Saturday, January 29, 2011

Day 19: Kitchen Pantry Essentials

Okay, I know, last night I made up the last of my recipe make-up nights, and here I go skipping out on my cooking duties again.  What can I say?  My husband asked me out on a date, and it would have been rude to say no, right?  So instead of telling you all about the dinner I should have cooked (but didn't) I'll talk a bit about my pantry.  Most of the cookbooks I own have a section that talks about what to stock in the pantry, and they all stock pretty much the same items.  Still it's interesting for me to read, kind of like looking through their medicine cabinets but with their permission, if you know what I mean.  I particularly enjoy when the writers share which brands they use, so I thought I'd share with you some of my favorites.

Beans, canned:   I like Fred Meyer's Private Selection Organic canned beans.  They only have 120 mg sodium per serving, and still tastes good.
Beef Stock, boxed:  Kitchen Basics Original Beef Stock.  I think it tastes better, and it's worth the extra money.  It costs about $1.00 a box more than other brands.
Capers:  Whatever is on sale -- usually the store brand.  I haven't noticed any difference in the quality between store and name brand.
Chicken Stock, boxed:  I don't use chicken stock -- don't like the taste.  I substitute with vegetable stock.  Okay, that's not 100% accurate.  When I make chicken soup I boil a whole chicken with some veggies in water, and I do use the broth in the soup.  But let's face it -- homemade chicken stock doesn't taste anything like the boxed stock.
Flour, White:  I like King Arthur, or Eagle Mills
Flour, Wheat:  Bob's Red Mill
Honey:  I save the local organic honey for eating (toast, biscuits, etc.).  For baking I use whatever brand that comes in a container the shape of a bear, just 'cause I like to squeeze his belly.
Horseradish:  Beaver Prepared Horseradish.  It's good, and they're fairly local (Oregon).
Hot Sauce:  Tabasco, Sriracha, and Cholula Chili Lime.  Of course these are for Paul and Kevin.  I don't use hot sauce.
Maple Syrup:  Log Cabin Original.  I can't afford real maple syrup, and this one has the best taste and consistency.  It also doesn't have any high fructose corn syrup.  It's made of corn syrup, but there's no high fructose corn syrup in the syrup, and that is proudly proclaimed on the front label.  Come on, am I the only one that finds this humorous?
Mayonnaise:  Best Foods Real Mayonnaise.  Not light mayonnaise, and definitely not Miracle Whip.
Mustard:  I like Natural Directions Organic Dijon Mustard.  Tastes good, and they're fairly local (Oregon). Paul likes French's Classic Yellow Mustard.
Pasta, Dried:  I use mostly Barilla, or De Cecco when I can find it.  I don't think you need to pay more than $1.00 on a box of pasta so I stock up when it's on sale. 
Pickles:  Farman's Genuine Dill.  Baby Dills are my favorite, but usually I just buy a small jar so the pickles are small.
Soy Sauce:  Kikoman
Tomatoes, Canned:  S&W for all my canned tomato products:  diced, sauce, paste, whole, etc.
Tomatoes, Sun-Dried:  Mezzetta Sun-Dried Tomatoes, packed in oil of course.
Vanilla Extract:  Kirkland Signature Pure Vanilla Extract
Vegetable Stock, boxed:  I like Wolfgang Puck's vegetable stock.  It's a nice rich color, and very tasty.  Sometimes when my stomach is upset I heat up a cup of the stock to sip.  There are two kinds, All Natural and Organic.  I usually buy the All Natural because the sodium is just a touch lower (660 mg compared to 720 mg in the organic).
Worcestershire Sauce:  Lea & Perrins.  Come on, is there any other choice?

Oh, and tuna.  I love tuna salad sandwiches, tuna and pickle sandwiches (but never tried tuna and peanut butter) so I always have canned tuna on hand, and the brand I like best is Chicken of the Sea, packed in oil.

Okay, tomorrow for dinner I'm going all out!  I'm making Spinach Cheese Lasagna, and I'll be making my own noodles!

And now if you'll excuse me I have a date to get ready for!

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