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Tanya Steel: I think the five ingredients I always have on hand are olive oil – good quality olive oil.  Gotta be extra virgin cold pressed; really good balsamic vinegar too, usually from . . ..  That’s crucial.  One thing I learned from chefs is that shallots kind of make everything taste good.  It’s amazing.  I don’t know how or why, but they’re like the magic ingredient.  So those to me are kind of the . . . that I can whip up basically anything and make it taste good with those three things.  Let’s see.  What else in my household?  Well it’s not an ingredient, but it’s my obsession right now, which is Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.  But that aside, I have a problem.  We’re gonna move on.  I would say a good quality . . .  pasta probably, and chicken because you can just use chicken 6,000 ways.  Chicken is the most searched term on Epicurious, and we basically can’t do enough recipes with chicken.  So it is kind of the go to, you know, ingredient that everyone should have in their house always.  And in fact I have in my freezer strips of chicken that I can just pull off the aluminum foil or pull off the plastic and just cook really fast because it cooks so quickly.  What I love about chicken is that it’s high protein, low fat, and that it cooks so fast, and that it is so adaptable.  It’s so versatile.  You know it’s like the little black dress.  You just . . .  You have to have it, so it’s just crucial.

Recorded on 1/17/08

 

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