Here are my picks of interesting ingredients to add to your "I've seen that before at the market and I wonder what you really do with it" list!
1. Sriracha Hot Sauce: Made from sun-ripened chilies which are ground into a smooth paste with garlic and packaged in a convenient squeeze bottle. Use this on anything from stir-frys, to burgers or mix it mayonnaise. I love to squeeze this on eggs too!
2. Forbidden or Black Chinese Rice: Delicious nutty taste, soft texture, and beautiful rich deep purple color when cooked. High in nutritional and medicinal value, this pairs really well with shrimp which is how I like it, and it cooks in only 30 minutes.
3. Genmaicha Green Tea: This is such an interesting tea! It's a combination of toasted rice and green tea. It has a nutty flavor from the rice, and the added benefits of green tea. It was considered the poor man's tea in Japan originally, because the rice was used as a filler to make the tea less expensive.
A close-up of the tea:notice the toasted rice!
4. Maldon Sea Salt: This is a light delicate salt that is great as a finishing salt for salads especially, but great on roasted veggies and anything you want to add a light delicate salt flavor.
5. Mary's Gone Crackers: My sis turned me on to these actually. They are a great gluten-free alternative and are just so crunchy too. And to think, they have good for you fiber too. Developed by a woman who discovered she and her son had a gluten intolerance. They are made with organic brown rice, organic quinoa, organic flax seeds and organic sesame seeds. There are several flavors too like herb, black pepper and onion.
6. Tomato Paste in a tube: This is hands down the best food invention in my eyes. I mean, how many times has a recipe called for a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste and you open one of those cans, only to realize you have throw out the bulk of it- you can't save a can once it's opened unless you transfer it to another container...I am too lazy for that my friends! This is the answer for me. There is also a sun-dried tomato tube too! Tubes rock! What more can I say?