It’s too hot to cook. So I am taking inventory of my pantry, and I have found some things that every person should have in one that is well-stocked. Let’s start with oils and vinegars.
Oils: I prefer peanut oil or even grapeseed and/or avocado for frying. Grapeseed and avocado oil double as good oils for salad dressings and even baking too.
Sesame oil: For Asian recipes, you need sesame oil. Keep this in the refrigerator so it doesn’t go rancid. If an oil has a smell, it is rancid.
Vinegars: You need a good balsamic vinegar and then one that is flavored like a raspberry one (my opinion). I recommend buying really good oils and vinegars from local vendors. I love Jill Cady’s store in west Little Rock, The Robust Olive.
Keep an apple cider vinegar at home, a red wine vinegar and a rice wine vinegar.
Baking: At the very least, keep all-purpose unbleached flour, sugar, yeast, vanilla, chocolate chips, baking chocolate and cornstarch, as well as baking soda and baking powder (two totally different items).
Spices & Seasonings
Salts: Keep kosher salt, Himalayan salt and sea salt at home.
Pepper: keep peppercorns that you grind with a grinder.
Spices: garlic powder, cinnamon, ginger, cumin, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, chili and cayenne pepper are musts. Oh, and bay leaves. You need bay leaves.
Canned goods: Canned tomatoes, tomato paste, pumpkin, coconut milk, and cartons of chicken stock should always be in your pantry.
Rice and grains: You need black beans, rice (both white rice and basmati rice), pasta, and panko and traditional bread crumbs (Italian and plain).
Keep garlic, yellow onions, and potatoes in a dark cool place in your kitchen. I use a drawer. I also cheat and use the peeled garlic that I keep in the fridge. Zip the bag well so the smell doesn’t take over your refrigerator.
What did I miss? What do you have in yours that I overlooked?