My approach to cooking has always been to paint with flavor. The more flavors you have in your pantry – the more hues in which you have to paint, ergo the variety and complexity of the recipes you are able to create.  Since spices, herbs, and other pantry items add up quickly, I gave you my recommendations for a good basic starter pantry last week, and recommended you start there. Now you can start building into a well stocked pantry over time as budget and whim permit.

Julie Anne Rhodes' Personal Chef Approach

View these items as an investment in your culinary prowess, and keep in mind most will have a very long shelf life. I consider this list to be discretionary because stocking a pantry has to do with personal taste, and many of these items are not likely to be used as often as those on your starter list. My advice would be to ask yourself what cuisines do I enjoy the most? Then start filling in your pantry with the ingredients associated. Below are the items I have in my pantry.

A well stocked pantry allows you to expand your culinary horizons

A well stocked pantry allows you to expand your culinary horizons

My well stocked pantry includes (add these over time):

Red pepper flakes
Onion powder
Curry powder
Chinese five spice powder
Toasted sesame seeds
Mustard seeds
Celery seeds
Fennel seeds
Ground white pepper
Nutmeg
Ground coriander
Ground cardamom
Ground turmeric
Ground all spice
Cloves
Wasbabi powder
Cocoa powder

Well Stocked oils, vinegars, and other sauces

Toasted sesame oil
Walnut, flaxseed and other oils
Seasoned rice vinegar
Red wine vinegar
White wine vinegar
White vinegar
Dry Sherry
Hoisin sauce
Oyster sauce
Vanilla extract
Molasses
Maple syrup
Worcestershire sauce

Well Stocked – Jar, Box, and canned goods

Unsweetened coconut milk
Artichoke hearts
Waterchesnuts
Capers
Olives
Chinese mustard
Horseradish sauce
Sriracha and/or tobasco sauce

Well Stocked – Other staples

Pinenuts
Nuts (almonds, pistachios, cashews, pecans, etc.)
Dried fruits (apricots, raisins, dates)
Lentils
Quinoa
Pearl barley

I tend to fuse various cuisines when I write recipes, so you will find a wider array in my pantry than your average household pantry, but then the vast array has been a large part of the Personal Chef Approach The Roving Stove’s success.

These burgers are a prime example – they’re repeatedly requested by clients, a staple in my own home, and won “best poultry burger in America” on Food Network’s Ultimate Recipe Showdown.
Jewels Turkey-Jasmine Burger

Jewels Turkey-Jasmine Burgers

This is one of the first recipes I ever wrote. Since it is a little labor intensive, I would recommend doing double portions of at least the turkey burgers to freeze for a later date – why make a mess twice when you can do it all at once? After all the Personal Chef Approach is about affording YOU the luxury of time!

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  • May 22, 2015
    4:54 pm

    I love reading the list of what you keep in your pantry! I need to go through my cupboard of spices and toss those which have been there too long and start keeping track of what I have in there and when it was bought. Being able to reach for certain spices at any given time is wonderful and I do like to use certain ones frequently. Chinese five spice is one of my favourites! I don’t seem to have a good tolerance for the Chinese hot sauce so well. Maybe if I cut back on the quantity a bit, I might be able to work up my taste buds to enjoy it. I always keep a lot of garlic on hand, good for soup stocks and in other recipes. There is no chance of a vampire ever coming for a visit since I use so much of this. Funny, how my taste changes. Ten years ago, I would never have put whole garlic on my shopping list, now my shopper wonders when I’ve gone for a while without buying any. LOL I haven’t tried any of the finishing salts, only have the regular salt on hand and I use it mainly as a cleaning agent for pots and pans. I don’t add salt very often to what I’m cooking and if I do, it’s just a very small amount. Since I have mild blood pressure issues, I’m always conscious of salt content in tinned goods and any pre-made salad dressings. I really should just make my own and carry a few good vinegars and a good extra virgin olive oil and go from there. Love, love, love, your lists! Always good information for all of us to have on hand.

  • May 22, 2015
    6:19 pm

    Oh yes Rachel, you should definitely make your own salad dressing – it’s so easy, and tastes so much better in addition to avoiding all the sodium and preservatives in store bought salad dressings.

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