finding ingredients

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by latemp, Mar 9, 2012.

  1. latemp

    latemp

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    it seems like i'm always having problems finding specific ingredients for a lot of receipes i've been trying lately. so far i have just been drifting from grocery store to grocery store till i find what i need. i live in nothern virginia. does anyone know of any store up here that carry hard to find ingredients? my last receipe i couldnt find any chevil anywhere, so i just ended up leaving it out.
     
  2. thatchairlady

    thatchairlady

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    Maybe some specifics on just WHAT you're having difficulty finding?  When it comes to something like an herb (chervil)... I'd probably google for what might be a good substitute.
     
  3. latemp

    latemp

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    i'm not looking for a small few specific things per say. i was more looking for a very diversed store i could go to where i wouldnt have to wonder everytime, are they going to have this or that. to be specific though, i usually have problems finding specific herbs, vinegars, and oils the most. the last couple receipes i didnt substitute because the substitute item was already in the recipe.
     
  4. colin

    colin

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    There are several Whole Foods stores in N. VA.  *Some* of their locations have good selections of bulk herbs and spices, and decent oil and vinegar selections.  I haven't been to any of the VA locations.  

    Most cooks get to the point that no one store has everything.  You do have a Penzey's retail location in Falls Church that will give you high-quality dried herbs and spices.  There's a Balducci's in Northern Bethesda that has some hard-to-find stuff.

    Chowhound might give you better answers to this question, either the mid-Atlantic board http://chowhound.chow.com/boards/16

    or the DC area board http://chowhound.chow.com/boards/14
     
  5. chef oliver

    chef oliver

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    latemp

    You have to cook with, what you have possibility to get. That´s chef magic. It is not about cooking, when you find recipe, instructions and then buy all stuff to cook with. The meaning of Chef is to cook from what is accessible. You can´t have chervil?...Do not worry, use different herb, try tarragon or basil and you will discover new flavour. It is more amusing, interesting, less tiring and even cheaper than go for treasure hunt to find some significant ingredient :)
     
  6. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Although pricey, Whole foods usually has items no one else has , also local ethnic grocery stores ie. korean, chinese etc. or go on line where you can find anything and everything.

    Also the meaning of the term  Chef is Chief or head of or in control of. Has nothing to do with actual cooking from what is accesable.
     
  7. kaneohegirlinaz

    kaneohegirlinaz

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    For me as a Home Cook, part of the fun in Cooking is going to different places and just looking around to see what they have. 

    As I am now retired and have all the time in the world to pursue my passion, I find immense joy in even our local supermarket. 

    My husband says that this is my entertainment now.

    It’s amazing the things that you’ll find by just slowing down and really looking at everything on the shelves. 

    I've found some great bargains. 

    Most of the shelves at eye level are items that are strategically placed there for the consumer to grab and go. 

    The manufacturer does that as a marketing tool. 

    Take a look at the very top and bottom shelves!! 

    You’d be surprised at what you will find.
     
  8. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    For a lot of the less common herbs, you have to grow your own. I've never  seen chervil in a grocery store in my area. I tried to grow it once without success.
     
  9. latemp

    latemp

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    i understand what chef oliver is saying by cook what you have, but i'm not quite to that point yet. i'm still new to the more gourmet side of cooking. right now i am basically trying to get a good grip on all of the cooking techninques while also going through a broad base of receipes so i can also know how flavors go together. then in the future i can put together my own receipes based on what i have on hand because i know how the receipes work. (thats my plan atleast) has no one ever found chervil in a store though? i wonder if you can buy a potted plant.
     
  10. petalsandcoco

    petalsandcoco

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    In most of the grocery stores here in Montreal, you can find bunches of chevril right beside the parsley and coriander/cilantro. If you have never tasted it before , it has a taste of parsley and anis but very lightly flavored.

    Terrific with fish dishes.

    If you cannot find it fresh, you should be able to find 'dry'   here : http://www.penzeys.com/    I know you are looking for fresh, but concidering everything......

    Petals.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2012
  11. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Groceries are to cooks what libraries are to academics.  In order to broaden your sense of what is available you must visit grocery stores when you are not actively pursuing a hard-to-find item.  Whole Foods is a nice to visit and take a good look around.  It's like window shopping for food.  I like to visit grocery stores in areas I don't usually go to and have been surprised by what I've seen.  Every time I see an ingredient that I'd like to use I make a mental note of it.  Whole Foods carries quail eggs and even ostrich eggs.  I don't use them but I know where to go if I come across a recipe that calls for them. 

    I'm not familiar with nova but you should scan your neighborhoods for ethnic groceries as well.  You should have a good Italian grocery nearby so you can get your fill of good vinegars and oils and cheeses.  An asian grocer can supply you with everything from specific noodles to different sauces that you would not find in a regular grocery.  Have fun with it and always buy something you've never tried before. 
     
  12. kaneohegirlinaz

    kaneohegirlinaz

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                 I Love This Quote!  That's is it in a nutshell, KK!!
     
    ... and latemp, basicly I'd say that's how much people start out, I know as a home cook, that's how I did. 

    You start off with an interest and then you grow from there.