Top 10: Must-Have Kitchen Ingredients

Every chef, from novice to expert, has certain prized ingredients they cannot and will not live without. And being someone who holds the kitchen quite dear to her heart, I have my own list of Must-Have Kitchen Ingredients that a chef of any skill is likely to require.

Though a chef’s ingredients will vary depending on the type of cooking they do, it’s safe to say that certain STAPLE ingredients are necessary for giving the food we all know and love that special something. So stick with these TOP 10 Must-Have Ingredients and you’ll be whipping up chocolate souffles before you know it. Well, maybe not souffles, but something close to it!

TOP 10: Must-Have Kitchen Ingredients

1.   Kosher Salt

2.  Olive Oil

  • This versatile and flavorful oil is great for sauteeing fish, vegetables, or meat. It’s also commonly used in salad dressings, marinades, soups, and even baking!

3.   White Flour

  • Aside from being a staple used for baking, white flour is used as a base for soups and stews, fried foods, and thickening sauces.

4.   Garlic

  • Adds depth and flavor to any dish without the added salt and calories. Garlic can be used in almost any dish and is especially tasty when roasted and paired with pasta!

5.   Chicken Broth

  • Another great flavor booster without the extra calories or fat. Chicken broth is a great subsitute for olive oil and butter in salad dressings, marinades, and sauces.

6.   Eggs

  • This healthy and nutritious ingredient puts the spring in baked goods and makes a great batter for fried and sauteed foods. Eggs also make a great main course as a simple omlette or a complex casserole.

7.   White Wine

  • Aside from acting as a wonderful beverage, white wine is fantastic when added to sauces, soups, and stews.

8.   Whole Wheat Pasta

  • The perfect meal when you’re pressed for time. This versatile ingredient works well as a main or side dish, dressed with cheese, marinara sauce, or italian vinaigrette. Whole wheat pasta also holds up well in soups and has great health benefits!

9.   Tomatoes

  • Great in almost any dish and available in any season. These tasty fruits are invaluable in sauces make great additions to salads, eggs, pasta, and even soups!

10.  Cooking Spray

  • This incredible subsitute is comparable to olive oil or butter and comes in handy for sauteeing and baking without the extra calories.

Breakfast for Dinner?

Eggland's Best Eggs

Breakfast for dinner; a brilliant marketing ploy to get us consumers to eat more eggs OR an enticing way to lure hungry Foodbuzz featured publishers to a free dinner hosted by Eggland’s Best?

Well, fortunately for Eggland’s reputation it’s the latter and let me tell you, it was a delightful little meal.

Eggland’s Best dinner was hosted at Beacon restaurant in Midtown. Despite knowing that Eggland’s Best eggs would be served,  I was hoping Beacon would serve some of their own upscale fare as well (Beacon’s main courses start at $30!). But aside from the Prosecco and croissant assortment, which were lovely, the eggs were certainly the center of attention.

 Eggland's Scrambled Eggs egglands-best-event-skirt-steak-046

The scent of eggs, croissants, and more croissants filled the room, nearly begging to be eaten.  Eggland’s even had a create-your-own omelet station to allow for omelets to be made with only whites. It was an Eggland affair!

egglands-best-event-skirt-steak-040 egglands-best-event-skirt-steak-045 egglands-best-event-skirt-steak-057

So now you probably want to know what I thought of the eggs that have been voted America’s best tasting egg for 7 consecutive years, right? Let’s put it this way, I eat A LOT of eggs. If I could put a number on it, I’d say I eat at least 2 eggs and 6 egg whites a week (a little more than half a carton). And despite my heavy egg consumption I honestly don’t taste a difference between brands. Maybe that’s because I’ve never thought about it too much. After all, they’re just eggs! Though I am certain that with the 25% less saturated fat, 10x more vitamin E, 100 mg of Omega-3, 2x more iodine, and 25% more lutein Eggland’s Best eggs have over their competitors, that they are the best egg around. But do I taste the difference, sadly I do not.

