Almost all of us are cooking a lot more these days, but that doesn’t mean we have access to a bounty of ingredients. Personally, I’m used to being able to run out and buy the requisite spice for some new recipe or another, but right now, I’m trying to limit my visits to the grocery store.
For help, I asked a few of my favorite local chefs for pantry cooking ideas: things you can make with ingredients you probably have on hand, or stuff with a long shelf life.
One Off Hospitality’s Paul Kahan has a recipe in his book Cooking for Good Times that he calls “You Pick a Vegetable.” It’s perfect for using up any stray veggies you have lying around, whether that’s turnips, squash, cauliflower, celery root, or carrots. To make it, slice the veggies as thinly as possible, douse them with olive oil, and cover them with torn anchovy filets, Parmesan, the juice and zest of a lemon, and cracked black pepper. If you have it on hand, crusty bread is great for sopping up the dressing.
Max Robbins of Longman & Eagle suggests homemade hummus. Recipes are easy to find all over the web, and canned chickpeas keep for years. (They’re also still available at many stores, assuming you don’t have a few cans at home). His advice on kicking up the hummus a bit: Add some roasted garlic and mix in Greek yogurt for a creamy texture.
Urbanbelly chef Bill Kim points out that many Asian markets, including H Mart, are fully stocked, which means it’s easy to make miso soup at home. Whip up the dashi broth with water, kombu, and bonito flakes, then add miso, firm tofu, and, if you have some lying around, scallions. Here’s a recipe that’s almost identical to Kim’s.
For more ideas, head to Instagram, where other local chefs are posting recipes and cooking tips. Chandra Ram, the author of The Complete Indian Instant Pot Cookbook, posted her recipe for quick pickled onions, which you can use to jazz up different recipes. On the drink side, Scofflaw bartender Danny Shapiro walks you through building a home bar bottle-by-bottle and offers recipes for drinks to make as your collection expands. Elske’s David Posey posted a pasta recipe that he calls “It’s gonna be ok, Dave”, a comforting take on carbonara and pretty much exactly what we need right now.