Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Yikes! What's in the cabinet?

Do you know how Rachael Ray is always telling that stupid story about how she has all of these jars of poultry seasoning (or grill seasoning depending on what she's cooking that day) because she always forgets that she already has a jar so she goes out buys another? (If you don't, you have my unmitigated envy, even if the utterance of that story is a key element of the Rachael Ray Drinking Game).

Well, I suddenly find myself relating to it. I don't buy the same spice over and over again (except for my three jars of cumin), but it seems I do buy quite a few things without looking in the cabinet to see what I already have and end up with duplicates and triplicates.

Look what I found while trying to reorganize last night.

What is all of this stuff? Let's see: (Most measurements are approximate)

1 cup couscous
3/4 pound semolina
1 pound bulk polenta (in two separate bags due to buying twice)
1 pound medium grain white rice
1 pound brown basmati rice
1 cup regular long-grain brown rice (is it bad that I decided to just combine them in one jar?)
Scant cup of bulk barley
Scant cup of bulk orzo
1 pound cornmeal (in two bags, purchased twice)
8/10 pound almond meal
3/4 pound matzoh meal
1 cup arborio rice
1 lb carnaroli rice (I didn't combine these)
1/2 bag coconut (not pictured)

I need better cupboard organziation so I can more easily see what I have before I shop! At the very least, I need to make some checks before I shop.

But for the time being, I won't shop. I have a cabinet full of grains. It's time I put them to use. I intend to use up every last bit of this stuff by the end of the year.

I'm coming up with ideas for how to use all of this stuff. The rice and barley will be perfectly good side dishes for weeknight meals. The polenta will be too. The orzo can go into a soup. I can make semolina cakes, and even make some pasta if I have the time. Coconut will be handy for desserts (I have one in mind for next week). Risotto is a great weeknight meal or for a first course in a diner party. I can make lots of cornbread. I have no excuses for not making my own for the cornbread stuffing at Thanksgiving. Not to mention I just saw a great cornbread variation on the blogs. Cornmeal and almond meal make great breading for chicken and fish. The almond meal can also be used in desserts. The Matzoh meal means latkes for the hubby.

This is going to be interesting. You will be seeing a lot of similar ingredients happening in this blog for a while


Darius T. Williams said...

Too funny - and yea, I'm tired of hearing those same Rachel Ray stories too. Just like she tells us all the time that her mom likes anything lemony...maybe that meas we watch waaaay too much of rachel?!?! Just a thought.


StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

lol! I'm just as bad, if not worse! My husband calls my pantry "the Bermuda triangle" of food. Thinks go in, never to be seen again. :o

Maria said...

Can't wait to see what you come up with!! I should probably clean out my pantry too!!

Emiline said...

Wow, that's a lot of grains. Good luck with using them up.
I'm interested in you latkes. I had some Manischewitz matzo meal that I ended up throwing away.

Adam said...

Rachel Ray drinking game? Do tell, maybe that way her show will be tolerable :) Sorry, that was loooow

noble pig said...

I have 4 jard of fennel seed! I will seriously never use it! WTH? We all do it and it sucks.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Darius - Rachael Ray is like a train wreck to me. I just can't look away. I find it fun to count how many times she repeats the same stuff over and over. It's like the drinking game without the drink.

SGCC- Bermuda Triangle. I like that.

Maria - It's definitely an adventure.

Em - You do NOT want to eat my latkes. I'm a horrible latke maker. It's one skill I have yet to fully acquire. I'll never be a bubbe.

Noble Pig, to me means lots of fennel makes for SAUSAGE.

Lo said...

Yeah, I think everyone does a bit of this.

We've minimized it a bit by starting a pantry inventory where we list what we have and cross it off when it's used up... but that only works if you remember to cross things off!

Cathy - I'll gladly take your fennel seed... we use it ALL the time! :)

Dee said...

Lol, we all do that! I recently did some spring cleaning and was horrified to find 2 unopened packets of almond meal cowering behind the paper towels.

You seem to have the situation well under control. Glad meal plan!

Lore said...

Unfortunately my pantry suffers from "chaotic syndrome" (yes, that's a medical term :P). Ican already see that couscous taking the lead in a wonderful Moroccan dish.
Can't wait for the recipes, you'll make my pantry happy too!

Sue said...

I really hope you didn't mean that you mixed your medium grain WHITE rice WITH your brown rices! That would just be wrong! ;-) (Except that I'm not really kidding.)

I don't have your problem, because I jam a lot of that stuff in the freezer and fridge. My brown rice and barley are in the fridge. My cornmeal and organic whole wheat flour are in the freezer.

I guess I'm lucky I don't know that RR story or the drinking game. What is it? The person that drinks the most has to be subjected to 30 minute meals until he or she screams or passes out?

Have fun with all your newfound groceries. Too bad there wasn't a big fat chocolate bar in there.