Here’s a page for us to link some of the items we use in our kitchen and items we’ve showcased in our posts. As we’ve stated before, we do not make any money on linking these things, just trying to help others find some of the stuff more easily. And, as always, these are in no particular order!
- Almond Flour: Honeyville Blanched Almond Flour and Natural Almond Flour – We’ve found these almond flours to be much more “flour-like” than the one with a colored mill on the label typically found in grocery stores (which is very mealy textured and just won’t bake well). Shipping is only $4.49 per order, and the price is reasonable for the product too. Go ahead and get your hands on at least a 5-lb bag of either flour, because it stores fine in the pantry, and you will go through it.
- Butter: we stick with grass-fed butter as much as possible, and unsalted grass-fed is even better. Two brands we’ll use often are Kerrygold and Organic Valley (look for the “pasture” stuff, though it is salted), mostly because we can find them both at our local Fred Meyer store for a reasonable price. If you find the Organic Valley stuff (it is seasonal) – buy a bunch and freeze it!
- Coconut Oil: We like to buy our coconut oil from the Tropical Traditions site. We like the Gold Label Virgin Coconut oil. Also, for a great organic coconut oil without the coconut taste, we like their Organic Expeller-Pressed Coconut Oil (we actually by this by the gallon). They generally have a lot of sales, so take advantage of this and/or ask a friend if they want to share the cost of shipping.
- Olive Oil: Not all olive oil is created equal. Here is some great info on olive oil. For homemade mayo, use a lighter flavor olive oil as the EVOO can be a little stronger tasting. Also note, we no longer use olive oil in any recipe that will subject it to heating (except for using it in marinades). For a cooking oil, we stick with expeller-pressed coconut oil for its stability at higher temperatures and clean taste. So, if you see an older recipe on the site using olive oil in the pan, we recommend you substitute.
- Balsamic Vinegar: We use a variety of balsamic vinegars depending on the recipe. For marinades and general cooking, we’ll use any basic Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, like Costco’s Kirkland brand, that is thinner and less syrupy. For salad dressings or anything where the balsamic itself is a key ingredient, we turn to one of the many infused traditional-style balsamic vinegars offered by the local Vancouver, WA, business Fouresse. These vinegars are thick, syrupy, and delicious!
- Cheese: we don’t eat cheese too often, but when we do, we go for something grass-fed and made as naturally as you can get. That’s where Kerrygold comes in (again) – with their Reserve Cheddar, aged for 2 years and all natural. And Costco (for some things, that’s just the place to shop) has a 2-lb loaf for about the same price you pay for a 2-lb loaf of regular food-dyed mild cheddar at the grocery store.
- Beef: we buy this by the “half” (of a whole animal) from Neiffer Triangle 4 Ranch in Eastern Oregon (we happen to know them personally). You need to have the freezer space for this (we’ve got a 22 cubic foot upright, which will hold a side of beef and a whole hog, with a little room to spare), and spend a bit of money up front, but you’ll get grass-fed meat for about the same price you’d pay for feedlot beef in the local grocery store (and a LOT less than you’ll pay for grass-fed at your specialty grocery stores). A side (half) of beef will net you about 200 lbs of cut/wrapped meat – figure about 35% of that as burger, a handful of roasts and stew meat, some flank, tenderloin, and ribs, and a fair number of round steaks and rib/sirloin/t-bones. As a family of 4, also eating a mix of pork, chicken, turkey, and fish, we find a “half” to last us about a year – which is about how long you’d want to store meat in the freezer.
- Pork: again, buy pastured, and in bulk (we use a few different local farmers depending on the season). We started out buying a half and found that it went way too fast. The bacon especially (why can’t they do a whole hog as bacon – really?). So we went for a whole hog the next time around, at a net weight of around 120 lbs of meat. Figure one to two large hams, some ham slices, about 10 lbs of bacon (the best you’ve ever eaten), and a good share of “chops”, roasts, and spare ribs. Don’t forget the sausage – you’ll end up with about 10 to 15 pounds of that as well. Whenever you cook the bacon, save the fat for cooking other things. You could save it in a ceramic or glass crock on the counter like they did “back on the farm,” or save it in a heavy glass bowl with tight-fitting lid in the fridge (I’ve got a 1-cup prep bowl with lid that I use).
- Poultry: we’ve had good luck sourcing our chickens (and turkey) the past few seasons from a local CSP (think CSA for poultry) called Inspiration Plantation. During the “season” we’ll get a few chickens per month, and at the end we’ll stock up on another 12 or so birds to keep in the freezer (we’ll cut and package them a few different ways before storing). By getting whole, fresh birds each month, it gives you incentive to find ways to use every part rather than sticking with the supermarket packages of all one kind of meat. Plus, it gives you all the bones for making stock!
- Dextrose: This is also known as D-glucose, grape sugar, corn sugar, or just “glucose,” and is the only form of pure glucose that exists in nature. We get it at our local beer making supply store, as it is very inexpensive there. Please know that most dextrose is extracted from corn husks (and not the grain portion of the plant) – so while there is no corn in it, some with corn allergies note problems when ingesting dextrose. So, if you have a known allergic reaction to corn or corn-derived products, it would be best to use your own discretion, or seek out sources that are not corn-derived.
More to come…