Stock This Stuff

Everyone who knows me knows that I’m a hot sauce fanatic. If you are too, then you’ll recognize a lot of what I’m presenting in this section. Don’t be fooled, however. You’ll find a lot of other flavors here that I consider critical to any cook’s kitchen.

Ready-To-Go Spices

McCormicks Tuscan SeasoningI don’t want you to get the wrong idea here. I do love to mix my own spice concoctions. There’s nothing more fun for me. However, every day that I cook cannot be a tour de force, especially when it’s a week night and there are four children in the house who aren’t very adventurous when it comes to spices.

Susan and I generally don’t eat as bland as the children. Let’s face it, it can get pretty boring. We don’t cover our food in Ketchup like they do (yes, some of them even dip their broccoli in Ketchup). So, I keep these spices on hand. We may all eat chicken breasts one night, but ours get more than salt and pepper.

McCormick’s makes great stuff. Not only do we keep the Tuscan Seasoning on hand, but also the Greek Seasoning, the Moroccan Seasoning, and their “Perfect Pinch” collection (the Fiesta Citrus and Cajun are pretty darned good).

Sriracha Rooster Sauce

This sauce is named for the coastal city of Si Racha in the Chonburi Province of Central Thailand. It is a combination of sun-ripened chili peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt. While there are many versions out there, the “Rooster” sauce dominates the U.S. market. This is an incredibly versatile sauce. You can use it in recipes or use it as a dipping sauce. In Vietnamese cooking, it is often used in soups and other noodle dishes. No matter how you use it, it’s the nectar of the Gods.

Minced Garlic

Hot and garlicy. That’s my mantra. Garlic is one of those things a cook should never be without. I love baked garlic and bread. I love garlic wings. My daughter says I’d put garlic in my cereal. (She’s probably right. But I don’t eat much cereal.) While I acknowledge that fresh garlic is best, I’m never without minced or chopped garlic in a jar. It’s in the fridge all the time. It’s best to have fresh garlic for every recipe, but that’s not always practical. This is, and it works just fine, especially for stir fry and sauté dishes.

Vietnamese Chili-Garlic Sauce

 Sriracha is a great condiment, but this product is much better for cooking and adding to recipes, particularly stir fry. It is another thing that stays in my kitchen and is replaced as soon as the inventory is depleted. Don’t be home without it


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