Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Conscious (and Well-Stocked) Vegan Kitchen

You will notice that the majority of my recipes do not rely on long lists of complicated ingredients. However, there are a few seasonings that I use on a regular basis that you might not be familiar with. To participate with me on this journey, I’ve put together a list of the ingredients that I use most in my daily cooking, and have provided definitions of any unfamiliar ingredients. 
Don’t be overwhelmed by the length of this list! In fact, you may already have a lot of these supplies in your kitchen. To start, just make sure that you have a variety of grains and vegetables on hand, as well as good-quality sea salt. You can slowly build up your kitchen arsenal from there.
A lot of grocery stores are beginning to carry some of these items. Of course, I think it is 
always good to support your local health food store, organic food co-op and Farmers market. Whole Foods market is located in many cities and carries a lot of good products. If you can’t find certain items, I have a link to mail-order resources at the end of the list. Please try to choose organic ingredients when possible.
Dry Goods List:
An assortment of whole and cracked grains
Artisan pastas and noodles
Unyeasted Sourdough Bread
Dried beans 
Organic Canned Beans: I am partial to the Eden brand because the lining of the cans does not contain BPA. The beans are cooked with kombu, a sea vegetable which makes them more digestible.
Good-quality Sea Salt: I am partial to Si brand salt, but if you can’t find this, just go for the best quality salt you can find.
Bean products, such as tofu and tempeh
Shoyu: a naturally-fermented soy sauce. The two brands that are most readily available are Nama and San-J.
Ume Plum Vinegar: a savory vinegar. You can find this in a health food store.
An assortment of useful (and fun!) ingredients
Brown Rice Vinegar
Balsamic vinegar
Apple cider vinegar
Mirin (a Japanese cooking wine), white wine, or sake for cooking
Toasted tahini: a paste made from toasted and ground sesame seeds
Miso: a fermented soybean paste. There are many different kinds of miso to choose from, however I like barley or brown rice miso for everyday use. 
Dried pepper (red and black)
Fresh ginger, wasabi and horseradish
Fresh herbs and spices
Dried sea vegetables to use in soups or as a seasoning
Optional Ingredients:
Umeboshi Plums: are salted and mildly sour Japanese pickled fruit. Umeboshi plums aid digestion and also have a alkalizing effect. My favorite umeboshi plums are the Mitoku Ryujin brand, which you will most likely need to mail order.  The Ohsawa brand and Eden umeboshi plums can be found in many Whole Foods markets or a health food store. Beware of buying umeboshi plums in an Asian grocery, as they often contain chemical additives and preservatives.
Umeboshi Paste: like Umeboshi plums, only in paste form and used more as a seasoning.
An assortment of vibrant fresh vegetables
Toasted sesame oil
Light sesame oil
Extra Virgin Olive oil
Walnut oil, for baked goods
High heat Safflower oil, for deep frying

Produce staples:
Winter and summer squash, in season
Sweet potatoes
An assortment of leafy green vegetables
Any other root and round vegetables you like!
Fresh seasonal fruits
Natural sweets, such as:
Brown rice syrup
Maple syrup
Barley malt
Internet and Mail Order Resources
Essene Market and Cafe
Eden Natural Foods http://www,
Goldmine Natural Foods
The Kushi Institute Store
Natural Import Company
South River Miso

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