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As we roll into French food month (come on April!), I want to start by introducing some of the basic ingredients we’re going to need for many of our dishes. Now you can get your pantry stocked and get ready to cook some French cuisine! Plus, learn how to make some basic French sauces like Hollandaise, Bernaise, and Bechamel sauce.
Today we learn how to stock a French pantry.
Butter, butter, butter guys!
And fresh aromatics, herbs and wine.
I mean seriously, French food is just so amazingly rich and delicious, I drool a little every time I think about it.
I mean just a little touch of it. It (almost) never drips down to my keyboard….
Now I know we’re heading toward bikini season, and French food isn’t going to help us get there, but wearing a bikini is overrated.
The rich, creamy, buttery goodness of French food is not.
With that said, we are rolling into French food month in April and I am SO EXCITED.
I’ll tell you right now, you probably have many of the ingredients for French cooking already in your cabinet. There’s nothing crazy.
So, let’s get that pantry stocked with these essential ingredients for French cooking!
**NOTE: The below list includes affiliate links for products I use on a regular basis. I earn a small commission if you buy through these links.
Like I said, butter is key. You can’t get around this. If you’re making French food, you NEED butter.
A nice, rich, homemade stock is the best here. I’ve got a great recipe for chicken stock in the slow cooker that take minimal effort. However, I understand sometimes making your own just isn’t an option. In those situations, I like to use this Better Than Bouillon stock base:
A good Dijon mustard is a must for use in vinaigrettes and dressing as well as some dishes (like this recipe for Dijon mustard braised chicken that I’m working on).
Of COURSE we have cheese. Now there are so many different kinds of cheese, but gruyere has become one of my favorites to use in French dishes. But, don’t forget about that brie and camembert and some of those amazing blues….
The heavy kind. The kind that coats your finger when you dip it in. Yes, occasionally I have dipped my fingers in cream. Cream is used quite often when making a sauce. If you’re going to join me this month, you better stock up on that cream!
Similar to cream, but with a bit more tang, this is an awesome finisher to many dishes. Especially those delicious juicy pan braised meats.
The French love to use wine in their sauces. Red wine, white wine, brandy, champagne, you name it.
Often used in braises, vinegars such as red wine and champagne are great condiments to have in your pantry for all types of cooking!
Used in the base of almost every dish, these are great aromatics to stock up on.
Herbs de Provence
An herb mixture of thyme, basil, fennel, lavender, savory, sage and rosemary. Used in so many French dishes to season meat and poultry.
You guys know I’m not a bread baker. I want to be. But I’m not.
Someday it will happen for me. In the meantime, I buy my bread at the store.
BUT, if you are better than me (most of you will be) try your hand at some fresh baked French bread. Check out these popular recipes:
You didn’t think I’d finish off this post without mentioning chocolate? Of course not.
Last, but not least, I love to flavor me some food with black truffle.
Certainly not an essential requirement, but a great treat if you can swing it 🙂
Cooking with Curls – Easy Blender Bernaise Sauce
You know the eggs benedict you order for brunch? Or that delicious sauce served on your asparagus? That’s hollandaise. It’s delicious. Some claim it’s difficult to make, and it can be.
But I use the blender method. It’s super easy and takes less than 5 minutes.
Blend egg yolk and lemon juice in a blender until frothy. The mixture should double in thickness.
Then you melt your butter, and add the melted butter, a little at a time, blending in between until all butter has been incorporated.
Add the salt and cayenne pepper and give it one last pulse in the blender. Easiest blender hollandaise sauce ever.
who is ready to do some cooking?
We are ready to get cooking now! I am so excited to get this journey started!
French Sauces: Hollandaise and Bechamel
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1/4 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
- 6 tbsp. butter
- 5 tbsp. flour
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- salt to taste
- Heat the butter until melted and add the flour stirring until the mixture just starts to turn a VERY light brown.
- Add the milk, a little at a time, constantly stirring, until a sauce is formed.
- Continue stirring and bring to a boil; cook for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Remove from heat and stir in nutmeg, salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Blend egg yolk and lemon juice in a blender until frothy. The mixture should double in thickness.
- Add melted butter, a little at a time, blending in between until all butter has been incorporated.
- Add the salt and cayenne pepper and give it one last pulse in the blender.