Coarse Salt (Kosher Salt)
- an additive-free coarse-grained salt. Used by gourmet cooks and chefs who
prefer its texture and flavor.
- The worlds' most popular spice, pepper in one
form or other is used around the world to enhance the flavor of both savory
and sweet dishes. Because it stimulates gastric juices, it delivers a
digestive bonus as well. Whole peppercorns freshly ground with a pepper mill
deliver more flavor than does preground pepper, which loses its flavor
fairly quickly. Whole dried peppercorns can be stored in a cool, dark place
for about a year; ground pepper will keep its flavor for about 4 months.
- The world's best everyday rice. An aromatic rice
from Thailand that has a flavor and fragrance comparable to the expensive
Basmati rice from India, at a fraction of the cost. A beautiful long grain
rice with a distinct aroma similar to corn.
- The vanilla bean was once considered an
aphrodisiac, and was so rare that it was reserved for royalty. Pure vanilla
extract is about twice as expensive as its imitation counterpart, but
there's no real comparison in flavor intensity and quality, and only about
half the amount is needed.
- For everyday cooking. A health conscious
alternative to other vegetable oils because it's been discovered to be lower
in saturated fat (about 6 percent) than any other oil. This compares to the
saturated fat content of peanut oil (about 18 percent) and palm oil (at an
incredibly high 79 percent). Canola oil contains more cholesterol-balancing
monounsaturated fat than any oil except olive oil. It also has the
distinction of containing Omega-3 fatty acids, the wonder polyunsaturated
fat reputed to not only lower both cholesterol and triglycerides, but to
contribute to brain growth and development as well. The bland-tasting oil is
suitable both for cooking and for salad dressings.
Virgin Olive Oil
- Adds its own unique nutty flavor to a variety of
foods. The cold-pressed result of the first pressing of the olives, is only
1 percent acid. It's considered the finest and fruitiest of the olive oils
and is therefore also the most expensive. Extra virgin olive oil can range
from a crystalline champagne color to greenish-golden to bright green. In
general, the deeper the color, the more intense the olive flavor. Olive oil
should be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months. It can be
refrigerated, in which case it will last up to a year. Chilled olive oil
becomes cloudy and too thick to pour. However, it will clear and become
liquid again when brought to room temperature.
Processed Cocoa Powder
- The richer, darker Dutch cocoa has been treated
with an alkali, which helps neutralize cocoa's natural acidity. You will
taste the difference for it produces a richly intense, yet smooth chocolate
Lemons and Limes
- No bottled or canned substitute can compare.
Grated Parmesan Cheese
- There are Parmesan cheeses made in Argentina,
Australia and the United States, but none compares with Italy's preeminent
Parmigiano-Reggiano, with its granular texture that melts in the mouth.
Pregrated Parmesan is available but doesn't compare with freshly grated.
Both domestic and imported Parmesans are available in specialty cheese
stores, Italian markets and many supermarkets. Using the "canned
variety" should be compared to substituting plastic flowers for
fresh...which would you prefer to have?
100% Durum Wheat Semolina Pastas
- As a general rule, imported dried pasta is
superior to American factory-made products, mainly because the imported
pasta is only made with semolina, which doesn't absorb too much water and is
pleasantly firm when cooked al dente (a nice chew to the tooth). If you ask
any Italian, they will tell you it's the pasta, not the sauce.