Working in the service industry for SO long, meant that I rarely cooked. I would eat out most of the time and only really had ingredients in the pantry/fridge for making wraps or Breakfast. I was really good at rolling a wrap together and even better at throwing together a good ole fashion Canadian Brekky. I was, after all, mostly single. Being in a relationship changes all of that! Somehow I always knew that cooking for two would be WAY better than cooking for one. I am really amazed though because now I Love to cook! I must thank all of the former chefs that I have worked with over the years, all of those dead evenings where I watched you and asked a million questions, well some of it stuck!! So, Thanks :) Today, I thought to share with you a few of the STAPLES in my kitchen and perhaps I can inspire you to create some greatness in YOUR kitchen!
I guess cheese has to be the number one staple in our fridge. We have often said that we would pick cheese over meat, if we had to give up one or the other. At any given time there are three types of cheese in the fridge; Buffalo Mozzarella, Feta & Gruyere. Feta goes great in a salad and wonderful in an omelette. Fresh mozzarella is great with basil, tomato and a little olive oil/balsamic drizzle. Gruyere (or if you are partial to cheddar) goes great with anything; potatoes, bread, pasta and more. Cheese is essential. If you are cutting out bread and sugar etc, here is an excellent recipe for a bread-less pizza .... Steam a head of cauliflower, and when it is fully cooked, crumble it all up with a hand mixer or whatever you have. I find a hand mixer works wonders with EVERYTHING from making a smoothie to pulverizing hard bread into bread crumbs. When the cauliflower is cool, add a cup of shredded cheese, parmesan works well! Add a bunch of parsley, one egg and some pepper. Flatten it out into a nice circle pizza shape, bake in the oven for 20min then add your toppings and bake for another 15min around 375. The thing to remember is to squeeze out or pat out as much of the excess water from the cooked cauliflower as possible (before mixing in the other ingredients.) The crust will be too flimsy/moist if you don't.
The next essential thing I have in my kitchen is fresh LEMON!! Lemon is so good for so many things; curry, salad dressing, lemon water, fried fish and my favourite thing to make from scratch: Mayo! Here is my easy peasy recipe for mayo...p.s it is REALLY good and the texture is, I promise, the same as store bought. The great thing though, is that there are no "e's" in it i.e nothing fake!! Only yum and I have no guilt eating it. I tried making it with many types of oil (Olive, Avocado & Canola) and the best by far is Sunflower oil. So, get a mixing container (a hand mixer comes with a container) Mix together one egg, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and just over a tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice, then in a slow line, pour in one cup of the sunflower oil. It takes less than ten minutes to make and will keep in your fridge for at least two weeks. Again, when you pour in the oil, do it SLOWLY.
Besides the regular stuff like eggs, flour, milk, butter etc... It is great to have a few spices/herbs/seasoning stuffs on hand. Cumin powder is a delicious add when you are making scrambled eggs, hot sauce (sambal oelek or sriracha) is great with hash browns or added into any sauces at all, depending if you like it a bit hot. Odds and ends in your fridge can be crafted into deliciousness at all times. I find fresh herbs are great in salads, like a heap of basil or cilantro chopped in there... another amazing add for a salad (even as a snack!) are roasted sunflower seeds with a few splashes of soya sauce. SUPER easy to make but you have to stay on them, don't leave the kitchen or they might get too brown. Sautée the raw sunflower seeds in a frying pan on medium-high heat, high heat will burn them (no oil or butter needed, jus ton their own.) Throw them around in the pan til they get golden brown on both sides, when they do (about 15min) splash in a bit of soya sauce... QUICK, take your wooden spoon and push it along the bottom of the pan to get all the soya sauce up and mixed around... It will burn on the pan if you don't stir it all in (about three or four more minutes.) Friends with peanut allergies... apparently this snack is also a really great salty "nut" alternative. Let them cool and munch away!!
Yes, cooking is fun!! And WAY cheaper than eating out all the time.
I hope I have inspired some new ideas for you today....
Enjoy and revel in the yumminess!!