The Quarantine Pantry

By CSL Staff
October 6, 2020

City Style and Living Magazine fall 2020 Quarantine Pantry breakfast, cooking, gourmet, salt
/ K&S Media

Let’s get real, during these strange times, we’ve all gotten to flex our kitchen skills, cooking traditional family recipes or experimenting with new ones.  The following essential, long-lasting ingredients are delicious, nutritious, helpful and filling (or all of the above) and can extend through weeks (or months) of hunkering down at home with enough variety so your family will not be bored.  

STAPLES: NUTS

Brazil Nuts
Using a nutcracker to crack the outer shell of a nut is utterly satisfying.  Native to South America, this large nut is high in selenium, an antioxidant that may help protect against heart disease, prostate cancer and stimulate the immune system. Soak the nuts in water, blend and use in curries, soups or a creamy, vegan pasta sauce. $7.99 (USD), 1lb; nuts.com

Raw Organic Cashews
A favourite of vegans, the sweet and creamy moon-shaped snack can be soaked in water overnight, blended and strained to produce a ‘milk’.  Take the leftover blended pieces of cashew, and dry out in the over to add to baked treats. $13.99(USD), 1lb; nuts.com

Raw Macadamia nuts

High in oils, these creamy and crunchy nuts are filled with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.  Used frequently in savory preparations in Hawaii, try toasting and sprinkling over grilled mahi mahi fish for a taste of the tropics, or pop them in a brownie batter for an ultra-rich dessert. $26.99 (USD), 1lb; nuts.com

Raw Georgia Pecans (no shell)

Crisp, buttery and certified organic, Georgia pecans, the Rolls Royce of the nut family is ideal for baking, and is high in zinc, vitamin E, and vitamin A. Toast them and sprinkle with salt, pepper and cayenne as a gluten-free ‘crouton’. $14.99 (USD), 1lb; nuts.com

Nut Resource
Family owned since the 1920s, first selling at an open air market, Nuts.com has now morphed to include an online component. The wide range of bulk items ( 3,000 +) are conveniently packed in single serve, 1lb-25lb resealable bags that are great to stock up on for home use.  Best of all, hard to find (camu camu anyone?), gluten free and organic pantry items can all be found in one place. nuts.com

Natural Almonds
CSL likes that these are some of the largest-size bags of raw almonds on the market. Sourced from the USA, they keep fresh with an easy-lock seal. NOW Raw Almonds 454g, $15.99; healthyplanetcanada.com

Raw Almonds
These raw (unpasteurized) almonds come from Italy and have a pronounced flavour. Great for homemade almond milk. Organic Traditions Organic Raw Shelled Almonds, 454g, $24.99; healthyplanetcanada.com

Almonds
Plump in size and crunchy, these almonds come in an easy, on-the-go, snack portion. Mike & Mike’s Organics Raw Almonds, 170g; healthyplanetcanada.com

STAPLES: DRIED BEANS

Dried Bean Resource
Protein and mineral rich, and offering a wide range of cooking options, beans are a budget friendly way to enhance your diet.  Fresh Acres, a certified organic family farm in southern Ontario, provides a succinct selection of beans for everyday cooking.

Certified organic cranberry beans
Cook these speckled beauties until still slightly firm for a Tex-Mex style bean salad. $8.00, 1 kg; freshacres.ca

Certified organic navy beans
Creamy and soft, add into a Tuscan kale soup to create a hearty vegetarian meal. $20.00, 5kg; freshacres.ca

Certified organic red beans
The quintessential chili bean, adds additional texture to the stew.
$83.60, 20kg; freshacres.ca

Certified organic black beans
After boiling, fry with garlic, onions and jalapeno and mash for a delicious refried bean meatless Monday. $20.00, 5kg; freshacres.ca

STAPLES: DRIED FRUIT

Dried Fruit Resource
Its iconic red box of raisins made its reputation, now Sun Maid has diversified to include a plethora of dried fruit.

California Sun-dried Raisins
The OG of the raisin world, these fruit are uber-juicy and sweet.  A handful of these sun dried soft beauties adds the perfect chew to oatmeal cookies, scones or morning cereal. 10 oz bag; sunmaid.com

California Pitted Prunes
Often overlooked as unsexy, because of its foremost use as a good source of fiber, these Central valley D’Agen prune plums are sweet, plump and delicious. Bake in a frangipane tart to turn that image around.  198g; sunmaid.com

California Sun-Dried Zante Currants
An underutilized fruit in the kitchen, these dark, slightly tart delicacies dried from the black Corinth grape, can be soaked in rum to add a burst of warmth to holiday cakes like a Dundee sponge and ideal in mincemeat tarts.  227g; sunmaid.com

City Style and Living Magazine fall 2020 Quarantine Pantry snacks, tools, bottles
/ K&S Media

