Pantry Essentials 101

Looking to channel your inner chef? Are you bored with your go-to recipes? We’re here to help and provide inspiration for new meals you can make at home with Vinous in the Kitchen. Led by Eric Guido, Vinous’ resident Italian wine critic and also a professionally trained chef, Vinous in the Kitchen is a series of delicious recipes you can easily prepare at home. Through his video tutorial and accompanying article, Eric will guide you through each recipe step-by-step, offering useful tips and techniques, as well as ideas on wine pairings. Find the bottles on Delectable, and make sure to share your own favorite pairings. Today we’re talking about Pantry Essentials. Buon appetito! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ It’s amazing to think that only three months ago, the average household didn’t need to put much thought into a pantry. Stocking a pantry had become a thing of the past, unless you were running a food bank, shelter or well-organized college fraternity. If you needed something, you simply went to your local supermarket or deli to get it. When planning a large meal for the weekend, a glance at your recipe and a quick check through the cupboard was all that was needed to know if an ingredient should be jotted down on your grocery list. The pantry was all but forgotten. However, the changes we all witnessed around the world in 2020 sent most families running to their supermarkets to stock up. Many of us hoarded as much as we could in fear of the worst. In most cases, what the majority of homes ended up with was a whole lot of pasta and frozen pizza. As things have settled down, it still isn’t uncommon that we wait in line at the supermarket for an hour just to get in, and what we’re often faced with are empty shelves. This has forced us to rediscover the importance of the pantry, and to “up our game”, so to speak. It was with this in mind that the Vinous in the Kitchen Pantry Essentials episode came to be. Frankly, anyone can stock a pantry, but there are a few things that separate my family from the average household, and these have given me some interesting insights. For one thing, since the day I graduated culinary school, it was decided that I would be doing all of the cooking in the house. And so, like many households where a chef or ex-chef does all the cooking, there is a certain set of necessities that we were taught to always have on hand. What’s more, I cook or prepare fresh meals nearly every day of the week; breakfast, lunch and dinner. With that many meals being made from day to day and week to week, it’s important to always have variety. Lastly, in today’s day and age, it’s not uncommon that we make multiple dishes or preparations for one family meal. The days of “eat what your mother made you or go to bed without super” are far behind us. The modern family has to cook around food allergies, trendy diets and, of course, picky teenagers. In our case, we have all three. However, while I have the allergies and the trendy diet, I would never force my teenage kids to eat only what I make. Therefore, our pantry is incredibly diverse, and it has been now for over a decade, which has given me a number of thoughts into what should be in a well-stocked and maintained kitchen. Plus, just to make sure I had all of the bases covered for the average family, I made sure to quiz as many highly-qualified moms from around my neighborhood as possible. So, let’s get started. While the video will provide visual aids and a few added tips and tricks, the lists below are a great place to start if you want to make sure that you have everything you need to throw down like an Iron Chef, any day of the week. WATCH THE FULL VIDEO HERE SALT AND PEPPER: Kosher Salt Sea Salt *Health Conscience Smoked Sea Salt Whole Peppercorns (and grinder) STOCKS: Chicken Beef Mushroom Vegetable Seafood HERBS AND SPICES: Garlic Granules Parsley Oregano Rosemary Basil Tarragon Thyme Bay Paprika (Hot and Sweet) Onion Powder Cayenne Pepper Red Chili Flakes Turmeric Cumin Cinnamon Allspice Cloves Juniper Berries Cardamom SECRET WEAPONS: Magic Mushroom Powder Curry Blends (African, Mediterranean, Indian, Asian) Tandoori Masala Spice Blend Herbs de Provence Adobo Xanthan Gum (Sounds like a chemical, but it’s not, and it has superior thickening power for sauces, dressings, gravies or soups.) OILS FOR DRIZZLING: Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Italian and Spanish are favorites) Truffle Oil (Black, white or both) Extra Virgin Avocado Oil VINEGARS Sherry Vinegar White Wine Vinegar Apple Cider Vinegar * Health Conscience Balsamic Vinegar (Look for real Balsamic, without added food colorings and flavors.) OILS FOR COOKING: Grapeseed oil (high heat) Canola Oil (high heat) Avocado Oil (high heat) * Health Conscience Peanut Oil (high heat) Coconut Oil (medium to high heat) * Health Conscience Olive Oil (medium to high heat) Ghee – Clarified Butter (low to medium heat) PACKAGED AND DRIED GOODS: Pasta (Spaghetti and Ziti are classics) Polenta Rice (Basmati Brown, Jasmati) Risotto Rice (Arborio or Carnaroli) Quinoa * Health Conscience Breadcrumbs (fresh) Rice Krispies Granola Oatmeal Dried Mushrooms Nuts (Almonds, Cashews, Walnuts, Macadamia) Raisins CANNED AND JARRED GOODS: San Marzano Tomatoes Tomato Purée Chickpeas Cannellini Beans Coconut Milk Corn String Beans Peas Olives Pepperoncini Capers Pesto Sauerkraut Artichokes Asparagus Chicken Tuna Salmon Mackerel Sardines Anchovy Peanut Butter Tahini Jellies (Assorted) Soups (Tomato, Butternut Squash, Broccoli Cheddar and Chicken) ASIAN-INSPIRED: Fermented Fish Sauce Soy Sauce Teriyaki Sauce Toasted Sesame Oil Toasted Seaweed (Sushi Nori) CONDIMENTS, DRESSINGS AND MARINADES: Hot Sauce (Chipotle, Jalapeño, Tabasco) Salsa Mustard (Brown and Dijon) Ketchup Barbeque Sauce Mayonnaise Dressings and Marinades (Italian, Greek, Ranch and Caesar) KID-FRIENDLY SECTION: Popcorn Assorted Cookies Assorted Crackers Chocolate (for eating) Macaroni and Cheese (mix) Rice (Seasoned Mixes) FOR BAKING: All-Purpose Flour Baking Soda Baking Powder White Sugar Brown Sugar Maple Syrup Honey Powdered Stevia (natural sugar substitute) *Health Conscience Baker’s Chocolate Cocoa Powder Marshmallows (trust me, if well stored, they don’t go bad) Vanilla Extract --Eric Guido, Pantry Essentials 101, June 2020 Check out previous Vinous in the Kitchen Recipes: Stock Essentials An Irish Grandma’s Italian Meatballs Bring Back Pancakes from Scratch Fall-Off-the-Fork Braised Pork Shoulder