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Western Pantry

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I'm trying new recipes, but many a time I encounter so many things that I don't have in the house (never heard of them before, to be honest!) and I've to go shopping. What do you usually have in your pantry that minimizes ''oh I don't have this'' phrase?! So far I've learned that chicken broth is essential to be in hand, and SO many kinds of cheese! (well another question would be: Do you really have this many kinds of cheese in your fridge? Which of them is more important?)
post #2 of 3

I have never really had many kinds of cheeses in my fridge. I usually just keep the basics (Chedder, Mozzarella, and Parmesan). As for the pantry. I the main thinkgs I have are spices and vinegars. For the spices, almost everytime I go to the store (about once every two weeks) I buy a different kind of spice. Some times it is one that I have heard of and sometimes it isn't. I always have garlic powder, minced and garlic slat on hand as they are one of the most used. I enjoy buying the different spices, because if you have it then that one recipce that one time, you can make it without worrying if you have it. It also is great for the smell and to experiment. I love just going to my pantry and trying different spices together in a different way.



post #3 of 3

Well, you end up stocking what you like to cook. You'll learn to read recipes and then schedule them on your menu until after your next shopping trip. 


Cheese, well, I've got a lot of it in my refrigerator. Cheddar, Mozzarella, Parmigianno, Belvintano, Jarlsberg, Boursin, Romano, a Beehive cheddar (local company)with cajun seasoning, cream cheese...  Buy real Parmigianno, not the US copies. There are times the US copies are as good or good enough, but Parmigianno is one where you want the real thing. Save the rinds for adding to stock, or nibbling with wine. 


I like Jarlsberg for a number of reasons. It's relatively inexpensive, but it has surprising versatility. Emmentaler cheeses (the different kinds of Swiss/Gruyere) are good, but expensive. Gouda is mild and inexpensive. Jarlsberg is a hybrid cheese, a so-called Goutaler cheese and can function well in the Emmentaler roles as well as Gouda type duties. But not for the more aged varieties, like aged Gouda (surprisingly parmesan like). 


My tastes run Asian and Mediterranean mostly and so i stock things that work with those cuisines. And I could live out of my pantry and freezer for a few weeks, though I'd need milk and eggs from the store. 


And you learn to substitute some of the time. The alliums for example. Yellow onions, white onions, red onions, leeks, shallots, green onions, garlic. I usually have yellow onions, garlic and green onions on hand. Yellow will stand in for white and vice versa most of the time. To substitute for red, soak the cut yellow onion in water. This mellows the onion, particularly for using "fresh".


I'll freely substitute yellow onion for Leek as well, though the texture and color will shift in the finished dish. Not every one agrees with me on that particularly. You have to judge the impact the leek will have on the final dish to determine if the substitution is reasonable. 


Shallots can be substituted with a little yellow onion and a little garlic. 


Green onions i keep around because of their heavy use in Asian cuisine, particularly late in cooking or as garnish where a substitution doesn't work. Yellow onion can be used to replace it sometimes in some stir fries or braises, but not universally so. 


Garlic I rarely substitute for. I have subbed in shallots a few times for a dish that used both onion and garlic in a ratio I felt shallots could cover and I happened to be out of garlic that day. 


Canned goods, particlularly beans and tomatoes in different forms are important too. 

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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