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The must have

What are a couple of must have ingredients/spices that I should have in my Cooking toolbox?

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  1. butter
    sugar
    flour
    baking soda
    baking powder
    good vanilla
    cinnamon
    whole nutmeg
    ginger
    good salts
    peppercorns
    hot sauce
    brown sugar
    corn syrup
    molasses
    yeast
    eggs
    whole milk
    sweetened condensed milk
    good chocolate
    good coffee

    the list is endless...what kind of cooking toolbox? savory? sweet?

    1. Smoked chiles in whole or powder form. Yeah. Yeah. Everyone is bored with chipotle this and chipotle that, but I find that we use a lot of chipotle (pods and powder) and smoked Spanish paprikas (both sweet and hot powdered) in our kitchen. If you're bored with chipotle per se and are looking for a smoked chile flavor with less heat, try pasillas de Oaxaca.

      1. Depends on what you cook, but here are my additions:

        sage, rosemary, thyme
        instant espresso/coffee powder (for baked goods and marinating meats)
        oils: extra virgin olive, sesame, grapeseed, and canola
        garlic and onion
        capers
        sun dried tomatoes
        dried wild mushrooms
        rice, both white and whole wheat: sushi, jasmine, basmati, and regular medium-grain
        olives
        anchovies
        pine nuts, walnuts, and almonds
        eggs

        *Personally am hardly ever without goat brie

        Living alone, so mainly keep bread, meats, and fish in the freezer in single portions.

        1. A couple must haves are Kosher and/or sea salt and pepper corns for grinding fresh.
          That's just the start. Depending on the food you cook regularly, or plan to cook, the list increases according to your needs. When I am about to use a recipe for the first time, I read through it, go into the pantry, check to make certain I have all the necessaires, buy what I need, proceed to cook. It just does not make sense to me to have herbs and spices, et al, sitting on a shelf unused. You'd be surprised just how fast your pantry cache builds when you begin cooking in earnest.

          1. LoL
            Olive Oil
            Blended seame/soybean oil
            Pure roasted sesame oil
            Sesame Seed
            Fine, medium, and coarse ground red chili powder
            Soy bean paste
            Dashi (Dashida)
            White, black, and brown rice
            Brown sugar
            Sugar
            Soy Sauce, Both light and dark
            Fish Sauce
            Clear noodle (sweet potato starch noodle)
            Rice noodle
            Dried fern sprouts
            Dried anchovies
            Dried doragi (bellfower root)
            Fresh Asian herbs/roots as needed NOT the powders.

            5 Replies
            1. re: hannaone

              Aha.... *Now* I know the proper items for an Asian kitchen. Some are already in my pantry. Curiously, this is the week we go to the local Asian market to replenish what we've used up. This list comes with me. Thank you very much!

              1. re: Gio

                Don't forget the dried anchovies and oyster sauce!

                1. re: link_930

                  Right... adding this to my list. Thanx, link!!

              2. re: hannaone

                Where and how do you use dried fern sprouts? TIA

                1. re: debby

                  Fern sprouts (gossari in Korean) are used in soups like Yukejon (Spicy beef soup) or reconstituted and sauteed or stir fried as a ban chan dish. Also used in the mixed vegetable and rice dish Bi Bim Bop or the hot pot version Dol Sot Bi Bim Bop.

              3. Geez, I can't believe nobody mentioned this yet: you'll need some good canned tomatoes, dried pasta, and red pepper flakes.

                1. garlic
                  red chili flakes
                  vegetable or chicken broth/stock - I like the one-cup tetrapaks now available from some companies
                  good peppercorns
                  sea or kosher salt
                  fresh herbs -- especially basil and cilantro
                  coconut milk
                  nuts -- almonds, cashews, pine nuts
                  good Italian cheeses -- esp. Parm and Asiago
                  whole spices (coriander, cumin, etc) and a good grinder
                  hot sauce, at least 3 varieties
                  canned tomatoes and tomato paste
                  dried pasta
                  several varieties of rice
                  rice noodles
                  limes and lemons
                  oils -- olive, peanut, sesame
                  good butter
                  high-quality tea

                  Because it's just me and the boyfriend, we buy things like meat egg and most fresh vegetables on an as-needed basis but we seem to always have:
                  hot peppers
                  bell peppers
                  carrots
                  celery
                  assorted mushrooms
                  onions
                  scallions