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The World Pantry

May 27, 2009

I hope you had a great holiday weekend! I love the holidays because they are always a great excuse to cook and eat (not that I need an excuse). When you plan a meal ahead of time it is easy to make a list and buy what you need. One of the real challenges is when you are trying to cook on the fly. What can I make now?

The key to great on the fly cooking is a plentiful pantry stocked with the right goodies. I like to think of the pantry as COLD – the refrigerator, FROZEN – the freezer, DRY the cupboards and spice racks, and WET – the oils, vinegars and alcohol.

Today’s tip is in the freezer. I love to make a rich batch of chicken stock. (You can also use a store bought one just make sure it is low sodium because you are going to concentrate it). I then reduce it down by 75% and pour it into ice cube trays, cover it well and keep it in the freezer. Anytime you want a quick sauce to finish off a seared piece of meat you have it. Pop a cube or two out of the tray and into your sauté pan. As the cube melts it will be lifting off the scrumptious brown bits in the bottom of the pan. By the time the cube melts you have a rich, perfect sauce. Before you add the cube you could also sauté a little garlic and shallots and hit it with a splash of brandy or wine. I use these cubes to intensify a soup or some store bought stock for risotto.

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