So I need to empty the pantry again so we have another Pantry Raid! I dug through the pantry and was inspired by the picture to your left. It included canned tomatoes, Gluten Free pasta, various spices, and a bunch of canned vegetables. I still had my regular staples of olive oil, butter, and spices, but I still had to buy a few things to turn out lunch. Raiding your pantry is a great way to turn over some ingredients sitting in the cupboard and supplement it with a few staples like onions, cheap fresh veggies. It's also a great chance to be creative and see what you can improvise given random ingredients. I think this also caused me to create simple dishes. A lot of my discoveries into foreign cuisines result in my picking very complicated dishes to learn new techniques.
For the main it was easy enough to break out the Sous Vide Supreme and bust out a poached chicken breast. I had some seasonings, I picked a nice hickory spice mix with some brown sugar, I figured it would go well with the pasta give it a bit of sweet to offset some heat. I recommended that my eaters don't reheat this chicken breast, when treated at 146F chicken doesn't develop that grainy texture and is amazingly tender. I was going to use a cherry pepper salsa I had bought on a whim, but I didn't want to overwhelm the chicken because I expect my diners will eat the chicken with the pasta.
I had some gluten free pasta, canned tomatos and of course my favorite Tito's vodka. I went with vodka based tomato sauce. There's no way we can do a pantry raid without some supplements, I had to buy an onion and a small bit of cream for this dish. I sauteed the artichoke before hand to give it some flavor and texture and then cooked down a basic tomato sauce. The vodka added a nice flavor and the cream rounded out some of the red pepper I pushed into the dish. I under cooked the pasta and finished it in the sauce, I really like this technique as the pasta has a more cohesive flavor and there's no chance of clumping like you have when you serve it separate. The pasta was great and perfectly cooked and I added a bit of salt to temper the cream/heavy fat taste. I like how this dish really can be pulled together from your cupboard with minimal things to buy from a grocery store.
Recipe requested you'll find it here
I had to use some of the eggs and I spotted this great simple recipe for zucchini pudding. I was able to use some of my left over saltine crackers to boot! This was probably the least "healthy" item to put in, but I managed to cut the butter to make it a bit better.I really loved the texture, the cracker soaked up a good bit of the flavors and acted as a binder that normally is handled by a potato or plain flour. I did have to buy most of the ingredients, but it's good I could still whittle away at my pantry.
Finally I felt a nice bit of fresh vegetables was in order. Since I had so much canned corn I opted for this succotash instead of the roasted broccoli that I was thinking about. The dressing was made of butter milk, thyme and some agave syrup. Sweet sour and a bit of heat from the serrano peppers added to the texture of fresh veggies. I'm glad to have a bit of this left over for munching on this week.
I really enjoy the pantry raid challenge, it makes me think outside the box on what I can do. Improv is a key to cooking, you have to know what things taste like together, granted i'm still a fan of writing down recipes because you need to be able to replicate. Sometimes you have some ingredients and you have to make them work. The challenge for me is I have to decide what will taste good in my head before I cook the dish. I actually timed my efforts because I wanted to see what these effort takes. I've started splitting my cooking into Saturday prep and Sunday cook, it requires a bit of planning, but has made my Sundays enjoyable again. This one took me exactly 3 hours and 40 mins from prepping to completely cleaning the kitchen and having the dishwasher going. Not bad for eight meals with four courses each!
- Sous vide Poached Chicken Breast
- Artichoke pasta in vodka cream sauce
- Zucchini pudding
- Succotash with buttermilk sauce