Last week, I blogged about visiting the Winter Fancy Food Show at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. For three days, I walked the floor, tasting a variety of specialty foods and posting my food favorites on Instagram and Twitter (@specialforksndy).
A body can only try a limited number of disparate food items in a day. I started out each morning with breakfast at home so wouldn’t be tempted to overindulge at the show. And I kept my focus: Since Special Fork is primarily about quick dinner solutions, I concentrated on ingredient products that will make your cooking easier or better.
Here is a small sampling of some of the specialty food items I tasted that I think you’ll like, plus a quick recipe I made from one of the products.
Lotus Foods Rice Ramen: These noodles are gluten free, organic and vegan, and ready to eat in four minutes. You can buy single-serve ramen packets with a miso soup base or noodle packets without the soup base that come four cakes to a package. I like the plain cakes for their versatility, since you can use them in any kind of Asian or Western noodle dish. I tried the Forbidden Rice (black rice) Ramen; the black noodles were attractive and nicely chewy.
Bomba!XXX: An intense tomato puree with red wine, mixed vegetables, herbs and spices comes in a tube, so it’s easy to squeeze out just a few teaspoons to enrich a sauce. The new puree is from Laura Santtini, who also introduced Taste #5 Umami Pastes some years ago.
Yuzu Mayo from Hotaru Foods: This mayonnaise is made in the Japanese style – smoother, creamier and fluffier. The yuzu, Japanese citrus, gives the mayo a refreshing, zesty flavor that really pops. It would be delicious as a dip for grilled or steamed veggies or for seafood.
La Tourangelle Chemical Free Cooking Spray Oil: This line of nut oil sprays uses compressed air so they are propellant-free. The new oils will debut this spring in the following flavors: walnut, organic olive, grapeseed, Sun Coco (a blend of organic sunflower oil and organic refined coconut oil), Thai Wok and avocado.
Wedderspoon 100% Raw Fir Honey: Honey made by bees feeding on fir trees in the forests of Central Greece, tastes remarkably like caramel. The honey is unpasteurized and raw. Raw honey is not heated over 95°F., the average temperature of the inside of a working bee hive, to keep from altering the natural bee enzymes, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. To serve, drizzle over Greek yogurt, a tangy, sharp cheese or on toast.
NaGo Foods miso salad dressings: This line of versatile miso dressings, developed by a Japanese restaurant chef, can also be used as a marinade and cooking sauce. They are gluten-free. Seven varieties range from Classic Miso, a sweet and tangy dressing like the kind you find in Japanese restaurants, to Cracked Sesame Miso and Garlic Onion Miso.
Sonomic Almost Vinegar: It’s like balsamic vinegar, but rich, bright and with hardly any acid. So they call it “almost” vinegar. There are two varieties, both delicious: Cabernet Sauvignon or Gewurztraminer. Serve with cheese, use as a finishing sauce, drizzle over grilled vegetables, ice cream or sliced strawberries.
And now for the recipe. Inventive cooks have been using instant ramen noodles without the seasoning packet as a way to prepare noodles quickly for salads and other dishes. It’s nice to see that Lotus Foods is making plain instant noodles to address that need, and without the chemical additives listed on many other instant ramen packages. I asked for and received a sample pack at the show to test.in the Special Fork kitchen. I made up this ramen salad for one using ingredients in my fridge and pantry. It would serve as a quick dinner in a pinch.
Ramen Salad for One
1 cake Forbidden Rice Ramen noodles or plain ramen noodles
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons diced yellow or red pepper
2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion
2 teaspoons toasted sliced almonds or toasted sesame seeds
Cook ramen noodles according to package directions; rinse and drain. Meanwhile, to make dressing, in small bowl combine sugar, salt, vinegar, oil and soy sauce and whisk until thoroughly combined.
In medium bowl, add drained noodles, dressing, diced pepper and onion; toss to combine. Serve immediately. Makes 1 serving.
Note: This noodle salad can be made with whatever you have on hand. Just make the dressing, toss with the noodles, and add any of the following:
- Small cubes of firm tofu
- Drained, canned salmon
- Ham strips
- Shredded Napa cabbage or carrots
- Cucumber cut in matchstick pieces
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