I bought my first piece of kitchen equipment when I was 18 years old. It was a hand-hammered wok. Since then, I’ve taught myself to make dumplings, fried rice, wontons, and, more recently, egg rolls. There was just one missing piece in the puzzle to reclaim my Chinese takeout ritual from childhood: duck sauce.
Chili is personal, and you have your favorite recipe. I respect that. I’m not here to argue with your one true chili love.
But I would bet that there are some ways that you could make your tried-and-true recipe even better. I’m just talking about little things to add extra flavor here or give some richness there—small tweaks that, when tallied up, amount to a more fantastic chili.
Some will think cinnamon in chili is an abomination. And I like cinnamon. In ice cream. On apples. In chewing gum. But in chili? It’s worth an experiment – cinnamon can do some interesting things in more savory dishes.
Despite the classic cocktail boom, Gibsons still aren’t terribly popular. And cocktail onions aren’t particularly well loved either. Just as an example: In most of the bars, a jar of cocktail onions (and a small one at that) typically lasts more than a year. And those bars are making a lot of more of any given drink than anyone is at home.
Unless you know some one who likes a Gibson, or pickled onions in general, I’d say its a risky choice. You’d be better off pickling a variety of produce with a broader use, or with a specific cocktail in mind. Pickled green beans, peppers, and asparagus always go well in a Bloody Mary. Candied citrus peel (or other fruit really) are surprisingly useful in cocktails. The syrup can be used as a cocktail ingredient, and the peel itself is a really flavorful garnish. Candied or liquor soak cherries are a huge improvement on store bought maraschino cherries (which are the devil). Pickled onions could definitely have a place in a package of home made standard cocktail garnishes. A sort of “I am stocking your bar” sort of gift. But on their own, very few people are chomping a the bit for a better cocktail onion.
Like Julia Child before me, I enjoy cooking with wine, and find that it works just as well as a companion as it does an ingredient. But every once in awhile I’ll find the wine rack empty. This is unfortunate, but there are a couple of great substitutes already in your pantry perfect for deglazing.
It was a pretty simple potato salad: large cubes of potatoes, skin on, tossed with mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar, and the last of the season’s chopped ramps. Mayonnaise is mostly oil, and the rest of it amounts to seasoning, so we figured toss it in the oven and see what happens.
I have at least five kinds of vinegar always in use at home, and one of my favorites is sherry, which is floral, not as acidic, and a bit subtler overall than other vinegars. Add a touch to rich sauces or, especially, to salsas and pico de gallo. Take any fruit like mango or pineapple, and toss it in a hot pan with onions and cilantro. Then drizzle it with olive oil and sherry vinegar and you have a perfect salsa.