Five Ingredients Every Savvy Home Cook Should Have in His/Her Cupboard

1.  Vinegar!
This one ingredient sets apart the professional Chef from the amateur. A splash of great vinegar, I suggest Banyuls, adds zest and life to not only salads but also sauces. Have you ever prepared Spain’s  version of pesto which is romesco?  This simple and delicious bread, Marcona almond and pepper sauce with a splash of Banyuls vinegar takes it over the top.

2.  Fresh Lemons
As with vinegar, lemons provide natural acid and sweetness. A squeeze on fish or on a salad is classic!  Try a squeeze of lemon in your favorite cocktail sauce recipe or in any aioli recipe you may utilize.
Also the zest of a lemon is a great addition to your homemade whipped cream that you place on fresh seasonal berries.

3.  Kosher, Sea and any Artisinal Salt
At your next dinner party blindfold your guests and do a tasting of 3 to 4 different salts, you will be amazed at their reaction. Throw that free-flowing iodized salt in the trash. It’s anti-caking agent Leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. The better the quality of salt the less you will use On your proteins and vegetables!  And don’t forget a pinch of delicious salt on your chocolate or  Caramel ice cream.

4.  Soy Sauce
Its not just an Asian thing.  A dash of soy sauce in your favorite barbecue sauce recipe, fresh tomato sauce or even some vinaigrettes adds a layer of richness that to most palettes is unidentifiable. Think of it as building flavor layers in your recipes

5.  Vegetable Stock
So easy to prepare and easy to store. This simple homemade ingredient adds that little bit extra to many many dishes. Prepare a 1 gallon recipe of vegetable stock, chill,  and then place in ice cube trays and freeze. The next time you are making a batch of black beans, add two cubes of this vegetable stock and taste the difference for yourself. Your grandma’s marinara sauce, add a vegetable stock cube, and to any fresh vegetable that you are steaming or sautéing.