Photo: ChobaniBy Lynn Andriani
Smoked Salmon + Yogurt
As yogurt shakes off its only-for-breakfast, only-with-fruit-and-granola reputation, we're seeing lots of innovative ways to serve and eat this protein-packed food. The one we're most smitten with right now: topping plain Greek yogurt with chopped smoked salmon. It's creamy, savory and salty, and a fantastic snack or light meal for any time of day (it's even better with a squirt of lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper and a pinch of fresh dill). Yogurtmaker Chobani serves the combination at its New York City shop and it's been a runaway hit.
Try it: Combine a half-cup plain Greek yogurt with 1 1/2 Tbsp. smoked salmon, a squirt of lemon juice, 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil and a pinch each of salt, pepper and fresh dill. Eat with a spoon or with bagel chips.
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Photo: ThinkstockVanilla + Cardamom
Cardamom's fresh, sweet, more-exotic-than-cinnamon flavor is a mainstay of Scandinavian, Baltic and Indian cooking--but it's worth keeping at the front of your spice cabinet even when you aren't making an internationally inspired dinner. The taste happens to be brilliant with plain old vanilla, as fans of Three Twins Ice Cream know well: The company's otherworldly flavor Dad's Cardamom is its most-tweeted-about item.
Try it: Sprinkle the spice over a bowl of vanilla ice cream, or on top of creamy rice pudding to turn a childhood dish into grown-up dinner-party fare.
Photo: John KernickOrange + Olive
Acidic citrus can be tricky: The list of foods to (usually) avoid pairing it with ranges from cheese to eggs. Olives, though, are a natural match for sweet oranges; the fruit helps temper the brininess of the olives.
Try it: Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten makes his own olive mix by marinating large, green olives with fennel, orange and some crushed red chili flakes. Another idea: Reverse the dish, and make a citrus salad garnished with olives.
Photo: PB CraveRaspberry + Peanut
We're used to seeing grape or strawberry jelly with peanut butter--but tart, slightly sweet raspberries take the pairing to a new level. The delicate berries stand up surprisingly well to the robust flavor of roasted peanuts (if you don't believe us, check out PB Crave's Razzle Dazzle, which combines raspberries with honey, white chocolate and peanut butter).
Try it: Spread peanut butter on crackers and top with fresh raspberries.
Photo: Peden + MunkApricot + Basil
This unlikely match proves the old adage is true, that "what grows together goes together" (basil naturally repels bugs that would otherwise feed on apricots). We've spotted the almost-musky-tasting fruit and the peppery, faintly sweet basil joining forces in everything from chicken salad to shower gel (really) lately.
Try it: Valerie Gordon, who bakes cakes, chocolates and pastries at her boutique, Valerie's Confections in Los Angeles, puts the fruit and herb in a galette, a sort of free form crusty cake, in her new book, Sweet.
Photo: Lynn AndrianiPretzel + Cookie Batter
Salty and sweet can get a little out there (bacon mincemeat pie, we're looking at you). Not so with this most basic combo: Just stir a cup and a half of mini pretzels into chocolate chip cookie dough, and you'll be rewarded with a treat with just the right amount of savory flavor. Don't worry if the pretzels break while you mix; that'll help ensure that every bite will have a touch of salted crunch (we've even seen recipes that use pretzel "flour," made by grinding pretzels).
Try it: Make a batch of chocolate chip-pretzel cookies (or swap in potato chips or Cool Ranch Doritos).
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Photo: ChobaniBy Lynn Andriani