Kitchen Basics Part I – Your Pantry

This is a guest post from personal chef and culinary instructor Kathryn Furman

While doing some basic kitchen housekeeping this week, I realized that I have accumulated a lot of spices, herbs, vinegars, sauces, marinades, etc etc etc. from various recipes that I made once. As I went through my cabinets, I began separating everything into what I use regularly, what are my specialty item and of course, the items purchased for those previously mentioned recipes I made once (who really needs 3 different kinds of paprika?). The following lists are the results of my labor.

Now everyone has different tastes, so use this as a guide and add or subtract to your preference.
Must Haves (these are items you will probably reach for the most): flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla extract, table salt, Kosher salt, ground pepper, whole pepper, garlic powder or garlic salt.

Herbs & Spices:
basil, oregano, sage, rosemary, thyme, dill, chives, ginger, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin, curry powder, tarragon, cilantro, paprika, cinnamon, nutmeg, chipotle powder (or another dried pepper) and specialty salt like Himalayan Pink. I also have Lowerys seasoned salt, Mrs Dash and taco seasoning on hand.
I keep these all of these in dried form. The first 7 I bought fresh and dried myself and the rest I use just often enough to keep on hand but not often enough to purchase fresh every time. I will always buy fresh when I am making large batches and will be using all of it.
Remember that if you are substituting dried for fresh the ratio is 1 teaspoon dried for 1 tablespoon fresh.

Oils & Vinegars:
Extra Virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar, cider vinegar, hoisin sauce, and another cooking oil such as regular olive oil or vegetable oil. Extra virgin is too expensive to use when a large amount of oil is called for.

dried mushrooms, onions, rice, beans, yeast, honey, molasses, semi sweet chocolate chips, brown sugar, raisins, pine nuts, and chopped nuts (your preference). I also have canned diced tomatoes, green chilies and beans for last minute menus.

The fridge:
horseradish, capers, lemon & lime juices, minced garlic, soy sauce, sun dried tomatoes, chili paste, ketchup, at least 2 types of mustard, butter, pesto, and either stock or a concentrated base.
So there you are. I hope you find these lists helpful and maybe even inspire you to add something new to your pantry or perhaps to even clean it out!

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