This word conjures up different images for different people. Some folks may be lucky enough to envision a perfectly organized cabinet (or two or three) with stacks of their favorite organic foods, beautiful san marzano tomatoes imported from Italy and an endless supply of dried goods and condiments which allow them to pull together a five course meal without stepping foot in a grocery. For those less fortunate, they open their pantry door only to find an expired box of store brand mac and cheese, a withered head of garlic, some moldy bread and last year’s chocolate Easter bunny with one ear bitten off. Take out please!!!!
But for most of us our pantry has a general supply of items that allow us to supplement our fresh ingredients to create a complete meal. It was this very conversation with a dear friend a few weeks ago that inspired me to start this blog. We are both avid cooks and tend to have fairly well stocked food reserves but we are both amazed at how poorly stocked most home pantries are these days. It’s rare that someone can just whip up a great meal without having to run out for this or that. And most of us buy something at the grocery a few times a week, in addition to our regular shopping day.
So, to test out the depth and completeness of my own pantry, I am forgoing grocery shopping for one month. Yes, you heard it, no purchase of food stuffs of any kind for one month. No eating out either, however I will allow myself to eat with friends when they invite me to dinner. My “pantry supplies” will include any food that is available at my house including the fridge and freezer, the garden and daily eggs. During the process, I plan to share with you what I am cooking and offer recipes for you to try yourself. I also look forward to sharing what I feel I need to add to my pantry and, when the month is up, how to stock a pantry and maintain it so that good, delicious food is always just a recipe away.
Being such an avid cook, I know this will be a challenge for me on so many levels, but not so much on other levels. I am fortunate enough to have a small flock of backyard chickens to provide fresh eggs and a vegetable garden for some fresh veggies. I also have a small herb garden that is coming along nicely.
The real challenge will be living without certain foods such as limes and jalapeno peppers- the backbone of Mexican cuisine, which I love to cook (I do have 3 limes and 1 jalapeno in the fridge, but after that, well, no more). I will miss fresh cucumbers for my Asian noodle bowls, and fresh lemon on my fish. No mushrooms and only one potato in the house! Only a half cup of milk and very little cheese! Oh my! I am well stocked in the freezer and the spice rack so it looks like I will be getting creative…so let’s get started with day one.
Breakfast – Chorizo and Egg tacos with chipotle salsa and queso fresco. Recipe: Chop up a quarter onion, sauté over medium heat with a little olive oil for 2-3 minutes, add 4 ounces of chorizo, break up and cook through. Add one or two beaten eggs to pan and scramble with chorizo and onions until desired consistency. Place in warm corn tortillas and top with chipotle salsa, sliced green onions and queso fresco.
Dinner – Spinach enchiladas with salsa verde, green onions, chopped tomatoes, queso fresco and black beans.
So far, not so bad. Really simple, but oh so delicious.
Til’ next time…
P.S. I tend to only eat breakfast and dinner since I am so busy during the day, but will include lunch when I have it.