Bacon Strips, Vegetarian

I have to site Morningstar Farms for its excellent vegetarian Bacon Strips. Their flavor and texture are really tasty, not exactly the "real thing" but plenty close enough. I'm not sure I could fool my unabashedly carnivorous brother, but I surely look forward to trying sometime.

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Currant jelly

This is a useful ingredient when preparing some fruit sauces.

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While we don't use this ingredient very often, it's indispensable when needed.

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Kitchen Bouquet

This is an optional ingredient in the recipe given for gravy. I use it very sparingly if I choose to use it at all. In truth, I believe all it adds is a depth of color, so, if the color looks right when the gravy is finished, I leave the Kitchen Bouquet out. When I choose to use it, it's just a drop, literally, or two perhaps. In the grocery store, I find it near all the extracts and baking ingredients.

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I have a huge preference for Hellmann's. I know some wonderful cooks who may disagree. I've even tried making my own but still prefer the Hellmann's.

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Mustard, prepared

Mustard is an excellent flavor used as a condiment or a flavor enhancer...we use it in many dishes though barely perceptible in the final product yet most important to its flavor.

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Though often a condiment, salsa is an important ingredient in one of our favorite dishes, Black Bean Chili. I always use the "medium" range spiciness. Once, by mistake, I used the "hot," and we noticed immediately. However spiciness is in the preference of the taster. What tastes "just right" to me may seem too spicy, or too tame,for another. It's your call. Though purists may disdain it, I do use jar-packed salsa as an ingredient in a number of dishes. For table use, the fresh salsa would be my choice.

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Hard to believe that I've never made salsa from scratch. Perhaps you have a favorite recipe. Whatever your preference, salsa is a necessary condiment in our home for some of our Southwestern favorites.

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Soy Sauce

What a wonderful discovery Soy Sauce was to our family growing up. My aunt from Hawaii, who had married into an American/Chinese family, introduced this ingredient to our kitchen. Now, as with most, its a staple ... can't do without it. We use it mostly in Asian dishes. It's also an excellent ingredient in barbecue sauces.

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