My little corner of essentials.
From left to right:
A nice tequila, infrequently used for margaritas but frequently for shrimp done the way I like.
Toasted sesame oil from Central Market (plain red vinegar behind it)
Pumpkin oil: expensive but well worth it. A tiny bit adds a ton of unique flavor.
Plain white vinegar, then champagne vinegar.
Peanut oil, then plain Wesson oil (for Mom's killer flank steak sauce)
Walnut oil: preferred oil for salad dressings.
Regular Berio olive oil, and a leftover partial bottle of wine (sort of a demi-vinegar)
Peterson's technique for bisque is, in my limited experience, unsurpassed. I've done this a few times and all have been stellar. First you collect shells from shrimps & crabs for a few weeks. If you're not hopelessly addicted to crustacea, it could take a couple months to get a gallon or so of these. You sauté a standard mirepoix and then put the shells in with 3-4 chopped tomatoes, white wine, cream, and a couple cups of stock. Another cup of stock should be pureed with toasted or stale bread until it's perfectly smooth.
Simmer the big pot with all the stuff in it for at least 30 minutes, then strain it. Yes, you have to do it in batches, pushing hard with a spoon, to squeegee teh flavor out. Then whisk in the bread/stock pureé and that's pretty much set to go. Flavor with lemon juice and (optionally) decorate it with expensive things:
My next victim:
I was a little worried that buttery creamy bisque wouldn't give me a heart attack quickly enough, so we also had some soft shell crabs. These rule; plus they were on sale. You just dredge them in salted flour and fry them in lots of oil, then pour melted lemonian garlic butter over 'em. Then you give them to Otto, who goes nuts: