Pantry Stuff

 

Since we are cooking on “The Pantry Chronicles,” I feel compelled to talk about Pantry’s.

I’ve always found every home cooking enthusiast should take as much time preparing their kitchen as they do actually cooking.  Preparation is the key to making sure you always feel inspired and motivated.  When inspiration hits you…it should not require a trip to the grocery store.

Spices

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Because I cook a lot, and cook different things, I require many spices.  I’ve had numerous spice organization methods, but this one suits me best.  These little jars are fairly universal and can be purchased almost anywhere.  They fit in my drawer, with a little tweaking, they stay put.  By tweaking, I mean a few skewers glued in rows so the jars have a line to stay in..(like most polite people!)  I have made my own labels, but I see you can purchase them in many stores.  I find if you keep the drawer right beside your stove, it is much easier to feel creative while the dish is happening!  I get most of my spices from “The Silk Road” in Calgary, Alberta.  They have an AMAZING selection and my delivery comes the next day.  They sell jars, bags, gift sets and have always impressed me.  Website is http://www.silkroadspices.ca/

Oven Ware Center

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Need to bake? Measure? Warm-up?  You need to have all your tools organized and close at hand.  I used to own many, many more of these vessels, but if you get too much, it can be even worse trying to find something then not having enough!  I have found the perfect balance with this number.  When I see new pans or different variations that I don’t own …I just move on.  Simple is better and being organized means more then having one of everything there is!

 

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Kitchen Stand Mixer

Oh where would I be without this machine!  I use it all the time.  It makes so many tasks much easier.  I love the larger bowl in this commercial variety because I found the bowls in the smaller ones were just getting too full and the machine could not keep up.  I use the bread hook all the time and find it just makes the job so easy, there’s no reason not to do it!  This one tucks away inside my lower cabinets to ensure I still have lots of counter space. (although you give up cabinet space!  Oh well….)

Oils, Oils, Oils!

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All oils have different smoking points and flavors.  You can bring your cooking to the next level by playing with the different variations out there.    For a great list on smoking points check out this website http://www.goodeatsfanpage.com/collectedinfo/oilsmokepoints.htm

Pantry Ingredients

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Ever wanted to cook or bake something only to read the recipe and find out you have to go to the grocery store?  That puts a stop to any creative or motivating ideas you had about cooking.  Think of the kinds of recipes you are drawn to.  What kinds of soups, vegetables etc. attract you to a recipe?  Keep those items in your pantry for the next version of your favorite food.  I keep all those items in sealed, plastic containers.  It may take some time to transfer those items from the grocery store packaging to your own jars, and then label them, but it is cleaner and safer then allowing food items to mingle with each other….(or what may be in them…(yuck)

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Food Storage System that Works

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We often have family dinners where the food flows…. too far… and there’s leftovers!  We used to have all sorts of plastic wear all over the place and found the products were inconsistent, hard to store and keep organized.   As well, this system did not produce the best quality results when decided to freeze the food for another time.  It’s too expensive and time-consuming to have this happen over and over again.   We decided to use  commercial containers which are  available at most bulk-type stores.  We keep two basic sizes that seem to work well l for everyone.  We keep clear lids on hand for items just enjoyed from the fridge the next day as well as foil lids for freezing.  Both lid options can be identified by a felt  pen as to their names, the dish or the date.   We also use this system ourselves for storage of food that is left over when we are by ourselves.  I have taken many dishes out of these containers, frozen solid, and thrown them in the slow cooker.  We then enjoy another  home cooked meal when we get home from work or play.

Parchment Paper

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I find there are so many uses for this ideal product.  I now line almost every baking sheet and pan with it for easy clean-up.  I also find that when the food is not sticking to the bottom of the cooking vessel, the results are superior and you get all the food you have prepared….not scrubbing much of it off your pan.  I use them to store most food on instead of my counter or a plate. (yes, I have a clean counter…but we can’t always see germs and I’d rather be safe then sorry) Plates need to be washed and parchment paper does not.  I have used it for rolling out dough, cutting cookies …..simply too many tasks to count are made easier for me by utilizing Parchment Paper.

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Hamper in the Kitchen for Dishtowels and Dishcloths

As cooking enthusiasts, we all go through lots and lots of dishcloths.  I personally go through several during a cooking session to ensure there is no cross-contamination.  When I feel it’s time to retire a cloth, it just gets tossed into the hamper under the sink.  Make sure it has got ventilation so the moisture is not retained between washing.  When it’s time to launder the dishcloths, they are all in the same place, they are not mixed up with other laundry and they all get a good dose of bleach to keep them all sanitary.