Out of the fire and into the fry pan

roasted chickpeas

I know, the saying is backward (out of the frying pan into the fire…. or things going from bad to worse). But I couldn’t help playing with it because this is a great time to back up, get that fallen hamburger out of the fire, give it a quick sear and eat it. Don’t let it go to waste.

There may be a time to cut your losses (and let that burger fall where it may), but its not now.  Now is the time to experiment, figure out what to do with the can of garbanzo beans in your pantry, find and cook those unusual cuts of meat, try Meatless Mondays, etc. Whether we have a few more weeks of isolation or not, there’s still an opportunity to take a slow food approach to life.

So I’m going to throw out a couple of ideas here because I know shortages are happening for some of you.  These are kind of random,  so pick what’s useful to you.

  • Out of baking powder? If you having backing soda and cream of tartar you can make your own. 1 teaspoon baking soda and 2 teaspoons cream of tartar yields 1 Tablespoon baking powder.


  • What about yeast? There is wild yeast everywhere in the air. From complicated to simple recipes, its possible to capture wild yeast, and therefore have bread starter. It’s as easy as mixing up 1 cup of flour and ½ cup of cool water and leaving it on your counter. King Arthur brand has a good reliable method of nurturing that starter and using it here https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/sourdough-starter-recipe


  • Those cans of chickpeas.  Easy peasy to turn into hummus or a wonderful chickpea snack.  Ordinarily hummus includes tahini but its not every pantry that has tahini. You can make hummus anyway with 1 can chickpeas, ¼ cup olive oil (or any oil really), 1 Tb lemon juice, salt to taste. You also add a bit of cumin, or a couple of garlic cloves.  Once you’ve tried homemade, you can experiment and make those fancy hummuses that cost a fortune and leave you with too many plastic containers.

Homemade hummus

  • Oven baked chickpeas are also fun and yum. Again one can of chickpeas, toss w/ olive oil and some spices. I’ve used salt and smoked paprika. 400o   oven for about 10 minutes (do check, you want the chickpeas a bit crunchy but not burned.


  • Try an unusual cut of meat. We’ve got a great grocery story, Sheridans, which stocks all kinds of unusual stuff in the freezer section.  They also have a fabulous fresh butcher/meat department.  Ox tails, pork or beef cheeks, chicken livers, etc. If these don’t sound appealing (too bad, porch cheeks are delicious), start off with something ‘easier’ like a hanger steak (which bears marinating…. great from fajitas) or short ribs (good braised).  There are plenty of good resources on the web, and in cookbooks imagine, to help you cook some of these unusual cuts.


  • The same idea applies to vegetables.  Now may be a great time to try brussels sprouts or celeriac, or turnips. My daughter sent me a great brussels sprout salad recipe even my husband liked.
  1. Shred 1 pound brussels sprouts (trimmed). Slice as thin as you can.

  2. Mash together 3 anchovies, 1 garlic clove, a pinch of salt and 2 Tb. olive oil, and 1 Tb lemon juice.

  3. Whisk in about ¼ cup or so of additional olive oil.

  4. Take ½ cup of walnuts, chop and toast in a dry pan.

  5. Put everything together.

  6. Serve with a small bowl of parmesan on the side to add.

Note: don’t have anchovies? You can just do a more traditional vinaigrette with just the garlic, adding a small bit of mustard. Or get real wild and crazy and try substituting 2-3 Tb Worcestershire Sauce, fish sauce, balsamic vinegar, or capers. What these do is add a little umami and salt which is the point of the anchovies.

  • Or go Meatless Monday for a change.  Make a quiche if you have eggs. Or a souffle – they are easy I promise.  Here’s a souffle for two.
  1. Preheat oven to 475
  2. Separate 4 eggs, blend (puree) the egg yokes with 3 oz of cream cheese (or cream) and prosciutto (or smoked salmon). Add ½ cup of grated cheese.
  3. Beat the egg whites still stiff and dry.
  4. Fold yokes into whites.
  5. Pour into a medium sized, oven proof, saute pan or skillet. Heck even a pie pan will do. Be sure you buttered it.
  6. 10-12 minutes in the very hot oven.

Basically, if you have the time, and not all of us do, use what you have to explore a new way of doing in the kitchen. And keep it all in the frying pan.

Til next time


One gratuitous flower photo

#quarantine cooking #roomsinbloomnw

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