Splurge Worthy Pantry

The trick to cooking the best food is starting with the best ingredients. There are a handful of products that I are so good they are worth getting online and ordering them and waiting by the door for them to arrive. Most of them I have found because one of my culinary boss friends has recommended them, or I have stumbled on them while traveling. They elevate my food and bring me joy. What are your favorite things you've found? 

1. Dixon Medium Hot Chili from The Chili Shop in Santa Fe. I have a lifetime of memories traveling to Santa Fe with my family. My mom always stopped by The Chili Shop and I remember her taking out that same, folded white bag full of rich red powder to make our dinners growing up. I have never found a chili powder I like more than this. It is earthy and strong and bold. I can't get enough. 

2. Rancho Gordo beans, all kinds. Beans are beans, right? No! These beans are incredible and they come with excellent cooking suggestions. I love getting away from the typical grocery store offering and being reminded just how prolific and bad ass mother nature is at making variety. I have a special place in my heart for the Christmas Limas, if you need a jumping off place, they are beautiful and perfect just tossed in butter, salt and herbs. Rancho Gordo also has the best bean cooking instructions I've run across. They totally upped my game. 

3. Anson Mills Native Coarse Blue Corn Grits, its a mouthful and they take more work and involve soaking and patience and are worth every single second. They have great recipes too, so use that resource. While you are there, the Carolina Gold Rice is pretty spectacular too. 

4.  Jacobsen Salt Co. Pure Kosher Sea Salt, this stuff comes from the coast of Oregon and is delicate and utterly perfect. I am a sucker for salt, so I have this on my counter at all times. It is in every single thing that I make and I carry a little one in my bag when I travel just in case I need some. Get it! 

5. HU Chocolate. I found this bar on a work trip in New York last year and haven't stopped thinking about it since. It is smooth and bold and not too sweet, the nuts are creamy and I think it is the perfect chocolate. Bonus that it is Paleo and vegan and organic and all of those things, but more than that, they are just so. damn. good. 

photo credit: Yelp 

photo credit: Yelp