Pantry Must Haves
January 18, 2011, 11:48 pm
Filed under: Staples

We all have them, those things we gotta have in the refrigerator or pantry in the event some inspiration strikes and we want something for dinner other than Tuesday Night Chicken.

Here’s what I keep:
Sundried tomatoes, both dried and packed in oil
Israeli couscous
red quinoa
brown rice
Sweet (glutinous) rice
Banh pho in assorted sizes (that’s Vietnamese rice noodles, great for quickie soups)
cornbread mix
yellow grits
An assortment of Asian curry pastes
Squid brand fish sauce
Dark sweet soy sauce
sesame oil
ginger, both dried and fresh/frozen
frozen herbs: cilantro, dill, basil, parsley, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves-when I can find them
Other stuff too, but those are the things I ALWAYS have. There’s a wonderful little Asian grocery in Savannah called Mr. Chu’s that carries all the good things, AND it’s on the same street as Brighter Day, who carries all the other good things!

I like to buy things like fresh herbs and roots and berries in bulk, and freeze them right away. I rarely ever use an entire ginger root, and by going ahead and prepping it and freezing, it’s as good as the fresh and not going to waste in the fridge. I can buy huge bunches of the herbs I don’t grow at the Dekalb Farmers Market, and when I get home, I’ll prep and freeze them. There’s nothing like fresh dill on salmon or in refrigerator pickles, and freezing it is a good way to guarentee you’ll have it even in mid winter.

What’re your favorite pantry staples? What makes you unhappy if you’re out of it?

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