Here are my favorite food discoveries in 2004:
ALEPPO PEPPER. Turkish crushed chili. Mild heat with a hint of tart, almost cranberry flavor. It has a tender texture, unlike the standard crushed red pepper. I love this on pizza, greens, soups. Ordered it from penzeys.com.
RUTABAGAS, where have you been all my life? Tried them for the first time this summer. Big hulking bulbs with three foot long green tops - fresh from the farmers market. Boiled and mashed with a touch of butter is so so good. I use the greens in a soup with black-eyed peas.
ORGANICALLY-GROWN TEAS from uptontea.com. Upton has a comprehensive selection of organically grown teas. I'm talking about loose tea, not bags. You can get sample portions in a sealed pouch for about 1.50.
- The real stand-out for me is Organic Yunnan Dao Ming, complex layers of flavor, naturally sweet.
- Rembeng Estate Organic is a high tannin classic black tea. Clean taste. Good for iced tea.
- Mélange du Chamonix (not organic) is a blend of black tea, cardamom, cocoa and mint. Sounds weird, but it's delicious for dessert.
Upton also has the best tea infuser - the Chatsford mug strainer basket. So easy to rinse clean and dishwasher safe. Good quality loose tea is a revelation.