the power of the pantry

May 18th, 2008 · 32 Comments

there are times when the mere thought of whipping up a dinner is just more than i can bear.  and although you may have guessed this about me, the act of cooking  – just being in my kitchen and creating something delicious – is in my world, one of life’s most wondrous pleasures. 

but still…

instead of a full blown production including a trip to ‘whole foods’, there are those times that dinner begins with a simple charcuterie plate. these days it’s mostly all about d’artganan’s saucisson sec and duck prosciutto. but i’ve also become somewhat enamored  with this smoked liverwurst – and with an exceptional cheese or two and some white truffle honey – coupled with the latest greatest cracker find, what more could you ever ask for?  oh, except these crazy olives that i somehow fell upon last year… i urge you to try them.  they are meaty and addictive and most definitely unique

or maybe instead,  a bowl of some interesting artisan pasta with some amazing olive oil and the best parmegiano you can lay your hands upon, grated liberally with perhaps an anchovy or two thrown in with some very finely minced garlic.  or that same pasta with a tin of really amazing smoked piquillo peppers stuffed with tuna, the can thrown into the boiling pasta water to heat.  i’d happily take either of these alongside my favorite salad of romaine, arugula, walnut oil and – well, the best salt that you can lay your hands upon…  it’s all about the pantry, people.  it’s the power of the pantry.

i look forward to these simple dinners more than you might expect.  they are borne of the immediate options at hand, with the added bonus of a light cleanup, all the more reason that they most definitely have their place within a life that is sometimes a bit too busy, sometimes a bit too lazy – often numbering a few times a week around here. 

but, quite honestly, another aspect that motivates me is that i’m perpetually curious about what extraordinary products exist in the universe.  and it can be overwhelming.  so much great food, so little time… the grocery bill goes relentlessly over budget, guiltlessly spilling into the restaurant allowance.  as it should…

recently we had a pantry dinner and afterwards, i was craving something sweet.  so i dug deep into the ‘way back’ – and came up with some italian organic candied orange peel and a bar of pralus single note chocolate.  nothing unusual.  nothing complicated.  but for me, it’s as good as nearly anything…

i may not be jetting off to europe this spring, but my pantry is quite the culinary wonderland.  and you know, i feel pretty damn good about it all…


Tags: chocolate · dessert

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