I first tried salt cod pureed with cream and potatoes in culinary school. I still love it. I usually use yams for their superior nutritional value, sweetness, and color. In my neighborhood it's far easier to find salted Alaskan pollack than authentic Bacalau. It is, in fact, wild caught and from a sustainable fishery. Don't forget roasted garlic, good quality EVOO, and chives.
I met my wife an an island in the Aegean where we picked wild oregano in the ruins of an abandoned ancient village. I made chimichurri with local EVOO, dried peppers, fresh lemon juice, and garlic. That evening we slathered it on roasted lamb at a village gathering in the port square.
There's nothing quite like growing your own tomatoes. It's the smell that captivates me more than anything. You rarely find it in store bought and if you arrive in the early morning, green markets boast a heady tomato aroma that appeals to most everyone.
So many sorts of peppers out there. Mexican cuisine is a real champion of all things chili, dried and fresh. Try to find and authentic spot and ask for tips.
Clean and dry them as soon as you get home. Store wrapped in a paper towel then in a freezer bag.
You can't beat it! The trouble is nowadays, knowing what's in season where you are. You can be sure that if you're buying fruits and vegetables from a farmer's market, the fruit is in season.
Pots & Pans
You only need a few, so resist buying sets that always have useless sizes. I'm not brand loyal at all and don't see the reason to overspend. I've picked up some great cast iron pans in thrift shops for just a few bucks.
Glass is our preferred method of saving food and liquids. Check thrift shops for bargains and useful items. I usually don't make it through a bottle of wine by myself so I have to find a way to keep the rest without it oxidizing. I've saved several half bottles with screw caps to be filled to the top and perfectly preserved.