Kitchen Remix: 75 Recipes for Making the Most of Your Ingredients

A recent article in the Daily Herald newspaper featured these pantry-friendly cookbooks and who doesn’t need a little kitchen inspiration now?

            If a way to ease into out-of-the-ordinary cooking without buying a lot of extra ingredients sounds appealing, then the brand new cookbook Kitchen Remix: 75 Recipes for Making the Most of Your Ingredients might be worth taking a look at. Published in early April, Charlotte Druckman, a journalist and food writer began writing it four years ago and is quoted saying “it’s eerily on time.” She presents 25 sets of three ingredients that make three very different dishes. She admits it’s written for people who already cook regularly, but trios for new cooks are provided as well.  Large food groups such as vegetables, beans, grains, seafood, poultry, meat and dairy organize the recipes in the table of contents. She then adds an additional type of food to a large group food with a flavor that may be unfamiliar. Some recipes use everyday flavors in new ways or combinations. Not everyone will find the spices and condiments she calls for in their pantry, but she points out they are readily available at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s or online. Is there too much rice in your pantry now? Look for the onion risotto recipe or crunchy coconut rice.   Just one new spice or spread added to other ingredients in an unexpected way may feel like a night out.

            Another new cookbook, Cool Beans: The Ultimate Guide to Cooking with the World’s Most Versatile Plant-Based Protein, with 125 Recipes is a timely addition for managing your dried bean inventory and eating well. Joe Yonan, food editor of the Washington Post, provides recipes for cooking any sort of bean in any sort of appliance—Instant Pot, slow cooker, or stovetop. Cool Beans has recipes with culinary influences from the Mediterranean, Africa, South America, Asia, and the American South.

In Start Simple: Eleven Everyday Ingredients for Countless Weeknight Meals, recipe developer and author Lukas Volger, takes a creative approach to making a meal with what you already have on hand in the pantry.  His strategy is to stock up on eleven ‘building blocks’ instead of buying ingredients for one particular recipe.  While Start Simple is a vegetarian cookbook and some of the building blocks include eggs, beans, tortillas, sweet potatoes and greens, the method can be used to create your own pantry of building blocks and adding the creative touches that appeal to you.

Making staples you would ordinarily buy at the store is a theme in The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making: A Cookbook by Alana Chernila. Wanting to save money and minimize buying packaged food, the author has created recipes for crackers, pesto, sauerkraut, mayonnaise and toaster pastries.  I took notice when I saw recipes for stretched warm mozzarella cheese and thick lasagna noodles rolled from flour and egg.  And potato chips too! Sheltering-in-place may provide an opportunity to try something uniquely homemade from this cookbook.

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