I have an ongoing series called “What’s in my pantry?” where the goal is to get rid of some items in my kitchen that I never use.
After my last few posts, I got an email from a friend of mine, Julie (Hi Julie!). Julie has a problem of accumulating items in her pantry that she doesn’t know what to do with.
This was the list she sent me:
basil dipping oil
Nine items. I thought about it for about two minutes before I concluded that it would be impossible to make one dish using all of these ingredients. At least it would be impossible to make one edible dish.
I did find a way to use all of them though. Let’s pick the low hanging fruit first.
If you wanted to make something sooner though, I would recommend something curried. Pumpkin and curry go really well together. Maybe try this pumpkin curry soup.
Chopped Spinach – Considering you emailed me this list awhile ago, if you still have this spinach throw it out. It will be a bag of mush by now. If you have a new bag of chopped spinach, I recommend making a salad and sprinkling one of those lovely oils you have over the top (avocado sounds really good).
Macadamia Oil – This could also be used as a dipping oil. Personally though, I would use this stuff for a stir fry. Check out the recipe list at the oddly named site: Mac-nut-oil.com.
Avocado Oil – I almost bought some of this just so I could make this, but I would try making a simple bruschetta. Instead of olive oil though, use avocado oil. BAM. Guacamole bruschetta.
Artichokes and Garbanzo Beans
Two of the things on the list immediately called out to me:
Homemade hummus is one of my favorite things. It is quick and easy to whip up, stores for a long time, and is packed with flavor. Traditionally, hummus has Tahini paste in it. I left it out of this recipe though and it was still delicious.
The reason why I left it out was because the whole idea of these posts is to get rid of stuff. It’s not much of a trade off to get rid of some artichokes and chick peas if you end up with a huge can of Tahini paste that you don’t know what to do with.
That said, we do need to add some flavors to this:
This is the recipe I ended up with:
1 Can Garbanzo Beans
6 ounces artichoke hearts
3 cloves garlic (tone it down if you don’t love garlic)
1/2 Teaspoon red pepper
1 lemon, juice only
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Pinch of salt and pepper
Basically you just combine all of this stuff in a food processor.
Pulse this for a few seconds until it forms a smooth paste. Add a bit more olive oil if needed.
Serve the end result with pita.
I really liked this and have been snacking on it for a few days now. The Macheesmo taste-tester was not in love with it. She didn’t like the artichoke/chickpea combo. It definitely tastes different than normal hummus, but I enjoyed it.
Also, I found that it is better on day two or three when the flavors have had time to really meld.
So we have knocked off seven of our nine ingredients. We are left with fish sauce and chili paste. I tried a few different things with these two ingredients. I tried a salad dressing (meh.) and basting some chicken wings (NO!). Try number three gave me something good though: Thai Beef Skewers.
Fish Sauce and Chili Paste
To our two ingredients, we are going to need to add some other flavors to get were we want to be.
Did you notice my screw up? Julie had chili paste in her pantry. I used chili sauce. For this marinade, I’m just looking for something a bit spicy, so I think you could sub them out without too much trouble.
1 pound sirloin, cut into strips
2 Cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tablespoons fish sauce
2 Tablespoons sesame oil (maybe you could use macadamia oil?)
2 Tablespoons honey
1 Tablespoon chili sauce (I would use less chili paste. Maybe 1 Teaspoon depending on how hot you want it.)
Handful of cilantro, chopped
Pinch of salt and pepper
Mix up all your ingredients and add your sirloin.
Let this marinate for at least an hour. You could leave it overnight in the fridge.
I like to use wooden skewers. Always be sure to soak them in water because, ya know, wood burns.
Ideally, you would broil these guys for about 5 minutes. I don’t have a broiler that works so I baked mine at 450 for 5 minutes. Still delicious.
So I think that pretty much covers it. These beef skewers were a real hit.
If you have an ingredient that you don’t know what to do with, or a pantry full of them… send me an email or leave a comment! If you wanted to be really cool, you could even include a photo of your pantry items.