Cooking in my kitchen is by far one of my favorite activities. I can have a stressful, pull your hair out, fall down on the floor crying, kind of day, come home totally pooped and make everything (well almost everything) better by going into my kitchen and cooking.
My kitchen is not very big, we have put up extra shelving (I <3 elfa) to give me more counter space. I try to cook often, I like food to be fresh and I don’t like eating the same thing for two long. Though, that is rarely a concern, since nothing ever lasts too long when you live with a man, who consumes in one meal, what I eat in two days, and his mother eats in two weeks. The worst part is he has the metabolism of a cheetah and has never gained a pound in his life (interrupt blogging here to pout angrily).
One of my most favorite attributes about Berkeley is the locally owned grocery stores. I am essentially married to Berkeley Bowl, without a doubt the best grocery store on the planet. Though, I do occasionally cheat on BB with Monterey Market, which is walking distance from my house and isn’t really a grocery store but rather an indoor bazaar or produce heaven, which ever you prefer. More on my amazing grocery spouses later.
Back to my kitchen and cooking in it. Circumstances often plot against me, and eventually I am unable to go to the grocery store as soon as I need to, and run out of groceries. In no particular order one of the following happens:
- I get home to late from work/meetings/yoga…etc. to go to the store. My pesky spouse (Berkeley Bowl) and my mistress (Monterey Market) both close up shop at 8pm (not everyone in Berkeley operates on siesta time!!!)
- I get home and since I car share with my sister (more on this later), and occasionally the man of the house disappear with both cars (it’s complicated), I end up carless.
- Now, I could bike, but if I have a lot to buy this becomes difficult.
- I could walk, but again I’m restricted by weight and distance.
- I’m lazy….(this never happens)
- I send the boy, and though he usually manages to get most of what I asked for, if he’s hungry he spends way too much (mostly on cheese, meat, & wine), and often stays until they kick him out.
This of course puts me into a frantic state as I don’t keep frozen food in my house and can’t fall back on that, I usually don’t have bread in the house (more on that later too) so I can’t make a sandwich. Chocolate can only be substituted for dinner only so many times and will not feed the human garbage disposal. So I get upset, consider getting take out, change my mind, get upset and then remember that I always have pasta and a pantry.
Pantries are amazing things! You stock them full of random goods with a long shelf life, such as canned goods and you forget about them until you are having a panic attack over not having anything to make for dinner and fearing the need to buy lunch tomorrow in the ridiculously over priced financial district. This of course leads to a long string of dangerous thoughts about finances, which then cause you to yell at your honey, who is usually an innocent bystander.
Anyways, back to my kitchen, cooking and my pantry. On this particular evening, I didn’t freak out because I had earlier perused one of my favorite blogs Pioneer Woman (it’s really more of an obsession). She had this great recipe for pantry pasta, I had almost everything on her list, and what I didn’t have I could change. Now of course I am pretty much incapable of following recipes (deserts excluded) so I made a few changes, but the results were quick, delicious, and I’m sharing it with you J The next day when I reheated and ate some more of this pantry pasta with Will, I added Alfredo to his portion because otherwise he would have complained that the dish didn’t have enough cheese. There is no such thing as enough cheese in this boy’s world.
What do you have in your pantry?
* I’m still learning about the whole cooking and photography thing, I’m having a lot of fun so bare with me. But I think a recipe post without photo’s is rather bland.
Adapted from Pioneer Woman (January 2011)
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 small yellow Onion, Diced
- 4-5 cloves Garlic, minced (garlic makes life better)
- 1 can (14.5 Ounce) Diced Roasted Tomatoes With Juice
- ⅓ cups Assorted Olives, Pitted & Roughly Chopped (I only had green)
- ⅓ cups White Wine
- The original recipe calls for 2 whole Boneless, Skinless, Chicken Breasts, pounded to even thickness. I didn’t have this, but what I do usually have is frozen cooked chicken meat. Every so often I buy whole chickens roast them, pull them apart, use some and freeze the rest in zip lock bags.
- Kosher Salt
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Grated Parmesan Cheese (any cheese will work, I think it would be great with some goat cheese)
- ½ pounds Linguine, Cooked Al Dente And Drained
- 1 teaspoon Olive Oil
- 1/3 Jar of Alfredo sauce (if you live with a cheese loving beast)
- First dice the onion. Then mince your garlic cloves. A trick I use when cooking with garlic is I smash it while it’s still in its skin with the flat side of my knife (I learned this trick by watching Rachel Ray religiously in high school). This makes them really easy to peel. Then I mince them.
- Put your “2” tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and toss in the onions, let them cook for 3-4 minutes on medium heat and then add the garlic and let cook for a couple more minutes.
- Add the can of tomatoes with the juice, and let that cook for a minute. Then add your wine.
- Since, I had cooked chicken; I went ahead and added it at this point. It was still a bit frozen and I let it cook a while in the pan, letting all the liquids help melt it. This took about 5 minutes. Then I reduced the heat to simmer, added the olives and let everything cook for another 10 minutes. I added salt and pepper to taste.
- I cooked my pasta in a big pot with boiling water and salt. I always add a teaspoon of olive oil as well, to keep the pasta from sticking together.
- In the mean time I grated some parmesan cheese (total accident that I had some).
- I like my pasta al dente and when it was at this stage, I drained it and dumped it into the pan with the sauce, mixed it up using tongs and served myself a nice bowl, sprinkled a little cheese (to the BF’s Dismay, I am lactose intolerant, thank God for lactase, or he’d probably have moved on by now). I paired it with a nice glass of red wine (I cook with white, drink red, unless it’s a Riesling).