Just when you’ve exhausted one more meal on the BBQ, it’s time to change it up for slow-braised short ribs and truffle mashed potatoes. I can taste it now! Yum!
Whether we’re ready for it, fall is on its way. However, I, for one, am inspired by the change in the seasons.
With our latest trip to France and Italy, it’s hard not to be inspired by the delicious food we enjoyed. There were a lot of memorable meals, and I’ve made mental notes (maybe a few photos) of all of them.
So, what am I stocking in my pantry?
I’m craving hardy, flavourful, rich stocks, interesting condiments, quick and easy sides, and something delicious and hot to drink for those chilly days. I love creating new recipes for a “one” pot of anything, which gets me excited. Stews, curries and soups, it’s so easy, and I enjoy the leftovers (when there are any) or freeze them to enjoy for later.
Full disclosure, I don’t enjoy grocery shopping. Shocked? Let me rephrase that. I don’t like to be rushed, seemingly the opposite of what I’ve always done. Bad habits are hard to break. Nothing worse than running around the grocery store like a crazy person trying to find “what the heck am I making for dinner tonight?!” Surely, you can relate? I usually land on my feet, knowing that I have a few delicious items in my pantry, calling them my secret weapons.
When I finally do allow myself time to shop (I have my favourite haunts), I love to explore every aisle. Finding new food products forces me to think outside the (ho-hum dinner) box, getting my creative juices flowing and changing up the repertoire.
15 Delicious Pantry items for Fall
- Mutti passata – I love this brand. Very popular in Italy; therefore, it must be good;) Even the packaging is pretty. This smooth tomato puree is my new go-to base for pasta sauces, soups, stews, and other dishes.
- Mutti Cherry tomatoes – local tomato season may be over, but you can still enjoy delicious sweet cherry tomatoes from a can. You would never guess. I prefer them over your usual stewed tomatoes, adding a different texture to any dish.
- Salt Spring Island Candied Jalapenos – let me just say, I walked by these tasty little morsels many times in the deli department. Curious one day and needing something to elevate a margarita (yup), I discovered they were sweet and spicy, unlike anything I’ve tasted before. Great on a charcuterie board with cheese and crackers too.
- Salt Spring Island Tandori Chutney – Delicious with cheese, meat, in sandwiches or simply on its own (I wouldn’t, but it’s that good). Naturally, it rocks with a curry, probably the best I’ve tasted.
- Thomas Haas Classic Hot Chocolate – You could buy the cheaper stuff, but why? This is hot chocolate at its best. I have served many a mug full to my boys and their friends on cold days. Add a little amount of brandy for the adults. Savour and enjoy.
- Bonne Maman Jams – We’ve seen them. The next best thing to homemade. Actually, better and without the effort. With 13 different flavours, you will find a favourite. Try using apricot or fig thinned with a bit of wine or a liqueur; makes for a lovely condiment for meat, glaze for cakes or a topping for frozen desserts.
- Inessence Chips – With elevated flavours like Black Caviar, Truffle, Wasabi, Ham and Hymalian Salt, these chips make entertaining on the fly super easy. Just think of the fun dips you could serve alongside.
- Luxardo Maraschino Cherries – My first encounter was in a Manhattan cocktail. It was love at first taste. The rich sweet cherry sauce is gorgeous drizzled around any dessert.
- Moulin Green Peppercorns in brine – The one and only, and I can’t wait to serve the first Peppercorn Steak of the season. The small tins are convenient. I like to keep a couple on hand.
- Cambell’s Stock – Mmm, mmm, good! I know. Cambell’s soup? Honestly, they make a mean Pho broth, I’ve tried many other brands, and I keep coming back. I like to add a tbsp of soy sauce and pressed garlic clove to each bowl before pouring the broth. I can’t wait to experiment with their new Thai chicken stock; the possibilities.
- La Madia Regale Truffle Puree – I purchased my first jar of this puree at the Mercato Centrale in Florence this spring. Only to find I can purchase here! Toss into pasta, spread on small slices of grilled toast (aka crostini) or into a bit of mayonnaise and sour cream for a dip.
- NAAM Miso Gravy – The Naam Cafe is the oldest vegetarian/vegan restaurant in Vancouver, founded in 1968. I’m a fan of their baked potato wedges with miso gravy. I guess I wasn’t the only one. It’s delicious on fries and steamed vegetables, and I use it in my Budha bowls.
- Casa Rinaldi Truffle Rissotto – This is the perfect side for two when you’re rushed for time. Also comes in Porcini Mushroom, Parmigiana and Milanese flavours.
- Cote D’Azur Dried Morel Mushrooms – I use these in mushroom risotto when fresh isn’t available. These are the best and last forever. Great to keep on hand. Also available are Porcini, Lobster, Shitaki, Trumpet, Forest and Cepes mushrooms.
- La Madia White Truffle Oil – Potatoes. Delicious. It elevates sauces and dressings. Give it a whirl.
I hope you have an opportunity to try and enjoy a few of these items. Please let me know what you think. If there’s something fun and interesting you would like me to sample, I would love to hear about it.