Spices, Herbs, Oils, and Vinegars

A kitchen can’t be complete without an interesting arrangement of available additives. No, I’m not talking about fake, chemically-laden injectables or powdery, cancer-causing fixings that big box food producers pound into their products.

I’m referring to wonderfully natural, feel-good fundamentals that bring excitement to otherwise bland, boring dishes.  An at-home chef should keep the kitchen cupboards equipped with flavors found around the world.  A bountiful buffet of interesting spices, herbs, oils, and vinegars inspires creative cooking.  They sure come in handy, especially the day before hitting the grocery store, and all you have left to work with comes in a can.  Not only that, those looking for a low-sodium diet will learn to love swapping out salt for savvy and savory solutions like spices.

In the corner of my countertop sits a lazy Susan decked out with jars of spices. Carry some of these staples, stocked in the Kelsven kitchen…

  • If you like it hot: chili powder, cayenne powder, garlic powder, paprika, crushed red pepper
  • If you like a holiday: cinnamon (both ground and full stick), nutmeg, all spice, pure vanilla from Mexico
  • If you like to explore: turmeric, cumin, ginger powder, saffron

Outside in my potted, driveway garden, I grow herbs.  I choose to plant pots so that I can bring them in before frost and continue growing the goodness as long as I can. Plus, the scent of fresh herbs livens up my living room!  Last year, my herbs lasted until Thanksgiving, which made hosting my first festive feast super flavorful and much more affordable.  Here’s what I planted this year:

  • Basil
  • Chives
  • Greek Oregano
  • Mexican Oregano
  • Lemon Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Peppermint
  • Spearmint
  • Chocolate mint

As far as oils and vinegars are concerned, I have just a few favorites that I keep in the Kelsven kitchen.

  • Oils: EVOO (which should be a staple in everyone’s kitchen!), white truffle oil, sesame oil, spicy chili oil
  • Vinegars: Rice wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, a good bottle of balsamic vinegar

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