Ready, Steady, Cook?
September 19, 2022 12:32 AM   Subscribe

If you had the below ingredients, and no others, what meals would you make?

Freezer:
Diced sweet potato
Diced red capsicum
Green beans
Corn kernels
Broccoli florets
Peeled prawns

Fridge:
Minced garlic
Lime juice
Butter
Milk
Eggs
Jarlsberg cheese

Pantry:
Whole tomatoes
Chickpeas
Black beans
Red kidney beans
Cannelloni beans
Brown lentils
Shiitake mushrooms
Baby corn
Coconut milk
(all above are canned)
Sushi rice
Arborio rice
Thin wheat noodles
Casarecce pasta

Flour, sugar, cocoa powder, corn starch, bi carb, breadcrumbs

Olive oil, avocado oil, ketchup, worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, mirin, sriracha, tabasco, vinegar, vegetable stock cubes, dashi stock

Salt, pepper, kashmiri chilli, chilli flakes, paprika, cumin, garlic, ginger, turmeric, oregano, japanese curry powder

You've got an oven, cooktop, microwave, pressure cooker, air fryer, all the utensils you could ever want, running water, but you can't buy more food. What are you eating?
posted by Adifferentbear to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Best answer: I'd make a curry with the veggies, frozen prawns, and coconut milk. Flavoring with garlic, curry powder, ginger, chili flakes, siracha, and lime juice. Served with either the sushi rice or arborio rice.
posted by emd3737 at 12:45 AM on September 19 [7 favorites]


I'd make sweet potato and chickpea curry, and use the prawns for prawn fried rice. I'd also make lentil soup and a vegetable stew.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:26 AM on September 19 [1 favorite]


Best answer: Depends entirely on how many people I’m cooking for over what period of time. That’s a pretty solid pantry! The main thing missing is onions, and raw unfrozen fruits and vegetables, so no salads, and no alium-heavy flavor bases.

To start with I’d thaw the prawns and marinate in garlic, lime, paprika, salt and pepper. They can be roasted on a sheet pan by themselves with olive or avocado oil, skewered and grilled, sautéed in a pan, tossed into a soup or stew, or even microwaved until just done. Extremely flexible protein. You can add heat with any of your chilies or hot sauces without the marinade base interfering.

Coconut curry rice is awesome, just replace all your cooking liquid for sushi rice with coconut milk (top it up with dashi or water if needed) and pop in a hearty amount of curry powder, mix throughly and cook. It should come out a bit creamy. You can take any amount of any of your frozen or canned vegetables and cut them up small, thaw the frozen ones, and mix into the hot just-done rice. I’d do some capsicum, corn, and broccoli, zap them in the microwave, do a choppy chop and mix. Serve with the roasted prawns.

I think I’d go for a bean chili for another hearty meal. Break the whole tomatoes down into a sauce whichever way you prefer (blender? Heat and smush with potato masher? Squish with hands?) and set it aside. Sauté capsicum, garlic, chili flakes, lots of cumin and paprika, dried garlic, and whatever other spices you think sound good in some avocado oil in your pot. Then add lentils and your crushed tomatoes, plus some veggie stock. Let the lentils sort of start to break down, they can kind of evoke ground meat texture that way. Add sweet potato for body. Add in your Worcestershire, ketchup, and Tabasco. Cook and taste and adjust and cook and taste and adjust until you have a a great taste going on and the tomatoes have properly cooked down and no longer have a canned flavor. Add your black and kidney beans and maybe the cannelinis and heat it all through. At the last minute sprinkle with lime juice. You could have this with rice or pasta if you want a carb.

You could do really fantastic mashed sweet potatoes. Steam the chunks until cooked through, mash, and blend with hot butter, warmed milk, salt and pepper. Next level: stir in a beaten egg. Form cakes and coat in breadcrumbs, and pan fry for crispy sweet potato croquettes. You could stud these with corn kernels inside, too. I don’t do air fryers but I bet this would be a good air fryer thing.

I’d definitely do an omelette with the jarlsberg cheese. Hot sauce or ketchup to taste, and served with sweet potato hash made with some capsicum, cumin, paprika, garlic. Steam the broccoli or green beans and toss with a bit of garlic and butter and you have a meal.

Prawn risotto would work, depending on how flexible you are. You could use the coconut milk and the regular milk for creaminess, and use dashi stock as the liquid base and mirin for the wine replacement.

You could slow cook the green beans in a small amount of tomato with garlic and veggie stock and spice it with the Kashmiri chili and get a pretty great depth of flavor.

