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.

15 comments:

mary kennedy said...

MJ, I love the same things you do!! I can't wait to plant some fresh herbs, parley, b asil, chives.. .I tried to save the plants during the winter (I brought them inside) but the little darlings must have made a suicide pact during the night. One morning, they had all expired!!

Mary Jane Maffini said...

I had the same problem with mine, except for the rosemary - it made it through the winter. The thyme gave up the ghost in February. XO MJ

Diane LaBrie Leverson said...

I must admit that I don't always eat healthy. I eat out a lot because I'm lazy I guess. Eating alone is not much fun and the newscasters on tv don't talk back to me. They are my guest for dinner. Doesn't cost anything to feed them but not much company. Tonight I am going to try to convert my favorite pork chop recipe to the slow cooker. It's a simple James Beard recipe.

Mary Jane Maffini said...

I love James Beard recipes and hope it converts to the slow cooker. I am often eating alone as the Hubster still travels. I too have had dates with those newscasters.

Hugs.

MJ

Kate Collins said...

Carmelized onions have become my new staple. Add kale or any greens to them after they've caramelized, with garlic and sea salt and pepper -- YUM. Add shredded beef or pork, sautéed red peppers and garlic aioli -- unbelievably delicious! I was amazed to see my sage, thyme, rosemary and mint growing last week. They're big plants already -- and the temps have been low.

Mary Jane Maffini said...

I love carmelized onions! And you've so right. They jazz up other foods and they're good for us. I'm very jealous about your herbs. We're expecting a bit of snow here, so I'll keep mine inside. Sniff.

Hugs.

MJ

Duffy Brown said...

popcorn is always in my kitchen and one meal a day at least. I need to get my act together!

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Duffy, I love you! But we always set off the smoke alarm with popcorn so we save it for the movies. There must be a better solution. It is after all a vegetable.

Hugs.

MJ

Gram said...

Garlic has to be in my kitchen. :-)

Mary Jane Maffini said...

I hear you, Gram! I was breathing it on people tonight! Hugs. MJ

Carol said...

...cumin is my new favorite spice I can't live without. I use it in Chili, Tacos (chicken or beef), soups and beans. I would add Balsamic Vinegar or some Red wine Vinegar with the olive oil. Your list was almost perfect.

Tonette said...

TEN things???I am a certified,(and certifiable), FOODIE.I might be able to come up with 30 essentials...who am I kidding?

Lynn in Texas said...

LOL, you're a hoot, Duffy!

Lynn in Texas said...

MJ, I wonder if you're using the microwave stuff that sets off the smoke alarm? And oh, yes, a veggie, lol.

Lynn in Texas said...

I'm like Tonette...have too many to list! But garlic, onions, bell peppers,oils, vinegars,a pantry of condiments, herbs & spices are a must for me. Besides the staples like flour, rice, cheeses etc etc....