What do you Keep in your Pantry?

Let’s talk about kitchen staples. I think it would be fascinating to see what other cultures and kitchens around the world always keep in their pantries.

Depending upon your cultural background, your staples will be different. Being located in the American South there is some influence of region like grits and corn meal and green tomatoes.

I am studying Nutrition Concepts and Medical Nutrition Therapy to gain a Certified Dietary Manager Certification. One of the concepts we study is the difference in food choices based upon religious or cultural influences.

Having lived in many places in the world, there are things I reach for and things that are added due to a cultural influence, like couscous and preserved lemons for instance.

However, there are things that are always there, ready to make something to eat.

  • Fresh garlic – if I get too much, I confit the garlic and reach for that too.
  • Onions – from red to sweet to shallots and scallions
  • Parmesan cheese – a block so it can be shredded, peeled or grated
    Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, the true "par...

    Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, the true “parmesan” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

     

  • Eggs – large organic ones. I love Araucana eggs which are also known as “Easter Egg chickens” since their eggs are colored pink, blue and green naturally
  • Canned organic tomatoes and tomato sauce
  • Potatoes – both russet and new potatoes; sometimes sweet potatoes, but not always
  • Basmati rice and brown rice blends
  • Fat free milk – I like to drink it (yes, still!)
  • Half and half – for coffee and tea
  • Fresh European Butter – Plugra is my brand of choiceHomemade Lime Tart Butter & Eggs
  • AP and Bread Flour – for making breads, tarts and dredging
  • Canned beans – black, dark red kidney, garbanzo, white kidney beans
  • A variety of vinegar – apple cider, rice wine, red wine, white wine, balsamic (expensive and less so) and basic white vinegar
  • Oils – olive, vegetable and toasted sesame (because I like Asian food so much!)
  • Chicken stock
  • Chicken and Turkey meat
  • Canned tuna and salmon
  • Anchovies and sardines
  • Dijon mustard
    English: Dijon mustard Maille Originale, 213 g

    Dijon mustard Maille Originale, 213 g (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

     

  • Yeast
  • A variety of pasta shapes – spaghetti
  • A jar of Dukes Mayonnaise – yes, I should make my own but this is so I don’t have to
    Only Duke's for Tomato Pie.
  • Some kind of pickle or pickles – either I make them of buy some. Gotta have a pickle with a sandwich
  • and new to my pantry is Coconut oil for saute
  • Last but not least, a variety of salt and pepper

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What do you keep in your pantry? Please share!

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Chive Blossom Vinegar and Vinaigrette

Onion chive blossoms

Chive blossom vinegar isn’t a normal thing to be making in January, but my wish for chive blossoms was realized.

This winter had been on the warm side for us. It was just last night the geranium and the jalapeno plants bit the dust to freezing.

While making a salad for dinner the other evening, my thoughts turned to chive flowers and all the yummy things I could do with them.

I thought how nice it would be to have some chive blossoms to add to the salad, or sprinkle some over the baked potatoes.

I was thinking about making more chive blossom vinegar but alas, being January, my desire would have to wait until spring.

Chive blossoms have a delightful onion or garlic flavor, depending upon which type of chive you have. Onion chives have lovely purple flowers that I really like; garlic chives produce white flowers.

But look at what I found!

As I rounded the corner towards my office, right there in front of me was a lovely plot of blooming chives in the schools herb garden.

Yay! Wish granted!

( Now I wish for a million dollars)

I picked as many as I thought I needed and ran home to toss them into the evening salad and make some Chive Blossom Vinegar for salad dressings in about a month.

Chives are quite simple to grow and actually are perennial so they come back year after year. I have both garlic chives and onion chives growing in my garden. They definitely are not flowering now. In fact they look quite pathetic until a bit of warmth cradles them a bit.

Chive Blossom Vinegar

Prepare the blossoms 3 ways: with stem, no stem, single flowers

Use a funnel to fill the bottles

Chive Vinegar

Wash and dry the chive blossoms. Prepare the chive in any of the following ways:

  • Leave as much stem on as you want
  • Use only the tiny flowers
  • use the entire flower heads in tact; no stem
  • leave some stem with the flowers
  • chop some chives to add with the flowers
  • any combination you want

The goal is to make it look pretty and attractive.

  • Place prepared blossoms into an attractive bottle.
  • Boil enough white wine vinegar or rice wine vinegar to fill the bottle.
  • Use a funnel to fill the bottle with the hot vinegar.
  • Cork or seal the bottle.
  • Label with the date you made the vinegar.
  • Let steep for 30 days.

After the flavor has developed, open the bottle and experience the fresh aroma of the chive blossom vinegar.

Use it to make a simple vinaigrette.

Chive blossoms on baked potato

Chive Blossom Vinaigrette over Tomato, Onion, Cucumber Salad

  • 1/2  cup chive blossom vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 to 1-1/2 cups of olive oil

Place all the ingredients but the oil into a bowl and whisk to combine.

Whisk in the oil and serve.

This is a temporary emulsion which means you will need to whisk it before using as it will separate.

Tomato, onion, cucumber salad with chive blossoms

Tomato, Onion, Cucumber Salad

Serves 2

  • 1 medium tomato, wedged into 8 wedges
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, sliced thin
  • 1 scallion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 English cucumber, sliced thin
  • Chive blossoms

Toss the sliced vegetables in a bowl and then arrange attractively on salad plates.

Sprinkle the chive blossoms on top

Drizzle Chive blossom vinaigrette over salad and serve.

To make this go over the top, drizzle a few drops of truffle oil over the salad too.