3 Things I Always Need In The Kitchen

26 Jan

All cooks love their special ingredients and the things they can’t live without. Here’s a quick list of the essential things in my pantry. You could call these secret ingredients.

  1. Tabasco sauce. I use this stuff like mixologists use bitters-just a few dashes, and the entire dish becomes more complex. Just 1/2 teaspoon gives cheese grits the right kick. A few dashes too many, and everything is cayenne vinegar.
  2. Dried thyme. Fresh thyme is a pain in the stem to pick, so sticking to the full sprigs is easier. Dried thyme makes an awesome brown butter, and just a pinch goes a long way. I put a pinch into soup bases, marinades, and chicken coating flour. It just might be my favorite spice.
  3. Vegetable stock. In his Fonds de Cuisine section, cooking legend Auguste Escoffier says “stock is everything in cooking.” Granted, the man probably never made grilled cheese (and never knew how great frying is), but I’ve found stock is the backbone to any soup’s broth and flavor.
    Stock Photo hahaha

    Stock Photo hahaha

    In building up of a soup, it’s one of my favorite steps (the sizzling a little makes in a hot pan is fun). I’ve been saving the odds and ends of root vegetables all school year (celery butts and carrot tops), so I’m aiming to make my own before moving out. Until then, that frost-bitten back of vegetable refuse is gonna have to wait.

What’s in your pantry?

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