12 Secret Supermarket Helpers of Valley Chefs and Restaurateurs
Welcome to Chow Bella's Bites & Dishes, where Valley chefs and restaurateurs respond to a question New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld has on her mind. Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Think chefs don't rely on a little help from the neighborhood supermarket to kick up dishes both at home and in the restaurant? Think again.
Vintage supermarket ad from the 1940s.
I asked Valley chefs and restaurateurs their favorite secret supermarket helpers and got a shopping list of products that range from the familiar to the surprising. And because they translate so easily to dishes you'd make at home, these 12 "secrets" can be yours, too.
See also: What Is the Future of Meat?
Vegemite/Marmite. Awesome substitute to make soups and stews richer for vegetarians (versus beef broth).
Nori seaweed. It helps with stocks, rolling sushi, and also, when ground up, in seasoning edibles. It's very versatile and has a unique flavor profile especially when toasted.
I don't think many people know you can get marrow bones at Safeway. Anytime I want to do something fun at home, I get them because they have so many uses. I've turned them into vinaigrettes, smoked them, and made butter or just a roast served with bread and roasted garlic.
I'm not afraid of the chip aisle. We use Cheetos in the man 'n' cheese at The Lodge and have always added some ground Funyons to our breading mix.