Lately I’ve been thinking about the ingredients that I reach for all the time; the ones I could never live without in the kitchen. Garlic, olive oil, herbes de provence, eggs, avocados, maple syrup… they’re standbys that I reach for on an almost-daily basis, and they never let me down. But there’s also a new guard rising up in my kitchen: ingredients that are relatively new on my pantry shelves, but when I think I might be running low on one of them, panic strikes! Click through to see my current culinary must-haves, and I’d love to hear which items you guys couldn’t cook without!

Raise your hand if you share my obsession with a highly organized pantry! To create a uniform look, I decant as much as possible into airtight glass jars, and corral boxes and bags into sturdy wire baskets. When I’m getting ready to head to the grocery store, one glance is all it takes to see what needs to be restocked.

*photo of my pantry taken by Paige Newton Photography

Maldon Sea Salt.

I’ve talked about my madness for Maldon before, but it’s worth mentioning again… in my opinion, it deserves it’s own category separate from other salts. It’s that good. A sprinkling of these gorgeous flakes over veggies (cooked or raw) takes them to an entirely new place.

Cerignola Olives.

There’s something about the meaty texture and briny flavor of Cerignolas that’s just… mindblowing. I’ve always liked olives and  often incorporate them into cheese plates or pasta dishes, but when I’ve got Cerignolas and a glass of pinot grigio in hand, I can easily polish off a bowl of these myself before dinner.

Fish Sauce.

I admit it: I’m totally late to the game with fish sauce. I’ve heard my chef friends wax poetic about its flavor and versatility for years, but I was always a little scared that it would make dishes taste too, well, fishy. But I’ve learned that it’s all about restraint, and nothing can replace the pungent taste of this stuff. My current fave way to prepare brussels sprouts is thinly sliced and sautéed with a bit of olive oil, fish sauce, lime juice and sriracha.

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds.

I say toasted, because it’s really not fair to judge them when eaten raw. There’s no comparison with the nutty, addictive flavor that toasted pumpkin seeds develop, and I’ve been sprinkling them on salads, over yogurt and even crushed as a flavorful crust for seared meat. They also happen to be a terrific vegetarian source of protein, B vitamins, magnesium and iron.

Cambozola Cheese.

Oh Cambozola, how I love thee. When you find your favorite cheese, take note, so you can remember to buy it again and again. Cambozola Black Label is my current go-to. I just can’t get enough of its creamy texture and just-stinky-enough flavor that’s the perfect entrée for even those of you who aren’t big fans of blue. Try it with a slice of pear and glass of champagne and… watch out.

Guittard Chocolate Wafers.

There are so many great chocolates for baking on the market now, but recently, my mom made what we all pronounced to be “the best chocolate chip cookies in the history of the world,” and the only thing we could credit it to was the inclusion of semi-sweet Guittard chocolate chips. Since then, I’ve been buying up these wafers, which are perfect for melting into a silky-smooth chocolate sauce, or simply nibbling on as an after-dinner treat.


I know, I know, who doesn’t love sriracha? It’s sweet and spicy flavor is the secret ingredient that gives so many restaurant dishes their kick. Lately I’ve been using it in place of red pepper flakes when sautéeing vegetables, and mixing a bit of it with mayo for a perfect quick aioli to spread on sandwiches or serve with artichokes. But be forewarned: if you’re like me, you’ll find yourself reaching for “the rooster” more and more frequently all the time…

Coconut Water.

I was (am?) a bit skeptical over all the health claims made by the coconut enthusiasts that are everywhere right now. But then I discovered just how delicious coconut water is mixed into smoothies and juices, adding a touch of tropical flavor and loads of potassium for very few calories. Don’t knock it ’til you try it…

*I’d love to hear: what fridge and pantry staples are you loving right now?

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Comments (39)
  1. 1
    Gabriella May 14, 2013 at 6:42 am

    Hi Camille! I am loving your ‘staples’ series! I enjoy getting to know other people’s favorites, especially when they come from someone like you 😉 I would love to see more of these posts!

  2. 2
    kelsey May 14, 2013 at 8:46 am

    gorgeous pantry! love the containers
    kw, ladies in navy
    giveaway on the blog!

  3. 3
    Violet May 14, 2013 at 10:07 am

    My current essentials are Central Market Meyer Lemon Salad Dressing- also works great as a marinade -maple syrup (just a tsp makes everything from marinara sauce to salad dressing taste better), fresh herbs, and my years-long addiction: Cavender’s Greek Seasoning.
    Looking forward to trying some of your favorites!

