Still Life with Canned Goods

Still Life with Canned Goods

Once again I find myself with about a month left on my lease and thus it’s time to re-evaluate everything I own and attempt to discard half of it in the hopes that my move and my in life in general will be much simpler without so much stuff. This process is arduous and often heart breaking, especially when it comes to cleaning out my closet. I have these Steve Madden platform Mary Janes that I just can’t part with. I don’t think I’ve ever worn them, but somehow they have survived many a closet-purge. It’s hard to let go of things, throw out things I’ve spent money on but now realize are useless/crappy.

One area where this process is not awful is in the kitchen. A year’s worth of can-hoarding and abandoned recipes has lead to a very peculiar but inspiring array of ingredients just waiting to be blended together. I generally like to use up everything I can because moving with canned goods seems like silly idea and I don’t think a grungy storage facility in the Brooklyn Navy Yard is a good place for cannellini beans to hang out for a month.  You may recall an earlier series of posts documenting my last kitchen purge (it was Star Wars themed, obviously), but this time no theme, just a lot of grains. This is a bit like that awful show “Chopped” where chefs are given a basket of seemingly unrelated ingredients with 30 minutes to make something delicious. Well, I’ll allow myself to purchase fresh veggies, meat, etc. I mean this isn’t a game show, but just an exercise in culinary restrictions (also, trying not to be wasteful). I’m reading this book now called The Astral by Kate Christensen and one of the characters is a stereotype of a “freegan,” who goes around to grocery stores collecting the barely expired food they can’t sell. While this seems ridiculous, I must say it did inspire me to a bit more resourceful. But I digress…

The picture above is just about everything left in my cabinet. There are some nice grains, legumes, canned vegetables, soups and condiments. Follow the jump for a complete list, fridge and freezer too!!!

Here’s a complete list (including a few items that revealed themselves after I took the picture).

Jar of pasta sauce
Lingonberries (I think these are three years old)
Bush’s baked beans
Bamboo shoots
Coconut milk
Israeli Cous Cous
Straw mushrooms
Kalamata olives
Peanut Butter
Canned tomatoes
Brown rice
Chicken broth
Dried seaweed
Chinese noodles
Glass noodles

I’ll also include what’s in my fridge and what’s in my freezer in case you care. Not that you would, but it’s also a nice place to have a list to remind me what I’ve got. And yes, I often read past entries on my own blog for inspiration, hey….it’s a great way to archive recipes.

Canned artichokes
Yuzu Juice
Greek Yogurt
Curry paste (not sure if it’s still good)
Hoisin Sauce

Artichoke hearts
Sweet corn
Green beans
Pork dumplings

So the idea is to use up as much as I can in these next two weeks, buying as few new ingredients as possible. Things that immediate come to mind: Thai curry, fried rice, lentil soup. Suggestions welcome!

First recipe coming soon!!!

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