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Pantry essentials

Well-chosen mainstays can add depth and flavor to basic dishes. They can also
transform your dish into something with an International flavor and flair. It helps if
you have a basic understanding of the herbs, spices, and sauces used in different
countries. A trip to the cookbook section of your favorite bookstore or library can
help you discover those differences, and can be an easy way to add something
special to your menus.

Here is a list of mainstays that you should consider for your global pantry:

Artichoke hearts: for salad, soup, pizza, dip, and spread

Bay leaves: for soup, sauce and pasta

Beans: Canned or dried, for soup, salad, dip, and spread

Bread crumbs: Fresh, dried, plain, seasoned, panko, for stuffed vegetables and
baked dishes, or to thicken sauce. Store them in the freezer to extend their shelf-life

Caraway: for German cabbage dishes, Eastern-European pastries, and Indian dishes

Chilies: dried, ground or canned, for sauce, dip, potato salad, and stew

Coconut milk: for Southeast Asian and Caribbean dishes

Dried fruit: for stuffings, seasoning pork, Belgian rabbit, chicken stew, and Middle
Eastern pilaf

Dried mushrooms: for sauce, stew, soup, and pasta

Enchilada sauce: use in place of tomato sauce

Flavored vinegars: for dressings, vinaigrettes, sauces, and gastriques

Canned fish: salmon, tuna, and anchovies for salad, pizza, pasta sauce and more

Ginger: for stir-fry, soup, vegetable dish, and dessert

Nuts: for baking, stuffings, garnishing, and many ethnic dishes

Olives: for pasta, salad, chicken, and appetizers

Paprika: a great browning agent for food you bake, fry, or roast

Pasta and noodles

Peppercorns
: black, whole, in a mill is an essential. Other colors optional

Pickles: for sandwiches, salads, soups, and stews

Polenta: Italian cornmeal, the finer the grain the smoother the resulting texture

Refried beans: to make burritos, thicken soups, or make appetizer spreads with salsa,
sour cream, and avocado

Rice: brown, white, jasmine, a pantry essential as a side dish or the star of an entree

Saffron: threads over powder, for rice and sauces

Sesame seeds: for Middle Eastern, West African, and Chinese dishes

Spray oil: for the grill, topping bread crumbs on baked tomatoes, or eggplant, and
for oiling pans

Dried tomatoes: packaged dry or in olive oil, for pizza, pasta, sauces, and appetizers

Canned tomatoes: diced, crushed, sauce, for sauces and soups