Brad (who writes ZMO's enews) and I are working on a Pantry Peek campaign for our Mail Order Enews. We'll go around to different people and take a picture of their pantry, hopefully unadulterated, unbeautified, and share what they have and why. I thought I'd kick it off with a blog post. This is what my counter top looked like today. (I'll do the cupboard another day.)
Back row, left to right
Frankie's 457 house olive oil. Frankie's is just down the street from me and pretty much every retailer in my neighborhood carries the Sicilian oil that the Franks select. It comes in a liter tin only, though I'm sure they probably bring in bulk containers since they say it's their house oil.
Moulin de Chartreuse Olive Oil. The Provençal oil we started carrying last year. This was the sample that I took to help edit the copy, though Brad wrote it I think. It's currently petering out as my cooking oil, something I usually employ a cheaper oil for (usually Lucini, it's pretty good and everyone around here carries it), but I ran out.
Mario Bianco's Moscato Vinegar. A white wine vinegar we used to carry. We stopped because I thought it was just a little too expensive for what it was.
Unlabeled Red Wine Vinegar from Marina Colonna. Ten years ago I visited Marina Colonna in the Molise and she had some dodgy bottles of vinegar someone had crafted from wine she makes. It tasted really good. For some reason or another she never decided to make any more, a fate shared by a line of olive oil cosmetics she had also made. She gave me a bottle to take home. A word of advice: don't pack vinegar in your suitcase. For that matter don't take samples from anyone when you're traveling. They always end up evolving into disaster.
Monini White Wine Vinegar. Rather crap vinegar I got for some reason I can't remember.
Pofi Brothers White Wine Vinegar. Pretty much my go-to for vinaigrettes and has been since I first tasted it.
Front row, left to right
Butternut Squash Seed Oil. We've carried this for a couple years. It was the first good American nut/seed oil I'd found—all the rest have been from France or Austria. It's a once-in-a-while thing I use for vinaigrettes or dousing a soup, raw vegetables or cooked vegetables. I probably shouldn't keep it near the stove but I know if I put it somewhere else I'll forget I have it.
Halen Mon Sea Salt. Or it could be fleur de sel sea salt just as often. I keep it in a little La Creuset pot and use it for salting dishes at the end. It's the salt I bring to the table if we have company, hence the little bone spoon.
Tellicherry Black Pepper. After busting my way through three or four pepper grinders Vic Firth's is the best one I've tried. I guess I beat the hell out of them because they just stop after a while. Not this one. I got mine before Mario Batali started licensing his name to them and now I think the only way to get a red one is if you get one with his name on it. Well, I like Mario, so that's not a deep tissue wound. The pepper is Indian Tellicherry pretty much all the time, and I keep the grinder set rather coarse.
Marash Red Pepper Flakes. Pretty much the only red pepper I ever use.
Portuguese Salt. The fine grade, which I pretty much use for everything except finish salting. This could just as easily be French grey salt, I have one or the other and switch up for no good reason. I house it in one of the old gorgeous fleur de sel jars that we used to get. Man I miss them!