I'm back. After taking a 4 month hiatus to hit the books for the LSAT and settle into my new digs in the nation's capital I have officially got my groove back. The new posts I've got coming up are sure to be plump and delicious (like Angela Basset's lips).
In the past few months I've been making weekly trips to the supermarket. While trying to cook at home more I've come to the realization that you need some pretty *obscure ingredients to put together good food at home. I'll usually find myself one teaspoon short of cumin, or a sprig of rosemary short once dinner time rolls around. Ever since I had to leave the kitchen and run down the street for some dried onion flakes while my ground beef was browning, I have made it a habit of collecting different spices whenever I make trips to the market, even if I don't need them for anything in particular in the foreseeable future.
Here is my list of top ten condiments/spices/sauces to have in your pantry. I've selected them for there versatility and overall flavor they add to a meal.
In no particular order:
1. Kikoman Soy Sauce - Forget the "Reduced Sodium/Light" kind. Go with the original recipe. They didn't achieve "300 Years of Excellence" by going easy on the salt.
2. Frank's Red Hot Sauce - It's like the White Out of cooking. When all else fails.. cover it in Frank's Red Hot Sauce
3. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes - They aren't just good for pizzas. Try them in pastas or on broccoli
4. Dried Rosemary - It doesn't go bad in a week like fresh rosemary and seems twice as potent
5. Balsamic Vinegar - If you can afford to dish out the cash for the real stuff (thicker like a syrup and aged 25 years) then the possibilities are endless. I'm not talking about the stuff they give you at Soup Plantation either.
6. Oregano - I couldn't really tell you what this does to food in general. I've used it two or three times to make some lemon chicken. I think it's the stuff they sprinkle over home fries. (?)
7. Ground Mustard - One of the secrets to my sloppy joes
8. Lea Perrins' Worchestershire Sauce - a few dashes for your burger patties or whenever you use ground beef
9. Liquid Smoke - This is like magic. It makes everything taste like it's been licked by flames on the grill. I wonder what would happen if you put it in a dessert?
10. Tarragon - Still haven't used it. I bought it because it sounds like a planet from Star Wars.
*Note: I am a novice in the kitchen when it comes to preparing anything that requires more technical knowledge than grilled cheese or sunny-side up eggs. I acknowledge that ingredients that I consider "obscure" might be commonplace in your kitchen.... So cut me some slack.