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Old 08-16-2006, 12:28 PM   #1
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Do you have a secret ingredient?

Or maybe you picked up a little trick you'd like to share. I, for instance, put a teaspoon of cinnamon in my scratch chocolate cake recipe. I just did it one day and, "wow". Been doin' it ever since. Care to share?

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Old 08-16-2006, 12:37 PM   #2
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Soy sauce.

It gives savory food Umami

I put it in almost everything.
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Old 08-16-2006, 01:37 PM   #3
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Used to be I would put Old Bay on lots of things. It's great on hash browns.
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Old 08-16-2006, 01:49 PM   #4
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well, it's a secret....


use left over coffee in gravy. Good stuff.
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Old 08-16-2006, 01:53 PM   #5
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While it's definitely not what I'd call a "secret" ingredient, I have to say that I find a squeeze of fresh lemon (or sometimes lime) juice adds just the right "something" to many many different things - both sweet & savory. I go through a lot of both.

What's more of a "secret" ingredient for me would be the addition of good-quality canned anchovies to many Italian dishes & vegetable sautes. Chopped/minced & added to sauces, olive oil when sauteeing, salad dressings, etc., it adds a wonderful depth of flavor that even folks who claim to hate anchovies like.
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Old 08-16-2006, 01:53 PM   #6
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maybe not so secret, but I like to put a little powdered ginger in my peach desserts.

love all the ideas above.
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Old 08-16-2006, 01:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BreezyCooking
What's more of a "secret" ingredient for me would be the addition of good-quality canned anchovies to many Italian dishes & vegetable sautes. Chopped/minced & added to sauces, olive oil when sauteeing, salad dressings, etc., it adds a wonderful depth of flavor that even folks who claim to hate anchovies like.
ANCHOVIES! I CANNOT GET ENOUGH OF THEM!!

Anchovies add umami, also. I, too, like to sneak them into things like salad dressing -- especially when people claim to not like them.
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Old 08-16-2006, 03:34 PM   #8
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dried celery leaves

during the gardening season, I dry the leaves from my celery stalks. Blanch for 1 1/2 minutes and dry in a food dehydrator. You could use store bought celery, but the flavor will not be nearly as intense as home grown celery. I use it in the winter sprinkled in most soups, in meatloaf, on scramble eggs, in potato salad and egg salad, it is a must for potato soup and corn chowder. Adds a nice flavor to dishes. And it keeps me from having to purchase celery out of season .
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Old 08-16-2006, 03:42 PM   #9
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I use a tiny pinch of freshly ground nutmeg in my cheesy creations.
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Old 08-16-2006, 03:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BreezyCooking
While it's definitely not what I'd call a "secret" ingredient, I have to say that I find a squeeze of fresh lemon (or sometimes lime) juice adds just the right "something" to many many different things - both sweet & savory. I go through a lot of both.
I too put lime in a lot of things. It can really brighten up a savory dish. If a recipe calls for lemon more times than not I substitute lime - especially in cocktail sauce. A lot of soups I order in a restaurant lack something - I usually just ask for some lemon or lime and add it - it works especially well for tomato florentine or a Mexican/tortilla soup.

I consider lime juice my secret ingredient in my pesto - it really perks up the flavor.
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Old 08-16-2006, 03:46 PM   #11
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Old 08-16-2006, 03:51 PM   #12
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I'm also guilty of tossing a bit of Old Bay into things (it's so good).
I also like to add a bit of commercial curry powder to different things (even egg salad) it makes people wonder whats in there
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Old 08-16-2006, 04:10 PM   #13
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Not a big secret but,
cocoa in the chili sauce.
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Old 08-16-2006, 04:27 PM   #14
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I add cinnamon to anything thats dark chocolate, or so chocolaty that its almost more bitter than sweet. Like Haagen-Dazs chocholate sorbet. The cinnamon takes away the bitterness somehow, and I just like chocolate with cinnamon (like you do, concindering its your secret ingredient also).
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Old 08-16-2006, 05:52 PM   #15
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Great tips, y'all. My secret ingredients are orange zest and or lemon zest (where you rub off the orange and or lemon rind off the fruits--I use a fine food grater (finally invested in a zester which is great but a grater is just fine as long as you don't grate in the white stuff --that's bitter). Anyway I use the zest (mostly the orange) in cake recipes, cookies, marinades, pancakes, breads, etc. The taste enhancer factor is wonderful!!!!!!
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Old 08-16-2006, 07:06 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyema
ANCHOVIES! I CANNOT GET ENOUGH OF THEM!!

Anchovies add umami, also. I, too, like to sneak them into things like salad dressing -- especially when people claim to not like them.
Ah Jenny,
me too, my kids think they hate anchovies, but gobble up a cream cheese dip with anchovies in it...I told them the ingredients when they got old enough to ask how I made it, and they will still eat it now and even ask for it..But the fun part was sneaking in those chovies
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Old 08-16-2006, 07:10 PM   #17
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a light sprinkle of allspice on boiled seafood, esp. boiled crawfish, makes many, many people wonder... "what is that 'different' flavor?"
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Old 08-16-2006, 07:17 PM   #18
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Soy sauce + anchovies = nuc mam!
I keep a bottle (Squid brand) and just add from a few drops to a teaspoon in savory dishes. Funny, you only taste when it's NOT there, and it adds something indefinable to things like tuna salad, and even spaghetti.
It comes in about a quart bottle - should last about 10 years!!
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Old 08-16-2006, 08:32 PM   #19
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I put a splash of Raspberry Vinegar in my salad dressings, even the classic balsamic vinegarette... perks everything up.. but don't tell anyone.
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Old 08-19-2006, 02:30 PM   #20
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I like to add instant coffie to my rubs for steak
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