HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
What are you cooking today? Tell us about it
TELL US

Top 5 Ingredients

rumgum Aug 12, 2006 06:14 PM

Maybe it's your favorite spice or herb. Maybe it's a staple you couldn't cook without. What are your Top 5 ingredients? Could you limit yourself to only 5? What if your list couldn't include Salt and Pepper (not that you would ever exclude them from your actual cooking)... just for the sake of the list.

  1. s
    S_K Aug 29, 2006 05:58 PM

    onions/garlic
    soy sauce
    lime
    fresh herbs
    noodles (can be pasta, or udon, or rice noodles, any kind)

    1. AmblerGirl Aug 29, 2006 05:26 PM

      Spanish smoked paprika
      Minced garlic
      olive oil
      canned diced tomatos
      red wine

      1. pancake Aug 29, 2006 04:55 PM

        coconut milk
        olive oil/butter
        tomatoes
        Eggplant
        Cheese

        1. jenniebnyc Aug 28, 2006 11:47 PM

          olive oil
          garlic
          white wine
          chicken broth
          onions

          1. w
            WineWidow Aug 28, 2006 08:54 PM

            Oy vey, just 5?

            1. onions
            2. olive oil
            3. good salt & pepper (c'mon, they can count as one, right?
            4. balsamic vinegar
            5. ketchup

            Yes, ketchup, the great equalizer. I use it in a lot of things to add sweetness or body...my husband was horrified when he discovered that but he loves my cooking so he holds his tongue.

            1. Katie Nell Aug 14, 2006 05:19 PM

              garlic
              butter
              mushrooms (dried or fresh)
              fresh thyme
              beef

              because I could actually make something with just this five!

              1. p
                peachblossom Aug 14, 2006 05:10 PM

                I do predominantly Chinese cooking so ...

                oyster sauce
                garlic
                green onions
                soy sauce
                cooking wine

                5 Replies
                1. re: peachblossom
                  TexasToast Aug 15, 2006 12:24 AM

                  Wait, wait, wait, . . . Cooking Wine??? WTF? I hope you meant "wine for cooking" and not that crap supermarkets sell as "cooking wine" or we'll have to revoke your CH license!

                  TT

                  1. re: TexasToast
                    p
                    peachblossom Aug 15, 2006 12:36 AM

                    I was referring to rice wine or Shao Xing wine since those are the two I normally use for Chinese cooking. If I am feeling extremely decadent, I use Hennessey -- it imparts a really good flavor

                    1. re: peachblossom
                      TexasToast Aug 15, 2006 12:44 AM

                      Ahh, okay, that'll save you. I've heard about the Hennessey as well, but have not used it in Chinese cooking. A good cognac is essential for a bisque though.

                      TT

                  2. re: peachblossom
                    f
                    fara Aug 15, 2006 12:27 AM

                    could you post some recipes with cooking wine?

                    1. re: fara
                      p
                      peachblossom Aug 15, 2006 12:35 AM

                      Normally the wine I use is for marinating meat or for the gravy for Chinese dishes. I simply add either rice wine or Shao Xing wine to the marinade or to the gravy, about 3T or so.

                  3. cord Aug 14, 2006 03:34 PM

                    lemon
                    flaxseeds
                    yogurt
                    honey
                    garlic

                    1. h
                      Hungry Celeste Aug 14, 2006 02:14 AM

                      --some sort of smoked pork product (tasso, country ham, smoked sausage, bacon, etc)
                      --rice
                      --onions
                      --garlic
                      --dried beans (red, white, black, lentils, pintos)
                      I could always forage for herbs & mushrooms, couldn't I?

                      1. Emme Aug 14, 2006 02:03 AM

                        Egg Whites
                        Ketchup
                        Mushrooms or Cauliflower or Eggplant (give me one)
                        Bragg's Amino Acids (wheat free soy sauce)
                        White Balsamic Vinegar

                        1. e
                          Ed Edamame Aug 13, 2006 11:40 PM

                          Hmmmmmm...

                          Extra Virgin Olive Oil
                          Balsamic Vinegar
                          Garlic
                          Lemon/Lime Juice
                          Fresh Pacific Coho Salmon

                          It's weird to narrow it down to so few - makes you think about how many things you actually use in your kitchen!