Crunchy roasted chickpeas are a favorite of mine. Spread them out on a sheet pan and dry them thoroughly. Preheat the oven to 350. Liberally coat the chickpeas with your spice combination of choice. Maybe turmeric ginger garlic? Don’t forget to salt. A little corn starch will make things crispier. Spread them back out into one layer and let them roast until crispy, then stir and flip them around and crisp up a second time.

You could do these chickpeas and green beans on plain rice or with buttered pasta.

Speaking of pasta. Sauté the shiitake with some salt until they begin to brown (since they’re canned it will take a long time). You can cut the, up or leave them big depending on preference. Cook your pasta until a few minutes underdone. Add broccoli, garlic, chili flakes, and butter to the pan. If you want a creamy pasta you could have toasted some flour in a separate pan and melted butter in to make a roux, thinned it out with veggie stock and added it in at this point, but imo that’s too many pans. Anyway, add your pasta and some stock/roux/pasta water so it has enough liquid to finish cooking, mix, and cover until al dente. Maybe put your white beans in there too? You do you.
posted by Mizu at 1:35 AM on September 19 [10 favorites]


Best answer: I would make a vegetarian chili or soup, and serve with the pasta or rice. I use this template for chili.
posted by rakaidan at 2:36 AM on September 19


Best answer: A couple of flexible ideas for the East-Asia-leaning ingredients:

-fried rice (add a bit of that Japanese curry powder for a curry-flavored one!): veg + egg + prawns + shiitake + cooked rice + oil/seasonings (S+P, ginger, garlic, cumin, curry, etc)--fry or parcook the ingredients in rounds, then combine at end for final cooking

-"clay pot rice" (if no clay pot, could just use a wide-ish lidded pot): put uncooked rice + dashi in pot and start steaming; in meantime, marinate veg/prawns/shiitake in soy/ginger/garlic/mirin/S+P; once rice is mostly cooked, add the marinated toppings to the pot and cook for a few minutes, covered

(clarification note: By "sushi rice," do you mean Japanese white rice in general? In Japanese cooking, "sushi rice" would specifically mean rice that has been cooked, flavored with seasoned vinegar, and then cooled for use in sushi.)
posted by Sockin'inthefreeworld at 2:51 AM on September 19


Response by poster: Sockin'inthefreeworld, sorry, yes. It's labelled "sushi rice" but it's actually Japanese short grain rice.

There's no clay pot but there is a rice cooker.

Mizu, you have no idea how helpful everything you wrote is!
posted by Adifferentbear at 3:08 AM on September 19 [1 favorite]


Best answer: Also, if you like teriyaki, the best sauce is a simple homemade one (soy + mirin + sugar + sake, but this Just One Cookbook link explains that you can sub out the sake)--use for veg/prawn rice bowls, stir-fries, etc
posted by Sockin'inthefreeworld at 3:15 AM on September 19


Best answer: This is my favorite kind of creative puzzle, so here’s some more ideas.

Make bechamel, that’s flour and butter combined and cooked to make a roux and then warm milk whisked in. Add a heaping helping of grated jarlseburg, black pepper, salt to taste (remember the cheese is salty) and maybe some veggie stock to thin it out. Bam, cheese sauce. Bump it up with some Worcestershire if you’re cool.

Of course you can take your pasta, parcook it, mix with cheese sauce, sprinkle with breadcrumbs, pop it in the oven, mac and cheese. You can also do the same with your frozen broccoli, oooh, cheesy crunchy broccoli. Would be good with any of your spicy condiments. Mix the cheese sauce with thawed frozen corn and chopped up sautéed capsicum for a decadent side. Drizzle it on oven roasted sweet potatoes. You can add much more stock and thin it out to soup consistency and make broccoli cheese soup or cheesy corn chowder with sweet potato chunks. Make soda bread to dip.

Speaking of soda bread, once you find a good recipe (I am not a baker, sorry) you can have quick bread of many types. A prawn salad sandwich idea: make your own mayo with avocado oil and eggs, a little Tabasco, salt and pepper, dried garlic, vinegar. Steam your prawns and let them cool. Chop into pieces, also mix with lime juice and pop in the fridge. Drain excess juice and mix with spoonfuls of your Mayo, spread on your quickbread. So much making from scratch! By the time you eat you’ll really be hungry.

Three bean salad idea: blanch the green beans to take away frozen taste. Take a small part of a canned tomato, reserve the rest for another use, and mince it. Also mince some microwaved capsicum. Make a flavor base with those two red things, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper, a little sugar, and oregano. Drain chickpeas and kidney beans, taste for saltiness and adjust if needed. Add those plus the green beans and let the whole thing marinate overnight in the fridge.

