Monday, August 29, 2011

Mixed Plate: Takin' Care of Bizness

For businesses there are administrative duties -- the upkeep you have to do now and then to keep the ship afloat and running smoothly. The same could be said for a household kitchen. It's nothing major, but it's things that seem to haunt the to-do list and it feels good to just get it all done. Here's to takin' care of business. Or, for those who appreciate misheard lyrics: bakin' carrot biscuits.

Meatless Monday, meet the Wasabi pantry! - Photo by Wasabi Prime

One of my ongoing things on the to-do list is to make sure the pantry goods are always getting restocked. You hate digging through your canned and dry goods, only to discover some ancient container of capers -- totally unopened, but likely holding all the evils of the world like some Pandora's Box, with a pop-top freshness lid. I hate letting food go to waste; it's literally throwing money away and while I sound fanatical about it, I'll do whatever I have to do to avoid waste. I had some stray cans of chickpeas and the last dregs from a jar of plain, unsalted peanuts. I used up my last onion, these pantry finds, some peanut butter, cubed tofu (not from pantry, but that's one of my fridge staples) and when I discovered I didn't have coconut milk, I actually used -- gasp -- condensed milk to make a creamy peanut curry. Let me be clear that it was un-sweetened condensed milk. It was the lowly can that had probably been purchased thinking I'd make a pie or something, but I knew it was now or never for using it. Surprisingly, the sauce was perfectly fine. It didn't have the fragrant floral quality that coconut milk provides, but that's fine. This was a pantry-cleaning meal, designed to clear some shelves for fresher items.

I also made a few other quick-fix meals, like macaroni and cheese or a creamy orzo, just to clean up the last of the pasta and throw odds and ends from the fridge into the dishes. We always wind up with random bits of cheese or milk whose expiration date will hit sooner than us finishing it in morning coffee. It's enough milk to make a creamy sauce and I can justify getting a new carton of fresh stuff.

My big to-do list was getting the knives sharpened. We really only use two of our knives for most of the kitchen work -- a chef's knife and a santoku. I have a carving and pairing knife, which I use, but not with enough frequency for them to be in dire need of sharpening. I don't need to go into it, but yes, it's worth the money to get good knives. I lived with my cheap, serrated college knives for years before saving up for a really good basic set of Henckels knives, and it was worth every penny, as those knives will be with us for-evah. I do have a honing steel, but it's not really a sharpener, just something that helps keep the edge straight. Although if you've got true Mad Knife Skillz, you probably can sharpen your knife properly using the honing steel, but I have not these skills, so I had Sur La Table do it. Right after I got the freshly-sharpened knives back. Mr. Wasabi got a nifty knife sharpening kit that amazingly enough, works quite well, so for future knife sharpening needs, I won't have to wait so long for my sharp, pointy objects to get even more sharp and pointy. Can't wait to run around the house, blade up, pointing towards my face!  Wheeeeeee!!

Sharp knives and lots of wine -- what could go wrong? - Photos by Wasabi Prime

I had sharp knives and a freshly stocked pantry. What to do next? Reward oneself with restocking the wine supply with a few new bottles. Nothing fancy or expensive, just some items that sounded good at the wine store. I'm loving Malbecs these days, along with a nice crisp Viognier. They're like the porridge that's just-right for wines; not too heavy or too light that it's flavor-invisible. Our wine cabinet is like the opposite of the pantry -- more often than not, when I reach for a bottle, it's like I'm serving a dinner party for the Invisible Man's family: the stuff just ain't there! And then I pout and just pour myself a chilled martini, as somehow there's always vodka in the freezer, thank God. Let's call it done and say the to-do list is to-dunzo.

1 comment:

  1. yummy its like am eating and not reading, I like what you have said"We always wind up with random bits of cheese or milk whose expiration date will hit sooner than us finishing it in morning coffee" it is really smart and saving some mony.



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