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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Bari Levine

My Culinary Kit

Based on the positive response to the last article, I've decided to share a bit about my own DIY kitchen experiences during COVID. Having access to full-sized kitchens and a disinclination for dining out has created the perfect opportunity for me to improve my culinary skills. I'm excited to share with you my most successful recipes and favorite kitchen staples to kick-start your own culinary adventure.

Recipes. Below are the recipes I've had the most success with in terms of ease of execution and, of course, flavor with notes on how I modify to my liking. 

1. Ginger Veggie Stir-Fry, All Recipes

  • This recipe works with any combination of vegetables you have on hand. I use only 1-2 TBSP oil and add a protein (cashews, tofu or tempeh) to round out the dish.

2. Vegetable Briyani, Feasting at Home

  • I caution that this recipe requires a lot of spices, but it's worth it.

3. Lemon Roasted Asparagus, Sweet Pea Chef

  • This dish looks and tastes so much fancier than it is. You can whip it up in minutes.

4. Cauliflower Chimichurri Bowls, Feasting at Home

  • I did not follow this recipe at all, but I used the spices recommended on cauliflower, red peppers and tofu and the flavors were fantastic. As recommended, I added pickled red onions (using Tuvia instead of honey or sugar).

Kitchen staples. I may be moving around a lot, but there are a few ingredients that my AirBnB kitchen is never without.


  • Extra virgin olive oil (from California; ones from Italy are often adulterated)

  • Balsamic or red wine vinegar

  • Low sodium soy sauce and rice wine vinegar

  • Huy Fong sriracha sauce (only if you like spice)

  • Low-sodium vegetable broth 

  • Maya Kaimal madras or jalfrezi curry sauce (the others have added sugars)

  • Brown rice 

  • Another quick-cooking whole grain such as pearl barley, quinoa or bulgur

  • Banza chickpea pasta or Trader Joe's cauliflower gnocchi

  • Nuts (I find cashews match well with Asian flavors)

  • Canned chickpeas (not the healthiest of beans, but very versatile)

  • Unsweetened granola: Evoke's Athlete Fuel or Bob's Red Mill's Old Country Style Muesli

  • Cornstarch (great for thickening sauces, but be sure to get one that's 100% cornstarch)

  • Rx protein bars (after years of searching, these are my go-to for clean-eating on the go)


  • Garlic, ginger, onions, lemons  

  • Eggs (lots and lots of eggs)

  • Greek yogurt or skyrr (great source of protein and probiotics, if you eat dairy)

  • Ezekiel 4:9 sprouted grain brain (minimally processed and no added sugars)

  • Longer-lasting produce such as apples, carrots, peppers and potatoes

Spice cabinet

  • Cinnamon, Everything But the Bagel Seasoning, turmeric, ginger, red pepper flakes, oregano, rosemary, curry, garam masala, coriander, cardamom, cumin, paprika, chili powder and, of course, salt and pepper.   

  • We also have a basil plant that's traveled three states with us and counting.

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