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I can't do without.... What are things you use in almost every dish?

In my kitchen I consider it a crisis if I don't have lemons or lemon juice, garlic bulbs and at least two kinds of vinegar. I always am cooking with these three things. Other spices, oils, herbs, extracts, have there place but lemon, garlic and vinegar are essential. I also cook with a lot of rice. If I have rice, then I can make something, hence why I bought the biggest bag of rice they sell at the supermarket. I also (shock! Horror!) use canned beans and tomatoes. And when I can I buy a dried chorizo from a local butcher shop to make my rice and beans more tasty. So what's indispensable in your kitchen?

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    1. salt. (i joke now that most restaurants are not salting enough. then there is the rogue place that has way oversalted dishes).

      additionally, for so many entrees that i make, i'll use: butter, canned tomatoes, garlic, half & half, garlic, evoo, pepper, fresh italian parsley, lemons in some combination of two or more of these. mr. alka loves pasta dishes of all sorts, so this list can take you in many directions.

      1 Reply
      1. re: alkapal

        alka - did you ever make the tuna one?

      2. garlic for sure. and freshly ground black pepper. those two go into pretty much everything i make (except desserts!)

        1. Fresh cilantro. I am in a slow transition moving to Europe. I didn't find any fresh cilantro at local supermarket there (quite a small town. No mexican or Indian restaurants). I used a jar but it tasted totally different. I am now thinking bringing seeds and plant it in a conatiner. Maybe different in Summer? I strongly hope so.

          1. Olive oil, garlic, onions, lemon, those 4 without a doubt are probably the most used items for me.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Val

              With the addition of butter and good vinegars, I'm with Val on this one.

            2. s&p, fresh ginger, fresh garlic, butter, brown sugar, rice vinegar, wine, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon, lime, honey-rare when I run out of any of these.

              1. eggs, milk, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, rice. If I'm low on any of these things, I'll run out to the store (dragging the kids with me) no matter the weather. Luckily, I get my milk delivered once a week now, so that saves a lot of emergency runs. ;)

                I also like to always have dried beans, canned tomatoes (transitioning away from purchased though - I've run out of my home canned already though and have to buy until summer. Ugh.) and ground beef around.

                1 Reply
                1. re: tzurriz

                  Red chili flakes-- totally addicted!

                2. Butter, olive oil, fleur de sel, peppercorns, lemons, fresh thyme, garlic (often roasted or black garlic), Sherry vinegar, arborio rice.

                  1. Butter and peanut oil for browning, olive oil, capers, cream, half a dozen vinegars, several salts and peppers, and in the garden fresh thyme, oregano, flat leaf parsley, bay, sage, and inthe spring through fall basil. Also piles of onions and lemons.

                    1. Bother - I did not mention Parmesan in my post above. We go through it so much we buy it in great huge wedges.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: chefathome

                        +1 As long as it's Parmigiano Reggiano--and you might as well add Romano Pecorino to the list--get both at Costco.

                        1. re: escondido123

                          Definitely! Nothing but. And Asiago. PR would be my very first choice if I were forced to choose only one.

                      2. agree...and lately I would add Gruyere. My son refers to hard cheese as "piling cheese." Got that right!.