (try the lemon and orange creams and you will be happy, also their thin mints).
Trader Joe's frozen single serving vegetarian entrees for my son the big eater. Also their California dried apricots for my older brother. Trader Joe's dried pasta.
Whole Foods in Yonkers carries a great local grain producer, Cayuga, that makes flour, pasta and breads.
Breads from Hot Bread Kitchen, Orwasher's, and the Finnish Rye place that sells at greenmarkets.
This is just too local, have to stop. Happy New Year! What will you be cooking this year? That's another Hotline ?, isn't it?
With regard to the books I mentioned "Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking" is really more of a memoir of family told through food. There are a few recipes toward the back but not many.
The Roy Choi book is absolutely outrageous. Even more so than Chang's "Momofuku". He has a recipe using Shun Ramyun, the Korean style ramen that sells for under $2.00 a package. These Korean-American guys will take you places you never thought you would go. They've broadened the horizon.
Pantry; Limerock walnut butter from Paso Robles. I bought it locally but you can order it through Zingermans.
Out of category but worth mentioning: books! L.A. SON by Roy Choi. This is a memoir with recipes. It's the L.A. I remember and love. Also another memoir told through food, MASTERING THE ART OF SOVIET COOKING by Anya von Bremzen.