                          1. NovoCuisine Aug 13, 2006 11:13 PM

                            olive oil
                            cilantro/basil
                            garlic/onion/shallot
                            lemon/lime
                            chili (sauce, paste, dried)

                            1. jennjen18 Aug 13, 2006 10:51 PM

                              instead of the eversopopular lemon, i use lime
                              dried pasta/noodle (including the instant kind)
                              chillis
                              green onions
                              chicken

                              1. a
                                alexk Aug 13, 2006 10:39 PM

                                Salt and pepper
                                Lemon - I use it in as much as I can. Sounds a little weird at first, but a little bit of fresh lemon juice and some butter to finish scrambled eggs... you'll never scramble eggs without doing it again.
                                Herbs - chives and parsley, most frequently
                                Eggs
                                Dried pasta

                                1. o
                                  OnceUponABite Aug 13, 2006 10:21 PM

                                  It'ss interesting you can kind of see everyone's cultural background by their list.
                                  Mine would be

                                  oil
                                  soy sauce
                                  lemon/limes
                                  garlic
                                  sugar

                                  In Chinese cooking, there is this 'poem' that describes the essential of cooking: wood, rice, oil, salt, soy sauce, vinagar, tea. Back in the OLD days, every women needs those things to put together a decent meal :)

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: OnceUponABite
                                    TexasToast Aug 14, 2006 01:48 PM

                                    You can? So what does that make me, OUAB?

                                    TT

                                    1. Alliums: garlic, onions, leeks etc.
                                    2. Fresh Lemons
                                    3. Black Truffles
                                    4. Goats' cheese
                                    5. A really good, Cold-Pressed, Single Estate, Extra Virgin Olive Oil

                                    1. re: TexasToast
                                      h
                                      HeelsSoxHound Aug 28, 2006 01:47 PM

                                      rich...

                                      1. re: HeelsSoxHound
                                        TexasToast Aug 28, 2006 11:13 PM

                                        Ha, ha, ha, that's pretty funny.

                                        TT (in a Warren Beatty voice)

                                  2. toodie jane Aug 13, 2006 09:45 PM

                                    what I grab for the most when whipping something up w/o a game plan:

                                    garlic/bulb onions
                                    evoo
                                    herb--usually thyme or cumin
                                    ripe bell peppers--any color
                                    dairy--yogurt, ricotta, milk, goat cheese, casera, parm, etc

                                    it starts from there and can go anywhere, depending....

                                    1. j
                                      JessWil Aug 13, 2006 08:41 PM

                                      I don't think anyone said nuts. I use nuts in everything!

                                      So...

                                      nuts of any kind
                                      bread
                                      cheese of any kind (whatever happens to be in my fridge)
                                      fruit of any kind (whatever happens to be on the counter)
                                      yogurt

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: JessWil
                                        jennjen18 Aug 13, 2006 10:52 PM

                                        youre nuts! haha, get it? :P

                                      2. h
                                        HeelsSoxHound Aug 13, 2006 06:37 PM

                                        garlic/shallot/leek
                                        pig
                                        lime
                                        salt and pepper (yes, i count that as one... *grin*)
                                        evoo

                                        1. steinpilz Aug 13, 2006 02:54 PM

                                          I can tell you what I always run out of (besides salt and pepper):

                                          garlic
                                          cumin
                                          thyme
                                          oil
                                          wine!

                                          1. j
                                            j2brady Aug 13, 2006 02:28 PM

                                            garlic
                                            tomato
                                            basil
                                            bread
                                            lemon

                                            Jenna

                                            1. TexasToast Aug 13, 2006 01:45 PM

                                              This is like a Ready, Steady, Cook! bistro bag! I'm doing it the "Candy" way (see above).

                                              1. Alliums: garlic, onions, leeks etc.
                                              2. Fresh Lemons
                                              3. Black Truffles
                                              4. Goats' cheese
                                              5. A really good, Cold-Pressed, Single Estate, Extra Virgin Olive Oil

                                              TT

                                              1. janedoe67 Aug 13, 2006 07:35 AM

                                                tomatos (fresh and canned)
                                                Goat Cheese
                                                chicken
                                                garlic, onion
                                                herbs

                                                1. Non Cognomina Aug 13, 2006 07:03 AM

                                                  I really pray I never have to limit myself to only 5 ingredients. But I could get by for a while on these:

                                                  Flour

                                                  Really good butter

                                                  a pig (for bacon, pork chops, ham, chitlings, drippings...)

