Zingerman's mail order foods bring a taste of luxury

You can get some recipes for Zingerman's food, but I think it's pointless to try a replication of its corned beef sandwich, for example, without its marvelous meat and bread. The good news is you can order a sandwich kit that provides everything for Reubens for five to seven people with four different meat choices. Not cheap though: $120 plus shipping. • I mostly cook with products from Zingerman's rather than from Zingerman's recipes. Below are some of the things I order with suggested uses. I have discovered that several are available directly through the original company, often for less money. But if I'm ordering a bunch of stuff, I often get everything from Zingerman's since multiple postage costs usually absorb any savings in buying directly from the source. • I've also found some previously ordered things now available locally. Nueske's exceptional smoked bacon, for example, can often be found at Mazzaro's Italian Market in St. Petersburg.

, Anson Mills grits ($25 for 2 pounds): These are the go-to grits for chefs throughout the United States. The South Carolina company grows and mills heirloom corn, rice and wheat that translate into the best interpretations of old Southern classics. The grits (get the slow-cooking) take an hour to stir into submission, but you get what you stir for. If I'm not eating them out of the pan with a glob of butter, I like to mix them with roasted poblano chilies, chill them in a sheet pan, cut and saute them as grits cakes and then serve with shrimp in a tasso ham sauce.

. Chocolate Sourdough Bread ($9.50 for a 1-pound loaf):

This is a round sourdough loaf embedded with chunks of chocolate. The only thing you need to do to enjoy it is warm it briefly in the oven, then tear into it. If there's any left, make a decadent French toast.

, Grandma Broadbent's Kentucky Breakfast Sausage ($10 for a 1-pound bag): I know spending $10 for a pound of sausage sounds insane, but this is so fabulous. Consider it a treat as you would a bottle of really good Champagne. It makes dreamy sausage gravy over biscuits or English muffins.

. Pomegranate Molasses ($14 for 8 ounces): This is essentially pomegranate juice reduced to a tart, thick syrup and is a staple in Middle Eastern dishes. It's good in vinaigrettes but really shines when brushed on meats — lamb chops! — that are then sauted or grilled. It's also a fine addition to a meat or poultry marinade.

, Wild Artichokes in Olive Oil from Italy ($19 for a 175-gram jar) and Cristal Peppers from Spain ($30 for a 6-ounce jar): Another seemingly profligate use of currency, but sometimes I can't help myself. I can eat the teeny artichokes and unctuous red pepper slivers right from their jars, all by myself. When I'm feeling generous, I thread them onto skewers with little balls of mozzarella or goat cheese and a drizzle of their oil and serve them to very good friends.

Lennie Bennett, Times staff writer

Zingerman's mail order foods bring a taste of luxury 07/20/10 [Last modified: Monday, July 19, 2010 7:18pm]

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