Back in January, I decided I wanted to formally track the usage of the items in my pantry. I was feeling like I was a hoarder who had purchased more items than they would actually use. I photographed every item (except for spices and teas and stables). I have blogged about all my usage of these items.
I started with 105 catalogued items. Along the way I have added a few more items, and even replenished some.
So, what did I make?
I made 52 dishes that included my pantry items in half as many weeks:
Dish #1: Thai Green Curry, with gloriously big shrimp
Dish #2: Homemade linguine with yellow arrabbiata
Dish #3: Spicy cold celery salad
Dish #4: Dry-fried green beans
Dish #5: “Szechuan Eggplant”
Dish #6: Rava upma
Dish #7: Indian-spiced eggplant
Dish #8: Silken tofu snack
Dish #9: Seasoned fried cashews
Dish #10: Takeout rotisserie chicken with Toronto-style churrasco chicken sauce
Dish #11: Chopped Greek salad with hard boiled egg
Dish #12: Matcha soba
Dish #13: Vegetable tempura
Dish #14: Spicy mushroom ratatouille on toasts
Dish #15: Challah
Dish #16: Challah French toast
Dish #17: Grilled Greek Salad
Dish #18: Alkaline noodles AKA ramen noodles
Dish #19: Miso ramen
Dish #20: Out-of-season pumpkin pie
Dish #21: Korean pancakes
Dish #22: Salt & pepper shrimp
Dish #23: Dry-fried green beans with Taiwanese rice
Dish #24: Vinegar pie
Dish #25: Sauce gribiche on string beans
Dish #26: Nước chấm
Dish #27: Sesame rice crackers
Dish #28: Thai red curry
Dish #29: Experimental noodles
Dish #30: French toast
Dish #31: Udon
Dish #32: Small-batch brownies
Dish #33: Spicy cold celery salad
Dish #34: Shiitake and cabbage wontons in homemade vegetable broth
Dish #35: Roasted eggplant, zucchini, and red pepper wraps with hummus, caramelized onion, fresh basil, and hot sauce
Dish #36: “Breakfast poutine” with homemade curds and gravy
Dish #37: Sardines on crispbread
Dish #38: Fish curry
Dish #39: Chili oil
Dish #40: Radishes in chili oil
Dish #41: Dry-fried salt & pepper vegetables
Dish #42: Sweet potatoes and rice
Dish #43: Fish curry
Dish #44: Basmati rice with dried lime
Dish #45: Mango pickle
Dish #46: Mustard leaves with paneer
Dish #47: Pandan pudding
Dish #48: Chipotle-glazed pork ribs
Dish #49: Vietnamese sticky rice breakfast with mung beans
Dish #50: Not-cornbread
Dish #51: Chipotle-glazed pork ribs, again
Dish #52: Homemade ravioli with quail egg yolks and blood sausage
So, what items did I use?
From my original pantry of 105 items, plus a few I added along the way, I used pantry 62 items. Here are the 56 items I have photos for, in the order I first used them:
Not pictured, because I added them along the way: mustard oil, asafoetida, oyster sauce, Crazy Bastard hot sauce, cornstarch, raisins. Plus I threw away the cheese culture.
These are the items I used more than three times each:
So, what did not use, yet?
By category, these are the items I still did not use at all in six whole months:
Hrmm. I did use all of these but the Chinese dried chilis at least once in something I improvised, but I think the dish I made was so terrible I didn’t blog about it.
I used everything in this category!
Basically, I need to have people over for a Thai sticky rice meal. For another meal, I could serve a chicken dish, tom ka soup, and a red sticky rice dessert.
Hrmm, okay, so I should find out what to do with the mango powder, at least.
What do I do with this? Make more kimchi?
Oh! I forgot to say that I did use this when I made pickled radishes, and in general, I do find it useful. I managed to use the other items in the category for things like chili oil and Korean pancakes.
Things I put in drinks
Oh! I have used all of these except the Thai pickled limes for drinks. I guess I just never blog about drinks I make.
The peppers turned out to be past due, the beans have been eaten and replaced, and the sardines have been superceded by new sardines and are best before next week, so I’ll put those on the “eat NOW” list.
Just use already
Oh man. I threw away the cheese culture, I made tapioca pudding last week, and other than that … I have no excuses.
Hrmm. No comment.
Staples & Condiments
I’ve actually used six of these, just not in anything blog worthy, or I just forgot. Like, I used the vanilla in pancakes but didn’t mention it. I have used the jasmine as a tea a few times.
Items used: 62 blogged about + 20 others in drinks and casually
Items thrown away: 3
Items catalogued but not yet used: 28
For the next six months, I think it only makes sense to give updates when I use things from the above list of as-yet-unused items. Anything I have not used by December (which seems so far away! I’ll devote myself to using over the holidays. Sounds fun?
Terminology around foods across languages and cultures is so confusing.
In Canada, no one would know what you meant if you said “farina” which is, apparently, the English term for what I have only ever called Cream of Wheat, which is a brand name. It’s the same coarseness as what is called semolina, and I often wondered about the difference. I gather from various sources that the difference is the variety of wheat, with semolina being yellow and made from hard wheat and farina is white and made from soft wheat.
I decided to do a pantry update with just one dish, so I could write down all the details of a highly successful experiment. Although I was working without a recipe, I was following tips from the colleague who recommend the brand of fish curry masala, and cross-pollinated those tips with the instructions from the side of the box of masala. I was very happy with the result: a flavourful sauce and perfectly cooked fish.
My previous update was a month ago. It’s not that I haven’t cooked anything. It’s that so much of what I have made as been basics and fresh ingredients! I did manage to find uses for a few of my pantry items too.
A week ago, Fronx was over having the flu, and I didn’t have the flu. I made a tasty Thai red curry with loads of shrimp and mushrooms. Tuesday I ate out with Morgan (liver and onions, mmm) but before I got home that night I was completely run down, coughing, and my neck hurt.
And then I was the sickest I’ve been for ages. My body ached a lot, and constantly. I barely got out of bed. I did manage to make food for myself here and there. And then, just as I was getting well enough to at least leave the house, Fronx got sick again. Today, I worked from home as he rested in bed, and I made us a big pot of vegetable broth and some wontons.
The name for rice paper that has sesame seeds in it is bánh tráng me. Check this out!
So I tried it!
Dish #27: Sesame rice crackers
As shown in the above video, they can be heated in the oven until they are puffed, though it seems most people puff them up by cooking them in the microwave for 2 minutes According to one page I found, they would have gone perfectly with the nước mắm pha I made, but I ate them plain this time.