More Pantry Notes

I broke one of my rules of keeping a lot of chicken stock and broth in the house. I was making dinner a few weeks ago, using up stuff I had in the house. I knew that I had an open container in the fridge. What I didn't know is that it only had a few tablespoons left in the box and I was trying to make a sauce. I had to make my husband run to the store to pick some up. He saved the day and the sauce was fantastic. Now there are 4 containers in my pantry so I won't be running out anytime soon.

After I posted the second pantry post, I started thinking about some things I have in my pantry that don't fit into the categories I already listed or they are more specific things in those categories. I also listed which stores you can find the ingredients at. So here are some things that you'll find in a not-so-basic pantry:

Oils-Peanut Oil and Sesame Oil are some oils you may want to have on hand. Peanut oil is great for frying and can be used as a substitute for canola or vegetable oil in Asian recipes. A lot of Asian recipes will call for Sesame Oil as part of a stir fry or as a finishing item in sauces.

Vinegars-There are hundreds of types of vinegars on the market-you'll find the most variety at stores like Whole Foods, Uncle Giuseppe's, and Williams-Sonoma. Some vinegars I use often are red wine vinegar and champagne vinegar. At these specialty stores, you can find specific types of red wine vinegar such as a Cabernet red wine vinegar.

Rice-This is an ingredient that also has many varieties. They vary in size-for example short grain vs. long grain and also the starch content in them. Arborio rice is a short grain rice and the rice most often used for risotto. The starch content in this particular type of rice is what makes the finished product so creamy. (You can also use carnaroli rice for risotto but arborio is more readily available.) Basmati rice is also a good rice to have on hand if you like to cook Indian food. This is a long grain rice that has a subtle fragrance to it.

Panko Breadcrumbs-Panko is now readily available in supermarkets. It's an Asian type of breadcrumbs. These breadcrumbs are lighter and a course cut to create a crispier crust. You can use them in the same way you would use regular breadcrumbs-flour, egg, and the panko last. They are also nice because you can use them to create a healthier recipe by baking them. Because of their texture, they are great for baking things that are traditionally fried. For example, you could make a quick baked chicken tender by coating the chicken tenders with oil, seasoning, and rolling in panko. Then bake on a cookie sheet and they will be extremely crispy on the outside.

Canned Tomatoes-There are a number of brands of canned tomatoes but my favorite type are from the San Marzano region of Italy. I don't think any other type of canned tomatoes can touch their flavor. I also find that you don't need to cook them as long as other varieties because of that great flavor. They are still a little tricky to find at regular supermarkets but the specialty shops noted above should have them. The Waldbaum's that I shop at does regularly carry them but it differs from store to store. The label usually stands out to me-they have a white background with red tomatoes around the can. The different types have different color bands on the the white label. For example, the whole peeled tomatoes have a dark green band.

Herbs de Provence-This is a dried herb blend made up of lavender, savory, thyme, fennel, and rosemary. There are sometimes other herbs in addition to these such as basil, chervil, and sage. This flavor profile is used a lot in the south of France. One of my favorite recipes uses this seasoning and some salt and pepper on a grilled flank steak with goat cheese sprinkled on top.

Smoked Paprika-There are many different spices and spice blends that you can find in the grocery store. This has been my secret ingredient lately because I'm loving the heat and the smoky flavor it brings. It's not in your face hot like chili powder or cayenne pepper. The smoke hits you subtly at the end. I use this in all recipes that call for regular paprika. You can find this at specialty shops but many supermarkets now carry specialty spices by McCormick. They are in a glass bottle with a dark lid and there are a wide variety of the spices.


Kim.Gos said...

Great blog ideas Bri!
I am printing out your list and checking them over.


About Me

My photo
Culinary school grad figuring out how to cook for two people semi-healthy. After learning how to cook in huge batches with tons of butter and salt, this proves to be a challenge. Learning how to be a wife and homeowner.