When you're cooking all the time, it's easy to get into a rut: this meal, those ingredients, that grocery list.
The problem is ... it can get a little uninspiring and take some of the joy out of cooking.
That's when it's a good time to shake it up with a new ingredient, an elevated essential, a small-batch specialty something that probably doesn't have a regular spot in the pantry but is just the thing to ignite a bit of curiosity.
Here are 10 dreamy ingredients that'll hopefully inspire and excite your favorite cook!
Preserved Lemon Paste
New York Shuk's Preserved Lemon Paste will add "a rich umami note and a deep citrus attitude" to any dish. Use if on and in anything that could benefit from a hit of bright, fresh, salty goodness.
Buy it: Preserved Lemon Paste, $15.95 from New York Shuk
Soom Chocolate Tahini
Velvety smooth semi-sweet chocolate spread with a hint of nuttiness from nutrient-dense sesame seeds. Made with just three simple ingredients: Soom Tahini, premium cocoa powder, and powdered pure cane sugar.
Use as a sweet dip for fruit, pretzels, or fingers. Perfect in baked goods, over pancakes, or as an ice cream topping. The possibilities are endless!
Buy it: Soom Chocolate Sweet Tahini, 2-Pack, $19.99 from Soom
Saskatoon Berry Jam
Although similar in appearance to the blueberry, wild Saskatoon berries are actually related to wild apples and are native to North America. Prized for their sweet almond flavor, Saskatoon jam does wonders for ice cream, cocktails, and breakfast delights.
Buy it: Saskatoon Berry Jam, $12.90 from MyPanier
Smokehouse Spice Rubs
Smokehouse masters across America use methods evolved over generations for infusing meats with the complex flavor of smoke. They experiment with woods, preparations, and length of smoking time, arriving at techniques that are both science and art.
We have collected the essential spices to bring the best smokehouse seasonings from Milwaukee to Mexico to your steak, brisket, and pork.
Buy it: Smokehouse Collection, $38 from The Spice HouseContinue to 5 of 10 below.
Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla
Madagascar Bourbon is the world's most popular vanilla. A rich, creamy, sweet vanilla, mildly assertive, with old-fashioned vanilla flavor. An ideal all-purpose vanilla.
For a tasty glaze on sweet breads, try mixing a tablespoon of sugar with a teaspoon each of water and vanilla extract. Brush over the bread before baking for a sweet, tasty shine.
Buy it: Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract, 8-ounces, $49.95 from King Arthur Baking Company
Oracle Olive Oil
Oracle Olive Oil is a premium Greek extra virgin olive oil made from 100% organic Koroneiki olives, sourced from a collective of seaside olive farms in the Peloponnese — including one belonging to the family of Oracle’s founder. Koroneiki olives are unusually rich in polyphenol and oleocanthal, creating an oil with a very low acidity level of 0.27%.
Oracle's flavor and unique characteristics make it especially well suited to everyday use, whether for cooking, dressing, or dipping.
Buy it: Oracle Olive Oil, $40 from Oracle Oil
Kishibori is a Japanese premium soy sauce imported from Japan. It's fermented in 100-year old barrels on a small island in Japan's inland sea. Smooth and balanced taste, Kishibori Soy has a milder fuller flavor than most soy sauce.
Buy it: Kishibori Shoyu (Pure Artisan Soy Sauce), $12.99 from Amazon
Pantry Vinegar Gift Box Set
York Imperial Apple Vinegar is the most appley cider vinegar you’ll ever taste, with a mellow sweetness drawn out by a yearlong stint in an oak barrel. Merlot Vinegar is like a red wine vinegar, but with a real faithfulness to its round, fruity wine origin. The Petit Manseng Vinegar is tart, but with a subtle and gentle honeyed balance that will make it your favorite white wine vinegar. The Stout Malt Vinegar is, likewise, a malt vinegar made from bourbon barrel-aged dark stout beer - deeper and darker than your average bear.
Buy it: Pantry Vinegar Gift Box, $27 from KeepwellContinue to 9 of 10 below.
Sicilian Pistachio Spread
Made from Sicilian pistachios and extra-virgin olive oil, Pistacchiosa is a creamy, aromatic spread you will want to put on all your desserts and, yes, eat straight out of the jar.
Buy it: Il Colle Del Gusto Sicilian Pistachio Spread, $19.95 from Milk Street
Our Signature Harissa is the secret ingredient to add richness, depth and subtle heat to your favorite family dishes. It’s destined to become the condiment your pantry can’t live without.
This is also one of a One Simply Terrific Thing pick for us! Read why we love it here.
Buy it: Signature Harissa,$12.95 from New York Shuk
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