Wine Vinegar

Wine VinegarWine vinegar is either made from red or white. Cooks use vinegar for many purposes such as; pickling, deglazing pans, marinating meats, making sauces and is found in certain desserts. Red wine vinegar is commonly used in the Mediterranean countries, being a common staple in most French homes. There are several different qualities of red wine vinegar. The longer the wine vinegar matures, the better it is. Most red wines can be matured up to two years. White wine vinegar is a moderately tangy vinegar that French cooks use to make Hollandaise and Béarnaise sauces, vinaigrettes, soups, and stews. It's also an excellent base for homemade fruit or herb vinegars.


Season: available year-round

How to select: Available: year round in grocery stores along with other vinegars.

Substitutions: red wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, rice vinega, cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegarr, sherry vinegar or apple cider vinegar

Red Pepper Flakes

Red Pepper FlakesDried and crushed red chile peppers, often hot with a pugent and smokey flavor.


Season: available year-round

Substitutions: red chile powder (don't confuse with chili powder, a mixed seasoning) OR paprika (milder) OR red pepper flakes OR chili powder (contains other spices)


PrsleyThere are more than 30 varieties of parley, but the most common are curly-leaf and the more pungent Italian or flat-leaf parsley. The flat-leaf has more flavor than curly parsley and is preferred for cooking, while dried parsley has little flavor at all. In ancient times parsley wreaths were used to ward off drunkenness. Chewing parsley will help with bad breath from food odors such as garlic.


Season: available year-round

How to select: Choose bright green leaves that show no sign of wilting.

How to store: Rinse and wrap in a paper towel and then a plastic bag. Refrigerated it will last for a week. You can freeze parsley! Just clean, chop and let dry; then put in little baggies and seal.

How to prepare: The leaves are most commonly used, however the stalks are good for adding flavor to stocks.

Matches well with: chicken, eggplant, eggs, fish, game, lentils, mushrooms, mussels, pasta, peas, potatoes, poultry, rice, seafood, tomatoes, zucchini, lemon

Substitutions: 1 tsp dried parsley = 1 tbsp fresh parsley; curly parsley OR Italian parsley OR chervil OR celery tops OR cilantro


FlourAlthough there are many types of flour, all-purpose (or occident) flour is used most frequently. Bread flour is higher in protein. Unbleached flour is simply not as white as bleached.

Whole-wheat flour is brown in color, and is derived from the complete wheat kernel (the bran and germ). When used in bread baking, it gives a nutty flavor and a denser texture when compared to all-purpose flour. Bread does not rise as high in whole-wheat breads, which is why a mixture of both whole-wheat and white flour is often used when baking.

Cake flour has the least amount of gluten of all wheat flours, making it best for light, delicate products such as sponge cakes, genoise, and some cookie batters. Cake flour often comes bleached, which gives it a bright, white appearance.

Pastry flour also has a low gluten content, though it contains a bit more than cake flour. Made from a soft wheat flour, it is used for making tart and pie doughs, some cookie batters, and muffins.

High-gluten flour is milled from hard wheat and has a high protein content, making it high in gluten.

Most people think of flour in terms of wheat flour. When in fact, flour can be ground from a variety of nuts and seeds. Some types of flours available are: amaranth, arrowroot, barley, buckwheat, chickpea, corn, kamut, nuts, oats, potato, quinoa, rice, rye, soy, spelt, tapioca, teff, wheat, and vegetables.

Spelt flour contains gluten. It can, however, be tolerated by people with gluten allergies. When making bread with spelt flour, the bread is not kneaded as long as other breads. The gluten is not as durable as other wheat’s. Spelt flour may be frozen, if not used right away.

American flours and British equivalents:
Cake and pastry flour = soft flour
All-purpose flour = plain flour
Bread flour = strong flour, hard flour
Self-rising flour = self-raising flour
Whole-wheat flour = wholemeal flour


Season: available year-round

How to select: Cake flour often comes in a box rather than a bag, near the cake mixes.

How to store: Whole-wheat flour can go rancid, so it must be stored in a cool, dry place (up to 5 months) or refrigerate or freeze for longer storage.

How to prepare: There is a great deal of difference in flours. Soft wheat flour brands like "White Lily" flour produces bread, biscuits and cakes of much lighter consistancy than say "Gold Medal" which is a hard wheat flour. Biscuits show the greatest difference and all yeast breads. But soft wheat flours aren't marked , you just have to figure out which is hard and which is soft by using.

Substitutions: 1 cup + 2 tbsp sifted cake flour = 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour; 1 cup minus 2 tbsp unsifted flour = 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour; 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs = 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour; 3/4 cup whole wheat flour or bran flour + 1/2 cup all purpose flour; 1 cup rye or rice flour; 1/4 cup soybean flour + 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
Whole-wheat flour usually can be substituted for part or all of the all-purpose flour in most recipes. If a recipe calls for two cups flour, try one cup all-purpose and one cup whole-wheat. When completely substituting whole-wheat for white, use 7/8 cup whole-wheat for one cup of white flour.