As much as I love to take on a challenge and cook an exciting new recipe, it’s also a hassle to break my routine and invest in a new set of ingredients. On top of that, I haven’t had much time to do much grocery shopping for myself, which is ironic since I work for a company that is all about grocery shopping.
Instead of looking for recipes, I’m looking to explore new ingredients and versatile ways to use them. I’ll be poking around other people’s kitchens and asking what they do with their staple ingredients. Why am I doing this? Hopefully to draw some culinary inspiration, change up my usual shopping list and ultimately, to expand my cooking repertoire.
This is the first of a series of Wunderkammer Interviews. The concept behind the name Wunderkammer, or “cabinet of curiosities”, being that everyone has their own individual cabinet(s) of curiosities. Just look in your kitchen.
My first victim, Talisa.
First, we emptied her refrigerator and her cupboards of her most frequently used staple ingredients and spread it out on her dining room table. Then, we went through every ingredient and how she typically uses each. Here are some highlights:
Avocados: Spread on toast or english muffins with honey; sliced and tossed into salads.
Greek yogurt: Eaten with honey and fresh fruits.
Firm tofu: Seared in a pan or fried with a flour and curry powder batter. Also, in salads or with noodles.
Tortillas: Filled with cheese and/or chicken and folded into quesadillas for lunch, rolled into burritos with eggs, cheese, turkey, onions for breakfast, or tightly rolled up with peanut butter and honey for a snack
Peanut butter: In sandwiches, on Apples, made into a sauce with Sesame Oil, Soy Sauce, Rice Wine Vinegar and poured over tofu or chicken.
Eggs: Medium-boiled and sliced over whole wheat toast, fried over rice, scrambled (3:1 white to yolk ratio) with a splash of vanilla soy milk, dropped into soup, cooked on low for 10 minutes with shredded parmesan cheese
Goat cheese: In salads, omelettes, pasta, and with honey on crackers
Pita bread: Dipped in hummus, Made into a sandwich, with hummus and red peppers and cucumbers.
Chickpeas: In salads and stews.
A bootleg variation of Five Leaves‘ Housemade Ricotta with figs, thyme, honeycomb, maldon sea salt served with fruit and nut bread: Ricotta, Honey, Dried Cranberries and Thyme on Crackers.
Canned corn: In salads, stews, and added to enhanced take-out soups.
Asparagus: Roasted with salad, added to pasta with mushrooms and goat cheese
Talisa is a writer, content strategist, and community manager who is interested in developing products and contributing to projects that explore the intersection of stories and community in meaningful ways. She’s a co-founder of Her Girl Friday a meetup and collaboration network for female journalists. She also works at Trust Art and Solvate.
South African born and California raised, you can usually find her puttering around Greenpoint, Brooklyn, smothering her nails in glitter and eating everything in sight.
Willing to open up your kitchen and have me to rifle through your cabinets? Holla!