SNACKS

Silver Leaf Kalamon Olives and Green Olives
Firm with just enough salt, bathed in rich Greek olive oil, and with a whisper of characteristic bitterness, the organic certified green olives are versatile enough to be used on a charcuterie board or in salads (don’t forget to remove the pit) while the dark, ripe Kalamon olives are creamy and soft. The olives are hand-picked from the Taygetos region of Greece and processed traditionally to reduce bitterness resulting in a true gourmet treat. 340g, $10.49; silver-leaf.de

Wonderful Lightly Salted Pistachios
Hate peeling? Lightly salted, no shells are just that —add crunch to salads, baking and as an excellent healthy protein rich snack. 170g; getcrackin.com

Cacao 70
Canadian cult-brand chocolate that is worth the splurge. This silky, smooth and complex cacao-rich chocolate is available in a variety of diverse flavours like floral Earl Grey, and Smooth Operator Milk Chocolate with just a touch of sweetness.  Regional varieties like Guatemala Monte Grande Dark Chocolate (nutty and fruity), and Bolivia Beniano Dark Chocolate (fresh and citrusy) show the true hallmarks of exceptional chocolate. cacao70.com

Sun-Maid Organic Dried Mango
Often referred to as the king of fruit, this dried version exclusively grown by certified organic growers are like a fruit jerky with just enough chew and a sweet-tart flavor with less than 125 calories per serving.  Excellent treat for kids, eaten alone or added to fruit salad (soak in juice) or trail mix. 3oz, sunmaid.com

Craize
Think of this versatile snack as the cousin of the potato chip (or a crunchy arepa).  Equally tasty atop a salad, or accompanying a cheese board these tasty treats come in unique, tropical flavours like plantain, guava and toasted corn. Try the sweet coconut crisps with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Pair the guava with a citrusy ceviche as an hors d’oeuvre. 6 pouches of 113g, $19.98; gocraize.com

Organic Natural Dried Blueberries
These Oregon berries were collected at the peak of the season and dried without adding any sugar.  Add a handful to muffin or pancake mixes which will give a punch of the antioxidant anthocyanin without adding additional moisture.  $16.99, 8 oz bag; Nuts.com

Que Pasa Tortilla Chips
Guac, salsa or melted cheese would be lucky to have these organic, non GMO millstone ground tortilla chips as a companion.  Blue corn has long been used in traditional Mexican cooking, and these crunchy triangular dippers, with deep nutty flavour and touch of salt prove why. 350g, quepasafoods.com

TOOLS

Abeego 3 Variety Food Wraps
Take that, plastic!  Coated in beeswax, this food wrap alternative keeps veggies longer in your fridge.  1 Small Wrap 18 cm x 18 cm (7” x 7”), 1 Medium Wrap 25 cm x 25 cm (10” x 10”), 1 Large Wrap 33 cm x 33 cm (13” x 13”), $18.00; abeego.com

DeBuyer Valrhona Perforated Tart Ring (2.95 inch)
Make tart shells like a pastry chef.  The gold standard of French pastry tools, the perforated round tart ring exterior allows for even heat distribution, resulting in a golden crust every time. debuyer.com

OXO Good Grip Julienne Peeler
A mandoline alternative, use this Oxo julienne peeler to thinly slice vegetables evenly in seconds.  Best for harder vegetables like carrots, zucchini, celery and daikon. Great for a Thai green papaya salad. $10.99; danescoinc.com for retailers

Le Creuset Oval Au Gratin Dish
The ultimate comfort food vessel to create that golden crust, for everything from baked crème brûlée to classic vegetable gratin to macaroni and cheese.  This beautiful oval au gratin stoneweare dish with shiny enamel glaze can double as a serving dish. 2.9 L, $95.00; lecreuset.ca

BOTTLES

Stefano Faita Tomato Basil Sauce
Fresh and ripe, this tomato basil sauce is made with only five ingredients (tomatoes, sea salt, garlic, basil and olive oil), and no additional sugar or preservatives.  Simmer meatballs in this just-as-good-as-Nonna’s sauce. 660 ml; stefanofaita.com

Bottlegreen Elderflower Cordial
A light, delicately flavoured syrup made from handpicked elderflowers, it is a great substitute for a simple syrup in cocktails (we like it as a twist on a French 75). Try with a splash of lemon, sprig of mint and sparkling water for a refreshing mocktail. 500ml; $17.90; bottlegreendrinks.com

Zeus Juice Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Cold pressed Greek manaki olives are at the heart of this extra virgin olive oil.  Maintaining its vibrant green colour, the viscous Peloponnesian liquid gold is fragrant, deep in flavour and retains just a hint of bite on the back palate.  $12.00; zeusjuicelife.ca

City Style and Living Magazine fall 2020 Quarantine Pantry breakfast, cleaning and gourmet salt, seasong
/ K&S Media

