rain drops on roses? a list of my tried-and-true favorite things

By Monday, September 07, 2009

I am often asked what brand I use for such and such. Or when I say salt and pepper in a recipe, what kind do I use? To answer all these types of questions in one go, here's a list of my favorite things ... one caveat, I typically try to buy organic, local or both.

In my pantry:
Muir Glen canned tomatoes: whole and plum tomatoes
Organic canned beans: chickpea, black, great northern are my favorites
Grains/legumes: Whole-wheat couscous, quinoa, lentils (brown and red), wheatberries, farro, bulgur wheat
De Cecco pasta: whole-wheat and traditional
Rice: sticky, jasmine, brown and white basmati, brown long-grain, arborio
Honey: we use local Gentle Breeze honey
Vinegars: champagne, red and balsamic; my favorite brand is O from Petaluma, CA.
Oils: grape seed, canola, truffle, porcini-infused olive oil
Seasonings/spices: Kosher salt, fleur de sel, black peppercorns, cumin, coriander, cayenne, Madras curry powder, dry mustard, allspice, cinnamon, dried chiles, ancho chile powder
Flours: King Arthur whole-wheat unbleached and all-purpose unbleached flour; Bob's Red Mill spelt, masa harina, buckwheat and chickpea flour
In my freezer:
Pepperidge Farm or Trader Joe's puff pastry
Pizza dough: I make double batches of Marc Bittman's Basic Pizza Dough from How to Cook Everything
Pastry dough: I make batches the food processor and freeze in disks; great for pies, crostatas, empanadas, Cornish pasties, quiche, etc. I use Cook's Illustrated pastry dough recipe from Best Recipes
Raw nuts and seeds: almonds, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts; pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds
Fruits and vegetables: store-bought: peas; in-season: corn, raspberries, blueberries, tomatoes, green beans, black beans, rhubarb
Meats: Fraboni's bulk Italian sausage, pancetta, Wellshire Farms uncured, nitrate-free bacon (that's 40% leaner than traditional bacon)

In my refrigerator:
Greek yogurt: whole-milk and 2% Fage
Cheese: current stand-bys include Cedar Grove Sharp Cheddar and Mozzarella; Marieke Gouda; DreamFarm chevre
Breads: Sprouted-grains tortillas, whole-grain/flaxseed flatbreads, Nature's Bakery Co-op six-grain sandwich bread, El Rey corn tortillas
Pacific Natural Foods low-sodium chicken broth
Yuppie Hill Farms extra-large eggs: a woman-owned, local farm
Organic Valley unsalted butter
Walnut and sesame oils
Sauces and condiments: Frontera Grill salsa, Hellman's mayonnaise, stone-ground mustard, Dijon mustard, local maple syrup, ketchup, soy sauce, fish sauce, rice vinegar, Sriracha chile sauce, red and green curry paste, mango chutney, olives, roasted bell peppers, capers, anchovy paste

Kitchen tools I cannot live without:
Cuisinart food processor: this is the workhorse in my kitchen; I couldn't make most things without this machine.
Oxo tongs
Wustoff chef's knife
Boos butcher-block island: more space to chop and dice
All-clad pots and pans
KitchenAid Mixer
Microplane graters: love these ingenious, former wood-working tools
What can't you live without in your kitchen?

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  1. Epicurian cutting boards! We own 4 of them, use them for nearly every meal then throw them in the dishwasher. We learned early on that cooking for toddler means lots of chopping! I also love my pizza cutter and use it for lots of non-pizza foods.

  2. thanks Katie! Where do you get the cutting boards?