Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Pantry pasta creates an entertaining blend

I begged my friend “B.” to let me organize her pantry. For months I was turned down, then I got a Saturday invite.
I told her she could regroup any way she liked, but I just wanted lunch out of anything about to go south. We ended up with a pasta topping including tomato paste and sauce, most of a can of spinach and sundry spices. But the sides were even more impressive.
A great cook in her own right, I was flattered to the point of embarrassment when she kept saying how she would never have thought of combining the cans of chipotle peppers and corn. We made another bold leap with a bowl full of cranberry sauce, mandarin oranges and vanilla. She rounded it out with her own jar of okra, pickled to perfection.
Her daughter helped us empty shelves then regroup them so the most healthy products are up front and the tempting baking goodies are a stretch or bend out of sight.
Dessert was going to be sopapillas from a mix, but she read the directions and found them too complicated. Daughter made a white cake and B. poked holes in it so a can of coconut syrup could soak in.
This was a fun way to spend my Saturday, plus she sent me packing with various goodies I will cook the rest of the month.
Next job: Her spice cabinet.

My citrus salsa
My Magic Bullet has helped me create a fabulous variety of summer salsas very quickly. I’ve combined an orange with pineapple sage and mint and it came out a beautiful green. Then I plopped in an orange with chipotle peppers, corn and garlic for something more potent. The fruit helped cool off the heat, a little.
The first time I took time to dice the orange, then I discovered the Bullet can take the peeled orange, seeds and all, and pulse up a great blend.
I used peppers from B’s pantry (see above) and served in a CaliBowl (see below).

SimpleWave could have called CaliBowl the TexiBowl, because scooping up salsa with chips is one of its promoted uses. Pretty bowls with an inward curve are also good for shaky folks prone to spills. This covers a wide range of cereal, soup and salsa lovers, regardless of age. Makers describe the inward-curving lip like a “the tide of a wave, that guarantees the food, dip, or condiment will be scooped onto the utensil, chip, food item, or back into the bowl preventing messy spillage.”
Choose from BPA-free plastic and ceramic bowls in different colors. I have cheery yellow, lightweight plastic that is great for a picnic. I want to try Chinese noodles in there, too. I love the look and concept. But wait — there’s more. The company has a Zero Landfill Policy to decrease landfill contribution wherever possible. The “Recycle-A-Bowl” Program offers the option to return a CaliBowl at the end of its product life so it may be recycled. Consumers then get a discount on further orders.

All-American rum
Tommy Bahama, a rum that’s been around since 2007, has been studying the drink’s history and reports it is said that Paul Revere had a swallow of the stuff to stiffen his resolve partway through his famous midnight ride; Benjamin Franklin penned a small ode to it; Ernest Hemingway mixed it in tall cocktails; and that on election night in 1960, John F. Kennedy sipped it over dinner at his house in Hyannis Port, Mass., before watching the election returns.
What’s more, in 1778, General George Washington marked July 4th with a double ration of it for his soldiers and an artillery salute.
I’ve recently been soaking bananas and dousing cakes with Tommy Bahama White Sand and Golden Sun varieties, with results that go to 11. The company has suggestions of its own:
Bahama Basil Smash
2 1/2 parts Tommy Bahama White Sand Rum
2 parts sour mix
3 fresh blackberries
4 basil leaves
4 slices of ginger
1/4 part lemon-lime soda
Muddle blackberries, basil and ginger in a mixing glass. Add remaining ingredients, shake well and strain into a mixing glass. Top with a splash of lemon-lime soda. Garnish with an orchid.
Tommy Bahama’s Coconut Cloud Martini (white)
1 1/2 parts Tommy Bahama White Sand Rum
1 1/2 parts vanilla vodka
1 1/2 parts coconut rum
1/2 part cream of coconut
Shake in a cocktail shaker and strain. Garnish with toasted coconut.

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