Sure, you’ve had it in bloody Mary’s and steak sauce, but do you fully appreciate the multifaceted uses of Worcester sauce? Worcester sauce was umami before umami knew what it was, and it adds the perfect level of savoriness (with just a drop!) to almost anything. A dash on salad, pasta or soup rounds out flavor and adds a meaty saltiness while grilled meat is further enhanced by a sprinkling of the stuff. Although its roots remain somewhat unclear (possibly inspired by an Indian concoction or the Greco-Roman anchovy condiment “garum”), it’s a must for any pantry, especially the Pickle one.
*photo courtesy of Bon Appetit.com
Pickle Pantry Essential #15: Farro
In between my bouts of hugely calorific eating, I usually try and cook myself fairly healthy meals. These often consist of fresh and cooked vegetables with some sort of cheese and hummus. Perhaps a cracker if I’m feeling frisky. However, so often I find that just an hour or so later, I’m hungry again. Whole grains have helped me hugely, providing the best kind of carbs out there, and putting energy into your body. Farro, an Italian wheat product, is slightly chewy, wholesome and totally easy to prepare. Sprinkled on top, or as the base of a salad, it’ll keep you full for hours!
*Image courtesy of Latavolamarche.blogspot.com
Pickle Pantry Essential #14: Core Bamboo Prep Station
Full Disclosure: I don’t actually own this item, but I really wish I did. A friend had it at his house and I had the opportunity to chop, measure, and just generally bask in the efficiency and beauty of this item which features 4 measuring cups which fit into a bamboo prep station. Used to plastic cutting boards, I took a minute to get used to the bamboo, but soon was dicing and mincing on there quite happily.
Pickle Pantry Essential #12: Doctor Kracker Pumpkin Seed & Cheddar Crispbreads
I love cheese, I love crackers and I love pretending to be a crunchy-healthnut-hippie type. Well, the last part is a lie, but these crackers do make me feel that way even when I continue to mistakenly refer to them as “Uncle Kracker” in remembrance of a one-hit wonder of note. They’re fairly healthy, organic (praise the lawd) and very tasty. They’ve got a lovely cheesy flavor to them, and are a perfect accompaniment to a salad or hummus. I go through a box a week and couldn’t recommend them more highly. While they may adorn your floor with pumpkin seeds, they’re a great pantry staple for snacking or crostini-ing.
(image courtesy of Doctorkracker.com)
Pickle Pantry Essential #11: Cupcake Carrier
I cringe while saying that I own (and necessitate) a cupcake carrier, but it’s true and has made my birthday party life significantly easier. After one too many times emerging from NYC Cabs and the subway adorned with frosting (which always got some interesting stares) and twenty odd smooshed cupcakes, I pounced on a cupcake carrier as part of a free giveaway. While I feel like a grade A moron walking around with one of these in hand, it never fails me and I arrive with the cupcakes I left with. If I adorn it with skull and crossbone stickers will people like me more?
Pickle Pantry Essential #11: Mint Simple Syrup
Living alone, the chances of piles of unused herbs in my kitchen are even higher than for those that cohabit, and I know this is a problem for lots of people. Left with a rapidly rotting clump of fresh minty goodness following an overzealous purchase, I knew I needed a solution, and simple syrup provided that. Easy to make, and perfect on anything from chopped fruit to ice cream to bourbon and soda, it’s a lifesaver. Here’s the recipe I used courtesy of Epicurious: Ingredients:
- 1 1/2 cups packed fresh mint leaves
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water Preparation: Chop mint. In a saucepan bring sugar, water and mint to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Simmer syrup, undisturbed, 2 minutes. Pour syrup through a fine sieve, pressing hard on solids, and cool. Syrup keeps, covered and chilled, 2 weeks.
Pickle Pantry Essential #10:
While I don’t have one of these yet, it’s something I grew up watching my dad use and want to own quite desperately (hint hint). Italian for “half moon”, it’s a great chopping devise, easy on the arms, and fun to use. It’s truly great for chopping herbs, although you can use it for a variety of things. While we grew up with an enormous black handled one, there seem to be lots of them, small, large and and oddly circular on the market now.