Tuesday, April 19, 2011

In Which She Cleans Her Pantry

I have one of these numbers in my kitchen cabinets.

Honestly, I've lived here for almost five years and the jury is still out on it. The shelves on the right are deep and I can't see or find the stuff at the back. The shelves on the left are shallow and actually serve as a door that pulls out revealing more shallow shelves. Every time I think it should be filed under Fancy But Not Useful, I'll have an organizational tangent in which I realize that it really holds a ton of crap.

It had been ages since I'd cleaned it out and I had been coming home from the grocery store feeling like I had no place to put the new stuff. (Honestly, why do I need new stuff when there is no space in my pantry?) When I emptied it completely, I could see all of the nonsense cluttering the shelves. All of my baking ingredients are here. Of course I had three containers of ground cinnamon. And taking up valuable real estate on the seasoning shelves were some cork-topped bottles which I had purchased to store spices, allowing me to buy seasoning in bulk and store them prettily. I had several bottles that had been emptied, but not refilled. They still sat, uselessly, in my pantry door. I'm washing them now so that I can relabel and refill them with fresh ingredients.

Also hogging the shelves were "quick meal" options that I forget about using. I realized that I had an extra shelf, which I installed down low and now there is a shelf for those kinds of things so that they can be displayed prominently at the front of the shelf.

I realized I had MOUNTAINS of dried beans and legumes for crock pot cooking. However, I hardly ever use my crock pot. I need to. I MUST! But it's not my habit and it's hard to change habits isn't it? Because my dried bean cup runneth over, I whipped up a batch of these the very next day:

My mother used to make something called butter beans. I don't know what the technical definition of butter beans is, nor do I know how my mom made them. I just asked my dad recently how mom used to make them and he had absolutely no idea. Several years ago I came up with a good simulation for that dish. I threw about 2 cups of dried lima beans into the crock pot, along with about a quart of flavorful chicken broth. I had the cooker on low for 6-8 hours until the beans were soft.

So rich and savory!

Now I only need to make them about 14 more times so that I can have elbow room on my rice and bean shelf.


  1. I do have pantry envy, really.

    I thought butter beans were a type of bean, not a recipe. Who knew!? Rebecca got me into cooking black eyes peas to softness with just salt and pepper. YUm.

  2. I have pantry envy, too. I have one broken down ol' lazy susan cupboard that passes for a pantry. I keep my flours and baking misc. in a cupboard in the laundry room. Super handy, let me tell you.

    I'm sending you my red beans recipe right now.

  3. I can't find your e-mail address...so here it is:

    New Orleans-Style Red Beans from Mad Hungry by Lucinda Scala Quinn

    Saute chopped veg. with 1 T. oil:
    1 small onion
    2 celery stalks
    1/2 bell pepper
    3 garlic cloves

    Add vegetables to 2 c. dried beans that have been soaked. Recipe calls for red beans, I use pinto.

    Add a ham hock or ham bone and following seasonings and cook until beans are soft.

    2 tsp. Tabasco
    2 tsp. coarse salt
    1 tsp. dried thyme

    Serve with rice, grilled sausages and extra hot sauce, if desired.
    1 bay leaf

  4. @Margo - Well, when I was searching the interweb for pictures of butterbeans, what I got was mostly pictures of dried lima beans with a few pictures of a long, yellow bean. Interesting, no?

    @Reb - Hey, thanks for that recipe! I think we'll even have it tonight!


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