Monday, May 16, 2011

Essentials of My Kitchen

Here are the essentials of my kitchen.  These five little jars are so basic to everything I do that I don’t even put them in the cupboard.  For me, these are like the ubiquitous salt and pepper that is always on everyone’s table.
Besides the five jars, there is a lovely decanter given to me by a dear friend that contains very special olive oil.  And of course, the array of knives and bowls of fruit and onions.  Soon the large bowl will hold tomatoes from the garden, I hope...
In addition to two little decanters of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, I have two that contain dark and light balsamic vinaigrette,  and my favorite, a jar of olive oil, herbs de Provence and crushed garlic.  This last, I can brush on bread for crostini, or on chicken before it roasts, or tossed into vegetables to sauté or roast, or brush on meat for the grill. 
I suppose I could have them all in pretty little jars, but this is just part of the practical application of sensible recycling.  If the jar is the right size, reuse it.  If you don’t have a proper stopper, fashion an adequate one from a wine bottle cork.
Provençal Mix
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon Herbs de Provence
Mix together in small glass container that has a stopper.  Shake well and pour desired amount into a small dish for brushing.

Balsamic Vinaigrette
½ cup balsamic vinegar (I especially like the one from Costco—rich, dark, almost sweet)
½ tablespoon stone ground mustard
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ tablespoon herb de Provence
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup extra virgin olive oil (again, from Costco—for the price)
Shake first five ingredients well in glass jar with stopper.  Add olive oil and shake well before pouring small amount into salad.  Makes 1 ½ cups dressing.

Light Balsamic Vinaigrette
Same ingredients, only substitute white balsamic vinegar for the dark.  Trader Joe’s has a good one, not expensive.

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