the Pantry

The pantry can be like your pallet.  I love to open my cabinets wide and look at all the jars, tins, and boxes. Each organized, labeled and front facing (My closet is color organized, its useful. Not crazy.). My favorite pantry items are the clear jars and shiny metal tins. They all have tidy labels of blue tape with sharpie or printed from my handy label maker. Pretty colors of beans, fun shapes of pasta, so many textures of flour!

I can probably make a meal for 20 at any given time out of my pantry and freezer. I try to keep things that I use often and that I know pair well together. The contents of my pantry change seasonally and ever grow and change for my latest must have. If I had whole room for it, I am sure that I would store more than that room could hold. This is a list of things that I like to keep in stock:

  • flours: a.p. flour, whole wheat flour, masa or corn flour, gravy flour
  • rice: white, brown, and jasmine are a must, everything else is bonus
  • couscous
  • quinoa
  • oatmeal
  • grits
  • ground flax *store in freezer or fridge
  • pasta: one box long and thin noodles, one box short and shapely, whole wheat and flavored varieties also appreciated  
  • rice or bean thread noodles
  • dried beans: kidney, black, black eyed peas, lentils
  • canned beans
  • canned tomatoes: crushed in puree, diced, plain sauce, paste
  • sweeteners: local honey, maple, white sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar
  • coco powder
  • chocolate: unsweetened and semi sweet
  • buttermilk, powdered if it is not something you will drink
  • sweetened condensed milk, think dulce de leche!
  • tetra pack milk, this handy carton of milk keeps well in the pantry for months and is ready for any emergency be it weather or cooking. 
  • oils: quality olive oil, other higher temp oil (I use an oil blend), peanut oil for frying, veggie or blends for baking and miscellaneous needs, sesame oil, chili oil.
  • vinegar: balsamic, red wine, apple cider, white. bonus for chinese black, rice, and champagne vinegars. 
  • Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids
  • soy sauce
  • fish sauce
  • olives
  • capers
  • frozen/canned corn
  • frozen edamame (or green peas, or both)
  • frozen broccoli
  • nuts: almonds, walnuts, pecans, peanuts, or any other favorite that you can find
  • tahini
  • peanut butter
  • quality jam
  • raisins
  • can water chestnuts
  • can chopped green chilis
  • can cream of- soup, for instant sauce


  • vanilla
  • nutmeg, whole please
  • cinnamon
  • clove whole/powder
  • mustard seed/powder
  • saffron
  • celery seed
  • sesame seed
  • thyme
  • cumin seed/powder
  • dill
  • caraway
  • red pepper crushed/powder
  • cardamon pods
  • parsley
  • paprika
  • bay leaves
  • tarragon
  • tumeric
  • corriander
  • fennel

I also keep a few jars of pickled something around. These get put out as quick nibbles, sliced into cold salads, or as part of a Relish Tray at Thanksgiving. Added to cheese and crackers, these nibbles can make a full meal.  The stock usually includes things like sweet gerhkins, cornichons, beets, fancy olives, pickled okra, spiced peaches, and gardineria.   

4 responses to “the Pantry

  1. This is seriously funny. I remember you getting very annoyed with me for wanting you to help me to reorganize your mom’s spice cabinet (front facing and tiered for better viewing)!

    • Cathy,
      Don’t sweat it, just dive in. Quoina is super forgivable. I have cooked it with and without a lid, added more water if dry, and drained off excess water when i thought it was done. I stir it whenever i want to.
      Have it his way or mine
      This is how Tall Dark and Handsome likes it:
      Sautee together diced onion, garlic. Add frozen peas and dried parsley (or add fresh of both at the end) Add a splash of white wine, stir in 1 cup quoina and follow with 2c chicken stock. Stirring occasioanlly and adding stock as needed, simmer until soft and fluffy. Finish with a healthy pat of butter and stir in minced fresh herbs.
      We eat this as a side dish to meat or grilled veggies.

      boil till soft and serve like oatmeal with brown sugar, cream, nuts, and raisins.


Leave a Reply to thepotlicker Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s