Friday, February 15, 2013

Spring Cleaning, Pantry Clean Out, and what did I cook?

I loved the comments and responses I got from my last post on "What would You Cook?"  It's inspired me to get a little more organized in my kitchen, the pantry and my pots/pans/tools specifically.  How minimal can I take my kitchen? (in fact I should worry about my closet way more than the kitchen!)

I first became interested in minimalism a couple of years ago, the year before The Swing was published and released.  Since the responsibility of becoming an author, therefore promoter/sales person, I was distracted from the original task at get rid of all of the extra shit in my life that was holding me back from living the life I wanted to.  Traveling much more than usual these past two months I was reminded again that I need to get my crap in order!  But I'm sooooo much better than I used to be, and I'm sooooo much better than I ever was, and I'm getting better and better all the time!

Mark is going to be away this weekend attending a Strong First Girya Instructors weekend in Salt Lake so I've got about 100 hours to be a "big girl" on my own!  And some of my time will be spent on organizing projects.....maybe!

I think it would be fun to do a regular "what would you cook?" feature because I value all of the experience and opinions you all have about home cooking, and I like to share ideas, and hopefully inspiration for all of us to create home cooked meals that add healthy value to our lives....while not getting obsessed about "right and wrong", only balanced, sound nutrition.  You know, uncommon common sense!

Yesterday I bought some chicken.  1 pound of chicken wings (5) and three whole legs.  I remembered 1 cube of Mexican spices I had in my fridge for over 1 year that my training partner Maribel gave me, I decided to use it to marinate the wings and the leg portion of  the whole leg/thigh but it was rock hard!  Yikes!  It needed to be broken up, badly!  I tried using a fork...nope....hmmnn...I think I still have my mortar and pestle!  Yes, yes, I do!  Wings and legs marinated!  On to the thighs.  Garam marsala, of course!  I boned the thighs and I'll grill them to use in a salad.

Tomorrow, or Sat. I'll roast the wings and legs first, and use the leftover spiced chicken fat to roast thin slices of Kabocha squash.  At some point I'll make a salad.  It's funny that Kelley posted in her comment about using bacon fat because I often save and freeze the extra fat I skim off of stocks, or pour from roasting pans and use it to saute or roast vegetables. Chicken fat, and flavored fats from smoked meats and spiced sausages (and bacon) is great to use and saves waste and the cost of olive oil.

Oh, but I forgot....I ended up making two small meatloaves, in the shape of large round meatballs, and cut the sweet potato into rounds to match! (Although I have a hoard of sweet potatoes I only roasted two because I'll be tempted to eat more if I make more!)  A large batch of chili with heirloom beans, lamb sausage and beef, adding chopped chard to wilt.  I'm totally into chili right now.  It just may be the perfect meal!

Instead of a "Swing Challenge", (which is not really a challenge because we already swing...right?) let's challenge ourselves in our kitchens and pantries!  The inventory I have in my pantry is really small compared to most, but things can accumulate over the months.  Sometimes it can feel hard to throw out foods we think we might need even though they may be really old!  For me it's time to get brutal with my spice cabinet and my freezer!  And it's also time for me to set down a few new rules!

What's it time for you to throw out?  And the story about my mortar and pestle....last year, during a kitchen purge, I asked my facebook friends whether or not I should keep it even though up until that point (10-15 years) I had never used it!  The opinions were split 50/50! I obviously kept it!  Do you have one, and do you use it?


Rupin said...

I have a marble pestle and mortar which I use frequently to ground spices (cumin, black pepper etc) after dry-roasting. Recently I have started using it to crush garlic with olive oil to drizzle over salads.

Tracy Reifkind said...


This is what I figured out...people that voted for keeping the M & P used theirs all the time, and people that voted for getting rid of it never used one!

Right now it's something that I'm not in the habit of using, but considering I have 100 pairs of yoga pants, a M & P doesn't take up that much room, lol!

(kidding about 100 pairs, but you get the idea!)

vetrafurniture said...

Great Idea! Thanks for sharing this information.

Robin said...

Hi Tracy
I just bought a copy of your book "The Swing" . Thank you for writing this book. One question though. Can you offer a sucstitute for gabbage in your Basic Salad recipe. I am on medication for hypothyroidism and raw cabagge is goitrogenic . Since slads are a large part of the diet, I was wondering what could be an appropriate substitute.