Top 20 Items Every Foodie Needs
goat cheese – This creamy, white cheese adds a mild, tangy flavor to a sandwich, pizza, pasta or on crusty bread.
Parmigiano or Parmesan cheese –This hard cow's milk cheese adds a nutty, salt bite to everything. Use it in tomato, cream and mornay sauces. Grate it fresh on top of asparagus, rice, soup, salads, etc.
Kalamata olives – Dark, rich olives from Greece add a depth of flavor where the green manzanilla ones leave off.
blue cheese – Crumble it over figs, popcorn, grilled steaks, pasta or mix it into your next batch of guacamole or coleslaw
sun-dried tomatoes – Lend an intense, aromatic flavors to pasta dishes, soups, salad dressings and quiche
fennel – With a sweet, perfumely licorice flavor, fennel gives your dishes a fresh springtime flair. I like to chop it up into bite size pieces and place it under a chicken as I roast. Slice it thin and serve it raw in a salad.
endive – Peel this delicate vegetable apart and it gives you perfect little "boats" in which to serve appetizers.
Savoy cabbage – used by chefs for its beautiful color, textured leaves and tenderness, this cabbage cooks up quickly with no sulphur smell. The leaves are soft and perfect for wraps.
shallots – It tastes like a cross between onions and garlic. Dice them up and cook them in place of onions to deliver a savory onion flavor without the chunks.
whole roasting chicken – Skinning and deboning chicken takes away so much flavor. Cook it up and then debone and peel off the skin. Much happier!
dried cranberries – Much fancier than raisins, dried cranberries are fabulous for baking, in grain dishes and as salad toppings.
star anise – the flower of an evergreen tree in Vietnam, this star-shaped spice intensifies flavors in your meat. Use in stews, soups and when braising.
toasted sesame seeds – Top off your dishes with this nutty goodness!
sea salt – Unlike iodized salt, sea salt has a fresh snap to it.
Ghiradelli brownie mix – You never know when you will have a chocolate attack and this mix is a good one. Bonus: use red wine instead of water!
fresh lemons and limes – Makes everything it touches taste fresher and brighter.
sesame oil – I love the deep, rich flavor of this oil. I often sauté spinach and finish it off with a splash of sesame oil. Yum!
anchovies - You either hate ‘em or love ‘em! These little fish pack a mean swing. Drop them secretly into your next pot of tomato sauce, bottle of vinaigrette, or bowl of tuna fish salad.
Chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce - Chipotle peppers are small peppers that have been dried in a smoking process. They are sweet and spicy. I like to use them in chili, crockpot meats and anytime I'm cooking Latin dishes.
roasted red peppers – Wrap these flexible strips of pepper around scallops, layer into paninis or chop up into sauces or dips.