The Independent's Guide to Independence ep1: Pantry Essentials
Now on to the article! One of the universal signs that you're independent is that you have to feed yourself. I wanted to cover this article first, before I posted any recipes. It covers some definite staples that everyone should have in their pantry. Though a lot of the article may focus on those with a lower budget (ahem, students) I want to focus on items that are basically the foundation to any good meal, regardless of your culinary tastes or expertise.
Look out for those with dry skin and no bruises. These last the longest. Remember, you don't store these in the fridge.
If you're a big fan of Asian food, it's also a good idea to invest in some Ginger.
2. Herbs & SpicesThese can be a little pricey, dry or otherwise. However, they're definitely worth the money as the flavour they bring to any dish is irrepraceable. When cooking with herbs, people don't tend to garnish enough. Don't be hesitant. Be bold and brave when working with herbs and spices. When working with dry spices, remember however that you need less of it than you would if you were working with fresh ingredients.
Buying a rack of dry spices not only provides a great storage solution, but many come with samples of the herbs already.
To start off however, you can work with the staples: Parsley, Coriander, Oregano, Rosemary, Sea Salt, Ground Pepper, Paprika and Cumin.
3. Pastas, Rice & Cereal
Get a variety: think penne, spaghetti, linguine, lasagna and shells. My personal favourite is capellini - or angel hair pasta. As for rice, basmati covers most bases though for the health conscious out there, you can't go wrong with brown rice.
Cereal is almost everybody's favourite breakfast dish for its taste and quick preparation. Putting some in ziploc bags gives you a great snack for throughout the day to keep hunger at bay.
4. Canned...Beans, tuna, tomatoes, soup. These are affordable and great quick-meal fixes. Canned tomatoes can act as a base for your pasta (don't forget to add sugar to counteract the acidity!), tuna can jazz up any salad and beans work great as a side. I also like buying sardines and clams, though, if you're not a fan of seafood, you can stay away from those picks.
While these are rarely canned, chicken, vegetable or beef broth are other smart buys that act as foundations for lots of recipes.
Sugar (brown and white), flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, vanilla extract are the basics, along with a variety of your favourite nuts such as almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts.
Baking soda also acts as a double agent, working to keep your fridges and cat litter smelling clean, removing stubborn baked on spots in your casserole dishes, pans or stove top and even cleaning discoloured mugs, jugs and coffee carafes.
6. Oils & SaucesAs a general rule, if you want to add flavour to your cooking, Extra virgin olive oil is the way to go. Otherwise, steer clear from olive oil and go for a vegetable oil or sunflower, canola oils.
Soy sauce, fish sauce always jazz up Asian dishes. Other sauces that are handy in a jiffy are your favourite BBQ sauce, Sweet n Sour sauce, and a good all purpose savoury sauce for your grilled culinary masterpiece when you're tired of the BBQ sauce.
7. Breads and/or wrapsThough this isn't necessarily kept in your pantry, bread can be kept out or in the fridge so you can keep it for longer. Wraps are great alternatives to sandwiches as they can be loaded with great fillings with minimal mess.
For bread that's gone hard and stale, tear them up, pop them into a blender and voila! Your own homemade breadcrumbs perfect for fried chicken, casseroles and more!
For the rest in this series click here.
Have a great one!
All edits by me
can stock by destruct-stock @ deviantArt
Garlic by Orzel @ deviantArt
Young parsley by Chennyho-Stock @ deviantArt
Odd Pasta Out by somadjinn @ deviantArt
Shake'n bake 1 by oddbjrnk @ deviantArt