Friday, January 2, 2009

The mysteries of my pantry

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Every few months I get into home-organization mode, and invariably I start with the pantry. Last time I cleaned out I found these lovely items that must have seemed interesting when I bought them but have not yet inspired me to use them. I need help. What to do with these? 1. Habanero honey. Use in a marinade for pork tenderloin, maybe?
2. Green masala paste. Mix with yogurt and braise chicken thighs? Not sure how spicy this is, but even if it is I suppose the yogurt will tame it a bit.
3. Sun-dried tomato pesto. The problem here is that my husband hates sun-dried tomatoes. I should have used this on some of the crostini on New Year's Eve. Maybe this will wait until the Superbowl party we always attend.
4. Chestnut puree. I had never tasted chestnuts until I met my Hungarian husband and his Hungarian parents, and now I'm hooked. I could eat this stuff straight out of the jar, but there must be a better use for it. Sometimes we make palacinta (Hungarian crepes) and use this to fill them. Other suggestions welcome.
5. Danish something jam, given to us by our lovely neighbors who travel to Denmark each summer to see relatives. I wish I knew what kind of jam this was....
6. Lingonberries in syrup. One of the best reasons to shop at Ikea! But a year later, here they are in the pantry. Other than eating them as jam, I have no brilliant ideas. And we don't seem to go through a lot of jam in our house.
Help. Post suggestions!


Helen Waters said...

Chestnut puree -- warmed and served as a syrup on dessert. Ice cream, pound cake, like that.

Lingonberries in syrup -- similar, or drain them and serve in salad. Either fruit OR greens, and then preferably bitter ones with a simple but acidic vinaigrette.

Habanero honey -- on hot cornbread with butter, or straight up with peanut butter on wheat bread. If you are in the mood, it also tastes pretty good in hot tea.

Sun dried tomato pesto -- I'd put it in an orzo salad, with chives, cilantro, roasted corn and some lime juice. Cook the orzo in chicken broth for depth.

Let me know if you figure out what the Danish jam is!

xoxo Helen Waters

Erika Kerekes said...

Helen - thanks for the great ideas. Although I'm not sure I'm brave enough to eat the habanero honey straight up. I was thinking of adding it to a pan sauce for sauteed chicken, with some lemon juice and white wine. But will the kids eat it?

Chestnut puree: I don't think it gets very liquidy on its own. I think it would need to be mixed with something (milk? cream?) to make a sauce. In Hungary they eat chestnut puree on its own - put it through a ricer to make it fluffy, then eat it with whipped cream on top. Very eastern European.

So the Danish jam, as you told me on Facebook, is rosehips with apple. Hmm. Never been brave enough to eat flowers. Guess I'll have to taste it.

Helen Waters said...

The traditional way we have eaten chestnut puree in my home is as follows:

(1) When In Public -- spread on warm bread, brioche is excellent for this, or croissant, as one would do with Nutella.

(2) When In Private -- eat straight out of the jar with a little spoon, and a large pot of very good tea in a nice teacup. Earl Grey or Darjeeling are lovely accompaniments.

If you warm it for dessert sauce, you should mix with a bit of milk. I personally like almond milk in this case.

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