Your kitchen pantry is probably stocked with staples like flour, sugar, dried pasta and canned goods. It is also probably stocked with jars of condiments like ketchup and mustard, pickles and salad dressings, that are waiting to be used. Condiments are often thought of as extras, rather than staples, but the truth is that we rely on them a lot more than you might think – and that many people will end up putting store bought sauces on homemade foods when you can make something even better from scratch. The Kitchen Pantry Cookbook: Make Your Own Condiments and Essentials is a cookbook where the sides are the star.
The book is all about the condiments and extras that you might normally buy and it is broken into several different chapters: Condiments, Nut Butters and Spreads, Salad Dressings, Stocks, Relishes and Refrigerator Pickles; and Chips, Dips and Dunks. The idea behind all of the recipes is that using fresh ingredients, you can make a much better condiment that not only perfectly suits your palate, but is free from preservatives and artificial ingredients. Some of the ingredient lists may seem long due to the spices and herbs used, but that is because there are no shortcuts here and the author puts as much flavor as possible into each recipe. The recipes are very straightforward and make small batches so that you can use everything while it is fresh, then start on a second batch. This also means that there is less waste overall, since you’ll probably use up anything you make relatively quickly, rather than leaving it in the fridge or pantry and forgetting about it. A food processor or blender is the one appliance that you’ll really need for some of the recipes, but very little special equipment is required to cook your way through the book.
The recipes are accompanied by tips on how to make things go as smoothly as possible, as well as suggestions for flavor variations on the basic recipes given. Once you master those base recipes, you’ll find that it is easy to put your own flavor twist on them when making future batches. There are also suggestions on how to select high quality ingredients and where to find less common items, like crushed mustard seeds.