pantry staple: french press

March 20th, 2013 | Posted by admin in PANTRY STAPLES - (0 Comments)

This is a must have in your kitchen.  I will be honest; I had a French Press in my pantry collecting dust for several years.  I was served coffee at a small coffee house and they used a French Press.  I loved it and of course brought mine out of the pantry to sit permanently on the counter.  I put my “huge” Keurig away and the new space was great.  I now make my morning coffee in this wonderful way and it makes my morning special.  When I had a large group over the other night I still used this method and everyone appreciated the coffee… it really is delicious.


• Put your freshly ground coffee into the bottom of the pot (2 scoops /cup).

• Turn on your tea kettle to boil water.

• When ready pour over coffee in the pot.

• You can put the top with plunger over the top of the coffee pot, but wait 3-4 minutes so the coffee can steep, then press plunger down very slowly and steadily.

• Allow another minute for the coffee sediment to settle to the bottom.

• Hold the French press up to the sun before serving, if there is any hint of sunlight shining through the coffee, pour it out and start all over again.  I have never had this happen!  Enjoy!!!


A great brand is the Bodum “Chambord” French Press and it’s affordable.



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I shop at Trader Joe’s for many things but this is a must have item.  I love mustard and have many options in my fridge but this has all my favorite flavors in one.  I like a Dijon, I love garlic, and the creamy aioli makes it perfect for everything!  I use it on sandwiches, sauces for fish, chicken, and pork.  I use it in my egg salad recipe and my salad dressings.  I could go on and on so just pick up a jar and let me know what recipes you come up with.



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pantry staple: knives

January 4th, 2013 | Posted by admin in PANTRY STAPLES - (0 Comments)

This should be a cook’s best friend, pantry/kitchen staple.  I am not a knivesman.  Meaning I have no formal training chopping, slicing, and dicing, but I manage to get the job done.  These two knives were a recent gift from my youngest son.  They have changed my world!  I now feel as if I can chop, slice, and dice like a pro.  So my recommendation to any of you who love to cook… Check out the Wusthof Classic Ikon #4176/17cm and the Japanese Classic chef’s knife “Shun” #DM0706.  They will change your life.



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I found this delicious mustard at sunset grocery store.  It is a honey balsamic Dijon… could it get any better!  It can be used as a dip, as a marinade, as a sauce, a spread… I added it to my dressing and it made the dressing beyond special.  I would pick this up and keep it in your pantry.  The perfect secret ingredient!



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This is the butter I use.  It is the best for baking and anything else you use butter for.  Seriously, I always have a pound of butter in my fridge and a pound in my freezer.  I’m not sure what makes this butter better… it’s creamy, smooth, delicious, works best in all my baking recipes, and from one of my favorite places “Minnesota”.  This butter both salted and unsalted is an absolute must in my pantry!



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Yes, I am Armenian and this is my favorite bread.  We grew up eating this instead of sliced wonder bread for our sandwiches.  I did get strange looks at the lunch tables back in the day but it was so good I didn’t care.  My Grandmother would start making bread at 5am.  When she stayed at my house we would have to be up early to get the dough ready.  I had a gas oven so the bread was put on the bottom of the oven and we cooked all day.  The pantry would be bulging with stakes of bread layered high wrapped in soft towels that looked like cheesecloth.  It was delicious!

I have to admit I have not made bread since my grandmother died.  I no longer have a gas oven just a gas stove.  But I purchase it from “Valley Bakery” in Fresno, California.  It is very close to my grandmother’s recipe but nothing is better than fresh.  We always soften the bread before eating it.  I sprinkle it under the tap with water and then place it a towel to keep it fresh.  You can still have a bit of crunch but also you can roll cheese or meat into the bread.  This is a staple in my pantry; I order it by the case.  Sunset Foods carries it in white and whole wheat.  Enjoy!



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If you haven’t tried these oyster crackers, you really should.  They are the best I have had and are a staple in my pantry.


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Spice rubs are a common trademark to many chefs.  I love a bit of heat so this mixture works well for me since it’s basic starter is cayenne pepper.  I keep the mixture in an airtight container and use it over several weeks.  You can change spices or add different ingredients.  I add a bit more celery salt and cumin to this rub.  I use it on meat, fish, chicken, and in sauces.  Enjoy this or make your own specialty rub!



• 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
• 1 ½ teaspoons paprika
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon white pepper
• 1 teaspoon black pepper
• 1 teaspoon onion powder
• 1 teaspoon garlic powder
• ½ teaspoon dried thyme
• ½ teaspoon dried oregano
• ½ teaspoon ground cumin
• ½ teaspoon ground coriander
• ¼ teaspoon dry mustard
• ⅛ teaspoon celery salt



• Mix together all the ingredients until well combined.

• Store in an airtight container in a cool cupboard.  The mixture will keep for up to 6 months.



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pantry staples: grapeseed oil

April 9th, 2012 | Posted by admin in PANTRY STAPLES - (0 Comments)

For years I used canola oil, vegetable oil, peanut oil and olive oil.  Then I ventured into the better extra virgin olive oils and realized I can tell the difference.  But what about all those other oils on the shelf?  I think grapeseed oil is worth discovering.  It’s lighter than olive oil, a bit nutty and easy to fry with or it makes a great salad dressing.  I use it as I do olive oil with a bit of vinegar or lemon, some Dijon and salt & pepper, a great light dressing.  It has become a pantry staple.


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After making a quick pasta sauce the other day I know I needed to add another Pantry Staple, San Marzano Crushed Tomatoes.  I always keep a can or two in my pantry.  This is the best product to use for homemade sauce when you are not crushing your own garden tomatoes.  All you need is good olive oil, minced garlic, salt & pepper to taste and a can of these crushed tomatoes… for a start to a great sauce.


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