Monday, June 22, 2015

Roasted Poblano Onion Dip and How to Stock a Pantry


So...last week found me cleaning the basement not because I wanted to, but because water seemed to have found a way in during the Denver monsoon. Our weather has been so weird this year. Yesterday was so hot, today is cool and clearly Mother Nature has no clue what she wants to do. We also have flowers blooming that usually don't bloom until August, and some that bloom over Memorial Day are just starting. Very weird.

In any case, going through boxes of 1990's McDonald's toys and old drawings of masterpieces from kindergarten, kept me quite busy. I now have a pile of things destined to be carried up the steps and thrown away, which makes me feel so good. As much as I hate cleaning, I really find it quite therapeutic. So now it is on to grocery lists.

How boring is that? Well, if you are a bit like me, I must admit that when I'm not pressed for time, I really do like going to the grocery. To me it is a bit of an adventure and what I find determines what I cook and eat. Let me explain. When the bambinos were young and living at home, I thought of dinner like a main course. Determining the main course was always my first step, then the rest of the meal came together.


Recently my FIL has found himself doing more of the grocery shopping because of circumstances beyond his control. He lives in Texas and since I'm not there, I asked him would a grocery list help and he replied that it would. I know that eating is his forte, but cooking and shopping are definitely not. I believe that's true for a lot of us, so I decided to let you in on a few of my trade secrets. No, they really aren't trade secrets, but they have managed to serve me well over the last 35 years of meal planning.

Basically it works like this:
Day One: Ground Meat of some sort
Day Two: Pasta
Day Three: Breakfast for Dinner
Day Four: Chicken
Day Five: Fish or other Seafood
Day Six: Pizza, Burgers, Leftovers, Main Course Salad, Giant Sandwich or Asian Stir Fry
Day Seven: Take me anywhere, but I'm not cooking!

Now you might think this is too general, but for me it worked. I will tell you that now that the kids are gone, OK-not living at home, I have eliminated pasta once a week. Manservant does like pasta, but not as much as Zoe or myself. He prefers a real protein, as he puts it. Grocery shopping for me involves making sure I have these main course staples on hand. As much as I like grocery shopping, I do not like shopping every day, therefore I keep myself well supplied. I always have some kind of ground meat in the freezer. Eggs are a necessity. Boneless chicken breasts and whole chickens, fish and shrimp are always in my freezer, too. But let's set all this aside, because today we are talking pantry.

I'm lucky because I have a good sized pantry closet to store things in. I also have a cupboard in the garage for extras, that I don't want to clutter my inside pantry with. For instance, if I go to Costco and buy a container with 10 cans of tuna fish, I  only keep two cans inside. This may sound like common sense, but my mother kept everything on the shelf, and then was never able to find what she wanted because it was buried behind other large case items!


Well, on to the journey. When the kids were young and had friends over, I often found them buried in my pantry. No joke. I'll never forget little Hannah telling me, "You have the best pantry ever." Hannah now works in the restaurant business, as a manager in a highly rated New York restaurant, with a very well known chef at its helm. I have visions of her inspecting their pantry daily. I'll bet that it doesn't contain giant bins of red licorice or gummy bears or jelly bellies or tootsie pops though. But that is how the first shelf, "SHELF #1" of my pantry used to be. It has since evolved into a boring but efficient shelf that contains very expensive organic dehydrated dog food, various cocktail napkins, some aluminum pans for when I give food away, and a tortilla warmer. Oh, lest I forget there is also an ice cream maker, protein powder and a few baskets and serving pieces that don't fit in a regular cupboard and grocery bags to return to the store. I liked it much better with candy.

But on to the real stuff. The stuff that makes meals. The stuff that keeps me from going shopping more than once a week. We will call it Shelf #2.

Shelf #2: Cereals such as Rice Chex, and Oatmeal. Protein Bars. Dried fruit such as raisins, apricots, dried pineapple and cherries, dates and prunes. Popcorn. Then I have junk stuff like potato chips, Fritos, pita chips, pretzel snacks and jerky. Manservant likes his jerky for a high protein snack. Licorice. Swedish licorice. You might want cookies. Graham crackers. Oreos for when I come to visit.

