Tuesday, November 27, 2012

introducing "use it up tuesday" :: pantry-raid recipes

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If you like to cook and eat, then you probably also to shop for food – from gorgeous fresh produce to obscure, ethnic ingredients. Even though I live alone [well, with the three feline amigos], I have amassed an impressive stash of staples, plus obscure and forgotten ingredients that is large enough to feed an entire platoon. My fantasy explanation? My kitchen is...ahem!... my "studio" and my pantry contains my culinary "art supplies." Too bad my art supplies have expiration dates. What an embarrassingly first-world problem to have.

I'm tired of fancy food. Sometimes, I just want a humble, frugal dinner.
Instead of continually diving into cooking adventures that require new ingredients, I needed a little motivation to put a dent in my stash. And so I'm premiering Use it UpTuesday. On Tuesdays, I'll aim to publish recipes created from about-to-expire, about-to-spoil or forgotten pantry ingredients. I hope you'll come to the party next Tuesday and create recipes from your own stashes. If you want to play, feel free to grab the logo. And email me a blog link or post your URL as a comment so I can do a round-up next week.

Return to Simplicity: Stop the Foodie Madness!
Use it UpTuesday is more than just a meme. It's a reminder to slow down and step out of this crazy-foodie-hipster madness. It's just dinner, for god's sake, let's not lose our heads. Every meal does not have to be haute-cuisine, serious, artisanal, and "more obscure" than your meal. In fact, some of the world's best recipes are the simplest, and were ad-libbed out of necessity. I love the slow food movement, but I think it might be time to start a down-to-earth food movement.

Today, I have two simple-but-tasty recipes for you. The first pantry-raid victims: a jar of pimiento-stuffed olives and artichoke hearts that have been camping out in the fridge far too long, plus the rest of the mini tricolor peppers that I used to make the Prismatic Focaccia. I love the salty hit of olives in this pasta, contrasted against the briny artichoke hearts and sweet peppers, which also provided a gorgeous autumnal blast of color. This recipe turned out to be a smashing success, and I'll definitely make it again. 

Farfalle with Peppers, Artichoke Hearts and Olives

  • 1 T extra-virgin olive oil 
    Inspiration: expiration!
  • Up to 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 7 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 medium sweet onion [like Vidalia], thinly sliced
  • 3 cups autumnal [or red, yellow and/or orange] peppers, thinly sliced
  • Salt, to taste 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup pimiento-stuffed olives, drained, rinsed and sliced
  • 2 T dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 pound farfalle, rigatoni, orchiette or penne rigate [About 1/2 box or 2 cups]
  • 1/2 cup jarred artichoke hearts, drained and lightly chopped
  • 2 T juice from artichoke hearts jar
Serves 4

In a large pan, heat oil over medium. Add red pepper flakes, garlic and onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Do not burn. Add peppers and cook until they are soft, about 10 minute. Sprinkle with salt, to taste. Add broth, olives and herbs, and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 35 minutes, or until soft. The longer and more slowly this simmers over low heat, the better it will taste. You may need to add a bit of water or broth.

Bring a large pot of water to boil and start cooking pasta according to package directions.

Drain pasta. Toss with mixture, and stir in artichoke hearts and jar juice. Adjust seasonings.

Next up, Brussels sprouts that were about to turn the corner ....

...And a 1/2 package of frozen leeks that, judging from the permafrost, has seen better days. 

Whenever I order Brussels sprouts in restaurants, they are inevitably cooked with bacon or pancetta, and I have to ask the chef to veganize them. In this version, chewy-salty sun-dried tomatoes serve essentially the same "meaty" note while a final shot of lemon zest and juice brightens and lights up the sprouts' stinky reputation. Leeks add sweetness. Easy, peasy. Another winner!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Leeks and Lemon [Gluten-free]

  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes [not oil packed] cut into small pieces with kitchen scissors
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 2 cups leeks, sliced [Fresh or frozen]
  • Juice and zest of one lemon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Serves 4

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray it with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, toss the olive oil and sun-dried tomatoes and let them marinate for about 10 minutes or so.

In a large bowl, using your hands, lightly toss the tomatoes/oil with the sprouts and leeks. Season with salt and pepper and scatter on the cookie sheet. Top with lemon zest and juice. Bake/roast for about 15-20 minutes, or until some sprouts are browned.

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janet @ the taste space said...

Great theme! I did the same things last month for Vegan MoFo. Lots of wacky ingredients in my pantry, too, and an upcoming move will ultimately thank me if my pantry shrinks. :) I look forward to your pantry-clearing creations.

Johanna said...

Dynise, it's just been too long that I've seemingly not cleaned out what little cabinet space I have. Thanks for the inspiration.

Unknown said...

olives go bad?!?!?!

urban vegan said...

Don't know, but the jars have expiration dates listed. I don't get too freaked about expiration dates. But this jar had been with me too long.

Allysia said...

BA HA HA HA! I totally read that as "panty raid" at first. I love the 'use it up' concept, sometimes nothing beats simple eats. And it's nice on the wallet too. :) That pasta looks beautiful!

urban vegan said...

That was the point Allysia. I'm a sucker for bad puns. Call it a guilty pleasure ;)

Anneh said...

omg, this is genius! and timely...I have about 6 peppers that need to be used sitting in my fridge at this very moment. I've only eaten brussel sprouts once, and they were cooked until they were yellow and (obviously) nasty, so I'm scared to try them, but I have leeks sitting around too. Perhaps it is time to face this particular food fear.

urban vegan said...

Anneh: I just had the leftover Brussels sprouts and thought of you! I used to dislike them, too but I had never had them prepared properly. These are very lemony and light. Good luck--let me know how you like them.

Carrie™ said...

I really enjoy a good, simple pasta dish. This sounds easy peasy and super delicious. It's on my list to make. As are the brussel sprouts. I never used to like them either, but they were served to me boiled, with an option of a little butter on top. I almost always roast mine with some flavourings. Sun-dried tomatoes are one of those ingredients that I lovelovelove. Anything with sun-dried tomatoes in it HAS to be good.