“Savor the Flavor” is hopping into April with some recipes that I hope you will enjoy. We will also be submitting some things to help you while you are all social distancing and hunkering down due to the Coronavirus. It is a good time to stay in, clean out your pantries, get things organized, and do some baking or cooking with your spouse, your children, or grandchildren.
STOCKING YOUR PANTRY
This list of pantry staples are the items that I like to keep on hand to help me whip up meals on the fly. They’re basic, versatile ingredients that are used frequently, are usually fairly inexpensive, and have a long shelf life (pantry, refrigerator, or freezer). Your personal list will take shape as you begin to cook regularly and develop favorite recipes or flavors. In the mean time, use this list as a guide for slowly building up your pantry over time. You don’t have to buy everything at once! Buy one or two items, as needed, but always check if you need to restock on these items before you do your weekly shopping trip.
Extra virgin olive oil
Apple cider vinegar
Red wine vinegar
Balsamic or sherry vinegar
Rice vinegar (unseasoned)
Flour: all purpose, whole wheat or pastry
Cream of tartar
Cocoa powder (unsweetened)
Chocolate: chips or bar
Pure vanilla extract
RICE AND GRAINS
Long-grain white rice
Grains: bulgur, quinoa, couscous or farro
Pasta: standard, whole grain, rice noodles or egg noodles
Breadcrumbs: plain or panko
SNACKS AND CEREALS
Cookies or biscuits
Dried fruit: raisins, apricots or cherries
Seeds: sunflower, flax, chia or hemp
Peanut butter or almond butter
Old-fashioned rolled oats
Beans: cannellini, navy, chickpeas or black
Vegetables: hominy, corn or green beans
Olives or capers
Chiles: chipotles in adobo or pickled jalapenos
Roasted red peppers
Anchovy fillets or paste
DRIED HERBS AND SPICES
Crushed red pepper
Fennel or dill seed
Paprika: sweet and smoked
DAIRY AND EGGS
Plain yogurt: regular or Greek
Cheddar or mozzarella
Broccoli or cauliflower
Leafy greens: spinach, kale or chard
Lettuce: romaine, Boston or mixed greens
Potatoes: sweet, white or new
Tomatoes: grape, cherry or seasonal beefsteak
Jelly, jam or preserves
Mustard: Dijon or whole grain
Hot sauce: Tabasco, Sriracha or sambal
Soy sauce or tamari
Asian fish sauce
Toasted sesame oil
Ground beef, ground turkey or Italian sausage
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Bread: baguette or sandwich bread
Vegetables: peas, chopped spinach or corn
Fruit: berries, peaches or mangos
Nuts: almonds, walnuts or pecans
Dough: pizza, pie or puff pastry
Vanilla ice cream
TAKE A LOOK INSIDE YOUR PANTRY
Take a quick look at what you already have on hand to make sure you don't overbuy. You don't need to go crazy with purchasing canned goods if you already have the recommended two-weeks' worth. The same goes for cleaning supplies.
If you have fresh produce in your home, use that up first to minimize any waste. Then, look for canned, boxed, and shelf-stable items to have on hand. When it comes to canned goods, it's always preferable to look for low-sodium versions, and cans that say they don't have BPA lining, if you can find them. Frozen foods are excellent to have on hand, as well.
When it comes to perishables, don't be afraid to add some fresh produce to your list; just try to choose items that are longer-lasting (we've listed them out for you below) or foods you can freeze. Try to choose whole produce when possible instead of pre-cut (for example, whole mushrooms keep longer than sliced). If you accidentally buy too much fresh produce, know that you can freeze just about any fruit or vegetable (except items like celery, lettuce, and cucumbers that have a high water content and can get very soggy). Bananas another good purchase — if they get too ripe, simply peel and cut them, then freeze and add to smoothies.
IS IT SAFE TO ORDER FOOD DURING THE CORONA VIRUS?
There is no evidence that coronavirus is transmitted from food or food packaging, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Nor is there any indication that people have contracted coronavirus, from consuming food.
During these troubled times, it is always good to be cautious. Good hand washing and disinfecting high traffic areas, especially used for the preparation of food is essential. This is a time to be with your family. Cooking together is one way that you can be closer, share quality time with each other. Cooking has always been a source of comfort for many, so I would urge you to please get out your cookbooks, your favorite recipes and bring back the “Art of Cooking” into your lives. I hope this article will help you understand a little bit about what you need to keep your pantry stocked along with your refrigerator and freezer. To quote Julia Childs “No one is born a great cook. One learns by doing”.
Next month, I will continue with these helpful hints. Please make this article yours, by submitting hints and recipes to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling me at 603-755-3012