    • Katie Meyers / Meyers Styles May 14, 2013 at 10:12 am

      Violet – this Central Market Meyer Lemon Salad Dressing sounds like the most perfect & refreshing marinade! I need to pick some of this up. 🙂

    • Camille Styles May 14, 2013 at 11:20 am

      OMG – Violet, I happen to be completely obsessed with that exact salad dressing! I have recommended it to everyone I know and keep buying bottle after bottle as I run out. Salad dressing soulmates, we are! 😉

  4. 4
    Katie Meyers / Meyers Styles May 14, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Fantastic post, Camille! I’m a recent Maldon sea salt convert & can’t stop adding it to fresh fruits & veggies. You’re the 100th person to rave about fish sauce so I think it’s time I hop on the bandwagon & try your delicious suggestion of adding it to b. sprouts!

  5. 5
    Leslie May 14, 2013 at 10:18 am

    Excellent! I am taking notes! Here are 4 of my current favorites:
    (1) Coconut oil- for cooking fish in the skillet
    (2) Black Walnuts- my favorite addition to baked goods. Replace regular walnuts in any recipe with black walnuts and you’ll be amazed by the depth of flavor.
    (3) Burrata- This time of year, I love eating fresh mozzarella, but even more, I love eating burrata! I substitute it in caprese salads, and eat it on crostinis.
    (4) Basil simple syrup: Use it to sweeten lemonade, to drizzle over fresh berries, or in summer cocktails.

    And Then The Doorbell Rang

    • Camille Styles May 14, 2013 at 11:21 am

      Black walnuts!! That is a new one for me… can’t wait to try! And I totally agree on the burrata. Fresh mozz is amazing but burrata is practically orgasmic.

    • kat May 14, 2013 at 11:39 am

      HECK YES to burrata with caprese crostinis <3

  6. 6
    Giulia May 14, 2013 at 10:36 am

    A really good quality Dijon mustard is so versatile – either in a salad dressing or to create a nice mustard sauce. Rice Wine vinegar is also a favourite and balsamic vinegar I use for both savoury dishes and sweet – such as roasted strawberries with balsamic or grilled peaches with balsamic.

    • Camille Styles May 14, 2013 at 11:22 am

      I’m a balsamic fanatic, too. I keep a little squeeze bottle of reduced balsamic in my pantry at all times, and agree that it’s flavor is incredible with fruits like strawberries and peaches (grilled – yum!!) Dijon is a constant staple for me. Do you have a favorite brand?

      • Manuela May 14, 2013 at 12:09 pm

        Ah Dijon mustard! If I may, as a French person, I would say that Amora is the real deal. Their mustard is made IN Dijon…
        Otherwise, Maille Dijon mustard is also amazing. And they have a whole range of wonderful, mouth-watering condiments and sauces. These two are the biggest brands in French supermarkets when it comes to seasonings, pickles, etc. I wouldn’t know whether you can find them easily in the US however… (Hopefully this is helpful anyway!)

      • Giulia May 14, 2013 at 12:14 pm

        I get Maille Dijon, the smooth one and the kernel one for different uses.

  7. 7
    Taylor May 14, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Onions, lemons, and limes!

    • Camille Styles May 14, 2013 at 11:22 am

      Yes, yes and yes. I literally PANIC if I think I’m going to run out of any of those.

  8. 8
    Liese May 14, 2013 at 11:03 am

    i’m definitely raising my hand over here. i love your pantry! thanks for sharing xx

  9. 9
    Jeanine Donofrio May 14, 2013 at 11:56 am

    I love mixing sriracha with mayo too :). I live for Kewpie mayo, dijon mustard (the edmond fallot brand was a life changing recent discovery). Balsamic & lemons of course, a rotation of types of nuts, rice vinegar and miso paste.

  10. 10
    Jennifer Rose Smith May 14, 2013 at 11:58 am

    This is great! I could learn a thing or two. Here are a few of mine: Diet Dr. Pepper. Saltine crackers, always saltines. Cajun Chef hot sauce and Lawry’s Seasoned Salt. All of these habits are genetic to East Texas people.

  11. 11
    Miro - Dose of Dash May 14, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Sel gris! Just a tiny bit makes all the difference. Also I always have some kind of quick-cooking grain (farro, couscous), beans (cannellini, chickpea, and black), and sodium-free veggie broth (adds interest to vegetables or grains).

  12. 12
    FripperyVintage May 14, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    Pretty much can’t live without sea salt and now my 8 year old son is a salt snob!

