Blend: Your Secret Weapons + Ours


Food People have secrets they can’t help but share. We’ll show (and tell) you ours, if you show us yours…

For me, the first stop is fresh produce. Natch. Next, the pantry. My top-shelf secret weapon: Hot sauce. Sweet bbq sauce over fall-apart pulled pork (Kentucky Derby menu!) needs a foil once it’s piled onto brioche buns—shakes of super spicy hot sauce and spoonfuls of cool cole slaw.

On Cooking Channel, don’t expect any whispered tales. Hosts like Roger Mooking of Everyday Exotic and Aida Mollenkamp of FoodCrafters will be straight-talking their stories for those of us who want to know more, taste more, with smart tips and recipes and best-in-show sources for great ingredients and cool tools. Maybe they’ll suggest a new hot sauce for my pantry.

What’s at your local market right now? Always ask the farmer what’s freshest–stalks of asparagus, say, should be firm, snapping when it’s broken, and have dry tips. Here in the burbs of NYC, I’ll have to hold off for the tomatoes and zucchini everyone’s craving. Yearning.

Meantime, Food People on Facebook are already swapping secret weapon ideas. Hungry fans are suggesting fingerling potatoes and asparagus and leeks (mmmm with vinaigrette—right now!). I am sold.

Grilled shrimp-secret weapon for the last minute.

Grilled shrimp=secret weapon for the last minute.

For now, I’ll lean on Old Bay, like Audra suggests, on grilled shrimp, white wine and olive oil. Maybe minus the wine and plus some avocado…

Shrimp on the grill takes only minutes. I love Kelly’s Latin spin on black beans, too, topped with olive oil, garlic and lime and served with rice.

Or I might dabble with the standbys other cooks are psyched about: Fish sauce, says Joe, spooned into frothy eggs, cooked into an omelet and drizzled with sriracha sauce (alongside a cold beer).  And baguettes and Brie and anchovies and olives…. Maybe not all together but all on the mind, now, thanks to shared secrets.

What’s yours?