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Secret Cooking Ingredients - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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Secret Cooking Ingredients

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  • Secret Cooking Ingredients

    After years of making chili we had a local chili eating contest....a friend brought a dark chili that had cocoa powder in it. I've put some in my chili ever since. (it's a missing ingredient on the JBeans recipe too) chocolate is a very interesting flavor ....might mix well with the chili pepper ala Chocolat!

    Anyone have some more secrets to share?
    Sharing life's positives and loving the slow food lane

  • #2
    Re: Secret Cooking Ingredients

    Sounds like a Mexican Mole sauce.
    Ken H. - Kentucky
    42" Pompeii

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    • #3
      Re: Secret Cooking Ingredients

      I like anchovies in lots of things...tomato sauces, soups, gives a salty richness.

      I swear by chocolate chips in my banana bread (ok maybe not secret, but it sure improves the mix.

      Must put a pork rib or two in my basic pasta sauce.

      My Mom says celery seeds are the key to potato salad.
      My Oven Thread:
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      • #4
        Re: Secret Cooking Ingredients

        Cinnamon in the spagetti sauce. My wife thought I was nuts until she tasted it.

        Bruce
        Sharpei Diem.....Seize the wrinkle dog

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        • #5
          Re: Secret Cooking Ingredients

          Originally posted by DrakeRemoray View Post
          I like anchovies in lots of things...tomato sauces, soups, gives a salty richness.
          Definitely. I read in a cookbook somewhere that you can try to add enough anchovies just to where they enhance the taste, but no one knows they are there. :-)

          Fish sauce. It's the same idea.

          Do you play name those ingredients with the kids? Very fun. Make something pretty wild and see how many different things they can ID.

          James
          Pizza Ovens
          Outdoor Fireplaces

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          • #6
            Re: Secret Cooking Ingredients

            Try the tubes of anchovie paste available at your local grocer. It is goes absolutely unnoticed in the taste, but adds and undescribeable something. It is a standard in Italian cooking from what I've seen, read, and heard.
            GJBingham
            -----------------------------------
            Everyone makes mistakes. The trick is to make mistakes when nobody is looking.

            -

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            • #7
              Re: Secret Cooking Ingredients

              Yeah, we're back to the Roman Garum fish sauces and worscheshire with the anchovies....interesting

              Cinnamon sounds interesting too.

              An old chef told me to add sweet to my tomato sauces because they can be "sour" so I often add honey to spaghetti sauces.
              Sharing life's positives and loving the slow food lane

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              • #8
                Re: Secret Cooking Ingredients

                Bit of a contradiction here, but I always add some balsamic vinegar to my bolognaise sauces - this was after I made a delicious sauce out of left over tomato salad...
                "Building a Brick oven is the most fun anyone can have by themselves." (Terry Pratchett... slightly amended)

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                • #9
                  Re: Secret Cooking Ingredients

                  Good idea - honey instead of sugar. I'll try that one!
                  GJBingham
                  -----------------------------------
                  Everyone makes mistakes. The trick is to make mistakes when nobody is looking.

                  -

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                  • #10
                    Re: Secret Cooking Ingredients

                    Originally posted by SpringJim View Post
                    An old chef told me to add sweet to my tomato sauces because they can be "sour" so I often add honey to spaghetti sauces.
                    I heard somewhere....
                    that a great addition to spaghetti sauce is grape jelly....

                    Ancient Italian secret?

                    It would seem to make some sense though.
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                    • #11
                      Re: Secret Cooking Ingredients

                      I've heard that another way to sweeten spaghetti sauce is to add carrot juice to the mixture. I've never tried it though. I will definitly try Spring Jim's honey secret. I have a freind that's in the honey business, so I have a great supply line.
                      "Pizza, the world's most perfect food."

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                      • #12
                        Re: Secret Cooking Ingredients

                        Originally posted by asudavew View Post
                        I heard somewhere....
                        that a great addition to spaghetti sauce is grape jelly....
                        seem to make some sense though.
                        that's the honey and red wine recipe

                        Grated carrots in the chili will give you a nice sweetness there....
                        Sharing life's positives and loving the slow food lane

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                        • #13
                          Re: Secret Cooking Ingredients

                          An old wives secret is add a little sugar to everything to bring out the flavor like salt. I haven't tried it in everything but it works in a lot of things.
                          I've tried cinnamon in more mexican dishes like red sauce and enchalada sauce.
                          Chocolate is good too!
                          I'll have to make chili with the carrot juice, cinnamon, cocoa and anchovie paste. Oh yeah and honey! I think the key to good chili is the carmalization of the meat, anyway.
                          Orrin Dean

                          Excuse me. I'm new at this.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Secret Cooking Ingredients

                            Orrin,
                            How do you carmelize the meat in chili? I always just throw it in the mix. No carmelization there? Do you cook it prior to adding it?
                            GJBingham
                            -----------------------------------
                            Everyone makes mistakes. The trick is to make mistakes when nobody is looking.

                            -

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                            • #15
                              Re: Secret Cooking Ingredients

                              I brown the meat first. Not dried out just good and brown - Maillard reaction. Then I add onions, tomatoes and peppers to get the brown off the bottom of the pan.
                              I guess I used carmelization because I want to get those sugars out, like you do in carmalization, and I couldn't think of Maillard reaction at the time. I think you can brown meat without getting the sugars reacting to the recipe. We just had some nice beef patties at work, that were ruined in a inch of water in a half pan covered with foil for a hour.
                              Orrin Dean

                              Excuse me. I'm new at this.

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