  13. 13
    Molly May 14, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    I think that if I had an endless supply of coffee I would be happy. But I also love: Pomegrante Green Tea from Trader Joe’s, zucchini, clementines, Mr. Goodbars, and yellow curry paste to add to rice and veggies.

  14. 14
    Marie @ Little Kitchie May 14, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Great list! I’m also skeptical over the claims of coconut water, buuuut I love the stuff so I’ll keep buying it anyway. Always stocked in my kitchen: smoked paprika (really every spice, but this is a current favorite), avocados(!!), Ezekiel 4:9 bread, coconut oil and Manuka raw honey!

  15. 15
    Kelly May 14, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    GoGo Squeez Apple Cinnamon Sauce (for kids), Whole wheat linguine, 28 ounce Central Market Tomato Sauce so I can whip up some homemade tomato sauce, Rudis Whole wheat bread, Waffle Mix, Coconut Water, Justins PB, Chicken Stock, chocolate chips, Brown Rice, Apricot Jelly in case we are grilling, and I think we have every kind of vinegar! Oh new summer item..The Republic of Tea Ginger Peach Black Tea Pouches.

  16. 16
    Julie B May 14, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    This is a fantastic post! I have lots of new ideas to put on my grocery list. A few items I love to have on hand; unfiltered apple cider vinegar (for salad dressings and I use it each morning in my cup of water with lemon), full fat coconut milk (for baking, whipped cream, curries, or making ice cream), raw local honey (amazing on parmesan, greek yogurt or steel cut oats), and kombucha.

  17. 17
    Lauren Craig (@PerpetuallyChic) May 14, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    We must be kitchen soulmates – your staples (old and new) mirror mine! But Cerignolas are new to me. A couple other favorites: capers, harissa paste, unsweetened coconut flakes (toasted), hazelnut oil, cumin, and chipotles in adobo.

  18. 18
    Bri | Mamages May 14, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    so glad i’m not the only one with a freakishly organized pantry! everything is in little clear jars over here.

  19. 19
    Whitney May 14, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    Lately I’ve been obsessed with tahini paste. I use it in homemade hummus, salad dressing or dipping sauce. I also love dried cranberries. Throw a handful in a green salad, couscous or baked goods for a sweet-tart flavor.

  20. 20
    Jarome May 15, 2013 at 12:20 am

    Its a great list and I love how you organize things at your kitchen. I envy you. LOL.

  21. 21
    Tiffany @ Savor Home May 15, 2013 at 9:51 am

    LOVE this post and reading all of the comments. Maldon salt is the best ingredient ever! I have been in love with coconut water and raw honey since you posted the peach, kale and coconut smoothie. Your pantry makes me want to raid The Container Store! 🙂

  22. 22
    Beverly May 15, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    My must is from either Whole Foods or Central Market. It is LeGrand Garden Pesto. They have a couple of other products but this is by far my favorite. I LOVE it mixed in with Cindy’s Raspberry Nectar Vinagarette, and feta cheese. This combo in a salad is so fresh and delicious! Everytime I take a salad anywhere this is the one I take. Everyone always asks me about it because they love it too. I really was hesitant to tell you about this product because I do not want them to run out even more than they already do!! The ingredients are basil, parsley, canola oil, sea salt, fresh and concentrated lemon juice, and garlic.

  23. 23
    tashaicb May 15, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    This is a great list. I live for a great olive oil, sea salt and garlic salt. I always have avocado in reach too. Its freaking amazing. Honey is a staple in my house too.

  24. 24
    Meenakshi May 18, 2013 at 12:02 am

    Sriracha is a staple in my kitchen cupboard too! And I love coconut water- I’m from south India and live in Bombay and get fresh coconut water everyday. It’s delicious and really good for you too!!

  25. 25
    sandra borchardt May 20, 2013 at 8:32 am

    Goya Adobo seasoning in the green topped bottle { it has cumin added}. It punches up everything, no matter what the cuisine

  26. 26
    Desi May 24, 2013 at 11:14 am

    All of those are my staples too. I like the 50 degree red boat too. I will have to add avocado honey to that list.

  27. 27
    Amy June 19, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    Always make sure I have Dijon mustard, lemons, olive oil, cornichons, almonds, hummus, a nice block of cheese, and pesto. Can’t live without them!

  28. 28
    Sabrina May 23, 2015 at 1:10 am

    Ohmigod PLEASE do a pantry organising post, my pantry needs to look this!