Because making recipe titles a paragraph long is what I do, and I do it well.
I really liked Elizabeth’s comment last round about locating ingredients; so much so that I thought I’d start formatting these a little differently to help out. It’s my mission in the column to unearth unusual ingredients and give you ideas for how to work with it, but I’d also like you to be able to find it. Some months are easy; I have one coming up that I see all the time – in small bins – at grocery stores everywhere, but others require more effort, an online order, or a special trip.
Your location in this great big world will determine how findable things are, but I’m going to help where I can. Locals, I can give you specific locations for some items. Everyone else, i’ll do my level best to pinpoint where to begin your search – what types of stores and so forth – and give you some additional online resources because you can find basically anything on the internets.
Away we go!
This Month’s Mystery Ingredient: Grape Molasses
Also Goes By: Pekmezi, Petimezi, Üzüm Pekmezi, Mélasse de Raisin
Hails from: Turkey, Greece, Lebanon
Recipes (yes, there are two): Bitter Greens Salad with Grape Molasses-Rosemary Vinaigrette and Grape Molasses-Candied Walnuts
Find it: International markets. I find mine in the Mediterranean section near the pomegranate molasses and rosewater, with halva and sesame candy not far away from it. Locals: this means you can get it at Global Foods Market, and i think that’s Aisle 2 or 3, towards the front of the store, and I’m sure any other well-stocked international market would have it as well. If you have a Middle Eastern market, check there also. It’s available on Amazon, but check around first: their prices are higher than I’ve seen in stores, or you may have to buy 3 (nothing wrong with that, people: lots of uses for it.) Some stores like Whole Foods and Publix (to name a few) have a special order department which could probably order you some as well: call your local store to see if they can get a bottle or two for you.
Uses: For starters, what I made you in the Feast article is pretty dang delicious, so you could try that. it’s a simple green salad for spring – a little blue cheese, a little fig, some gorgeous mixed bitter greens, and best of all, some walnuts. But not just any walnuts, oh no: candied grape molasses walnuts. Imagine for a minute being able to use a subtly sweet grape jelly to candy your nuts; would you love that? Then you would love these. Also, they’re deeply purple when you’re finished which means you get to add dark purplish nuts to a bright green salad. Everyone will cheer.
As if that wasn’t delicious enough, the whole thing is topped with a grape molasses rosemary vinaigrette, sweet and tart and perfect with this; it brings everything together, and i’d happily eat this (okay, DID happily eat this) as a main course for several days. Other things you can do with it? Drape it over pancakes and waffles, swirl it into homemade sodas and cocktails, glaze some meat, whatever. the world is your…grape?
I’m really excited about this one, friends: I’m a lifelong fan of grape jelly, and I can’t believe grape molasses isn’t more popular because I don’t know how anyone wouldn’t instantly love it. I have about 8,230 more ideas in my head for how to use it, and i’m hoping to get to work on those soon. In the meantime, read my article about it over at Feast to give yourself a little background, grab a bottle or two of grape molasses, and start randomly pouring it on things; I promise you i’ll find more ways for you to use it in the coming months.
Remember how I told you I was working on a big project a few months back, but I couldn’t tell you what that project was? Guess what: I can tell you now, and it’s this:
Guys: Feast let me make ALL THE LAMB RECIPES FOR YOU THIS APRIL. It’s another feature! They gave me a mission, and that mission was to see how global I could go with different cuts of lamb, and I’m so happy to finally (Finally! That was back in February!) be able to share the recipes with you. I’m taking you on a trip from across continents to explore ways other cultures use lamb, and I’ll be using this space to compel you to cook with it more. That’s up next, but here’s a peek at the feature, which I’m really, really proud of. I learned a lot with this one.
For now, I’m sitting at home typing this, and haven’t seen the print version as of yet; I’ll head out for my monthly hunt later today. I’m eagerly anticipating the magazine because I can’t wait to see how the feature came to life on the pages. Jennifer Silverberg is basically my life partner at this point in terms of our collaborations for Feast (we did this one and this one together and she photographs my column each month), and getting to watch the photos happen for my food are some of the best days ever; the finished product should stun, as her photos so often do. Eeeeeeeeeeee! okay done sorry.