17 February 2012

Prepared foods that are worth the purchase

I generally try to make everything I can from scratch, but there are times when the perfectly spicy, garlicky bottle sauce (I'm talking to you, Sriracha) is the only thing I can imagine adding to a dish to make it right (like these vegetarian chorizo tacos).  Here are some of my favorite prepared foods. Sorry, out of town folks, shopping info is only local.  But I think you can order anything on Amazon these days...

5. Por Kwan Vietnamese Pho Paste: The intriguing mix of beef flavoring, Chinese Five Spice, onion, and garlic makes up a great instant bowl of Pho, the Vietnamese beef soup that is suddenly insanely popular.  It also spices up any other kind of soup or stew; use it in place of regular beef stock for a more interesting flavor.  Order it online from Amazon or pick it up at Bangkok Asian Market in Fort Collins.
4. SWAD Coriander Chutney: This spicy, slightly sour chutney with cilantro and cumin flavors is great on crackers or tortilla chips, and it even makes a great sandwich spread.  A friend introduced me to it at an Indian potluck and I can't stop eating it.  Find it at Rice 'N Spice in Fort Collins.
3. Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce: The iconic sweat-inducing, garlicy sauce is a great substitute for kethcup on your fries and an easy addition to sauces, soups, or chili that needs a kick.  No need to mince garlic or empty your jar of cayenne pepper--the little bottle with the rooster on it does it all!  Find it in most grocery stores in the Asian section; I get mine at Safeway.
2. Ras-Ka Ethiopian Sauce: Homemade in a Fort Collins kitchen, this spicy tomato-based sauce is perfectly seasoned--no doctoring required (and I hardly ever say that).  Stir it into steamed vegetables, sauteed meat, or cooked lentils and serve with rice for an authenitcally Ethiopian experience. Available at the Fort Collins Food Co-Op or online at www.ras-ka.com.

1. Thai Kitchen Sweet Red Chili Sauce: It starts sweet (think sweet and sour sauce), finishes spicy, and is surprisingly addictive.  I dip anything and everything in it--french fries, tortilla chips, pretzels, egg rolls...come to think of it, I may have a problem.  Available at any grocery store that sells Thai Kitchen brand; I get mine at Sprout's.