Dreamy's Delights

It's all about the food!


This page is where I will be listing my favorite sources for ingredients, comments about ingredients, and general knowledge. I will be updating it as I think of more things so please check back 🙂

Spices: The first I want to list is Penzeys Spices. It is my absolute favorite resource for spices. They are fresh, flavorful and competitively priced compared to the grocery store. I even worked for them! They have an online store as well as brick and mortar stores around the country. I buy my dutch processed cocoa for my brownies from Penzeys. I also use a LOT of their seasoning blends. Some of my favorites are Mural of Flavor, Chicago Steak Seasoning, Ozark, and Chili 9000. Please, please, PLEASE check them out and you will be shocked by how much better your food tastes using fresh herbs and spices. (Those of you who grow your own herbs can ignore that section of the store lol). Another good source for spices is the San Francisco Spice & Tea Exchange on Pier 39. The prices are higher but they have some awesome spice blends and the owners, Richard and Stefan Picker are super nice. Even though I only make it over about twice a year they always remember me. 🙂

Superfine sugar: This is also known as Baker’s sugar. You can find it with the rest of the sugar in the baking aisle at the store. The reason to use it over regular granulated sugar is that the fine grains dissolve easier and faster making for a smoother product. It’s my preferred sugar for making brownies because it melts into the butter so quickly. I had to use regular sugar today and it took three times as long to get the smooth glossy look I needed.

Parmesan cheese: I find it ironic that this is on my list of essential ingredients because I HATED the stuff growing up. Of course, growing up it came in a green can and smelled like moldy socks. What I discovered is that REAL Parmesan cheese that comes from Parma, Italy is amazing. I use it as a binder when making Mashed Cauliflower and the stuffing for my pork chops. It adds a nice smoothness to Italian Wedding Soup and gives a nice tang to Stuffed Mushrooms. I don’t put it in my breakfast cereal but I do use it in a breakfast quiche lol. So keep some in the fridge, it’s amazing stuff.

Freeze dried Shallots: Shallots enjoy a lot of popularity in high end recipes. However, they’re small, require more peeling than an onion and are generally annoying to remember to keep on hand. The solution… Freeze Dried Shallots!! They are sweeter than a fresh shallot which maintains much of the oniony bite that I dislike. Using the freeze dried means I ALWAYS have them on hand, nicely chopped and ready to go. You can get them from Penzeys Spices or amazon.com. Either source is fine and they make life much easier. And yes, the flavor really is different enough from onions to be noticeable.

Bacon Fat and/or Lard: I feel that these two cooking fats are important to have on hand. They’re actually better for you than vegetable shortening and have better flavor. I keep a stainless steel container with a lid that I pour my bacon fat into when I cook bacon. It’s excellent for frying up potatoes and onions. I also use it to saute my veggies when making Stuffed Bell Peppers. I use lard for making carnitas. Lard is also key if making confit.

Vinegars: I like acid in my food and vinegar comes in so many flavors. I like to use Balsamic on my sauteed brussels sprouts, red or white wine when making salad dressings, and white distilled for making herb/spice infused vinegars.

Citrus fruits: Citrus fruits are another source of acid flavor in cooking. I try to always have lemons on hand at the minimum but prefer to have limes and oranges as well. The trick is getting to use the oranges before Jene eats them 😉

2 responses to “Ingredients

  1. Mel says:

    i just have to say the Parmesan Cheese thing cracked me up, when I saw it I was shocked. LOL Is your Mashed Cauliflower recipe on here somewhere?

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