More exotic flavors for exciting cooking: Sonoma Farm

Do you bring your lunch to work or work at home? Just like when Mom packed a brown bag for you — or maybe you were lucky and Mom got the ones with smiley faces — that meal can make or break your whole day. But there’s time, a matter of skills, your budget. Nobody can order in every day!

As we learned HERE and HERE, Sonoma Farm is a must for your cupboard; you can turn the simplest foods like pasta, salads and fresh fruit into cafe’ style masterpieces. Make a refreshing, low calorie drink with a little vinegar and plain carbonated water that was popular in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries: shrubs. Anybody lucky enough to sample your cuisine will definitely demand to know how you did it!

Tex-Mex Sweet & Hot Jalapenos – The heat creeps up on your, but in a pleasant way. They’re sweet and crunchy. They definitely liven up blah sauces and food that needs flavor help, like liverwurst and turkey burgers. I know they will work magic on Mississippi pot roast! Consider them for nachos, sushi, in cheese soup and on cheesesteaks.

Rum Mango Habanero Salsa – I noticed a tomato/pepper nose. This salsa has a thinner consistency than chunky salsas you may have tried. It’s sweet, starting out mild, but the heat creeps up. This is the stuff you want on tacos and fatty pork cuts. It’s not palate burning, just warming. The rum and mango makes it sophisticated.

Cherry Balsamic Vinegar — It has a bright, fresh, sweet cherry flavor that mellows into a dried cherry/raisin note. This is great for a dessert topping, pork loin, even duck with a squeeze of fresh lime.

Pear Balsamic Vinegar — Is sweet, dark, tangy, fruity. Use it not only on poached fruit, but also salads. Try it in chicken salad and on roast chicken.

Red Apple Balsamic Vinegar — An unusual and versatile product! Its sweet-tart flavor is great as a drizzle on a turkey sandwich or salad. Add it as your secret flavor booster in BBQ sauce. Baby greens and crusty bread can turn into a luscious Panzanella salad. Use it with the spices of your choice in fruit compotes. Add it to your favorite carrot salad recipe. Try it in a Russian style beet salad with mayo and raisins. It’s nice on onion slices!

Coffee Balsamic Vinegar — Is like a medium roast coffee. It’s got the sweetness of the vinegar, with that touch of coffee bitterness. It’s good on lettuce and kale salads. Try it on cooked greens, grilled shish kabob and steak.

Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar — Has sweet chocolate syrup flavors. Use it on poached fruit, drizzled on desserts. Use it as a low-calorie, picnic friendly topping on fresh blackberries.

Almond Balsamic Vinegar — Is rich and balsamic, with light almond notes going into raisin notes. Try it in charoset at Passover. Peach compotes will take on a sophisticated flavor, as well as on sugary Danishes. Chicken salad, as well as fruit salads with mayo are a good match.

Blood Orange Balsamic Vinegar  — Has a sweeter orange nose. Flavor-wise, it’s orange plus rich savory notes. Use it on tomato salads with Vidalia onion.

Blood Orange Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil — I experienced a fresh, tangy, fruit nose. It’s a medium bodied, smooth oil with citrus peel notes. Blood orange is a deeply red fruit, but more sour than orange oranges. It’s a very Italian flavor.

Lavender Extra Virgin Olive Oil — Isn’t flowery, but savory. It’s a light oil. Use with herbes de Province in vinaigrettes. Use it in olive oil cakes: just like in the Bible!

Cilantro Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil — Is a rich oil, with a lightly lemony take on cilantro flavor. Use it to lighten up a too heavy/fatty gravy.

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