Thursday, January 31, 2008

Is Your Cupboard Bare?

Referring again to the book “An Omelette and a Glass of Wine” by Elizabeth David, I came across an article she had written for The Sunday Times that was never published, but I found interesting and a bit funny. The article was titled “How Bare is Your Cupboard?” – Pot-Luck Cookery; original cooking with what you have in hand, in the cupboard or refrigerator by Beverly Pepper (Faber & Faber, I8s.), which Elizabeth was reviewing. Beverly’s book deals with cookery ‘for a room full of unexpected guests – or perhaps just that awkward moment when the larder seems completely bare’.
I think we have all experienced this situation where you get home from work, open the fridge and stand there and stare at the contents. Then mosey on over to the cupboard, open its door and stare. At this point the brain is on “major food mode” as your tummy is telling it “feed me!”
I had this experience the other night as I had fixed some pork shoulder in the oven, but had no side dish to have with the pork. Yes, I had a small salad fixed, but to put the pork on top of that, not happening. So I went to the fridge and noticed I had a couple of sweet potatoes that needed to be used so here is what became of those sweet potatoes.

Deb’s Sweet Potato Hash ?

2 Sweet Potatoes – beautifully cubed if I must say so myself
1 Onion chopped
3 Cloves of Garlic chopped
1/2 of Red Bell Pepper, chopped
Olive Oil
1 Whole Cayenne Pepper Chopped
A Very Generous teaspoon of cumin
A Bit of Chicken stock to keep things moist
Salt and Pepper To Taste
A Generous sprinkle of freshly chopped parsley, needed some green

First thing I did was heat the olive oil and add the potatoes, onions and garlic. I let them sauté a few minutes and noticed that it was tasting a bit bland and also needed some added color to that beautiful orange color of the taters! So that is when I added the red bell pepper and cayenne. Ah, that gave it some personality! At this point I let the potatoes cook till just fork tender; then stirred in the cumin.

I wanted to hold this dish and, since it seemed to be drying out, I added a nice splash of stock to keep it moist. Perfect, but it still needed a bit of color, so towards the end I added the parsley. Sorry, I did not get a photo of that addition as it was time to plate up and the dinner guys were hungry!

So, needless to say, check that fridge when you are in a hurry. You will always find a potato, piece of broccoli or something lurking in the veggie drawer that is begging to be spotlighted on your dinner plate!

I would like to hear your story of “How Bare Is Your Cupboard?”
Hey, do I sense a cookbook waiting to be compiled on recipes just from the leftover stuff in the fridge and "larder"??? Hummm… Or maybe you already know of one!



Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Jenn the Leftover Queen would have tons of recipes for just such a cookbook Deb!!! I love your sweet potato hash!!

Peter M said...

Deb, the best cooks are those who can cook on the fly with no recipe and only with what's found in the fridge at the moment.

Nora B. said...

Those sweet potato cubes are certainly very nicely cut! :-)

My fridge is definitely quite bare at the moment since we haven't really re-stocked it after our Tasmania trip. My pantry also have to be re-stocked because I discovered that those tiny moths (not sure what they are) were living in there! I think there was a whole colony!!! yucks! This has never happened to me before. I was so disgusted when I saw a few of their babies (larvae) I had to clean it all out and throw a way a lot of good stuff :-( I've learnt my lesson now, everything that are in packages (e.g. rice, flour) will go into a jar or container from now on.

Traumatised Nora

Anonymous said...

Very creative, Deb. And sweet potatoes go so well with pork :)

Aimée said...

I think I suffer from the other extreme, as I would dread people dropping by with nothing to serve. My cupbards are always well stocked--but perhaps a little over-stocked as stuff tends to expire...Ooops.

Unknown said...

Deb, Your sweet potato hash is cubed perfectly and just a fun idea! And, what a fantastic premise for a book! With cupboards bare, What is it that you have to cook and sear? Let's see, my cupboards have a lot of dried beans and rice (not fast to cook), but I admit I always have Ramen, great cheese and some frozen corn or peas. Ah, a meal in less than 5 min. In reality, I was home late from the gym last night (9:30 pm), very hungry, and I made Ramen with, excellent organic Sanoma Valley olive oil, grated aged parm and provolone. It may be teenage or college-esque food, but it was good!

Gloria Baker said...

Lovely dish Debs!!! I have to go shopping to my fridge Debs, I have a lot of visits, the childs at home (uuppps). But the good Im finished some things that I have, today we make eggsplants with cheese, onion and tomato to the oven, is so simple and nice!!! Have a good weekend

Katie Zeller said...

I love sweet potatoes! I need to be more creative with them... Although they are rather expensive here..

Anonymous said...

Yes, my cupboard was quite bare a few days ago, and I think those moments can inspire us to make a good meal. I love your sweet potatoes. They looks perfect!

eatme_delicious said...

Mmm sweet potato hash sounds delicious. I love anything with sweet potatoes.

Anonymous said...

Good Job! :)