Pantry Cooking Month: the inventory

Sometimes, a cooking geek just has to inventory the canned goods.

For some reason, I got it in my head to inventory the pantry contents before and after this pantry cooking month. Silly/nerdy, I know, but hey.

IF you are a similar nerd and want to see what’s in my cupboards, the full list (minus a gazillion spices — I started to list them and gave up) is in this shared Google doc.

The short take, however, is that I have pounds and pounds of pasta, loads of other grains, and so many condiments I can’t even. Also many, many, many cans of beans, along with some other canned items.

Here we go! Yesterday, I made a big batch of pork fried rice from some jasmine rice and leftover kalua pig. Haven’t decided yet what to have today; since I’m back to work after the holiday break, I may let James take care of it.

Pantry Cooking Month, Week One

Week One of Pantry Cooking Month commences with fish pie and moves through the most perishable foods; next week maybe we’ll tackle the stuff in the cupboards.

My main goal during this week of Pantry Cooking Month is to use up the most perishable things, such as the potatoes in the cupboard that are starting to sprout eyes. In the fridge is a bit of white sauce that should get used up, and the veggie drawers are full of sweet potatoes, green onions, ginger, carrots, and turnips. There’s also some stuff in the fridge and freezer that’s not expired yet, but should be used soonish: SoyTaco; some goat cheese; some four-bean salad; seitan; refried beans; split-pea soup.

Menu plan for the week:

B: Brunch out (laundry day; had bagel and yogurt and steamed soymilk)
L: In lieu of lunch, had a snack of sweet-potato tortilla chips and mango salsa
D: <a href="http://www online task″>Nickie’s fish pie idea; shredded turnip-and-carrot salad

Monday (schoolday)
B: hobbitbabe’s suggestion of the noodle/egg thing from More with Less
L: Packed snack lunch: Granola bar; fresh fruit; trail mix
D: Tacos (or taco salad) made with SoyTaco filling and/or refried beans

Tuesday (workday)
B: Fried sweet potatoes and onions (or leftover noodle/egg thing if there is any)
L: Packed snack lunch: Four-bean salad; fresh fruit; trail mix
D: Shrimp dumplings with ginger and green onions

Wednesday (long schoolday)
B: Cereal and milk and fruit
L: Packed snack lunch: Trail mix; fresh fruit; granola bar
D: Some of whatever James made himself for dinner, if I’m hungry when I get home

Thursday (short workday)
B: Cereal and milk and fruit, or leftovers
L: Lunch with Guy at Cafe Med
D: Curried seitan; rice; chutney; salad

Friday (workday)
B: Eggs and toast or leftovers
L: Packed lunch: Leftover curry and rice; fruit; four-bean salad
D: Veggie burgers with tomato, lettuce, etc.

B: Fried potatoes with scrambled eggs
L: Split-pea soup and salad
D: Individual meat loaves; noodles; cooked veggie; salad

It’s Pantry Cooking Month again!

It’s Pantry Cooking Month again in Serene’s house. Maybe you can help her figure out what to cook!

We have so much food in our pantry! Now that the kid has gone, we haven’t quite adjusted to buying so much less food. I need to use up some of it. (My camera’s hiding, but when it resurfaces, I’ll show you how overstuffed the pantry is.)

Step One is to be very grateful for all the abundance. It’s not always this way in a house full of part-time workers and students. There have been months when buying any food at all was out of the question. I am filled with gratitude that it’s not that way for us right now.

Step Two is to use up some of this bounty so that (a) nothing goes bad, and (b) my food-storage areas stop looking like an episode of “Hoarders.”

This means it’s–ta-da!–Pantry Cooking Month!

In other words, for the rest of May, I plan to make as many pantry-heavy meals as I can, and blog about it.

In keeping with my past Pantry Cooking Month practices, I’m going to see how many nice meals I can make without going out and buying anything besides the small handful of highly perishable things (fresh veggies, eggs, milk) that we buy in small quantities anyway. Oh, and James will buy coffee. There’s no stopping James from buying coffee.

While the meals may not be super-exciting, I’ll try to keep it from being all tuna casserole, all the time, and maybe among us, we can come up with some great ideas. Once a week, on Saturdays when I’m making my menus, I will tell you what I’ve got on hand, and if you’re up for it, you can give me thoughts. Or point me to your blog, so I can make one of your recipes–that would be fun! Then on Sundays, I’ll post the menus. If I make your recipe, I’ll link back to you and post pictures.

This week’s stuff to use up:

Meats and other proteins:
Beef (some ground, some thinly sliced top round steaks)
Chicken thighs
Veggie burgers
Pollock (frozen)
Tuna (canned)
Salmon (frozen)

Yellow split peas
Red lentils
Brown lentils
Refried beans
Kidney beans
Pinto beans

Grains and other carbs:
Rice (jasmine, plain white, sushi rice)
Many kinds of pasta
Fresh and frozen potatoes
Rice noodles
Panko crumbs

I also have plenty of most of the staples I keep on hand: flour, spices, canned tomato products, soy sauce, etc.

Put your thinking caps on?

I wasn’t kidding about the kimchi soup

More kimchi soup? Are you kidding me?

Yesterday, James wanted some more kimchi soup, and I was feeling sluggish after a long week, so he made some. We didn’t have any beef stock or shrimp shells, so he used Clamato as the base of the soup. He added a cup or two of kimchee, a sliced onion, and a few sliced Chinese sausages.

And just to reinforce the notion that we are completely crazy for this stuff, we’ve decided to make another batch out of the last of the kimchi. Tonight, I will probably also add some celery and carrots, and serve it with a side of sticky rice.

By the way, this whole monomaniacal devotion to kimchi soup makes me a mean, mean parent. The kid hates kimchi, so she’s having to fend for herself at dinner time. Luckily, I have been plying her with bacon all day to soften the blow.

In other news, when my camera finally died, James divulged the secret that he’d already ordered me a new camera as a gift! Yay! Here’s what it looks like: