A few weeks back I shared my plans to go on a 4 week pantry cleanse, and did a horrible job of posting updates – shocking! I’m happy to report that although I didn’t stick to the rigid grocery shopping rules I originally set, we have been making our way through our pantry the last month and a half.
Some things got incorporated into meals, some are in a box for the food bank, and sadly others have been tossed. I hate throwing out food, but I love going to my pantry and actually being able to see what I have in it. In fact, during one purging session I found some amazing things shoved in the back; saffron from Kashmir that I bought in India, Berberis berries from a Middle Eastern grocery store, and California figs, almonds, and pistachios I picked up at the Food Bloggers Conference in Sacramento. I had forgotten about all of them!
The figs made me think about the one lonely pomegranate sitting on in my fridge. I wanted to create something with a holiday/festive vibe for a client photo shoot, but then I started thinking about the Iranian and Persian rice dishes I’ve seen in cookbooks over the years.
I did a quick google search and landed on this recipe for Jewelled Persian Rice. There were a few things I didn’t have (chicken stock, raisins, and fresh coriander), but I improvised and just went with it.
It was the first time in a long time that I just threw things in the pot and waited till the dish was finished to give myself a grade. And it was fun. I had fun in the kitchen – my happy place felt happy again.
For some reason I always think a fancy meal requires a lot of thought, preparation, and a special trip to the grocery store. Here I had a feast just waiting to happen in my pantry, the only problem, I couldn’t see it through the clutter.
PS: The rice was delicious, and my meat loving friend Aziz (who took these amazing pics) said it was the first time ever that the rice beat the chicken.