Summertime and the living is easy! And when it comes to time in the kitchen it's time to make it as simple as possible. It's easy to do that with all the beautiful produce available right now and a few key items in your pantry. If you’ve been here for a while you know how important I think it is to have a stocked pantry to make your cooking as simple and delicious as possible. Cooking at home made so much easier, less overwhelming and let’s face it more fun because you can get creative with what you have onhand.
Now I know at the same time if your pantry is looking pretty sparse it can feel like a really big job to get it stocked up when you’re starting from scratch. I’ve got you my friend! I’m pulling together a simplified pantry capsule for each season so you can do it over time. Think of it like fashion must haves for the season except for your kitchen! Fun, right?! We started a few months ago with the Spring capsule and if you didn't see that one, you can check it out here.
Let’s dive into the Summer staples!
Balsamic Vinegar - this one is perfect to add flavour to all the beautiful summer produce that's around right now. Drizzle it on heirloom tomatoes, marinate zuchinni before you throw them on the grill or even add into pasta sauce for that extra zip. One thing here is to invest in a quality brand. You notice a different in the flavour right away and you'll use less.
Maldon Salt - this is a finishing salt that I always have on my counter to add right before serving. It adds a nice crunch to salads, avocado toast or bruschetta or to some grilled fish.
Siracha Sauce - because hot sauce makes everything better. I love to mix this with mayonnaise or yogurt to make a simple dip for chicken tenders and veggies. This is always the last thing that goes on my grain bowls and stir fries. It works well in a marinade or anywhere you're looking for an extra kick.
Green Curry Paste - I love having this one in the fridge. I'll often make my own but on the days I don't have time the Thai Kitchen brand is my favourite. Add this to coconut milk with chicken and veg and you've got a quick curry or use it as a marinade for chicken or salmon. So good!
Pasta shells - I always have mediums sized pasta shells, either the seashells or orchiette for pasta salad. Throw in whatever veggies you have with a little balsamic and olive you, finish with fresh herbs and stick it in the fridge you've got a quick meal anytime.
Couscous - couscous is a quick cooking grain that's a great alternative to rice, quinoa or pasta. And even better you don't even have to cook it. Simple pour hot water over the couscous, cover and let sit for 10 minutes and you're done. Use it as a side dish with feta cheese and herbs or as you would pasta salad.
Black Beans - these are great for bean salads or I use them to make burritos quite often with red bell peppers, onions, salsa, cilantro, avocado and cheese. You can find my go to recipe HERE. You can also mix them into rice or make a chicken green chili in the crockpot.
Pine Nuts - because there's so many fresh herbs around that means pesto time! These are also great sprinkled in a salad or added to pasta.
Frozen Puff Pastry - I always make a point of having some good puff pastry in my freezer in the summer because you can make a simple tart anytime. Savoury with heirloom tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, haloumi, goat or feta cheese, lots of fresh herbs and your golden. Sweet with peaches, plums, nectarines, blueberries. sprinkled with sugar or drizzled with honey and topped with some whip cream. So good!
Eggs - there's days especially in the summer where I don't feel like doing much of anything in the kitchen and that's when eggs always save the day. Simple but always satisfying. You can watch my egg series on IGTV to learn how to make the perfect egg anytime!
If you're feeling adventurous, you can grab my full pantry list HERE and start building on so you can cook anything just from looking in your kitchen cupboards.