Sunday, August 7, 2011

The back-of-your-pantry debacle

We all have those days when meal time rolls around and we open the refrigerator to...nothing. Or what seems like a semblance of nothings. You've got some nubs of cheese, salsa, some frozen veggies, nuts, last weeks chicken and maybe a quarter of an old avocado. Or at least, that's what was in my fridge when I went to make lunch this afternoon.
I feared I would be forced to resort to the "snacks for lunch" option. And yet, I took a minute and racked my brain. I came up with an unusual, yet delicious and quick meal which made use of my food just in time before my trip to portland this week. In a hot pan drizzled with olive oil, I sauteed some frozen corn. In a bowl I placed diced avocado, a small dollop of sour cream, some salsa, a few shards of sharp cheddar and a few spashes of tapatio hot sauce. On went the hot corn and I had a perfectly satisfying summer lunch. Had I used some sweet roasted corn it could have been the perfect dish for a potluck. What many don't realize is that those apparent scraps in the back of your refrigerator or pantry often hold lots of potential. The key is to choose a theme and run with it. Today it was mexican, however tomorrow it has the great potential of being southern barbeque given the large quantity of leftover bbq sauce in our fridge that I made last week. Experimenting in the kitchen is not always a bad thing as much as many people seem to believe. Sometimes it doesn't always work out but that's how we learn to adjust and alter until we make it better. Just last week I used leftover coleslaw cabbage mix as a base for a chicken salad. Not sure I would do it again, but it wasn't bad! I have learned to save lots of time and money by using what I formerly thought to be garbage. Heels of cheese as use for soup base, left over grilled vegetables in salad, pesto as salad dressing. Be creative. Expand. Always maintain a theme.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Magical Millet

A hometown friend recently came to visit Walla Walla. We were flipping through a friends cookbook and came across a recipe for millet muffins. I exclaimed, "millet is my favorite grain!" without thinking what the fallout would be. Two weeks later and I still am getting flack for even having a favorite grain, apparently that's not a common thing. In retrospect, it is a completely true statement. Millet is a fantastic grain! It adds a wonderful texture to almost anything, it's cheap and very healthy. It can be puffed, toasted, roasted, used in candy, baked goods, cereal and even savory dishes. It's magical! I happen to have some millet lying around the house and after tasting my friend's millet lemon muffins I thought I'd bring my favorite grain back into the picture. I took an old favorite recipe for peanut butter bread and added millet and oats. These two new textures not only added flavor and texture to the bread they gave a rather boring, yet tasty quick bread a facelift. Not to mention an excuse for me to use my favorite grain. This bread is fast and easy, doesn't require more than one bowl and is great to make if you're lacking eggs, butter or oil.

Peanut Butter Bread remix

2 cups AP flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup raw millet
1/2 cup rolled oats.

Preheat oven to 375
Mix together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Mix in the milk and peanut butter. Add the millet and oats. Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes