stephmodo: How to Upgrade Your Cooking with 5 Ingredients {Part 2}

How to Upgrade Your Cooking with 5 Ingredients {Part 2}

• 12 April 2011

A few weeks ago, I compiled a list of 5 ingredients I recommend having on hand to instantly update your cooking and/or baking. Well, it turns out there are more than 5 ingredients I can't live without--there are, in fact, 10 of 'em. These are all things you can likely buy at your local grocery store.

Am I missing anything on today's list or on Part 1?

image of Dijon, France via diluvienne (a lovely town to visit if you are ever in the Burgundy region of France)


  1. I agree with all of your ingredients! It was only a few years ago that I realized the difference real vanilla makes (I have yet to use real vanilla beans). Great lists!

  2. I've been making my own vanilla extract using the Barefoot Contessa "recipe" for about seven years. Whenever I run out and revert back to the stuff from the store, I really notice the difference. But, un-sophisticate that I am, I prefer Mexican beans to Madagascar -- they smell sweeter.

    This isn't a cooking item, per se, but one thing that really makes me mornings feel more special is using set honey procured by local beekeepers (or by local beekeepers when we're traveling). I just ate some from the Scottish/English borderlands on multi-grained bread & it's so good.

  3. I agree completely with both lists. I would add shallots. I often substitute shallots for onions and almost always use them when making cream or pan sauces. Such great flavor.

    Loved your vinegar list -- tarragon vinegar is my favorite. So yummy.

    Have you tried Penzey's spices ( I've never tried one of their products and not been wholly satisfied. There bulk prices aren't bad and there is even a store in Seattle!

  4. Jennifer, I totally agree with you on the shallots...great choice. Also, I've tried Penzeys before (gift from my stepmom), but I didn't know they had a store in Seattle. Thanks for the heads up! Is it in the Pike Place Market then?


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