Grocery Checklist: 6 Must Try Ingredients
Because I am at the grocery store about 17 times a week, I can recommend the following grocery checklist to you…
Consider this a little tutorial that should fall under “How To Grocery”. I go to the grocery more than any average human being. I know when the “changing of the guards” occurs, and I often change my outfits because I am nervous that my favorite grocery store clerks will wonder why I am wearing a certain ensemble again. Because I am at the grocery store so often, I know where everything is, big or small. I have tried ingredients only because I am curious as to how best to use them. There are top shelf hidden gems, bottom level “saves” and all the tiny cans in between. Because I am at the grocery store about 17 times a week, I can recommend the following grocery checklist to you…
Fresh Horseradish. In my everyday grocery store, they actually sell fresh horseradish. I am sure you too can find it. It’s a large root, looks dirty, and is completely unassuming. Most people probably think horseradish is only available in glass jars or next to their prime rib, but fresh horseradish is available and delicious. I like to peel it with a vegetable peeler and coarsely chop it then boil it in apple cider vinegar. It lends this amazing heat that doesn’t hit you until it’s already down your throat. With the sweet tartness of apple cider vinegar it is the perfect pairing for a juicy steak.
Here is a super easy recipe that is perfect for cool temperatures. This Apple Cider and Horseradish Dipping Sauce will surely impress.
Almond Paste. Almond paste can be found in the baking aisle next to the various canned pie fillings. When you open the can, it’s a dense potent paste that is almost grainy in texture and not super pleasant when eaten by itself. BUT, if you blend almond paste with butter that is room temperature, it becomes life changing. Spread the compound butter on puff pastry, roll, slice, and bake for amazing cookies. Smear on the base of pie shells as a secret ingredient to your grandma’s recipe. Or just lather on a piece of toast for a gourmet breakfast. It is so good and rich that you will be looking for a reason to bake.
Hot Pickled Okra. This is one of those items that is found on the top shelf of most grocery stores. I knew about pickled okra because my lovely sister Kelly use to add them to her bloody Mary’s during her Chicago days. They are crisp, spicy, and acidic. I sliced these up and served these on top of a beef burger with fresh tomato and homemade corn butter for an amazing summer burger. Kelly likes to carry any extras in her purse.
Fresh Mozzarella Sheets. There is a new product available now that I am excited to tell everyone about. It’s from BelGioioso and it is called Unwrap & Roll. We have them in the gourmet cheese section and it looks like another long log of fresh mozzarella, but it is so much more! This is actually a sheet of fresh mozzarella that you roll out and can then layer with your favorite flavors. Once you have layered your favorite cured meats or fresh tomato and basil, you just roll it back up, slice into rounds for a gourmet appetizer. I first discovered these when I was trying to make homemade burrata and was having trouble with the fresh mozzarella. I bought these and stuffed it with homemade ricotta and no one new the difference!
Ore Ida Steam n’ Mash. You can find this in the frozen food section near all the potato products. I discovered these a couple of years about, but with the seasons changing and the number of potatoes I am working with increases, these become a life saver. They are presliced, peeled potatoes in a bag that you throw in the microwave for 10 minutes. After the time is up, you open the bag and the potatoes are perfectly cooked. It knocks out an hour of washing, peeling, dicing, and boiling potatoes. Gnocchi, mashed potatoes, soups, take a fraction of the time. These are also great because they come in unflavored and flavored diced potatoes, as well as sweet potatoes. Life Saver!
Pie Fillings. Whether it’s store brand or canned versions, there are a lot of pre-made pie fillings available. For the people that are real foodies who are reading this, you may think this is a blasphemous recommendation, but what if you don’t use the pie fillings for their intend purposes? I like to thin them out with wine and treat them like an ice cream sundae topper. I have smeared the lemon curd filling over fresh baked brownies for a fun, fresh twist. Also pre-made pumpkin filling + nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, cardamom + whipped cream is amazing dip for anything sweet.