Let’s face it. Unless Beavertails are your cup of tea, January is not the most inspiring month foodwise. That’s why I look forward to the Saveur 100. The food magazine’s wonderfully random annual roundup of guilty pleasures and beloved bits of food-related matter makes it a New Year’s gift of culinary ideas and inspiration. For me it’s both a trove of culinary possibilities and a reminder of timelessness of some of the simplest ideas in eating. On this year’s list there’s deviled eggs (#43), frozen peas (#21), granola (#75), and tomato sandwiches (#100), among the more ambitious items like sea urchin (#58) and homemade XO sauce (#66). I also love the wonderful little story (and the recipe) from a New York restaurant chef who tops a broccoli side dish with crushed Cheetos (#19).
Flipping through the pages, I was pleased to see an item from my very own refrigerator on the list—#56 Kozlick’s mustard (I buy it at Saslove’s on Wellington Street; Ottawa Bagelshop sells it, too). When Saveur’s editor-in-chief James Oseland appeared on the Today Show recently, he touted Kozlik’s Triple Crunch mustard as “extraordinarily delicious” and recommended it for sandwiches as well as stirred into a Bloody Mary (who knew?). I use it regularly in salad dressings and on salmon. Jonathan Gushue, the Cambridge, Ontario, chef who submitted it to Saveur offered even more ideas: he rubs it on pork roasts, and serves it with foie gras as well as raw oysters. “It’s basically vinegar, whole mustard seeds (white, brown, and black), honey, and salt; the preparation is as much a pickle as it is a mustard,” he writes, “It lightens dishes and adds crispness and mild acidity.”
See how picking up one new ingredient can create dozens of fresh ideas for transforming the way your food tastes this year?
And, meanwhile, for those of us who need another reason to pine for the sugar shack fare a la Montreal Chef Martin Picard, check out #42 to learn about Picard’s penchant for putting a twist on traditional carnival snacks such as cotton candy, slushies, and caramel corn. Who else would think of making a snow cone with real snow, maple syrup and a shot of vodka?