Pantry Staples

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While we were in Paris, it's hard to believe that was already three months ago, I got an email requesting some suggestions for ingredients to have on hand. A well stocked pantry is a must and I always enjoy finding out what others tend to lean on when you're at a loss for what to make. At the beginning of one of my favorite cookbooks, LEON: Naturally Fast Food, there's a little chart with the preferred staples in everyones larder. 

Even when you're exhausted and takeout seems like the holy grail of your days end, it's easy to make good food quickly if your cupboards are stocked. Our weekly meals are heavy on fresh produce that's in season, but we always rely on the basics to dress it all up. In terms of the fresh stuff, we tend to buy what's on sale and whatever peaks our interest while we're picking up the staples.

We chose an assortment of spices and grains that get used the most around here. Decide what grains you love. I'm partial to buckwheat groats, and steel cut oats. We do a lot of savory oatmeals, and the buckwheat groats are endlessly versatile. It's easy to elevate a pasta dish with something as simple as a different type, one that you don't use quite as often. Bucatini is a favorite of ours, we still often use this recipe with Shredded Brussels Sprouts. The basic oils and vinegars are obvious, but champagne vinegar goes a long way and shows up in a lot of our salad dressings. Speaking of salads, make big salads a couple of nights a week, and having good canned fish on hand is a must. Whether it's tuna, or sardines or anchovies they're all an easy and flavorful addition. 

Pantry Staples shown above
Almonds
Sea Salt
Buckwheat Groats
Bucatini
Steel Cut Oats
Red Pepper Flakes
Olive Oil
Champagne Vinegar
Balsamic Vinegar
Dry Vermouth
Honey
Cumin
Za'atar
Mustard
Sardines

a couple that I left out...
Cannellini Beans
Black Peppercorns
Canned Tomatoes
Capers

Weeknight Menu Ideas
Nicoise Salad
Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes
Greens + Beans
Vegetable Frittata