I'm always thinking about what I NEED in my kitchen. Here are five ingredients I cannot live without. I consider these things pantry staples, and you'll never find my kitchen without them..or if you do, you'll also find me on my way out the door to restock.
1. Wine. I always have a glass of wine with dinner, but I also cook with wine a lot. I love the acid notes that you only get when you deglaze a pan with wine, cook it down til it has almost evaporated, then move on to make the rest of the dish, whether it is a sauce, soup, stew or just cooked vegetables. Yes, you could deglaze with stock, but...it's just not the same. Well, and nothing replaces a glass of wine with dinner. It's just civilized, right?
2. Chocolate Chips, butter, brown sugar, vanilla--the ingredients for a great chocolate chip cookie. My favorites are Martha's "cake" chocolate chip cookies, although my daughter prefers her chewy chocolate chip cookies. (Which do you like? I also like the cookies cold/room temp at least, so the chips are hard...)
3. Lemons. You can make everything better with lemon juice, even water. But I keep it to squeeze onto vegetables, over lettuce before I add a splash of dressing. If I'm really on the ball, I use a Microplane grater to zest the lemon before cutting it to squeeze it. The zest can go into a baggie and into the freezer. Use zest in baked goods (those chocolate chip cookies? Hmm...maybe...definitely in banana bread, for example) or whatever you're cooking. Give it a try. Can't hurt, might help.
4. Extra-virgin olive oil. I use this for almost everything I cook--roasting vegetables, cooking onions and garlic, even when I'm sautéing meats. I like the flavor, I always have it...I like the flavor (did I say that already?)...I don't deep fry much, but maybe I wouldn't use it to deep fry since that can be expensive...but besides that? Olive oil is what I reach for first. I could have a bottle of non-extra-virgin oil on the counter, but that would take up too much space...so extra-virgin it is.
5. Onions and garlic. I put those two together, because they go together. I don't like it when this house runs out of onions or garlic. What's the Julia Child quote? "It's hard to imagine civilization without onions."
Can I add bacon? Because that is pretty much always on hand...just thought of it because I am SO making this bacon onion tart from Oprah's website for dinner tonight...
Lemons and garlic would be on my list, too, but I'm not sure what the others would be. We always have bacon around, too. Half of it goes on a cobb salad, our traditional Sunday lunch. The other half usually goes in a rice-crust quiche partway through the week.
Garlic, olive oil, and coconut milk are my list of must haves.
How often do you replenish? Will have to try that lemon in the freezer trick - didn't know you could do that!
Coconut oil, olive oil, lemons, garlic, fresh herbs, and spices! Thanks, Wendy 2013 Blogathon
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