Despite the lack of Eggland’s differentiation from other brands, I now know more about eggs than I ever needed to. And will leave you with this realized food myth on Brown Eggs (vs. White Eggs):

For some reason I was always under the impression that brown eggs were richer in flavor than white eggs. Well guess what, brown eggs are brown because they were laid from brown chickens. Brown eggs tend to be larger than white eggs because brown chickens eat more (why, I’m not sure) but the nutritional value of white and brown eggs are EQUAL. So, to all of you chickens out there also buying brown eggs, feed them to the birds!

birds

McDonald’s Breakfast Reviewed

McDonald'sSo I know this blog is supposedly be healthy but on Saturday morning I woke up craving a McDonald’s breakfast. It’s probably been at least a good 13 or so years since I’ve had one, but there was nothing I wanted more at that moment. And I think I’d earned this 1,000-1,200 calorie meal after a whole 13 years of deprivation.

I immediately looked at the clock to check the time since we all know, from the move Big Daddy, that McDonald’s breakfast ends at 10:30am, or so I thought. Luckily on weekends McDonald’s serves breakfast until 11:00am, and I had made it there JUST in time.

Although McDonald’s breakfast menu is a favorite among loyal customers, breakfast items are not served throughout the day. There was talk in 2006 of adding a few breakfast items to the lunch menu, to breakfast fans’ disappointment, never came to fruition. Though the delicious breakfast items are not the only reason customers frequent this fast food haven. And according to the NY Daily News, I’m not the only cost conscious consumer taking advantage of the $3.99 Breakfast Deluxe.

Apparently McDonald’s doesn’t serve anything separately anymore, so I was forced into ordering their Breakfast Deluxe which comes with 3 pancakes, scrambled eggs, a biscuit, hashbrown, and sausage patty.  Since I try and steer clear of what I consider “weird meat” I opted to keep my breakfast vegetarian. And I think a sausage patty from McDonald’s definitely falls into the “weird meat” category.

Despite the other wonderful meals that I’d had this past week, this was hands down the most satisfying. The combination of the sweet pancakes (which didn’t even need its usual accompaniments, butter and syrup), buttery eggs, and crisp biscuit really hit the spot. And I had almost forgotten about my adorable, sunny little hash brown, which made for a nice snack later on in the day.

McDonald’s breakfast is always a good idea, in theory, though I’d recommend saving it for special occasions (aka hangovers). Please keep in mind that unhealthy food is necessary, just in moderation.

MCDONALD’S

3rd Avenue between 32nd & 33rd Streets

McDonald's Breakfast

McDonald's Breakfast

McDonald's Breakfast Deluxe

McDonald's Breakfast Deluxe sin Sausage

Yum!

Yum!

McDonald's Hash Brown

McDonald's Hash Brown

Homemade Egg Sandwich

Homemade Egg Sandwich

Healthy Quick Breads – Zucchini

Quick bread is a type of bread which is leavened with chemical leaveners such as baking powder, sodium bicarbonate, or cream of tartar. Unlike yeast breads which often take hours to rise and can vary greatly based on external factors such as temperature, breads made with chemical leaveners are relatively uniform, reliable, and quick. Many common foods are quick breads including banana bread, biscuits, muffins, pancakes, and scones.

Chemically leavened breads, such as quick breads were not developed until the end of the 18th century when pearlash was discovered. Pearlash is a refined form of potash, and it produces carbon dioxide gas in dough. Baking powder was not developed commercially until 1857.

Zucchini bread is a popular quick bread made with freshly grated zucchini, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, eggs, flour and spices. It is sometimes made with chocolate. It is known as a more nutritious alternative to sweeter quick breads. Zucchini is filled with vitamin C, manganese, and potassium and is actually considered to be a fruit.

Yesterday was my first time making zucchini bread and it was pretty easy. I based my recipe for healthy zucchini bread off a whole wheat zucchini bread recipe from allrecipes. I halved the recipe in size and also cut some calories. One of the commentators of this recipe had mentioned that the recipe, as prepared, was too sweet so I replaced half of the honey with applesauce. I must admit that my recipe did come out a tad dry but the balance of spices really complimented the rest of the ingredients. The next time I make this recipe I am going to try to moisten it up with milk, yogurt, mandarin oranges, or crushed pineapple. So stay tuned! Below you can check out some of the pictures from yesterday’s healthy zucchini bread.