Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Top 10 Most Obscure Ingredients in my Kitchen

Yes, I like weird foods; I'm okay with "different." And, fittingly, I have some unusual items in my kitchen.

Thought we'd do a Top 10 List, Johnny Carson style.

The Top 10 Most Obscure Ingredients in My Kitchen:

#10 Whaler's Vanille Rum - yes, you can drink it & it makes an amazing Spiked Vanilla Coke but it's true purpose for being in my kitchen is it's the star of the show in my Almost Tortuga Rum Cake. My "I don't like alcohol" husband LOVES my rum cake.

#9 Root Beer Concentrate - I sure wish I remember what recipe I bought this for. I've had it in my pantry for years. Guess I should check for an expiration date. 

#8 Rice Sticks - These little guys are similar to glass noodles but have a little more substance to them. They are also way long. I'm not really sure when to use rice noodles vs any other type of oriental noodle but I've got them & will use them some time.

#7  Rice Flour & other random flours - I made a cake for a friend's birthday using rice flour since she is on a special diet. The cake was DISGUSTING. Inedible. Epic Fail.
I also have Cake Flour (for the rum cake, of course!), Whole Wheat Flour, Bread Flour, and All-Purpose Flour.

#6 Coconut Oil - Not really a fan of Vegetable Oil (I actually find it rather gross) so I was very excited to find a substitute for it for baking. It is very high in Saturated Fat so it's still not an "All-The-Time Food" but it has a lot of health benefits to it too.
Information on Coconut Oil & Information on Coconut Oil #2

#5 Goat Cheese - I don't use Goat Cheese as often as I use Feta but I LOVE it on Pizza & pasta dishes. It has a distinct flavor & is very smooth & creamy. It's something you will either hate & hate with a passion (like my husband does) or you will really love it when you find the right thing to do with it.
Oh, and get it at Costco! This stuff is ridiculously expensive but is reasonably priced at Costco.

#4 Coconut Milk - Not sure what to do with it. Impulse purchase.

#3 Miso Paste - Okay, there's a story here - When I was pregnant with Eli we frequently went to Central Market for a cheap date. We'd listen to a band play & eat on the patio. Jason normally ordered something from the grill & I, every time, ordered a baked potato & miso soup. But then Central Market did some remodeling & no longer makes Miso Soup in the cafe. What's a girl with cravings to do? Find a recipe, of course! Unfortunately, my attempts at recreating CM's Miso Soup have been unsuccessful. Possibly because there are 3 different types of miso paste & I didn't know which one to try so I guessed. I even asked a guy who worked there & he called for the guy who made the miso soup but due to his accent the directions were lost in translation, literally. 

#2 Nutritional Yeast - I saw a segment on cancer fighting foods on Dr. Oz one day & bought some. They say Nutritional Yeast has a nutty, cheesy flavor & can be added to cheesy recipes like pizza or you can even substitute it for Parmesan cheese. Tried it. Not so much. It does have a nutty flavor but it's in flakes so it's more like eating nutty almost-cheesy fish food. I haven't written it off & have plans to try it in a macaroni & cheese recipe I saw once upon a time but I have a feeling it will fall into the "Recipe Fail" category.   

And the #1 Most Obscure Ingredient in my kitchen is...

Wakame! - Ah, yes, more ingredients in the search for the elusive Miso Soup. Wakame is dried seaweed. The wakame actually isn't too bad. I mean, I'm not putting it on everything & it's probably a good thing Braden didn't know I had it when he made his pizza. But it really tastes the way it's supposed to & in Miso Soup it's fantastic. 
I tried a recipe to use it since I had it & would give it a try but was not a fan. So, if you have an awesome recipe that calls for wakame please pass it along!  

That's it! Surprised by any  If you're ever at our house & are curious about one of these just ask. We'll do a taste test!
~ Alison


  1. the coconut milk will make great smoothies. though i normally use almond milk. add a frozen banana, a handful of frozen blueberries and some protein powder (if you want to up the protein). pretty delicious if you ask me. and i've seen people put the nutritional yeast on scrambled eggs. maybe worth a try? i don't know because i've never tried it. i keep meaning to buy it though.

  2. Melodie, thanks for the tip. Unfortunately, my coconut milk had expired. oops. But the Nutritional Yeast is good til 2013 so I have lots of time to procrastinate & not use it. :-)
    Next time I make scrambled eggs I'll use is. Do you know if I'm supposed to add water or rehydrate it or use it in it's fish food state?
    ~ Alison

  3. Are you going to post the recipe for the Rum Cake? You should ;) Also, your root beer extract should last a long time. I have some I got from my grandmother that is so very old, but still smells and tastes fine. It's all got alcohol in it, so I'm sure that helps ;) A friend of mine is trying to go vegan, and she has been using nutritional yeast in a ton of recipes with success. I can ask her to share some of her recipes if you'd like.