                                                  eggs

                                                  any seasonal, local fruit

                                                  1. Cheese Boy Aug 13, 2006 04:57 AM

                                                    1. Truffle oil
                                                    2. Goat Cheese
                                                    3. Reggiano
                                                    4. EVOO
                                                    5. Garlic
                                                    6. Herb de Provence

                                                    List goes on and on and on ...

                                                    1. n
                                                      niki rothman Aug 13, 2006 01:31 AM

                                                      Meat
                                                      greens
                                                      flour
                                                      sugar
                                                      lemon
                                                      I hestiated over lemon versus fat (butter? evoo?), but I figured I could get fat from the meat and even use that with the flour and sugar to make desserts. Then you've got to have some kind of acid, even if ONLY for preventing scurvy, I mean the taste is what we really care about, no? and with the greens and lemon I've even got salad covered.
                                                      With my list, I think one could actually survive and with creativity, continue to be a chowhound.
                                                      Hey, that was FUN.

                                                      1. thenurse Aug 13, 2006 01:29 AM

                                                        fresh herbs
                                                        tomatoes, fresh when in season, good Italian canned when not
                                                        garlic and onions (together.. cheating I know)
                                                        parmesan... ideally fresh (sometimes I only have the cheap godawful stuff to make dog treats..)
                                                        olive oil..

                                                        1. PamelaD Aug 13, 2006 12:56 AM

                                                          1. olive oil
                                                          2. garlic, onions, shallots
                                                          3. fresh herbs (esp sage, thyme, parsely)
                                                          4. goat cheese or cottage cheese
                                                          5. any fresh veggie (esp squash: summer or winter, and brocoli)

                                                          1. Velma Aug 12, 2006 11:29 PM

                                                            Well, I guess since I'm a bread fanatic, it would have to be five ingredients to make a basic loaf of bread.

                                                            flour
                                                            butter
                                                            yeast
                                                            sesame seeds
                                                            honey

                                                            1. Candy Aug 12, 2006 11:13 PM

                                                              1. Pork, all pork products
                                                              2. Chilis fresh and dried
                                                              3. Alliums, garlic, onions, leeks etc.
                                                              4. Cream, including butter, ghee and oil
                                                              5. Corn, fresh, meal, masa etc.

                                                              1. s
                                                                sheiladeedee Aug 12, 2006 11:01 PM

                                                                Lemons
                                                                tomatoes
                                                                pasta
                                                                white beans
                                                                olive oil

                                                                1. g
                                                                  galiana Aug 12, 2006 10:47 PM

                                                                  Cilantro
                                                                  Mint
                                                                  Honey
                                                                  Yogurt
                                                                  Tandoori paste
                                                                  Lemons

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: galiana
                                                                    pilotgirl210 Aug 28, 2006 11:41 PM

                                                                    That's six......tee hee. You're one over the limit.

                                                                    1. re: pilotgirl210
                                                                      TexasToast Aug 28, 2006 11:57 PM

                                                                      Well, if you wanna get technical, Tandoori paste probably has about 16 things in it.

                                                                      TT

                                                                  2. f
                                                                    Fleur Aug 12, 2006 10:27 PM

                                                                    Olive Oil
                                                                    Garlic
                                                                    Fresh Italian Parsley
                                                                    Red Wine Vinegar
                                                                    Lemon Zest and Juice

                                                                    1. sivyaleah Aug 12, 2006 09:10 PM

                                                                      chicken breasts
                                                                      garlic
                                                                      pasta
                                                                      olive oil
                                                                      parmesean reggiano

                                                                      1. v
                                                                        Val Aug 12, 2006 09:06 PM

                                                                        Mine would be the same as Funwithfood's except I'd switch out the beef for fresh lemon juice...I use fresh lemon juice an awful lot, fresh tomatoes, too, if I could add a 6th, hee!

                                                                        1. Funwithfood Aug 12, 2006 07:48 PM

                                                                          Onions
                                                                          Garlic
                                                                          Wine
                                                                          Fresh Herbs
                                                                          Beef

                                                                          Show Hidden Posts