BREAKFAST

L’Ancêtre Organic Salted butter
Made with 100% organic milk from environmentally-friendly Canadian farms, the creamy, silky texture of this kosher butter makes for extra rich cakes and baking or simply spread on morning toast. fromagerieancetre.com

Melitta Italian Espresso BellaCrema Whole Bean
Imagine you’re sitting at a cafe in Milan while sipping this beautifully rounded, strong cuppa.  Grind up a few spoonfuls of the whole beans for a cappuccino or cafe latte and you’ll feel like a barista.  907g; shop.melitta.ca

Quaker Oats Quick 1-Minute Oats
Back to basics is sometimes the best way to go.  Oats are one of the best brekkie staples with slow releasing energy that fills you up for longer.  Layer quick 1-minute oats overnight in the fridge with yogurt and fruit, and take on-the-go for a healthy breakfast parfait. quakeroats.ca

Tabasco Pepper Sauce
Sure, the original red pepper sauce is still a classic, but have you tried the uber-picante Tabasco habanero, sweet & spicy or chitpotle sauce?  A brunch staple, the ultimate condiment still delivers. tabascosauce.ca

CLEANING

Kikkerland Design 3-Count Copper Coil Scrubbers
These tough scrubbers easily remove baked on food from a variety of surfaces with minimal effort and are not prone to rust. $7.19; bedbathandbeyond.ca

If you Care Household Gloves
Keep hands dry and protected with these Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified latex rubber gloves with gripping dots that allow slippery hands to easily grab on to plates, and dishware. buyifyoucare.com

If you Care Cooking Twine
Fall cooking means perfectly trussed turkey for Thanksgiving, and stuffed meats ready for roasting.  Get the job done easier by securely holding meat in place and tying this unbleached, natural cooking twine to keep in moisture. buyifyoucare.com

GOURMET

McCormick Gourmet All natural Mexican Oregano
The punchy and bold flavour lifts cooking with earthy depth.  Add a pinch to tomato, or mole sauces and grilled meats for herbal flair. 0.5oz; mccormick.com

Cha’s Organics Cardamom
A requisite in Indian cooking and sweets, cardamom is a floral spice pod adding  potent flavor when the seeds inside are crushed.  The digestive aid can be sprinkled into coffee or tea to counteract the stress effects of caffeine on the body. Delicious in baked goods. $7.79, 20g; chasorganics.com

Royal Command Dry Ground Mustard
1 ½ teaspoons of this concentrated dry powder in a Mornay sauce lifts it, while adding a few tablespoons of water and splash of vinegar can create instant mustard in a pinch. 454g, $12.13; qualifirst.com

Le Saunier de Camargue Fleur de Sel
The signature pale grey Camargue fleur de sel is harvested from the south of France, and beloved among chefs.  It’s delicate with a crisp texture that can be used to finish dishes including desserts. 4.4oz; windsorsalt.com

Gustus Vitae Gourmet Sea Salts
This California based salt company’s approach has always been to quality, producing a wide range of natural, sustainably sourced, non-GMO Project Verified gourmet infused sea salt in small batches.  Unique infusions include blue cheese, wasabi and Greek tzatziki and the small magnetic tins make a striking display.  3.4 oz, from $6.00 (USD); gustusvitae.com

Silver Leaf Handcropped Sea Salt
Hand harvested natural sea salt from the Southern coast of Mani, Greece collected and dried naturally with the gentle sea breeze, as is traditional in the area.  These beautiful flakes and elegant packaging make a great gift. 280g; silver-leaf.de

Saltverk Hand Harvested Sustainable Salt
Known for its spectacular landscapes, Iceland has become a de rigeur trip in recent years.  This sea salt collected from the Westfjords is sustainably produced through the use of geothermal energy.  The crunchy texture and mineral rich flakes is available in three varieties: Arctic Thyme, Birch Smoked, Licorice and black lava for a true taste of the North. 90g, from $10.99 (USD); saltverk.com

Limani Sea Salt Fleur de Sel
Accumulating naturally in small pools along the rocky coast south of Peloponnese Greece, this sea salt is hand cropped by the local Mani people.  The salt is allowed to naturally dry in the sun to keep minerals and micro nutrients intact.  The pristine large flakes, produced from natural crystallization are excellent sprinkled over fresh seafood, or to marinate meat for souvlaki and grilled preparations. 130g, $21.99; limanifoods.com

Newfoundland Salt Company
Longtime friends Robin Crane and Peter Burt spent time away from their native Newfoundland only to return to form the company in 2012. Refining their technique through trial and error, these delicate flakes are proudly Canadian. Unique green alder, juniper smoked and coffee sea salt are all a dream for experimenting with in the kitchen. 40g, from $14.00; newfoundlandsaltcompany.com


This original products we love article first appeared in the Fall 2020 issue of City Style and Living Magazine.

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