Cleanin’ out my Cabinets: Post Summer Purge

I’m sorry Kristi,  I never meant to hurt youuu, I never meant to make you cry, but tonight, I’m cleanin’ out the cabinets. – Eminem (or something)

As mentioned previously, Kristi and I spent the summer living in Boston.  We lived in a sublet near our old apartment while I had an internship between the first and second year of my MBA program.  When we returned to Philly, all of the supplies we had purchased for our two months in Boston came back with us and overloaded our minimal cabinet space.  To make things worse, our freezer was completely packed with everything frozen over the previous year plus leftovers from our stint in Boston.  It quickly got under my skin and I made it my mission to make use of as much of it as I could, as soon as possible.

First up, one of those marinated pork tenderloins.

There is something about Hormel food products that I find incredibly unappetizing

I hate these effing things but Kristi occasionally buys them.  The marinade is always too strong, really salty, and unpleasant tasting.  I wanted to get rid of as much of that marinade flavor as possible while adding in some new ones.  I started out with sauteed onions in the Le Creuset then turned up the heat and browned the outside of the tenderloin.

I love this le creuset dutch oven. The best part of getting married is the kitchen equipment. And, I guess, the marriage too

After browning both sides, I removed the tenderloin and deglazed the bottom of the pot with a healthy pour of sherry, then added mushrooms and sage.

Loved the smells as these items simmered together, but it really stinks up a one bedroom apartment

After the ingredients simmered for a few minutes together, the tenderloin went back into the pot with some chicken stock, and the pot went into the oven for about an hour. While it was cooking I mixed zucchini and brown rice to serve as a bed for the sliced tenderloin and sauce.

Bland looking, but thats why you need a lot of salt and pepper in 'der

When the tenderloin came out, I sliced it and reduced the braising liquid.  A decent dinner.

I never said this would be a good post, its mostly just me making dinner

Next up was a concerted effort to take down equal parts freezer and cabinets but definitely needed a few fresh ingredients.  You know, to make it less gross.

I made the decision to do a spinach pie while sitting in Consumer Behavior.  Very interesting class, but unlike Wednesdays when I spend the down moments checking to see who got picked up in fantasy football, it was an iphone activity-less Monday.  So I thought about food and what I wanted to do with food.  Here’s where I started:

Title: a bunch of stuff purchased in bulk at Costco. Alt title: things I never owned in my 20's.

A few chicken breasts went into the oven to bake while the spinach thawed and I sauteed diced carrots and garlic.  Once the garlic and carrots cooked, they were mixed with the thawed and drained spinach and the can of mushroom soup.

Mixing a can of soup in your food is a very grandma move, so just think of me as your DB grandma. Actually, forget that, that doesn't work at all

Add two cubed chicken breasts, some egg beaters and a little flour.

The rare in-progress shot. I never remember to take these

Mixed together with salt and pepper and into a pyrex to bake for 30 minutes.

I knew I would like this. Not so sure about anyone else, but it is right up my alley

Served the finished product by the firm(ish) spoonful with some roasted carrots.

Maybe the carrots were a little bit more charred than I wanted, but browned carrots with lots of salt, pepper and herbs de provence are freaking delicious

To complete the freezer cleanout, I went to my old go-to: kitchen sink chili.  I had about a pound and a half of pulled pork leftover from last fall and two containers of frozen chili (probably made from 2008 leftovers).  The pulled pork browned in a pot with some smashed garlic.

The pulled pork held up remarkably well in the freezer

The chili, not so much. Had a lot of ice that needed to be scraped off

Once the pulled pork had browned a while I added chicken stock, V8, and lots of cayenne/cumin/chili powder.  The goal was to get the liquid level high enough to put the two chili ice cubes in.

just enough liquid for the...

...chili ice cubes. Very gross looking, glad Kristi didn't see this part

Once the cubes melted I added another can of black beans and the chili eventually came together well.

When I tasted it at this point, I felt like it needed a little more spice, so I acted accordingly

After simmering for a couple hours, it was ready to eat.  And that added spice was pretty apparent.

Thats the color of angry chili. I had to crumble up some biscuits to make it edible for Kristi and a few friends

The end goal of all of this was accomplished, because my freezer now looks like this:

Those two pork shoulders on the right will be showing up on this blog sometime soon

Kristi and I are heading to Boston for the long weekend and I am going to hit up Hi Lo for some football sunday inspiration.  Next week’s post should be back to the adventurous type of cooking that I prefer to write about on this blog.

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One thought on “Cleanin’ out my Cabinets: Post Summer Purge

  1. Fabulous post Pee Wee…I agree with you about the marraige thing. The presents are great, if you get to keep them. I can’t wait to see what you do with that pork butt!

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