I’ve always been passionate about cooking. Since I’m a kid, I remember helping out my mother (who looooves to cook) in the kitchen preparing fresh, homemade and varied meals Every Day! Even working a full-time job, she made sure to cook something different every day so I have a lot of go-to recipes in my sleeves as well as new ones I came up with. Writing recipes is not my forte as I like to improvise and experiment when I cook. Timing is not in the essence of cooking for me as I find it therapeutic and calming. So I will try to get the best instructions I can, so you can reproduce in your home what I cooked in mine.
For starters, you will need the following staples in your house so you can cook these recipes for yourself.
- Salt and Pepper
- Garam masala (or curry powder)
- Italian seasoning (or Oregano)
- Ginger root
Salt and pepper are indispensable when cooking. I like to have a
pepper grinder instead of ground pepper so you get more flavour. Garam masala is a blend of spices that will add flavour to your dishes. A good alternative and (maybe) more commonly available spice is Curry powder.
- Rice, Pasta, Rice noodles
I prefer red lentils over green as you can make more varied dished but green lentils are tasty too.
If you don’t have tortillas, you can easily make your own using flour.
I will give you a super easy recipe to make some. Corn flour is
traditionally used to make tortillas but to be able to make multiple
recipes white or whole-wheat flour is preferred.
Oils and butters
- Extra-virgin cold pressed oil
- Vegan Butters
For olive oil, I will favour an extra-virgin cold pressed which is
the best as it will be the most nutritious and highest quality. Vegan butter can be used for pie crust instead of olive oil for a more neutral flavour. If you’re not vegan, you can use ghee instead as it will keep without being refrigerated and it is (clarified) butter. Peanut butter (or any nut butter) is nice for breakfasts, granolas and sweet snacks.
- Flours (white and/or whole-wheat)
- Yeast, Baking powder, baking soda and Arrowroot or Cornstarch
Flaxseed meal (replaces egg for vegan recipes)
- Chickpeas and Beans
- Tomato: sauce, diced and crushed
- Sweet peas
- Olives (I prefer the pitted ones)
Canned tomatoes without added salt is your best bet. If you have limited fridge space, choose smaller can size so you don’t waste any when cooking a meal. For the beans, you can choose whatever colour you like, black and red are my favourite. Because canned beans are already cooked, they will preserve energy when cooking but you can substitute canned beans with dry beans if you cook them beforehand.
- Dijon mustard
Bottled lime juice (will keep for months unrefrigerated)
- Cream or Milk (Vegan or not) – powdered milk will save space
- Coconut milk
find small can of evaporated milk. Cream can be found in some places in can (such as Media Crema) as well but you might have to look for it. Trader Joes is carrying Shelf-stable Whipping cream which is carton cream and keep without being refrigerated and taste great! Powder milk allow you to store more ‘milk’ and less waste as you can only prepare what you gonna need.
- Sweet potatoes
- Bell peppers
- Lettuce (or Spinach)
- Plantain (highly available in the Caribbean)
For the bell pepper, you can buy any colour as they taste pretty much the same. The green will always be cheaper as they are unripe yellow/orange/red peppers. They won’t keep for as long as the other vegetables unrefrigerated. An option is to buy some jars of roasted peppers but buy them small enough as once open they will only last for a few days.
- Green onions
Another suggestion is to start growing some greens this week. And,
yes it’s possible regardless of your climate (I’m currently in Montreal, Canada and it’s still cold!).
Store-bought green onions placed in a jar or a glass with about 1cm
of water will last for months. Just harvest the green part or keep 5 cm of the white part with some roots and it will regrow.
Another tip to get fresh greens is to make some sprouts. It’s really
easy, requires very little investments and provides fresh greens every 3-4 days. I will dedicate another article with step-by-step instructions so you can grow your first sprouts at home (if you’re not already doing it).
- Bacon bits
- Ground beef
- Udon noodles
- Corn flour (for tortillas)
- Chocolate chips
- Flax seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Sprouting seeds
- Maple syrup
- Curry paste (green or red)
- Vanilla Extract
- Dried cranberries
- Pickled beets