Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Gourmet Pantry- a well seasoned pantry is the key to good eats

Nothing is more daunting than coming home from a rough day at work only to longingly stare into the empty black hole you call a refrigerator. Yes, of course living in NYC you have so many great options for dining out but in an era where SAVE is the new SPEND, it can be all that is standing between you and the latest Marc Jacobs. By keeping just a few good items in your pantry you can turn any dish into the ultimate dining experience.
  1. Fresh Herbs- I'm talking fresh basil, thyme, tarragon or even parsley.Fresh herbs add a burst of flavor , a splash of color and separates chefs from cooks. Add them to an omelet, sprinkle on potatoes, or even toss em in a salad for a totally new twist on a favorite dish.
  2. Flavored Vinegars- I'm not talking your traditional red and white- experiment with champagne vinegar, aged balsamic or try blending up some sherry vinegar with a few roasted peppers (and some of those fresh herbs in #1) for a homemade vinaigrette you'll never forget.
  3. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil- Really good olive oil, it's worth the splurge. A drizzle of good oil is the culinary equivalent of the L.B.D. (little black dress) add it to meats, poultry, fish or veggies - sprinkle with salt, pepper and those fresh herbs, pop into a hot oven (375 degrees) and voila dinner is served!
  4. Exotic Grains- Sure you can keep plain old white rice around but the next time you go shopping pick up some basmati or jasmine rice follow the simple cooking directions on the back of bag and all of a sudden your herb roasted chicken served with jasmine rice just moved on up in life!

Get cooking and come back tomorrow for more love from NYC Cooks.

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