We all know that drawer that's overflowing with kitchen gadgets, that cabinet with the 4 spices you use daily and the 24 you use yearly, the shelf in the fridge with all those sauces and condiments you used once and then push farther and farther towards the back. A lot of this is coming from a compulsion to have always more, new, and better, instead of purchasing what we will use and using what we already have. The shift to stocking a minimalist kitchen means paring down what you own to the versatile essentials that you love and use regularly. Not only does this make your kitchen much more enjoyable to be in, but you'll learn to use what you do have in a variety of ways.Our Everyday extra virgin olive oil
was designed to be one of those ingredients. It's a workhorse pantry staple that you can use for everything from searing to sautéing to frying to finishing
, every day. Here are 4 ultra-versatile ingredients that minimize the need to have too many salts, oils, acids, or aromatics.
When making our kitchen more minimalist-friendly, there was no way we were going to commit to just one salt. And we don't think you should have to. Salt is a crucial enough ingredient and is used in many different ways. We think it is justified to have a different salt for cooking, baking, and finishing. That said, you don't need 5 finishing salts. With a good flaky salt on hand, we'd be willing to pass on all those other flavored and herb-infused oils. Flaky salt is our favorite for that perfect not-too-strong pop of flavor and that irresistible crunch. And
USE IT FOR:
- Finishing seared meats: Grilled and seared steaks benefit from a few rounds of salting. Rub with salt (and other desired spices) before cooking, and finish with some flaky salt before serving to through the richness of a steak.
- On fresh tomatoes: There are few things more satisfying than a farmer's market or garden-fresh tomato, sliced and served with extra virgin olive oil and flaky salt. It's one of the simplest snacks or sides that doesn't need to be messed with, it's perfect in its simplicity.
- In baking: Sprinkle flaky sea salt on any chocolatey dessert – brownies, cookies, and fudge or truffles especially. While it seems counter-intuitive at first, it's our favorite way to add complexity to sweets and is sure to impress.
EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
If you're a fan of our product, we probably don't need to tell you what a difference it makes to have a high-quality, use-on-everything extra virgin olive oil. Not the oil in the fancy bottle that you save for special occasions and has probably gone rancid by now. The one you reach for every single day. Extra virgin olive oil has a high enough smoke point to be used in all cooking applications, and a smooth enough flavor to use as a finishing or dipping oil.
USE IT FOR:
- Roasting: One surefire way to prepare almost any vegetable well is to roast it. Cut into uniform pieces, coat in extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper, and roast in a hot oven. This time of year, we especially love potatoes, brussels sprouts, and carrots.
- Breakfast: Adding healthy fats to your breakfast is both good for brain function and helps keep you fuller longer after eating. Try frying your eggs in olive oil or adding a drizzle to your yogurt and granola.
- Baking: Baking with extra virgin olive oil adds a nuanced flavor to baked goods. Moreover, baking with olive oil – instead of butter – is a good way to cut saturated fat. Plus, olive oil is loaded with monounsaturated fat, which promotes “good cholesterol.”
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
Acid is a crucial component of cooking – it's that tangy punch of flavor that adds a brightness to whatever your preparing. Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is the most likely to be produced in the US and has been used for preserving, cooking, and cleaning since colonial days. And today, it's a great option for adding that slightly sweet kick of acidity into slaws, pickles, and more. If you find yourself caught without other vinegars or citrus juices, chances are you can use apple cider vinegar.
USE IT FOR:
- Slaws: Apple cider vinegar makes a great dressing for slaws! Thinly-sliced cabbages, carrots, and apples go really well with a dressing of ACV, extra virgin olive oil, dijon mustard, and a little honey. But of course, you can adapt this into all kinds of vinaigrettes and serve on many salads.
- Pickles: You can use apple cider vinegar as the base for an easy pickling brine. Try cucumbers for classic pickles, or experiment with summer squash, carrots, garlic, and radishes.
- Health tonic: The switchel is a health drink that's been used for ages to aid digestion and boost the immune system. And it's easy to make – just combine fresh ginger, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, lemon juice, and fresh mint.
Garlic may be one of the culinary world's best-loved flavors. It adds that earthy depth and an almost nutty sweetness, saving any potentially bland or boring dish. Cooked or raw, garlic can be the base of a recipe, a finishing aromatic, or a secret ingredient. Just be careful – cooked garlic should be kept in the refrigerator to minimize the risk of bacteria growth.
USE IT FOR:
- Salad dressing: Grating raw garlic into a lemon vinaigrette is not for the faint of heart! A little goes a long way towards a savory, flavor-packed salad dressing or dipping sauce. Be sure to use a generous pour of extra virgin olive oil too to cut the acidity of the lemon and garlic.
- Roasted: Roasted garlic is something of a kitchen miracle. Slice the top off a head of garlic, drizzle in extra virgin olive oil, wrap in aluminum foil, and roast about 40 minutes. You'll be rewarded with buttery-smooth garlic cloves perfect for a simple appetizer – spread the garlic on toasted crostini and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Or, use in hummus, soups, and marinades.
- Confit: The confit is an old French technique of preserving meat, but can also be done with garlic. Not only are you left with melty, tender cloves of garlic, but you get the added bonus of garlic-infused extra virgin olive oil. Use the confit to top any vegetable dish, pasta, or salad.
We hope you see that minimalism isn't about denial or restriction. It's really about being able to open the cupboard and only see ingredients you love and use. So, if you love some obscure ingredient and want to have it in your kitchen, go for it. Happy cooking!