There are a few things that I am very passionate about and food is one of them. Not just food to cram down your gullet but food that can light up your senses when you eat it. Food is important, aside from the fact that we need it to survive, I need it for pure enjoyment. I love the different flavors, textures and colors. Sharing them with people who just drop in makes it more fun and less stress because you know you have these things just waiting to be used.
Depending on my budget I usually have assorted flavor savors in my fridge. A flavor savor to me is a Pesto, Tapenade, Coulis, and a Sauce or Dressing that you can do many things with. Even a simple compound butter can be a great thing to have on hand. Here is a list of the items that I have in my fridge now…
Lemon and Lime wedges ( I cut them and use them for so many things)
Sun Dried Tomatoes
Of course flavor savors that I have on stand by are basil pesto with parmesan reggiano (but no nuts this time), sun-dried tomato pesto with parmesan reggiano, lime mustard sauce, simple syrup with fresh basil and mint, and a balsamic vinaigrette with toasted almond, orange and rosemary .
In my cupboard I always have extra virgin olive oil and on my counter always kosher salt,my pepper grinder and fresh garlic. Aside from my knives a few of my favorite tools are a hand blender, mini food processor (it has traveled the world with me) and a zester. The new fancy word for the longer version is a micro plane.
If you were to look at the ingredients above, aside from going crazy and mixing that simple syrup with something that is clearly off , you can make some great things with these ingredients. Already with the pesto that is made (I will give recipes) you can slather that over a tortilla and broil it with a bit of your favorite cheese and make a high-end tortilla pizza.
You can add more olive oil to the pesto and a squidge of lemon for something to put over any fish or chicken that you are baking or grilling. The simple syrup with mint and basil is an awesome way to brighten up cheesecake, carrot cake, or any other dessert for that matter. You can alter the flavor by adding a zest from your favorite citrus.
I’m not a huge fan of rice so I do something a little different. I use arborio rice and use broth instead of water. Then after the rice is cooked but still hot I cut in a pesto for jazzing it up. Sometimes I will add a little cheese but not always. Although I love cheese I don’t want to hide the flavors I have created by smothering them. This I call a poor mans risotto.
Now there are loads of other really cool things to keep in the fridge but with the economy being the way it is, keep it simple. A lot of these items can be stretched in their usage. This saves you money, time and still gives you great flavors to enjoy. Below are just a few recipes for now and another day I will share more.
Key Lime Mustard Sauce
1 cup mayo
1/4 cup guldens brown mustard (not spicy)
1/4 cup key lime juice
whisk together the above ingredients and keep in a squeeze bottle in the fridge. Do not use bottle lime juice. If you can’t get key limes just use regular limes it’s still really good. I found this recipe in a book called Pier House Key West. I was working on a boat and they had the book. I have used this in wraps, on crab cakes, over grilled chicken among other things.
1-2 cups fresh basil
2 cloves garlic minced
2 Tbsp toasted nuts (pine nuts are the best but use what you have or don’t its ok to leave them out)
Parmesan Reggiano freshly grated (use that micro plane for this its awesome)
Salt and Pepper
In a food processor with a little olive oil to start, process your basil, garlic and toasted nuts just until it’s about half way to the consistency of a paste. Then add 1/2 cup to start of parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and more olive oil. Remember that Pesto means paste so you don’t want to add too much olive oil that you lose your consistency. I personally like a bit more cheese in mine but this is where you want to start tasting. Always taste along the way and get the flavor how you like it. When you get it just right put the pesto in a container for the fridge but make sure that it is completely covered with a layer of olive oil. This will keep it green and fresh.
3/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
In your processor, process all of the above (don’t over process, you want texture here) and put the olivada in a container for the fridge. First cover it with a layer of extra virgin olive oil. You can toss a few tablespoons of this over a pasta or in a salad or add a little to some chopped tomato and capers with herb and put it over fish or chicken.
These are all really great flavors, but there so many more that I would like to share with you. If you have something you want to share with me that’s great too. The next time you look in your fridge think about what you have and how you can jazz it up to make food fun again.