Our Daily Dinner

Our Daily Dinner

April 6, 2010

A Word About My Pantry

It always amazes me to read about the staples cognoscenti consider vital. My present kitchen is minimal: stove, sink, dishwasher; above some open shelves for dishes, and, on the opposite wall, floor to ceiling shelves holding glasses, cooking equipment, some decorative sculpture, canned and bottled staples.

Bottled staples:
1 large bottle extra virgin olive oil (I prefer Spanish Arbequina)
1 small bottle sesame oil
1 bottle Giuseppe Giusti Balsamic vinegar
1 bottle rice vinegar
1 bottle Mirin
1 bottle Squid fish sauce

Canned staples:
Genova tuna fish in olive oil
Sardines with skin in olive oil
Goya Cannellini

Dried staples:
Wondra flour
Chickpea flour
Sushi rice

On the shelve above the sink, I keep a bottle of Wesson oil, Kosher salt, sea salt, sugar, and dried spices.

Although there’s a lot to be said for fresh spices, they don’t necessarily work for me. Depending on the season, I keep dried parsley, rosemary leaves, and thyme
Pimentòn de la Vera (Spanish sweet, smoked paprika)
Red pepper flakes
Black and white pepper corns, Juniper berries (to be ground with black pepper corns to cure salmon)
Ground nutmeg (George likes it over spinach; I don’t)
Turkish Bay Leaf leaves

I rarely buy fresh lemon, except when I need lemon zest, or lemon slices. Instead I use bottled Sicilia lemon juice. It tastes like fresh lemon and doesn’t spoil. Once, when we returned after a trip to Morocco, I was so enamored with everything Moroccan, I suddenly couldn’t live without homemade preserved lemons. These post trip culinary inspirations happened after nearly every trip. I had intense Greek, Turkish, Spanish, Scandinavian, Balkan and Indian periods, trying to prolong our wonderful memories.

Today, my must have staples, kept in the refrigerator, include
Maille Dijon original mustard
Maille Dijon grainy mustard
Tomato ketchup
White, grated horseradish
Capers (I love capers and happily add them to many dishes)
Kewpie Mayonnaise (this is a Japanese mayonnaise, similar in texture and flavor to French mayonnaise.)
Dipping sauce for our weekly Suchi/Sachimi dinner (see Chef’s Night Off, March 15 Post).

I am sure I’ve left out some items. I’ll make corrections when needed.

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