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The Un-bare Cupboard

Last night, I made slow-simmered pot roast from Giulia Melucci's I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti.

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My cupboard is packed with food, and I’m not entirely sure how it all got there. There seem to be five kinds of pasta, six cans of oil-packed tuna, canned tomatoes in various guises, a half-used plastic container of mixed dried mushrooms, two boxes of arborio rice, four different types of oil (canola, olive, peanut, and sesame) and a number of Asian sauces and condiments, many with no English translation of their contents. And that’s just a start.

Two years ago, when I first joined Fine Cooking, I settled into an old cabin that had been lovingly restored, its main draw being not the woodsy locale but its six-burner vintage Viking. But now the time has come to move, so the sorting out and cleaning out has begun. Which is how I came to consider the contents of the cupboard and decided that I wouldn’t be moving all those cans and jars and bottles and boxes.

Instead, I figured I’d cook my way through it. All of it, over the next six weeks. Last night, the festivities got off to a tasty start with a slow-simmered pot roast from Giulia Melucci’s lovely little book, I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti. One bag of noodles and one box of beef stock down!

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  • sush | 06/09/2010

    I buy sambal oelek all the time. My husband loves spicy food, as do I. Any dish with tomatoes or tomato sauce is fair game for sambal oelek. One simple weeknight meal is brown about 1/2 pound ground beef, add onion and any other vegetables left in the fridge (diced carrot, red pepper, celery, etc), salt/pepper/oregano, a can of diced tomatoes, 1/2 can of water and 1-2 tablespoon of sambal oelek (depending on how hot you like your spice). Bring to a boil, stir in one cup of whole wheat macaroni, cover, reduce heat and cook about 20 - 25 minutes. You can stir in spinach at the end just to wilt if you have some in your fridge. Serve with grated cheddar cheese or parmesan cheese.
    Served with a simple green salad, it's a complete meal.

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    lauriebfc | 04/28/2010

    Thanks for the comments! While I love the idea of getting through every last jar and can and bag, I'm still thinking about what to do with a rather large bottle of rice vinegar, a jar of something market "chutney" (it's vaguely green, with a goodly number of seeds), and a still unopened jar of sambal oelek. Any ideas?

  • hfcanavan | 04/21/2010

    In our house, we have "frugal February" and we try to use most everything in our pantry and freezer. I make a lot of freezer meals for "just in case," but I hoard them as if one day I will be unable to leave my house for months on end! This February, I didn't have to cook or grocery shop for the entire month (except for produce).

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