Good morning everyone and happy week! I hope you all had an enjoyable weekend and made some time in the midst of chores and other obligations to do something fun.
As I was cleaning out the fridge last week, I decided: wouldn’t it be fun if I did a ‘Lisa at Home (LAH) Staples’ series? So with that, I’m going to do a few posts that include the ‘staples’ I have on hand at all times that make creating recipes and/or following them easier and most importantly, more fun!
Red Wine Vinegar: a crucial component of any basic vinegrette. Can also be used on its own for a next to 0kcal dressing.
Lemon Juice: Behold, the ingredient that is used in all things culinary. While I would prefer to use fresh lemons, this is a fine substitute for most recipes. With dressings, however, make every effort to use fresh lemon
Mozzarella Cheese: Need I say more? We make our own pizzas a lot so this is essential. Meanwhile, it can be added to any pasta dish or open-faced sandwich to add some cheesy goodness.
Balsamic Vinegar: an inexpensive staple that makes a world of a difference in vinaigrette or basic salads. Used in many Italian dishes. Can also be boiled down to make a reduction to serve atop meats.
Worcestershire Sauce: My (not so) secret ingredient for the perfect burger.
Parmesan Cheese: I use this or Pecorino on almost every pasta dish I make. Using a vegetable peeler, it adds flair to a simple garden salad, too.
Organic Vegetable Broth: While low sodium is preferred, this is a great staple for simple soups, stews, or using to deglaze a pan.
White Wine: Needs no explanation, but for cooking purposes, a must for ristotto and adding flavor to the simplest of protein dishes (chicken and fish)
Organic Reduced Fat Milk: a perfect substitute for heavy cream when making a soup or light sauce. Essential in baking. I find reduced fat is a perfect compromise (for day to day use and baking)
Crushed Garlic: When garlic is not going to be the stand out of the dish and/or I am particularly lazy, I use this as a perfect substitute for fresh garlic.
Maple Syrup/Maple-Agave Blend: Maple syrup is widely used in baking. In addition, you can add it to a dressing or roasted vegetable dish for a great twist.
Peanut Butter: Used frequently in baking. Also, when mixed with soy sauce it makes a great dipping sauce for chicken. Also used in stir-fry.
Mustard: Adds a kick to the simplest of sandwiches. Also makes a wonderful vinaigrette with red wine vinegar, olive oil, and a bit of honey.
Unsalted Butter: You can never, ever have too much butter in your fridge/freezer. Especially around the holidays, it’s used in everything! Perfect for browning meats or searing fish. When using to brown meat, it is wise to add some vegetable oil due to its higher heat threshold.
Free-Range Eggs: A perfect vegetarian source of protein. Prevelent in baked goods. Also used as a bonding agent in cooking (i.e.: burgers, meatloaf, lasagne)
Almond Butter: Same uses as peanut butter. I add this daily to my toast or oats.
I hope you enjoyed a little peek into my refrigerator! The next LAH Staples will be ‘Bakers Pantry’.
**Stay tuned this week. I have a wonderful, spontaneous announcement to make! **