I choose high-quality, unrefined, cold-pressed oils. When I cook, I try to avoid to reach the smoking point because even a super healthy oil can transform under hight temperature and become damageable for your health. That's why I mainly use coconut and avocado oil when I bake at high temperature (oven or stir frying!), the other oils are for dressings, garnishing, dips.
Avocado oil (extra virgin)
This unrefined oil has a high smoking point, so it's perfect to stir fry, roast, saute and bake.
Coconut oil/butter (extra virgin)
Be sure to choose an extra virgin organic brand. I use it mainly in raw desserts, but also in cookies, pie crusts and for frying (as a high smoking point).
Special note : coconut oil/butter is THE greatest natural moisturizer ever (baby bump rash, eczema rash or daily moisturizer) ! I've tried a LOT of daily creams and none works as well as that oil !
Olive oil (extra virgin, cold pressed)
I drizzle olive oil on everything ! Whenever I serve a soup, a homemade hummus, a pasta dish or a salad, I cannot serve it without adding a little bit of that oil.
Toasted sesame oil
Great in asian dishes (stir fry's, asian noodles, marinated tofu), it is really tasty !
Nuts oils and avocado oil
I periodically use hazelnut or avocado oil in salad dressing. They add a special taste to a dish !
Soy free Earth Balance
I occasionally use soy free Earth balance (the red one) on top of pancakes, gluten-free bread or cookies to replace butter.
Apple cider vinegar
My favorite vinegar by FAR ! I use this organic unfiltered vinegar to make almost every salad dressings. I use it also to replace buttermilk (add 1 tablespoon to 1 cup of nut milk) in recipes.
Great when I want to add a sweet and rich taste to my salad dressings. Reduced, it's even better !
The vinegar I use for asian dishes (stir fries, asian side sauces, sushi rice).
Red and white wine vinegar
Other condiments and seasonings
Chili sauces or flakes
Since we are now living near Mexico, I'm using it more often than ever ! We really like spicy food ! My son adds chili sauce to almost any dish (and he's not crying!). I add a couple of drops everywhere to add a punch to a recipe, especially in ethnic recipes (indian, asian or latino americans recipes).
I enjoy dijon mustard's taste. I add it mainly in salad dressings, but also in my veggie pâté, tempeh meatballs and quinoa and vegetables patties.
"Fleur de sel", sea salt and Herbamare
"Fleur de sel" is an hand-harvested (expensive) sea salt . I always sprinkle this salt when I serve a dish to bring out the flavours. I also use regular sea salt in my recipes.
As soon as we found our new house, we headed to a garden center to buy fresh herbs starters for our box garden. I incorporate them in almost all recipes I do or if not, as a garnish. I encourage you to plant fresh organic herbs, as they are "easy maintenance" and do well in patio boxes if you don't have a yard. My "must have basic list" is the following : basil, mint, oregano, thym, parsley, coriander, chive. Be adventurous and plant more exotic herbs, like strawberry or chocolate mint or thai basil.
A paste made from fermented soy beans, it serves as a stock for my comforting miso soup. I choose the organic non-GMO ones.
Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast sold as yellow flakes in natural stores. It is popular within vegans and vegetarians since it's probably the most important (and perhaps only) vegetal "active and reliable" source of vitamin B12. It has a cheese flavor (similar to the "umami" taste found in parmesan cheese) so I add it in sauces (vegan mac'n'cheese or gravy sauce), patties, "no meatballs" or as a substitute to parmesan (mixed with brazil nuts) on pasta.
Another thing my husband is laughing about ! The amount of spices we have in our pantry ! We LOVE ethnic foods so we add spices to EVERY recipe ! I'm not going to list my "more than well-stocked" supply, but here are some of my favorites (chili flakes, cinnamon, cloves, cardamome, nutmeg, smoked paprika, turmeric, cumin, coriander, black pepper, tamarin paste and dry herbs).
Also made from fermented soy beans, I use a gluten-free organic non-GMO brand and add it to many dishes when I need a salty taste, specially in asian dishes, but also veggie patty, gravy sauce, millet pie at Christmas.
Vanilla beans and pure extract
I LOVE vanilla. I add pure vanilla extract or beans in (almost) every sweet recipe I make.
Though I sometimes do "cashewnaise", I always keep a container of vegenaise in my fridge, for express dips, sandwichs or dressings.