Favorite Brands of Kitchen Staples
This is what I buy.
- •Olive oil: Trader Joe's California Estate Extra Virgin Olive OilIt's cheap ($5.99 for 16.9 oz.) and good-tasting enough to use for drizzling. California Olive Ranch's Arbequina, in a square bottle, is a close second. Whatever you do, buy extra-virgin oil, preferably one from a recent olive harvest.
- •Salt: Pink Himalayan sea salt in a grinder from Trader Joe'sDon't buy any other Himalayan salt. This one is the best and the cheapest. Diamond kosher salt is a close second and comes in larger quantities.
- •Flour: King Arthur All-Purpose FlourBudget-friendly hack: Trader Joe's all-purpose flour, in the blue and pink bag, is actually King Arthur, under the TJ's brand.
- •Unsalted butter (for baking and cooking): Clover (local to NorCal) or Kerrygold (in the silver foil package)Note that Kerrygold is pretty expensive, so probably not great for big baking projects.
- •Salted butter (for spreading and finishing dishes): Kerrygold salted butter or Trader Joe's French butter in blue foil.I currently favor the French one, which is slightly saltier than the Kerrygold.
- •Coconut oil: TJ's or SpectrumALWAYS buy unrefined, virgin
- •Spices: Whole Foods' 365 brand.Reliably high-quality and great variety.
- •Apple cider vinegar: BraggDon't be grossed out by the floating glob of "mother" in each bottle. Give it a good shake before using and she'll disperse.
- •Soy sauce: San J Tamari (reduced sodium)Handy for when you might be feeding gluten-free folks (unlike regular soy sauce, it is wheat-free), and plenty salty without being overly so.
- •Peanut butter: Earth Balance Creamy Coconut & Peanut SpreadI can't get over how good this is. The crunchy kind is good too, but the creamy variety has all the appeal of the super-processed Skippys and Jiffs of our childhoods, but with the goodness of coconut oil.
- •Wildwood Sprouted super firm tofuThe best for pan-frying or baking. Also available under the Trader Joe's brand for slightly less.