Jenny (of Hey Jenny!) called me the other night and said she needs ‘an app’ for my blog. Not quite sure how to do that or if that is even possible, but instead I promised her a list of things I think everyone should have in their kitchens. These are things I always use, or just plain like to have around in case I need them. Some of them are not 100% necessary, but if I ever come visit you and I need to ‘Iron Chef’ it up for dinner – having these items would be most helpful!
List form? Sure, why not! These are not in any order, just how I am thinking of them while drinking Cupcake Cabernet and not allowing myself to get up and ‘go look’!
1 – Sun Dried Tomatoes – a must! I found a great 2 lb bag at Costco for cheap, already hydrated. You can throw these in hummus, pasta, salads, stuff them in chicken breasts – versatile!
2 – Fresh Garlic – don’t have to refrigerate this stuff. I keep it in a small dish in my spice cabinet and keep the ones I am not using in the fridge. You can also buy the pre-ground garlic in a jar that is refrigerated. Either will do nicely, thank you.
3 – Kosher Salt – just rocks, great to cook with
4 – Canned Chick Peas – always have these around to make hummus, add them to curry, put them in a salad
and along with this comes
5 – Tahini – I personally think everyone should have tahini in their cabinet. Don’t refrigerate it, not necessary and makes it icky. I use it pretty much only for hummus, but hummus is a great snack you can whip up with just about any bean and eat with chips, veggies, pita. You can get tahini in the international section of a grocery store or at an Asian-type market
6 – Olive Oil – I like to have both spray and stuff you can pour. I also try to make sure my Olive Oil is cold pressed and from Italy or Spain only. You can cook with it and it is healthier than most oils. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is good, but the smoke point isn’t that high, so if you cook with it, expect your food to burn in the pan.
7 – Good Balsamic Vinegar – spend a little $$ on this stuff. It is great to marinate pork, beef, chicken – great tossed in pasta, great on salad. We brought some good stuff back from Germany when we went to see JM. I don’t expect anyone to travel to Europe, but get the good stuff.
8 – Fresh Parmesan or Asiago cheese
9 – Frozen Chicken Breasts – Lately, I am buying this from Wal Mart. When I am feeling ‘culinary’ I buy the bone-in breasts and remove them, freeze them, and save the bone for stock (Steve, we can discuss this later so you can start making it). Having chicken in your freezer that you can just throw in a pot and boil is GREAT!
10 – Frozen Shrimp – preferable the ‘bigger kind’ 21-35 (in that range) – Raw, Tail On OR Raw, Heads On. You can make GREAT shrimp stock from the heads and shells (again, Steve, we will discuss) and use it for rice, cous cous, or quinoa
which brings me to:
11 – Cous Cous or Quinoa – I know, I know. People love rice. These two other grains are so much better for you! And so easy to make.
12 – Whole Wheat/Whole Grain Pasta – maybe 1-2 boxes each of whatever type you like (We like penne and linguine in the Blanton house)
13 – Cumin – you can get this at a Hispanic Market or the grocery (Hispanic market is cheaper). Great to put in hummus or as a marinade herb
14 – Fresh Lemons & Limes – another great thing for marinades and lemons are necessary for hummus. As my 1st teacher at AIA said, “lemon juice is an abomination” – so I always prefer fresh
15 – A good microplane zester/grater
16 – A good cheese grater (this one’s for you, Schupacks)
17 – Large non-stick saute pan and Large regular saute pan
18 – 4-6 Qt Saucepot
19 – 8-10 Qt Stockpot
20 – Soy Sauce – again, good marinade, good to make stir fry, etc.
21 – Corn Starch- I know, sounds weird, but helpful to make stir fry or thicken any sauce you have
22 – Canned Black Beans – again, just something that can be added to anything and a good staple
23 – Canola Oil – natch
24 – Ground Turkey – Whenever this goes on sale in the 1 lb package, I always buy about 3-4 of them and freeze them.
25 – Pork tenderloin – again, buy it when it is on sale and you can throw the package right into your freezer
25 – Frozen Tilapia – Again, Costco has this fresh in family packages. You can take it home and separate it into smaller bags
which leads me to:
26 – 1 QT Freezer Bags – a MUST in my house
OK – I think this is a good enough list to start with. I also always have Pita Bread in the house for hummus – but that is just me!
Bo Benny – hope this helps!