This month we’re focusing on fulfilling our culinary aspirations at home! From stocking the pantry to essential gadgets to make kitchen prep a little easier, we’re exploring ways to embrace our inner foodie.
Stocking Your Modern Pantry
Every home chef should have a fully stocked pantry—not only will it help prep go faster, it also makes cooking much simpler. A kitchen stocked with what you love to eat is inspiring, and having these go-to ingredients on hand can help you expand your culinary horizons.
Oils and vinegars like sesame oil, sherry or balsamic vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, a neutral cooking oil (canola and grapeseed are a good choice), red wine vinegar, and mirin are a good base to almost any meal.
Canned goods, like tuna in olive oil, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and chicken or vegetable stock ensure you’ll be prepared for just about everything.
Spices and dried herbs like curry powder, ground cayenne, ground coriander, bay leaves, turmeric, ground cinnamon, paprika (sweet and roasted), ground cumin, garlic powder, and dried thyme will take you through everything from basic stews to Thanksgiving dinner.
Grains and starches from long-grain white rice and quinoa or farro, to dry pasta, plain breadcrumbs, crackers, canned beans, and dry lentils provide a solid base for your three squares a day.
Satisfy any palette with nuts and nut butters like walnuts, pine nuts, almonds, roasted peanuts, peanut and almond butter, and tahini, along with a variety of sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, and granulated sugar.
Add variety with condiments and sauces. A basic vinaigrette, mustard (yellow or Dijon), mayonnaise, ketchup, hot sauce, salsa, Worcestershire sauce, hoisin, and soy sauce might just be what your meal is missing.
Baking supplies like all-purpose and bread flour, cornmeal, rolled oats, cornstarch, baking soda and powder, vanilla and other extracts, brown sugar, gelatin, molasses, chocolate chips, raisins or another dried fruit, and cocoa powder open the door to thousands of sweet treats in a flash.
Must Have Kitchen Gadgets
All available on Amazon.com for under $20, these handy kitchen tools will simplify how much time you spend in the kitchen.
- A bench scraper—the favorite of famed TV chef, Alton Brown—does it all from transporting ingredients to a pan to cleaning up your space with ease. $5.90, amzn.to/3dorPwP
- Who needs a coffeeshop to craft the perfect latte? This handheld frother will help you become the barista of your dreams. $12.99, amzn.to/2JbUBDc
- There’s no better way to brew a cup of joe than with a French press. A 12-ounce model offers a single-serve option that’s a great way to enjoy your afternoon pick me up at your desk! $12.99, amzn.to/2xXTa8Q
- Don’t waste your energy trying to open a jar that’s stuck. These handy jar grippers make opening even the toughest jar a breeze. $7.99 for a 12 pack, amzn.to/2xigPkc
- Chopping herbs doesn’t have to be a chore. This multi-blade scissor set makes prepping herbs easy. $11.99, amzn.to/2UrqPPU
- Some gadgets can appear very gimmicky at first glance, but the citrus sprayer really works! Just insert the nozzle into your favorite citrus fruit to add a hint of juice to any recipe or cocktail. $6.99, amzn.to/2vO8TXy
Sharpen Your Skills
If you’re looking to hone your cooking skills, these online cooking schools are a great way to learn at home. Grab your laptop or tablet, and get to class!
America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School
Allrecipe’s Cooking School
Food Network Kitchen
Cooking with the New York Times cooking.nytimes.com
Top Chef University