My friends joke how I make everything from scratch – not true, but I try to do as much as I can. When I serve them ricotta, they giggle, “Did you just happen to whip it up when you had five free minutes?” The truth is – I hate letting food go to waste. In recent years, especially with the economy being what it is, folks being out of work, including my own parents, and a general turn towards thriftiness, I find that I am reflecting on the resourcefulness of my grandparents – who used every scrap of food as much as possible to waste a little as they could. For them, it was living through the early Soviet era coupled with the devastation of WWII. For my American friends’ grandparents’ generation, it was the impact of the Great Depression. But I find that resourcefulness in the kitchen is very empowering. It makes us feel more competent as cooks.
Between my “Tips” section and the actual recipes featured here, I want to feature the building blocks that make our pantries better, more efficient, and teach us how to better use what we have in our kitchens. I’ve been thinking about these building blocks which are part recipes, part foundation for kitchen know-how – and trying to figure out where to fit them on this site. So today, I present to you a new category called Pantry Basics – things I do in my kitchen to make me a better, more resourceful cook. From ricotta (new method coming soon) to homemade stock to crème fraiche – these basics, among many others will be included in that category. I hope you find it useful. Tips will remain as they are and I will post Pantry Basics as they come up in my kitchen. Some will have a story, some will be pretty rudimentary. In any case, I hope that you find them useful.
First Pantry Basics will be up tomorrow. Stay tuned!