Any trendy ingredients turning you on?


Chris Allingham

Staff member
Are there any trendy new ingredients turning you on right now, whether for grilling or for cooking in general?

Pomegranate molasses has been riding a wave of popularity. Do you like? Any applications for grilling?

I was listening to a podcast the other day in which stinging nettles were said to be the latest super-food craze in Southern California, either sauteed or in soups or even teas. Have you tried?

You've probably noticed a trend toward more Asian and African flavors. Christopher Kimball has built an entirely new TV and magazine concept on those flavors. Are you going there, too?

Any other favorite ingredients you're willing to share, trendy or not?
Chris, I am not a super trendy person. To the frustration of my kids, I still wear "dad jeans" and listen to the music I loved in college. It's funny that you mentioned pomegranate molasses. That was getting a fair amount of press about 10 years ago. I remember writing in one of my books that I would not ask anyone to go in search of such an unusual ingredient. It might be a staple in some part of the world, but I write most for a US audience -- busy people who shop at supermarkets. I will say that my grilling has had to change within the last year because my wife went vegan. Yup, no more meat or dairy for her. I continue to grill and eat those things all the time, but now I also need to make something vegan for her every night. It's a challenge but it's making me a better cook. There is one unusual ingredient that I like using at home these days. It's a Korean condiment call gochujang -- made from hot chile peppers, rice, fermented soybeans, and salt. I add that paste into sauces and marinades for a major boost of flavor. I recommend that people try it. I believe you can buy it on Amazon now.
Yes, you see gochujang a lot on cooking shows these days.

I get what you mean about not asking anyone to go in search of unusual ingredients. Then one day, pomegranate molasses is found in every Bay Area supermarket! I used it as part of a steak glaze suggested by Sara Moulton. It was okay.
Heheh, funny thing is that here in middle America, Gochujang is on the shelves at Kroger in the Asian aisle.