The right stuff

Your kitchen is your kitchen; it’s your domain, your place of ultimate nourishment. You make your own way in the kitchen you call your own, and whether you’re a good cook or a bad cook, there are certain things that you always rely on to make any dish great. From kitchen tools to my own secret blend of herbs and spices, I’m gonna let you in on all the cooking secrets that save every dish I make.

  • Garlic: Whether I use fresh garlic cloves, minced or powder, this spice elevates every dish I make. I never liked garlic, but as the years have gone on I’ve learned to crave it in every dish I make. If your dish is missing something, and you can’t put your finger on, try this and then go in for another taste.
  • Pam: This might sound like a weird item to have on my list, but I choose to keep a healthy diet as well as a delicious one. I definitely use olive oil when making certain dishes, but when I’m stir-frying veggies or cooking eggs, I’d rather not have the extra fat that it brings.
  • Steamer: Whenever I eat vegetables I want to get every ounce of the good stuff so my body is filled with all the nutrients it needs. With that said, cooking any vegetable will instantly cause it to lose some of the nutrients. In my research I found that steaming is the best way to keep all the good-for-you-goodness.
    -Don’t have a steamer? No problem. Nor do I — Put a small amount of water in a pot, start a boil, put a strainer on top, and cover with a lid. Voila! Steam away, baby!
  • Mixed up pepper: Jane’s Krazy Mixed-Up Seasonings (http://www.janeskrazy.com/) are essential in my kitchen. I try to use minimal table salt, so her mixes allow me to get a ton of flavor without piling on the salt — because I love salty! I absolutely love the Lime Pepper. You can usually find her stuff in any grocery store.
  • A good spatula: This may sound silly, but as someone who cooks a lot of eggs, a bad spatula can really make or break the dish (or yolk!). A good spatula is essential in yielding the best possible results!
  • Onion: Like garlic, I wasn’t too keen on onion for the larger portion of my life thus far, but I have come to learn — thanks to Ben! — that onion is crucial to any good meal. I see onion like I see garlic, your go-to when something is missing; a dish can always use the bitter, sweetness of an onion.
  • Parmesan cheese: It’s so versatile! When you think Parmesan, you probably think of Italian, but it’s multifaceted goodness spans the whole food spectrum! From adding a little extra pizazz to a boring salad, to making garlic, Parmesan, creamy squash, it’s adds that homey feel to any dish. Try shredded Parmesan, too. It packs more punch than the grated version.
  • A select group of flavors: This is a little broad,  but there are a few “flavors” or sauces that I often use that make every dish delish.
    The first is soy sauce. I hate that it holds so much sodium, I want to get the low-sodium kind, but when added to a stir-fry it makes all the difference. It helps get that brown caramelization on onions, green beans and asparagus which is CRAZY good!
    -I also use a good amount of VT maple syrup. I learned a good marinade from Ben’s mom that I use for tofu: Soy sauce, syrup and lime juice. It’s sweet and salty mix is amazing.

Lastly…

A good glass of wine! — I personally prefer red. Always have fun, play around with different ingredients and tools, and if you get a little wine tipsy in the mean time, then so be it!

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