I do all the cooking at home and do like to cook up some relatively exotic (i.e. more expensive) dishes. I don't have a very big budget, and usually end up spending about 80% of it at the grocery store each week. i just love to cook and am struck with an undeniable desire to whip something up that just popped into my head almost every day. I don't like to plan too far ahead, cooking is much more fun if its spontaneous for me. So, its off to the grocery stores about every other day for me, sometimes every day. I've tried to cut corners here and there to stretch my money further.
Some products I've learned not to skimp on are cheeses...especially parmesan and bleu! And, now, which seems rediculous to me, rice. I was using some walmart brand rice and it was turning out just awful! How could walmart f*** up rice!? I've genrally come to despise the walmart brand anything these days.
I'm learing to splurge on a few pricy ingredients, here and there, like good stock and wine, olive oil, spices, some fancier italian cut pastas, and better cuts of meat, then trying to go a more classic route with my dishes. Meaning learning to roast veggies to give them a lovely nutty taste, braising, more simple pastas with fewer ingredients, and herb oils. Been doing quite a bit with chimmichurri over grilled beef this summer.
Are there any ingredients you splurge on?? Something you can't live without, even if its pricy and feels a bit naughty to buy?