Friday, January 16, 2009

Best New Pantry Recipes

In 2008, I entered over 500 recipes into my collection at Many of them were my own tattered recipe cards, or recipes I had tested from my cookbook collection. But many were also new entries from TV shows, blogs, cooking websites, and email lists. I haven't even tried all of them yet. Among those that were new to us, some have become family favorites. Each one of these introduced us to a new pantry staple:

Slow Cooker Pinto Beans - This one came from Paula Deen, at the suggestion of a listmate on the HealthyCheapCooking list on Yahoo Groups. The butchers up North don't have streak o' lean, so I use other smoked pork goodness - ham shanks are my favorite, but I also also get smoked ham ends and smoked sausage. We've eaten it as a main dish, and as a side with other meals. It really expanded the use of pinto beans for me - I had only really used them for refried beans until I tried this. I live in a city with a big Hispanic population, so I can get large bags of dry pintos inexpensively.

Cheese Grits - It was about this time last year that I watched Alton Brown cook grits on the Food Network, and decided to give it a try. Until then, the only grits I'd eaten were tasteless gruel at diners. But these were to-die-for. DD15 didn't like them at first, but has now become a grits machine, especially with her sage-flavored peppery milk gravy. I store supermarket grits now, but I'm looking for artisan stone-ground grits to try.

(Ignore those crumbs under the toaster over.)

Sweet Potato Biscuits - These were my first scratch biscuits, and I was so happy with them, especially with pineapple jam. This recipe gave us both a new bread product and another way to use leftover sweet potatoes. Now I keep a jar of sweet potato puree in the fridge. I found several sources of local sweet potatoes this year.

Green Tomato Chutney - My new favorite condiment. I only just started canning jam this summer, and I'd never ever eaten chutney before, but I saw the recipe on a blog around the time that a neighbor pruned a lot of green tomatoes from her plants. I love it with roast meat or poultry. I'm very happy with the jam, chutney, and pickles I made this summer, and I plan to do a lot more canning next summer.

Parsnip Spice Cake - I've taken this to several potlucks with good reviews. I like the versatility of adding whatever dried fruit or nuts I want. I'd never tried parsnips before, but now I regularly buy and use them to flavor stock and make this coffee cake. When I don't like a vegetable on its own, I tend to turn it into a quick bread. I like that I can grow parsnips and store them in the ground all winter. I can't recall where this recipe came from, but I want to make it whenever I see parsnips.

Cuban Inspired Pork Chili - Hominy was another first for us. I store it dried and canned. The local Hispanic grocery stores always stock it. I like chili, but not as hot as DH does - and he doesn't like beans in it. But this chili comes across more like a pork stew, and it gives me a good place to use more black beans, and fresh or frozen corn. I found this recipe at the cooking blog Coconut & Lime, and substituted regular tomatoes and cheap country-style pork ribs for the fancier ingredients.

Spelt Waffles - DD12 used to be addicted to Eggo toaster waffles. We got her a waffle iron for Christmas 2007, and tried a few recipes with all-purpose flour. But when I found a local source for spelt flour, I went looking for a waffle recipe. DD12 likes to whip up the egg whites for this one. We double the recipe, so there are lots of leftovers to freeze for reheating in the toaster. I like to dip pieces of waffle in fruity yogurt or homemade applesauce.

Yogurt - Not so much a recipe as a technique. I heat two quarts of milk and 1/2 cup non-fat dry milk to about 190F. Then I let it cool to 120F, whisk in a half-pint of yogurt I set aside from the previous batch, and pour it into quart containers. I bundle it into an insulated lunch bag with a hot water bottle, and it's lovely by morning. I haven't purchased yogurt since June. I love it in oatmeal with a dab of honey or homemade jam. When I first thought about making yogurt, I thought I needed a yogurt maker, but when I advertised for one on the local Freecycle list, a Lebanese woman answered me with instructions to make it in a blanket-wrapped crockpot liner. I adapted that to my insulated lunch bag.

So, have any of you found recipes that have become new favorites at your house?


Anonymous said...

I am snagging some of these for sure.... I am currently in love with my waffle maker and got local flours, so I will have the spelt waffles on tap for this weekend. Funny, I've done rye, triticale, whole wheat, etc. but never spelt. About time to try, I think. Do you think the grits would also work with cottage cheese? (I'm currently on an "everything is better with cottage cheese" kick...)

Fav recipe that I've found recently:
Black beans with cranberries, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and/or acorn squash. Never realized how well black beans go with the sweet orange squashes/potatoes. I just roast off the veg, then at the last minute add the cranberries until they pop. In the meantime, I cook the beans with a bit of paprika (just a bit). Once everything is ready, I'll top the veg/cranberries with a spoon of the beans and go for it. The tartness of the cranberries and the sweetness of the veg just go well with the texture of the beans for some reason.

Peak Oil Hausfrau said...

Thanks for the Sweet Potato biscuits recipe. I am going to grow sweet potatoes this year. Hopefully they won't take up TOO much room!

bridget said...

I am not a great or ambitious cook. So one of my new favorites is a Black Bean and Brown Rice chili from "Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker." It is so easy, and very staple-friendly.

Danielle said...

Great post!

I've given you an award. You can find it over at my blog.