I love sharing my passion for good ingredients and telling everyone I know about the products I love to use. It’s true that when it comes to making great food, it’s simply about using the best ingredients, but it’s also about being smart in sourcing them. Here are a few of my favorite kitchen essentials, these products help make my life easier and my food better, and most of them are very economical purchases.
Kirkland Brand Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
I’m an olive oil lover and will frequently spring for more pricier and far more unique options, but for day to day use and cooking, this is my favorite and most cost efficient brand to use. It also made the list of pure, undiluted verifiable olive oils per the UC Davis Research Project. I love that it’s mild enough to use for all types of cooking, dressings, and marinades.
Diamond Crystal® Kosher Salt
Salt is as beloved to me as olive oil, and while I have 4-5 different types of salts on hand most of the time (recently bringing back some salts from Sicily) my tried and true everyday option is Diamond Crystal. The salt crystal shape adores to the food surface, evenly distributing flavor. You can crush it and garnish, cook and bake with it. It’s flake is larger than basic table salt and I also find it to be of higher quality. There are no additives and it contains 53% less sodium (by volume) than regular table salt. It’s also a very economical option, you can buy in bulk for around $7/box.
Andean Dream Gluten Free Quinoa Pasta
Made with organic white rice flour and organic quinoa flour, this is my absolute favorite brand of gluten free pasta to cook with. It makes gluten free cooking easier and makes me look better. The texture is the closest to durum wheat pasta and makes the transition to a gluten free lifestyle much easier for my clients.
Spread the Love Foods Nut Butters
I fell in love with Spread the Love when I was using it to make bulk batches of granola bars and needed a high quality nut butter with a very specific consistency. Spread the Love was perfect. I further fell in love with the brand with I met the founders, Val and Zach. They are passionate about bringing the best tasting and highest quality product to their customers. The spreadability of their almond butter and peanut butter makes it the BEST option to bake with. They use a special roasting technique to get that extra drizzly consistency and use no chemicals in their processes (like many nut butter brands do).
Fourth and Heart Grass-fed Ghee
This is my favorite brand for exceptional tasting ghee. Ghee provides numerous health benefits, it also has a high smoke point making it a good option to roast and fry food in. Ghee provides healthy fatty acids and CLA which is shown to support a healthy gut. Ghee also contains Butyric acid, which helps us better absorb nutrients in the foods we eat. Fourth & Heart grass-fed ghee uses the highest quality grass-fed butter sourced from a cooperative of farms in New Zealand. Grass is naturally high in Vitamin A, D, E, K and CLA
Coconut Secret Coconut Aminos
I’ve always loved soy sauce, then I learned more about it and began leaning towards avoiding it. Now I turn to Bragg’s Aminos or this brand of coconut aminos. Coconut Secret makes a great tasting option with 73% less sodium than soy sauce it’s also organic, gluten free, non-GMO, and contains 17 amino acids. I use it for all my asian recipes, in marinades/sauces/dressings and love the depth of flavors it adds. It makes gluten free and soy free cooking much easier!
Rao’s Marinara Sauce
The absolutely best sauce on the market at the moment. Makes my life so much easier. Simple ingredient list; peeled tomatoes, salt, basil, olive oil, basil, onions, garlic, black pepper, oregano. That’s all I have to say about that!
Rancho Gordo Beans
My source for heirloom beans of the best quality, I love Rancho Gordo products and have a lot of fun cooking with their varietals. Beans are a staple in my cooking, they’re a nutritional “powerhouse” that provide both plant-protein and both types of dietary fiber along with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Some favorite varietals are the Alubia Blanca, the Royal Corona, and the Santa Maria Pinquito
Jovial Foods Einkhorn Flour
This is my go-to flour and the only one I keep around besides double zero and gluten free options. Einkorn is an organic, unhybridized wheat. It’s not bleached or bromated and I find it to be the most suitable flour for those who have gluten sensitivities. It’s lower in carbs and higher in protein as well and most importantly it makes a great final product.
I love these spices. They taste fresh, are high quality and have several options. Favorites include their BBQ 3001 spice, their Fox Point (amazing on fish and veggies) and their roasted shallot and roasted garlic spices. They also make some great chili blends. They don’t add anti-caking agents or fillers and all their herbs and spices are gluten free. You can order online if you don’t live near one.
Kerry Gold Butter
Best butter option in most cases. The cows are grass-finished (seasonally) or grass-fed and the result is a richer butter with a great golden color. You can find Kerry Gold at Trader Joe’s at the best price point in my experience. They also sell at Costco.
Native heirloom grains can now be sourced from Anson Mills. I love the Carolina Gold Rice, the Pencil Cob Grits, and the Italian Farro, you can also source Mediterranean Wheat, French Oats and Japanese Buckwheat. The story of the brand itself is pretty interesting and the emphasis is on providing old grains in a new way. It’s always a fun day when the Anson Mills shipment arrives. You will also find some great recipes on the website for how to cook these grains.