Shelf #3 Canned Goods: I love all varieties of canned beans except for kidney beans. I hate kidney beans. Tomato sauce. Tomato puree. Diced tomatoes. Corn. Creamed Corn. Extra Mayonnaise and mustard. Tuna and Canned salmon. Canned soup if you use it. I like chicken broth. Guava juice and pineapple juice for cocktails. Extra Jams and jellies. Capers. Pickles. Coconut Milk. Bottled curries for quick meals. Salsas.Artichoke Hearts and Hearts of Palm. Nutella and Peanut Butter. Peanuts and mixed nuts for snacking. Hot sauce. Mandarin oranges and applesauce.

Oils and Vinegars: I have olive oil and coconut oil and canola oil. I have various varieties of specialty oils that don't need to be stored in the fridge. I have honey and agave. Rosewater. Balsamic vinegar and other varieties. White vinegar. Apple cider vinegar. Rice wine vinegar. Sherry vinegar. Soy sauce. Hoisin Sauce. Fish Sauce. Chili Sauce with garlic. Oyster Sauce.


Shelf #5: Teas. Too many teas. Hot Cocoa. Nestle's Quik. I still drink it especially when I'm in a funk. Then begins my baking arena shelf. You may or may not want all of this. Flour, unbleached. Cake flour. Rye flour. Bread flour. Rice flour. Whole wheat flour I keep in the freezer. Sometimes I have masa. Baking powder and soda. Cornstarch. Varieties of chips such as semisweet, milk, cinnamon, white, dark, and toffee. Sprinkles. (I still have them from when the kids were little.) Sugar. Brown sugar. Powdered sugar. Raw sugar. Powdered milk for Momofuku recipes. Ditto for malted milk. Condensed milk. Marshmallow fluff that needs to be used. Kosher Salt. Graham cracker crumbs. Coconut.

Shelf #6: Grains: Rice such as white rice, brown rice, arborio, jasmine and black. Farro. Quinoa. Dried beans and peas such as black beans and pintos. Lentils and split peas. Couscous. Pastas. Spaghetti, macaroni and lasagna. Egg noodles. Rice noodles. Pad Thai noodles. Udon noodles. Corn meal. Grits. Polenta. Matzoh meal. Shrimp chips. Onion soup mix. Potatoes.Sweet potatoes.  Onions, but sweet onions I keep in the fridge. Ramen. Dried chilies and dried mushrooms. Gelatin or jello. Crackers. But keep opened crackers in the freezer to prevent them from getting stale. Dried yeast.

Shelf #7 I have to climb on a stool to reach this one. Often it contains the chocolate chips, because I don't want to reach them! It also has a very large paella pan that I'm not sure why I bought, my wok, and a bamboo steamer. It has a huge variety of supplements and vitamins that only Manservant knows how to use and three giant bags of old candy corn that I used in candle holders during Halloween and Thanksgiving. I threw the giant bags of candy hearts away.


That about sums up my pantry. Hope this helps my FIL. Next week or thereafter, we will do the spice cabinet, and the fridge and freezer. Maybe even essential gadgets and pots and pans. What do you think? Let me know if I missed anything. If I was clever I'd do a printable list, but I'm not that clever and there are lots of lists if you Google. After all, google knows it all!

So now while you contemplate a new pantry redesign, I'll leave you with this dip. Dip is good and this one is from the 4 Seasons in Vail. Feel free to add more green chilies and to sub in things like low fat mayo, cream cheese and sour cream or yogurt. It makes a ton and keeps awhile so that you can take it out a few weekends in a row. Trust me, no one will mind. I like it best at room temperature because it lets the flavors shine. Veggies or chips go perfect with this. I might also mention that this is the perfect thing to munch on while cleaning one's pantry in order to take photos. You didn't think I'd show you the X rated version, did you?


