Tag Archives: pasta

No Food Shopping Challenge 2011

29 Dec

A simple food challenge presented by eGullet that I partook in 2009 has become an end-of-the-year tradition for us, which I schedule before we leave for our annual home visit to awesome California.  Doing the challenge before our vacation is an excellent way to clear out frozen and refrigerated foods.  “Waste not, want not”, as the saying goes.

During my first No Food Shopping Challenge in 2009, I made: Broiled black cod with rice, Linguine with anchovies and olives, Broiled shrimp, Baked tuna and pasta casserole, Turkey pot pie, and Kimchee rice and beef stir fry.  In 2010, the dishes I put together from our pantry and freezer were: Mixed greens, turkey sausage, with red beans, Rice congee with spicy bean curd sauce, Pan-fried paneer and couscous, Garlic butter shrimp and rice, Spicy shrimp, kimchee, and noodles, Spicy garlic chicken with rice, and Tea eggs.

For 2011, we saw similar ingredients from the two previous years, which pretty much gives away what we keep in our pantry year round.  Rice, pasta, and beans are staples in our household.  So are crustaceans, it seems.

Wednesday, December 7 – Black eyed peas, collard greens, and rice is what we eat when our tastebuds feel like “going South”

Friday, December 9 – Pasta with tuna and olives is a favorite any time of the year

Monday, December 12 – Prawns with brown butter sauce is soooo finger-lickin’-tastic

Tuesday, December 13 – Fried potato cakes is the result of leftover mashed potatoes from Thanksgiving

Wednesday, December 14– Spicy prawns with coconut rice is my quick take on Southeast Asian cuisine

Saturday, December 18 – Spaghetti with buttered prawns is “Why-we-are-fat-dot-com”, as The Hubby would say

Looking forward to next year’s No Food Shopping Challenge!

No Food Shopping Challenge

1 Jan

December 14, 2009 – Backdated Article

Last month, eGullet, a food forum that I’ve been following for a couple of years now presented a challenge which required no food shopping for a week and taking advantage of the available food in one’s fridge, freezer, and pantry.  Coincidentally, Ryan and I have been discussing not doing any food shopping on the weekend prior to leaving for our annual holiday visit in California to see our respective families (even if we weren’t going anywhere I’d have taken the challenge for the fun of it).

However, I’d be lying if I say that we completely went without any food shopping.  Thankfully, the rules are fair.  For instance, rule #3 states, “No making yourself miserable.”  Because we have two piggies with serious lung power and never hesitate to use said power when they’re hungry we had to actually food shop.  It just so happens that they love lettuce so to protect our sense of hearing, Ryan and I made a lettuce run to appease the little beasts.

The rules:

Our household’s results:

December 04 – Broiled black cod with rice – Oh, the surprises our freezer and pantry have in store for us.

December 05 – Linguine with anchovies and olives – I’m a fan of anchovies and olives, and what better way to put the two together.

December 06 – Broiled shrimp – Ryan loves shrimp so we keep a couple of bags of the yummy crustraceans on hand in the freezer.

December 07 – Leftovers

December 08 – Baked tuna and pasta casserole (with potato chips on the side) – All the bags of pasta and cans of tuna in the pantry put into yummy use.

December 09 – Leftovers

December 10 – Turkey pot pie – This is what became of the leftover turkey, vegetables, and pie crusts from Thanksgiving.

December 11 – *Kimchee rice and beef stir fry – I got the recipe for the kimchee rice from Sungyong, a good friend and little brother figure.

Our pantry, fridge, and freezer yielded pleasant results.  Monsieur “Fat Guy”, manager of egullet, is right when he said that we become more careful when we have to make do with what’s available.  Challenge or no challenge, it’s a good philosophy to apply, don’t you think.  The No Food Shopping challenge is one I’d definitely happily participate in again and again.

Cooking with J

10 Jul

There are friends and then there are friends who help shape one’s personality- for me, Jason belongs to the latter group. He is a friend, a confidante, and a brother figure rolled into a 5’11”(?) gentlemanly gentleman who always dishes out the right amount of honesty. Other than Ryan and my Dad, J is the other man I go to when I need a particular male perspective. He’s handy, that J.

We had a rare moment today. We actually got to spend nearly half the day together (~10 hours, but who’s counting)! He arrived after noontime and stayed until 10p. We talked and listened to music as we prepared lunch…

Lunch was pollo al ajillo (chicken garlic) and champiñones al ajillo (mushroom garlic). I was responsible for the chicken dish and he for the mushroom.

Garlic and spice. Like Ryan and me, he and his significant figure are fond of both. We made sure to make enougn so we’ll have plenty of leftovers to share with our “sig figs.” Thus to respect everyone’s tastes, we made the dishes with extra garlic and heat.

See J (mostly his hand/s) preparing the makings for the mushroom garlic:

Slicing the mushrooms

With toasted chili pepper flakes fresh from the oven

Mincing garlic


Champiñones al ajillo (mushroom garlic)!

See my chicken garlic being prepared:

Skinned and boned chicken liberally dusted with paprika

Whole garlic cloves frying in oil

Batch frying the chicken pieces (after the pieces have browned, a bay leaf, brandy, and chicken stock were added)

Pollo al ajillo (chicken garlic)!

…we watched “Ratatouille” while having lunch, and then we cleaned up. Not long after, I began the preparation for dinner, while he played video games (he did offer to help but I declined).

Dinner was spaghetti puttanesca. My favorite! The combination of spice from the chili pepper flakes, saltiness from the anchovies, and sourness from the tomatoes and capers make it a sassy pasta dish.

See the sauce simmering.

See J (again with the hand) garnishing his pasta with parmesan.

…then we ate and watched the first 15 minutes or so of “Super Troopers” so I could point out his look-alike. Uncanny resemblance, really.

Then we played Carcassonne and I ended up eating his dust as he won 4 out 4 games. Next, I showed him how to play Catan. After all the gaming, he insisted on helping with the clean up. I wouldn’t let him, but that didn’t stop him from washing the pan, etc despite my protests. And then just as we were saying our goodbyes around 9p, we got pulled into another conversation and ended up chatting until 10p.



I had a swell time. A really swell time.