working the pantry

i have a large beautifully organized pantry filled with food. grains are together on one shelf. beans are together are another. cereals are separated from baking items. it is very easy to find something i need. organization is not my problem. the problem is that a lot of that food has been there a very long time.

some of of my pantry items have been bought on whim - like the slew of coconut items (flour, milk powder, unsweetened chunks) purchased from a co-op i once ran from wilderness family naturals. some items i bought b/c i remember seeing that particular ingredient in a recipe - like garam masala - and swore i'd need one day. the others - well i just never got around to using them.

i also love cookbooks. every trip to our local library isn't complete without at least one cookbook or book about food coming home with me.....and food magazines? forget about it - i made myself swear to...well myself.......that i would not buy another food magazine unless i started actually MAKING the recipes i rip out.

but its not just the pantry that has become the land of misfit ingredients - so has my freezer - and parts of my fridge. speaking of misfits - the one blog that i read that doesn't seem to fit in with the others is the simple dollar. for the most part its a blog about money and finances (and its a great one i think). but a lot of the info pertains to everyday life too. one particular article (and i tried hard to find the one) states (and i am heavily paraphrasing) that simply watching the cooking show or an exercise tape stimulates the same part of the brain that gets stimulated if we actually do the cooking or the exercising. so one can actually feel like they've done the activity simply watching it being done. the challenge comes in actually breaking that cycle and doing the activity (and that is another post!)
so i decided enough is enough. instead of reading all the delicious recipes and watching all the cooking shows - i am going to dig out the lonely forgotten items from the back of the pantry or freezer shelves and use them - at least once a week - in a new recipe.

this is what i cooked last nite and man oh man was it good........i mean downright delicious. i ate 2 bowls without taking a breather in between. since my husband and boys won't touch it - i'll be eating it all day tomorrow too.

there is just one minor problem. i didn't follow a recipe - i just kinda winged it. but i will try my best to give the best measurements i can. since i always get asked about miso soup i figured i'd use some in this recipe to show how i use it.....and also b/c i absolutely love miso.


combine the following into a pot or large saucepan:

  • 32 oz carton of veggie stock
  • 1/2 a bag of frozen shelled edamame (about 8oz)
  • head of napa cabbage roughly chopped
  • kernels cut off about 2 1/2 ears of left over corn
  • huge handful of dried shitake mushrooms
  • salt and pepper to taste
you might need to add more hot water depending on how much *stuff* you have in the pot. i had to add about 2 cups more once i finished adding all the veggies.

bring to a boil and cook about 10 minutes.

turn off the heat and wait until the soup stops boiling. ladle out about 1 1/2 cups of liquid and put in a bowl. dissolve a generous tablespoon of miso (i just scooped out a bunch with a wooden spoon) to the liquid (you don't want to add miso to boiling water b/c it tastes bitter. you can add it right into the soup but i like to add it to liquid to help it dissolve better)

now serve yourself some in your favorite bowl and use your favorite spoon to enjoy it. that is my favorite bowl in the picture. i won it in a raffle. i absolutely refuse to eat my soup in anything else. i bought that spoon at a local asian market. regular soup spoons just can't handle the huge hunks of mushroom or tofu that i love to throw into my miso soups.

well that's it!


  1. That is a lovely recipe. I am going to put that on my list of soups for next week. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Listen, any time you want to clear out your pantry and need help eating the veges, just call me! Olivia