Monday, October 17, 2005

A Well-stocked Pantry

So I have this idea for a cookbook. The concept: having a well-stocked pantry. With a variety of staple ingredients on hand, one can create myriad dishes. Leftovers are another pantry basic, especially for busy couples who don't have time to cook every day. Yeah, so maybe it's not a completely unique idea, but my book won't lean so heavily on convenience foods as some others.

Today, I'd like to demonstrate a bit how this concept works.

On Sunday morning, I make pumpkin pancakes using half a can of canned pumpkin, plus eggs, milk, and Bisquick (all pantry staples).

On Monday evening, we have pumpkin and leek soup, using the remaining canned pumpkin and fresh leeks, plus a salad.

Tuesday's dinner is a salad and pre-prepared rotisserie chicken from the supermarket.

On Wednesday, we have sauteed salmon fillet (a freezer staple) with pantry staple basmati rice and fresh asparagus.

Thursday's dinner is the leftover pumpkin-leek soup, pureed, with added pantry staple spices (cumin, curry powder) and mango chutney to create an Indian flavor.

On Friday, we have chicken biryani made with the leftover basmati rice, leftover rotisserie chicken, leftover asparagus, and pantry staple biryani paste.

No meal took more than 30 minutes to prepare. All were tasty and even exotic, but made with ingredients on-hand or found in the local supermarket. We went to the supermarket on Monday night and bought the leeks, asparagus, and rotisserie chicken, plus any pantry staples that had run out. Many items, such as the chicken and the rice, are extremely versatile, and can be used in many combinations. I could have, for instance, made chicken and rice soup on Friday, using pantry staple chicken stock. Or a chicken chili, with pantry staple canned tomatoes or tomatillos or black beans.

Putting a cookbook together is probably a lot of hard work, but I think my idea is pretty sound and I am willing to give it a try. Do I have any buyers? :)