Ingredient Index


Summer Squash and Fenugreek Curry

Aromatics [Herbs (Fresh/Dried), Spices, Allium, Citrus]:




White Bean and Tomato Baked Rigatoni



Cereals/Grains (whole and milled/processed):

Cremini, Chantarelles, the spices

Fruits and Vegetables:


Condiments and other Refrigerator Staples:

Lemon-Poppy Seed Snacking Cake

Misc. Pantry Ingredients:



Cooking Fat
Cooking fat is an important factor to consider in terms of taste, calories and cooking process. For example, butter is generally my fat of choice because I love the flavor and it is a much more local ingredient than oil, but I do not use butter in high-acid dishes to avoid any curdling. I also really enjoy bacon grease, but that is something I use rarely when I have it available. I use organic (to avoid GMOs) canola oil in just about any any other high heat cooking. Pure olive oil is used for marinades, low heat cooking and in very particular instances, such as roasting garlic (because I then reserve that oil to use in things like white bean dip where the flavor can come through) or in small amounts for bread or pizza doughs. And I basically only used extra-virgin olive for dressings. I also have coconut oil, but I only use that to season my cast-iron and occasionally to grease baking dishes. I support cooking with lard, but it is not something I do. I also support using a variety of nut oils for different health benefits, but most are very expensive and easily go rancid, so I don’t use such products very often.

Herbs: Dried vs. Fresh
In some of my earlier posts, you may see me breaking this rule, but AS a rule, I try to use only fresh herbs with a few exceptions. I use oregano, marjoram, rosemary, thyme and sage in their dried state for their ability to stand up to long cooking processes and consider most other dried herbs to be garbage. Delicate herbs like parsley and basil lose all flavor and nuance when dried and quickly gain a rancid flavor. I buy dried herbs in their whole leaf state so that I can crumble them right into what I am cooking. If you wish to swap dried for fresh, use about 1/3 (in volume) and add earlier in the cooking process. If you wish to substitute fresh for dried, use 3x (in volume) and add at the end of the cooking process.

Water vs. Vegetable Broth vs. Chicken Stock vs. Beef Stock, etc.
Stock is listed under Refrigerator Staples here, but I choose not to specify what kind to use where. There are instances where you will want the rich depth of a beef stock, but almost any recipe will work just fine if you use a flavorful vegetable stock instead. I make homemade stock by simmering chicken (or beef, or turkey, etc) bones with various vegetable scraps and then reduce it and freeze it in an ice-cube tray. When I am out of homemade stock, I enjoy the Better than Bouillon brand in a pinch.

I understand that many people buy canned beans for the convenience, but I haven’t bought a can of beans in years (not a single can bought in this state!) and that won’t change any time soon. Dried beans are remarkably cheaper, particularly if you can buy in bulk, and aren’t too much of a hassle. To prepare dried beans, simply soak them in water (3x in volume) for at least 5 hours or up to 24 hours. Drain the beans and cover with water (3x in volume) in a heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a boil, down to a simmer until tender – 45 minutes or longer depending on your soaking time. You can get a very consistent quality this way and you don’t have to deal with that nasty, starchy liquid from the wasteful and possibly BPA-laden cans. HOWEVER, if you prefer to use canned beans, know that beans will approximately triple in volume and weight. So a recipe that calls for 10 ounces of dried beans will require 30 ounces of canned beans.


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