Roasted Poblano Onion Dip (Serves a crowd, but feel free to halve this!)
Time to Make: About 30 minutes
Ingredients:
3-12 roasted and seeded green chilies (Really. Add as many as you want) Or you can use a few cans of  drained Hatch chilies)
1 large onion, finely diced
2 t extra virgin olive oil
1-2 t chipotle or ancho chile powder or more to taste
1/2 t garlic powder
1 1/2 t Worcestershire powder
1 lb cream cheese, softened
1/2 c mayonnaise
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 c sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
Moe chile powder for garnish, plus cilantro

Directions:
Heat two teaspoons of oil in a large skillet. Add onion and saute over medium high heat, until tender and browned. Cover the pan if you want this to cook a bit faster and turn to medium heat. Add chilies, garlic, chile powder and Worcestershire to skillet and cook 5 minutes more. Cool completely.

Combine cream cheese and mayonnaise with a hand held mixer. Add Parmesan cheese and sour cream and mix well. Stir in poblano mixture. Feel free to adjust seasoning by adding more garlic or chile powder. You could even add a few diced jalapenos if you'd like some heat!

Other Dips:














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48 comments:

  1. Hi Abbe, love this dip, I've been craving some good old plain potato chips myself and this would go perfectly with them. Also love your pantry and all your room. We are empty nesters ourselves and there have been so many changes. Take care!

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    1. I think I make dip just so I can have potato chips! Thanks Cheri. Too many changes IMO!

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  2. We keep flours, grains, baking stuff, spices, etc in our kitchen pantry (plus loads of cooking stuff). For the rest I use a couple of those heavy duty plastic shelving units that you can buy at Home Depot in our basement. Really works pretty well - gets loads of exercise running up and down the stairs, and those shelves hold a lot -- we could probably live on pantry items for 2 months. Fun post -- I need to do something different with our spice arrangement, so will be interested to see what you do.

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    1. Well you have to get your exercise somehow! I will do spices but I'm not sure I have any great secrets, except maybe a lazy susan! It is fun to see how low the pantry can get. I have done that and not always for fun!

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  3. You are so organized! I wish my pantry was half as tidy and organized as yours, Abbe.
    The dip looks really super!

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    1. I usually know where everything is at. Not always so tidy though!

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  4. I did a lot of cleaning before our move, now I need to do a bunch afterward. It does feel so good. Your dip looks amazing. Love poblano peppers.

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    1. It seems once I start throwing things away I get on a roll! I still have plenty of dip if you want to stop by!

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  5. I used to do a rotation of meals - meat, chicken, fish, pasta. But then we stopped eating pasta during the week so now I do the same rotation, but leave Sunday's for something easy and simple to cook. I also did a pantry post and it makes you realise just how many different items you have of similar products :)

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    1. I really think pantries have a lot in common. But I do know there are a lot of folks that seem to accumulate to much. I like to know what I have! Thanks, Tandy!

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  6. And now I want to go grab a spoon and dig into some dip left over in my fridge! ha ah!!

    And my panty is FULL of stuff, full of it - lots of canned seafood and pumpkin for sure ;)

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    1. Yes! I forgot. A good pantry always has pumpkin. And maybe cranberries! I always buy extra at Thanskgiving just to have some. Must be that feeling leftover from childhood!

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  7. Thanks for the tour of your pantry! I try to keep the chocolate chips out of the way as much as possible, too.

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    1. Dangerous stuff, eh? And I never ever buy Oreos. That would just kill me!

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  8. I just spent 10 minutes spying on everything in your pantry. Talk about needing to get a life! ;-) Seriously though, wonderful dip. I'm bookmarking.

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  9. I could make a meal from this Abbe - it sounds wonderfully delicious. So jealous of your lovely pantry and you are so organized! About once a month I make a 5 day meal plans. The other 25 days we wing it :)

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    1. I must admit that now taht the bambinos are gone, I am not so good at planning-much to my husband's remorse!

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  10. We have a large pantry too and my 4 grandsons love it..mind you 3 of them have a huge one too;)
    I find I keep too much pasta..(not my fault..Jacques buys it every time we go to an Italian grocery store..they have different kinds..)..too many teas..I do keep a special cupboard area for all my faves..like David's Teavana..Tea Forte..etc etc..but all those bagged ones..oy.
    Too many spices..way too many..
    and asian cooking products..and condiment things..still unopened..
    Too much stuff.
    I like keeping it all organized.. but it doesn't stay that way.
    I have a LIttles area too:)
    Fun post..LOVE your dip vessel.

