This has not been a good week…


I’ve failed miserably as a “political writer”, getting ridiculed, shamed and put in my place when it comes to my opinions on the current government and those running for office. I realized I am best left to my food writing and opinions and should keep those political devils I possess deep down inside… really deep. Now don’t get me wrong… my opinions and ideas haven’t changed, I just realize that it exerts way too much energy and stamina to stick to my guns. I’d rather keep peace and keep my political agenda too myself.

So… I digress…

In today’s Boston Globe there was an interesting article about “secret weapons” that local chefs use to add that extra ‘something’ to their dishes. My secret weapons include sea salt, white balsamic vinegar, truffle oil and/or truffle-infused honey and cilantro.

Here is what our local chefs keep turning to time and time again:

Ting San of Oiishi uses a special white truffle salt. He also uses yuzu, a Japanese citrus sauce.

Azita Bina-Seibel of Lala Rokh relies on rose petals…. but only special, edible, pesticide-free, ones. Hers happen to be imported from Azerbaijan.

Alison Hearn of Myer’s + Chang loves fish sauce… and recognizes how it is essentially belongs to the “fifth basic taste” — better known as umami (with the others being sweet, salty, bitter and sour).

Jose Duarte of Taranta turns to aji amarillo when he needs something special. It’s a yellow chili that is quite difficult to find in this country.

Barry Maiden of Hungry Mother is all about sorghum. We’ve all seen it in ingredient lists… but what the hell is this??? It’s a sweet maple-syrup like sauce, that is made from grass and is substituted for sugar and molasses in certain recipes.

Chris Schlesinger (of East Coast Grill fame) is all about adding Old Bay into his dishes. This stand-by spice is a blend of bay leaves, celery salt, mustard, pepper, cloves and allspice. Let it be noted that my best friend, “Aimster the Hamster” introduced me to this concoction more than 10 years ago with her father’s Old Bay shrimp. Yummy!

Last, but not least, Rachel Klein of Aura favors miso — fermented soybean paste with also falls into the umami category.

So what’s YOUR secret ingredient???

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