Thursday, April 23, 2015

Ten ingredients I can’t do without in the kitchen

Uh oh.  I know how Old Mother Hubbard feels: this week the cupboard was bare. Recently we had a bit of drama around here and got behind on our regular shopping. By the end of the week, the fridge was looking lonely. The pantry had a lonely echo. Even though I had lots of pasta, canned goods and spices, I realized that the small things we count on to make a quick and tasty meal were … well, nowhere to be found.   There was hardly a recipe or technique that didn’t call for one or more of them.  

We try not to eat prepared foods and make an effort to minimize salt and sugar. We use our favorites to ramp up flavor. We’ve gotten used to eating this way and made-from-scratch may take a bit longer, but it’s better value and better for us. In fact, we have a dozen meals we could whip up in less time that it would take the pizza delivery guy to get here. 

 In a tip of the hat to the truth, I will admit that I do have my take out and fast food faves, but that’s a different blog post entirely!

So here are the top ten for us:

Lemons – we use them in many dishes savory and sweet. The zest perks up baking and the juice is a friend to chicken, pork and veggies

Green onions – we love their flavor, lightly cooked or au naturel. and parsley – thanks, Parsley, for the hint of color and that perky taste in salads, veggies and anything sautéed.  

With Dijon mustard (and its cousin old-fashioned grainy): a little goes a long way, but we love traveling with it.


Thyme – my favorite herb, fresh and dried finds its way into many meals. We love the aroma and the price is right.

Garlic – seen here hiding shyly in its keep fresh container 

Extra virgin olive oil – one stop shopping for us for everything except high-heat cooking.

Maple syrup – this is a local product that can improve salad dressing, ice cream, icing, marinades. 


Chicken stock (we freeze it in muffin tins – ½ cup each) - it's not too photogenic!

Peppers – red, yellow or green!  Salad sautees and snacks

For some reason, I’m hungry now.  But before I chow down, what are your necessary kitchen ingredients and favorite tastes? We do come here to share, my friends.