I swear it’s a conspiracy. When I’m too busy to replenish, refill or repair the small things at home, it seems everything starts running out, burning out and breaking down all at once. So after the holidays, I spend the first weeks of January getting things back to even. I found a bluwaterread ~ The Southern Pantry Cookbook ~ to help in the kitchen. 🙂
The Southern Pantry Cookbook is a great go-to source for meal planning inspiration. Jennifer Chandler works with a pantry inventory that’s very similar to what is in my pantry (when it’s stocked that is, hmmm) and her recipes are familiar to any southern cook. Seeing recipes that I can make from pantry and freezer items makes it easier to keep things stocked, and plan out some meals for the week.
If I were in a show it would be called “Short Attention Span Cooking”! If I have to look up a recipe online, or stop and look for an ingredient while I am cooking, I will get distracted and dinner may never get finished. So I have the extras I use most often (various oils, vinegars, herbs, spices) near the cook top ~ and salt/pepper for seasoning in several places. If short attention span cook has to look for salt or pepper the food will either be bland or overly seasoned! And as part of the conspiracy, ALL the salt and pepper grinders, containers and cellars were empty last week. Time to get with the program!
So I cleaned the counters, washed and refilled all the oil and vinegar bottles and cruets. Filled the pepper grinders and salt cellars. Chopped garlic and packed it in olive oil for the fridge, and restocked the pantry. Then as a reward I went to Penzey’s to fill in the most used herbs and spices. I am so lucky to have a Penzey’s in my neighborhood, but it’s also convenient to order online.
Rosemary, thyme, parsley, bay leaves, basil and red pepper flakes ~ plus lemon and garlic ~ cover most of my needs. I love fresh herbs when they’re available, but the dried ones from Penzey’s are just as flavorful. Penzey’s also has wonderful herb and spice mixes. A couple of pinches of the Green Goddess or Pasta Sprinkle with oil and vinegar make a great vinaigrette or chicken marinade ~ and keep short attention span cook on track!
And not to forget the bar essentials ~ I picked up some critically needed whole nutmeg to grate for topping a Tru Blu Painkiller! It’s a real problem if we can’t make a proper island Painkiller around here!
Now the pantry and extras are refilled and restocked. I’ve got The Southern Pantry Cookbook as meal planning inspiration, and had a Tru Blu Painkiller for cocktail hour yesterday. Oh and happily improvised a really good panzanella salad with fresh vinaigrette yesterday at lunch. Small things getting back in order, but it makes everything easier ~ and the sun was finally shining after four days of cold and gloom. 🙂
Now if I can just get the dust bunnies tamed and the burned-out lightbulbs changed ~ that’s tomorrow’s chore! It’s not exactly a day at the beach, but I’ll listen to beach music while working and there will be a boat drink when it’s done. Keep calm and sail on!