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    1. It is a cute bowl, isn't it? It's the only one I have that isn't chipped! And it is at least 25 years old! I could buy pasta like crazy but for me it is more of a winter item.Love having a kid's shelf. I miss it!

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  11. Your post will be the motivation I need to clean out the pantry. I need to be better organized and like the idea of keeping the chocolate chips and other goodies on a higher shelf, leaving the somewhat healthier options down low and within the boys' reach.

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    1. I really need to clean it out because of all those little moths. They always come from somewhere and then I open a container and find their home. Gross! When our kids were 2 we used to tell them not to wake us up until the clock hands reached 12 and 8. I would leave cereal on the bottom shelves for them to eat along with plastic bowls. They were so proud when they did this that they woke us up anyway just to tell us!

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  12. I am so jealous of your pantry! I can barely fit anything in my tiny kitchen :(
    The dip looks amazing by the way :)

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    1. There is nothing wrong with a tiny kitchen but it does necessitate going shopping more often! And being very organized!

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  13. Thanks for letting us tour you pantry! I have my stuff scattered in 4 different areas, but now I have an urge to purge and take inventory! I love to purge :) And I love your weekly schedule---I go to b/s chicken way too often and that would help me get out of my rut. Plus your dip sounds terrific!!

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    1. 4 areas sounds like a lot, but my guess is that you are very organized and know what is where. It was a great schedule when the kids were young. Now I usually punt! Thanks, Liz!

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  14. I have pantry envy now. Funny, I didn't realize that was even a thing.

    Love the dip - it looks great. I'm wanting to run to the market to get poblano peppers!

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    1. Trust me, I can find other pantries to get envious of, too! Great dip and it makes a ton!

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  15. Holy Cow Abbe, you could rent out your walk-in pantry as a 3 bedroom flat here in "space is hard to come by Hong Kong". Totally jealous! Love this delicious dip and now exactly the board I am going to share it on as I can't wait to try this later.

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    1. Very funny, Bam! But I know you are right! And thanks for the love!

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  16. Hi Abby, love the new design of your blog (sorry I've been away from blogging for a while)! I absolutely love this onion dip and it's a perfect appetizer or snack to serve in my next party. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks Yi. You are always missed! Will check you out again and glad you are back!

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  17. Love your post! And the dip sounds scrumptious!

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  18. Honestly, I'm a bit scared of onions but my husband loves them. We have so many onions growing in the garden that I won't know what to do with them all, but one thing is for sure, I'm making this dip!

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    1. You are the second person I know of that is afraid of onions. I don't know what I'd do without them! I envy you and your onions!

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  19. This is right up my alley - it might even take the place of my current favorite onion dip!

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    1. Everyone always has their favorite onion dip and I have mine. But this is pretty good, too! For when I need a change!

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  20. I recently saw another dip made with roasted hatch chilies which I never see here. I'm glad to see yours with roasted poblanos! I think we'd love it.

    I found I have cleaned out our pantry so much since our girls moved out on their own. I try really, really hard not to 'stock up' anymore either. So hard :)

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    1. Everyone seems to have their own version of this dip! But I must say that I've never met a bad dip, especially if it involves potato chips! I certainly don't keep as much on hand either! But I'd rather have the kids!

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  21. first of all, that dip looks and sounds amazing, Abbe. Secondly, i was reading along and i'm like "wow; i really like her organizational style here! these are excellent strategies and tips!" and then i got to the photo of your pantry.

    it looks JUST - i mean just exactly - like my pantry. We are pantry twins. Which feels SO GOOD b/c i thought i was the only one who organized their food into "grocery aisles" in the way you seem to do also. yay!

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    1. I've always wanted a pantry twin! Never realized I organized it like grocery aisles, though! How funny and true!

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  22. Simply damn delicious n comforting dip!!!
    Dedy@Dentist Chef

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  23. Fabulous pantry Abbe! Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to go organize mine. :) And I love that little dish that this dip is in. Fab.

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    1. Why thanks so much Lea Ann! I used to sell those dishes many moons ago. They were made by a potter in Boulder. Don't know if she is still around!

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