One of the (snarf) bonuses to having an AOL account is the Welcome Screen. It's there to tell us what's hot, what's not, and still employs the same unimaginative dorts that think that putting "Iconic" in 20 headlines at a time is "new and edgy and relevant".
The latest thing that has caught my eye is "The Pantry Project", hosted by Kitchen Daily and features the creations of chef Gail Simmons. It's supposed to incorporate crap you've got sitting in your pantry into gourmet culinary masterpieces.
While her recipes look splendid, I found myself snorting at the "pantry" ingredients.
I think I'm a regular mom (ok, I'm going to say a United States mom. Don't want to offend anybody outside of my postal zone. US moms don't usually stock stuff like Vegamite or kippers or dried shrimp with the eyeballs still on in our pantry). Other than my forays into some international cuisine, my pantry is full of regular old crap staples and products that didn't fly with the guys in my house.
Many of the "pantry" ingredients called for in these recipes are laughable, unless you're squatting in Martha Stewart's kitchen.
I mean who REALLY has stashes of:
Imported tuna in oil (I buy whatever is on sale. Is Bumblebee tuna inferior to imported or what?)
Coarsely cracked balck pepper (What in the heck is balck pepper? Ok, I'm being snarky. I think she meant black pepper). I have regular pepper. The kind that comes out of a shaker.
1 bunch hydroponic watercress, trimmed but long stem still attached (seriously?)
Applewood smoked bacon (uh yeah)
Preserved Lemons (another wtf?)
Do any of you have stuff like this languishing in your cupboards (unless you're Rootie or Werner)? It seems that you just have to go out of your way to buy crap you'd never buy normally unless they're for a specific recipe.
Not really stuff you'd have just sitting around.
The Aspiring Adult came home the other day and raved about the baked apples he had at a girl's house. Asked if I could make them.
Thinking about all random stuff I had in the fridge and pantry, I said "sure, why not?"
5 apples, diced---3 of them have been stuck in the back of the fridge since sometime in August, because the doods in my house eat the new stuff first. I suppose I should rotate the fruit and put the old stuff in front, but I always forget. I left the skins on, but cut out the bruised spots.
1/2 a cup of butter, margarine, fake bakeable butter, whatever you got going, chopped into chunks or spoonfuls and dropped randomly in the bottom of a small casserole dish.
2 teaspoons cinnamon sprinkle all over and toss the apples
1/2 cup brown sugar, light, dark, doesn't really matter. Mine was dry and solid, so I pounded it into chunks and threw it in.
2 tablespoons (or to taste) white sugar or splenda sprinkled all over.
A couple of granola bars---I used the crunchy kind. They've been sitting in the pantry forevah---since the guys suddenly decided they only like the chewy kind which I think was a year or so ago. Break them up and mix the pieces in with the apples.
5 caramel squares that have been sitting in the back of the cupboard for (dare I say it) at least a couple of years when I attempted to make caramel apples from scratch (big mess, nasty result). They are rock hard.
Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. At about the 30 minute mark, take out and stir.
This dessert turned out so well that while I was down here writing it all up, those boneheads ate the majority of it. When I came upstairs, there were like 2 tablespoons left.
The REAL Pantry Project Challenge
I challenge any reader to go through their pantry and whip up some creation. Can be just about anything...entree, dessert, appetizer, etc.
Send to me via email firstname.lastname@example.org:
A picture of it
The text of the recipe explaining where the ingredients came from, why you bought them originally, and why they are sitting around in your pantry
A link to your blog
The deadline is Nov. 1st
A can of ancient tomato soup with crusty goldfish crackers, or a box of Tuna Helper with a can of peas don't count.
I'll post them on this blog and send the first five entries a fantastic ornament from our Collaborative Craft Studio (due to availability it will be my choice).
Get cookin' Snookins'!