After a thorough review of our blessedly abundant (translation: shockingly cluttered and disorganized) pantry last week, Zach and I decided to make a concerted effort to employ the contents of our larder much more diligently. To this effect, we decided to only purchase fresh fruits, dairy, and other such perishable ingredients until we had put the entirety of our pantry (with the exception of staples such as red wine vinegar, black beans, etc) to use.
Thus far, so many delicious recipes have emerged from the process of alighting upon a random ingredient and deeming it the star in a rather spontaneously created dish, that I've decided to start a periodic series entitled Pantry Treasures, featuring recipes created during our time cooking only from the bountiful grocery store known as our cabinets.
The first dish we concocted in this vein actually revolved around an ingredient in our fridge - a jar of olives, awe-inspiring in their mammoth size, gloriously stuffed with wonderfully briny garlic cloves. A fanciful purchase, they were grand and elegant for an impromptu tapas dinner, after which they faded into the sunset of a small shelf inside the door of the fridge... Until now.
3 bell peppers followed me home from Trader Joe's, alluring in their vibrant color and crisp summer freshness. A saute pan, some olive oil, the afore-mentioned olives, and a most rapturous dish was born. Who knew tidying the fridge could be so romantic?
Sauteed Olives and Peppers with Herbed Mashed Potatoes
4 large potatoes 1% milk 1 T minced chives 1 T minced parsley 1/4 tsp oregano 2 T olive oil 1 lb skinless and boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1" pieces OR 1 lb firm tofu, pressed dry and cut into 1" cubes 3 medium-sized bell peppers, thinly sliced 1 red onion, thinly sliced 4 cloves garlic, minced 5 T dry white wine 1 T lemon juice 1 cup finely chopped green olives (we used garlic-stuffed olives for this dish, which are great if you have them handy) 2 T finely minced parsley
~ Cook the potatoes according to your favorite method (I simply used the microwave). In a large pot over low heat, mash the potatoes with however much milk is needed to make them smooth and fluffy. Fold in the parsley, chives, and oregano, remove from the heat, cover, and set aside. ~ Season the chicken or tofu to taste with salt and pepper. ~ Using 1 T olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the chicken or tofu for about 3 minutes, until browned. Remove the chicken to tofu to a bowl, and set aside. ~ Add the remaining 1 T olive oil to the skillet, reduce the heat to medium, and saute the peppers and onion for 3 minutes, until they are just beginning to soften. ~ Add the garlic, and cook for 2 more minutes. ~ Stir in the white wine, scraping the bottom of the skillet to loosen any brown bits. Continue to cook until the peppers and onions are very soft. ~ Return the chicken or tofu to the skillet, and cook for 4 more minutes or so (if using chicken, make sure the chicken is cooked through). ~ Reduce the heat to low, and stir in the lemon juice, olives, and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. ~ Serve immediately, while nice and warm, spooned over the mashed potatoes!