I really want to prevent running to the store every other day to purchase items I think I should have on hand
Here's a F52 article to get you started. I couldn't imagine not having Kosher salt (Crystal brand), pepper (freshly ground), apple cider vinegar, white wine & red vinegars (and good ol' distilled white - Heinz), extra virgin olive oil, olive oil, vegetable & canola oil. Also, mustard, Dijon, country style & plain yellow. Also, low sodium soy sauce or tamari, worstchire, balsamic vinegar, franks red hot sauce and many specialty Asian type paste/sauces. Canned tomatoes, real maple syrup, Hellman's mayonnaise & sugar. whew, im sure there's more but just to get ya going. Consider the ethnicity of the foods/dishes you enjoy and make sure you have those spices as well. Have fun shopping!
oh & ketchup - Here's the link: http://food52.com/blog...
Thanks so much, I really appreciate it.
No problem! I cook a lot with capers and anchovies as well and usually have a tube of tomato paste in the fridge.
What kind of recipes do you cook? What ethnic foods are in your repertoire? Look at your preferences and build a list from them.
I would say that it really depends on your cooking habits. If it's not an item that you use regularly, there's no point in keeping it around. This is especially true for spices and dried herbs, which lose their strength if they sit around too long. For a basic list, I recommend keeping EVOO, a neutral-tasting oil for high-heat cooking, apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, black peppercorns, kosher salt, red pepper flakes, dried thyme, rosemary, marjoram, and oregano, smoked paprika, aleppo pepper (I know, I know--it's more of a specialty item, but we use it all the time--it's exceptional on anything from pizza to fried eggs), cumin seed, coriander seed, bay leaf, a good, homemade curry powder or masala, capers, anchovies, tomato paste, dijon mustard (whole grain and smooth), etc. It's also a good idea to stock lemons and parsley at all times. We use a ton of both--there's nothing like fresh lemon juice and a handful of parsley to brighten up a dish that's too heavy-tasting or dull. We also always have cilantro and scallions around, but we cook a lot of Vietnamese and Thai food. It all depends on what you like to cook. Hope this helps a bit!
sexylambchopx list is a lot like mine would be. As for specific dried herbs/spices, what you need to keep on hand depends greatly upon what types of cuisines you prefer to cook/eat. Dried Herbes de Provence is an essential ingredient in my pantry, as are capers, anchovies and Panko breadcrumbs. Other than soy sauce and oyster sauce, I don't have many Asian items as I rarely cook Asian. So you have to decide what you want to do.
My barebones list would be: extra virgin olive oil, grapeseed oil, red wine vinegar, soy sauce, honey, pure grade B maple syrup, ground cinnamon, cinnamon sticks, whole nutmeg, cumin, coriander, cayenne or sriracha, diamond kosher salt (!!!), fresh black pepper, dijon mustard (maille or grey pompon), good oil-packed anchovies, garlic, onions
Oh, and canned tomatoes and tomato paste
Penzeys spices is a reliable source for quality spices
If you want to keep costs down and you have Whole Foods or health food stores near you, you can often find bulk spices whic you put in your own jars. TONS cheaper than other sources. I do think spices/herbs are one of the biggest rip offs in grocery stores.