Like most of us, at some point in life you have probably come home from work exhausted and in no mood to cook. But the other people you live with are hungry so that job most likely falls in your lap. What if you were able to whip something up from ingredients you had on hand in just 15 minutes…alas, help is here!
One of my most popular requests is “How to Build a Healthy Pantry.” While you know I’m all about cooking what’s in season, I’m also a realist. That may not ALWAYS happen. In a pinch it’s important to have shelf stable items available so you’re less likely to buy junk (a.k.a. fast ‘food’) for dinner. Want pasta with basil pesto? Quinoa with artichoke hearts and sun dried tomatoes? Or white bean hummus with rosemary? These are just a few of the dishes you can create by simply using what’s on hand.
Here’s how my service works: I come to your house and into the kitchen (within 50 miles of Napa, CA.) We assess the current layout and begin the organization (having a recycle bin nearby is essential:-) The categories we tackle are: oils and vinegars; grains and legumes; seasonings; baking items; stocks and sauces; nuts and seeds; jams and other sweeteners, etc. You’d be amazed at some of things we find (and yes, mold can grow in a can.) We might also sneak a peek into the freezer where lots of potential snacks can be stored. The best part is that you come away with a ‘clean’ slate, more space, and lots of new options for spontaneous meals.
Of course, the ideal scenario includes fresh produce so I try to encourage having a bowl of fruit on the counter. It really is the ultimate ‘fast food.’ And if you find you might not be able to use it in time, chop it up and put it in the freezer for future use in a smoothie.
Shopping trips can also be included in the package. Granted, in the beginning you will spend a lot of time becoming familiar with new products and reading (new) labels. But once you have the staples on hand, you simply supplement or replenish as needed, and voila! No more rancid oil on your tuna nicoise 🙂