.....and then what? Most recipes begin and finish in the kitchen with some sort of ingredient sautéed. During my experience it has been either Mirepoix or the Holy Trinity. The range of ingredients for the beginning of many cuisines around the world are varied and vast. Most Americans don't realize this unless they stretch the envelope of their own kitchen. This most certainly doesn't mean I have. To date my kitchen experience has been with the use of onions, carrots, bell peppers and celery. With Cajun this also included a Roux.
This is an introduction to the many different 'starters' to meals in different cultures. Perhaps it will spark something in your plans for menu ideas.
Spanish Sofrito: Sofrito, meaning “gently fried”, is a mixture of onions, garlic, tomatoes, and (often) peppers or herbs cooked in olive oil. This flavorful tomato-based sauce is common in many recipes including paella, stew, and pasta. There are several other versions of Sofrito, including recipes from all over Latin America and Portugal.
French Pinçage: Very similar to traditional mirepoix, this variation comes with added tomato paste. This mirepoix with tomato paste added is a delicious basic tomato sauce recipe and basis for so many dishes—pizza, pasta, chicken, and fish. There are differences in cooking methods and ingredients, but all of them are easy to cook.
Polish Włoszczyzna: Włoszczyzna, meaning “Italian stuff” in Polish, consists of carrots, parsnips or parsley root, celery root or celeriac, leeks, savoy or white cabbage leaves, and sometimes celery leaves and flat-leaf parsley. Traditionally, Włoszczyzna is uniformly chopped pieces celery root, parsley root, carrots, and leeks and is boiled.
Mirepoix (French): onion + carrot + celery with butter
The Holy Trinity (Cajun): onion + celery + green bell pepper with olive oil or butter
Soffritto (Italian): onions + carrots + celery with olive oil (often contains parsley)