The shortcut to serious yum in a hurry is a totally tricked out pantry. A handpicked collection of sauces, spices and condiments can get really tasty food on the table when you’re crunched for time or when you’re lacking inspiration. As this realization has hit me over the last couple of years, I’ve started devoting a lot more of my time in the kitchen to pantry projects and I eagerly seek out food adventures where we can pick up little goodies – everything from salt packed capers to dried chiles, kaffir lime leaves and exotic spice mixes. I’ve been known to pull over and drag a husband and two kids, even friends, out of the car for unscheduled pantry stops at the sight of a Latin market or Italian deli. And my dear family is ever so patient with me when they see me excitedly (too excitedly) waving a bunch of garlic blossoms…. saying “look, look!”. I can’t say that I know what to do with all of my fantastic finds yet, but they are waiting patiently for our discovery.
One item that does get a lot of play around Casa Stacie is ginger. From stir fries, asian marinades, curries, cookies, muffins and smoothies, ginger is such a versatile seasoning. It’s great for digestion and miraculous for unsettled tummies too (tell all your pregnant friends and anyone you know who suffers from motion sickness). So, I happily stole this trick from Simran and her mom. It’s a genius way to have beautiful, grated fresh ginger at the ready whenever you need it. It’s funny how some techniques are second nature to some and a revelation for others. Simran casually pulled out a big bag of grated ginger while we were cooking some spinach together one day. She broke off a piece, tossed it in the pan and rolled right along like it was no big deal. I thought “rewind… now that was a great trick”. She told me later that it’s one of the little things her mom always does, one of those crafty mom tips. I ran right out and made some of my own and have every intention of passing this tip down to my boys in our cooking days to come. So from mom to daughter, friend to friend, mom to sons, a little piece of kitchen wisdom is shared. And who knows? Maybe my kids will even manage to impress a few of their foodie friends with this one someday.
It’s a snap to do:
- Buy a large quantity of ginger. At least 3-4 large pieces.
- Remove as much peel from your ginger as you have patience for with the edge of a spoon.
- Pop it all through your food processor and pulse it to get a fine mince. If you don’t have a food processor, find a friend who does. Do the project together and share the bounty!
- Package your ginger in an air tight bag and store it flat in your freezer. [If you can remember, you might want to use the back of a knife to score off small portions while the ginger is semi frozen, so it will be easier to break later.]
- Break off a hunk of grated ginger whenever the need arises. No need to even thaw it if it’s going in a saute pan. Yum!
- Chana Masala
- Kashmiri Chicken
- Fake Bake Tandoori Chicken
- Spiced-Up Orange Baby Foods
- Top Secret Stir Fry Tips
- Leslie’s Pumpkin Muffins
- Kid-Friendly Green Curry
- Slow Cooker Apple-Pear Butter
- Curried Carrot Soup
- Teriyaki on Everything
- Mom’s Chicken Biryani
- Mythili’s Edamame with Coconut, Cumin and Chili
- Tasty, Tasty Steamed Fish with Ginger and Scallions