As the holidays approach, we all start sorting out what to cook and serve (and bring to our neighbors when they invite us over for a holiday tipple). Here are some of my favorite ingredients for tweaking classic, and innovative, recipes. I have also included some choice wines and cocktails to enjoy with the meal or while cooking.
Great balsamic vinegar is irreplaceable. It can be used on salads, as well as vanilla ice cream. It is even great when drizzled on melons. It even adds some zest to blue cheese. Carandini is a classic one.
Yemen is home to many great dishes. Sadly we see few of them in the U.S. So finding a little herb-based, hot sauce is so exciting. Is can be used on meat marinades or swirl it over hummus. Zhug is really delicious.
Think blinis and bliss. Nothing speaks holiday like a little caviar dripped over whatever you are indulging in. Marky’s hits the mark. I particularly like it over eggs in the morning.
Good artisinal pasta, that holds its al dente status while consumed, is hard to find. The three-location Italian Food Company in the Florida Keys is shipping this divine stuff around the country (and you would wish you lived in the Keys if you could only taste the pizza!)
Bordeaux with a little age on it goes with anything. Saratoga Wine out of the UK, ships a nice selection to customers in the States. Some of the labels include Château Lafon-Rochet, Château Pédesclaux and Château de Ferrand. The company also has Italian gems like Orma and Sette.
This classic Italian tipple is one of my favorites. Best had before dinner and limit yourself to at maximum two! This version, the white Negroni by Via Carota, the swank NYC restaurant is made without Campari, hence its pale color.
These dim sum have been a salvation for me on nights when I have to work late. They steam up perfectly (in exactly 11 minutes) and taste like something out of the best Chinese restaurant in NYC or SF. They are shipped frozen from the mothership Mila in Seattle and come in a few versions with dipping sauces.