July 24, 2009

Grocery Store Gems

There are so many hidden treasures in the grocery store. Here are three of my favourites:

Herdez - Chipotle Peppers in Adobo

1. Herdez Chipotle Peppers in Adobo

Inside this tiny tin is a world of flavour. Chipotles are smoked jalapeños, and here they are packed in a rich "adobo" or sauce. They were once the "it" taste in the food world, but no matter how many chipotle chicken wraps the fast-food world dishes up, the flavour itself is still delicious.

Purée the whole can — chilies and sauce — and store in the fridge. The purée will last about two months. It adds a little or a lot of smoky mellow spice to scrambled eggs, turkey sandwiches, creamy pasta sauces, spread over a cooked burger, steak or pork chop, or mixed with soft butter and spread under the skin of a roasting chicken.

See more recipes with chilies.

Aurora - Diced Tomatoes

2. Aurora Diced Tomatoes

These are better than the average canned tomatoes because they are not at all watery. They are so useful, I buy them 4 at a time. Here’s my fastest weeknight supper: while a pot of pasta boils, sauté chopped garlic and chilies in olive oil, add one can of these, a glug of wine or water and simmer until the pasta is ready to go. Add black olives, feta and a tin of tuna to the tomato sauce. Drain the pasta, add to the sauce and dig in.

See more pasta recipes.

Patak's Curry Paste

3. Patak’s Curry Paste

I used to only make curries on weekends when I had the time to toast and grind the spices, mince the garlic, onion, ginger and chilies, and go through the whole rigamarole. Now, a weeknight curry comes together in 20 minutes: sauté sliced chicken and some chopped onion, stir in a generous spoonful of this curry paste, then add a tin of Aurora tomatoes (see above) and some water and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in some frozen peas and a handful of fresh cilantro. It’s ready (and ten times better than take out) before you can say “jai ho”. Check out our September issue for more recipes that use curry paste as a delicious, authentic-tasting time-saver.

See more recipes with curry.

Photo credits:
Claire Tansey