At some point I’d do a simple nimono style dish with dashi base. Add soy and mirin, go ahead and use the dried ginger, and simmer the shiitake, prawns, baby corn, and sweet potato in there. Add things in order of cooking time so it’s all ready at the end together. Of course serve with rice, which you can sprinkle with dashi powder for extra flavor. You could pop some whole eggs in there or make some separate medium boiled eggs ahead of time, peel, and slip them in to get simmered together.

You could get super experimental and try to make a lentil loaf. I’d probably mince up the mushrooms and capsicum and garlic really fine, mash like half the lentils while leaving the rest whole, mix with egg, bread crumbs, ketchup, Worcestershire, maybe a little milk to moisten the breadcrumbs? Some chili maybe, plenty oregano and paprika, salt and pepper of course, attempt to form into a loaf. Place on a baking sheet. Drain a can of tomatoes and reserve the juice, mix that juice with more ketchup and whatever seasonings you think would work, arrange the whole tomatoes around the loaf and drizzle the top with your juice mixture. Then roast at, I don’t know, 400 until it looks golden brown? Completely spitballing here.
posted by Mizu at 4:15 AM on September 19 [2 favorites]


heat + coconut milk + cocoa powder + sugar + chili = hot cocoa. In a little espresso cup.


Choose your own adventure bean salad
self-link- I just checked, you can make multiple different bean salads using this recipe and your existing supplies.
posted by aniola at 9:13 AM on September 19


The closest thing to a green salad that you have is defrosted broccoli drained and served with a little of the canned baby corn. Lime juice and oil and a small amount of chickpeas will make it more like a salad than just cold vegetables.

Vegetable soup can be made in the rice cooker. Leave all the sweet potato out of one, and then a day or two later make a second soup with lots of sweet potato so you have two favour profiles that are not too close. Use a potato masher to turn the sweet potato soup into a textured puree. Garnish sweet potato soup with some of the frozen capsicum of finely grated Jarlsberg.

I would definitely do some buttered rice with prawns, leaving the prawns whole to give the illusion that they are a sizeable serving of animal protein.

Lentils and rice cooked together until they can be served with an ice cream scoop make a nice rib-sticking starch. A little butter and salt give it a trifle more flavour. Serve plain as a lot of your other dishes are likely to be highly spiced because they are full of beans, and spicing them heavily will cut the beaniness.

Make a brown sauce with shitake mushrooms and butter and salt and flour or cornstarch and while it is cooking (which will take quite awhile to get it brown enough) fry a small quantity of some vegetables such as the baby corn and green beans, and when the veggies are tender break a few eggs into them and stir it around until the egg is lightly cooked. Serve with the brown sauce also stirred into it. Could be used as a topping for steamed arborio rice.

Make crepes with flour, egg and coconut milk, and wrap around a spicy tomato and bean paste filling. Sweet crepes may be wrapped around a sweetened red bean paste made from the kidney beans.

A kind of cookie could be baked out of white bean paste, sugar, flour, egg and coconut milk. They should be mild and help you stretch the flour and be a way to use those very plain white cannelloni beans.

Cook canned tomatoes and shitake mushrooms with garlic to create a tomato sauce to serve on the pasta. Add the garlic after the tomato and mushrooms have been rendered so as to stretch the garlic farther. The trick will be to cook it long enough to get the flavour of the spices nicely blended into the tomato, without cooking the spices so long they don't disappear or turn into over-cooked garlic flavour.

Defrost the sweet potatoes, drain and pat dry, toss in oil and roast in a baking pan in the oven, stirring frequently.
posted by Jane the Brown at 9:14 AM on September 19


Scrambled eggs - just plain eggs + your favorite flavor if you like them dry. If you like them moist, add a little acid (tomatoes or lime juice or something). I would add the garlic and cheese, myself. Others would probably add some of those spices.

Use as a topping for something else.
posted by aniola at 9:15 AM on September 19


Make a creamy curry sauce with turmeric, cornstarch and coconut milk and a bit of other spices like paprika to give it the taste of a blended curry, and serve that over vegetables, with white rice on the side.
posted by Jane the Brown at 9:19 AM on September 19


Trinidad doubles. I use Madhur Jaffrey's recipe but this one looks pretty similar - you'd use bicarb + lime juice/vinegar as the raising agent.

If you don't have a better use for the arborio rice, you could make rice pudding for dessert, including a couple of eggs and some of the coconut milk.
posted by offog at 11:24 AM on September 19


Meal #1: Sweet potato curry with canned tomatoes, lentil dal, Arborio rice
Meal #2: A coconut lime shrimp pasta dish, with the whole kernel corn and tomatoes if any are left
Meal #3: Sir-fried garlicky green beans, fried rice with the mushrooms and baby corn, heavy on the egg to make a complete meal.
Meal #4: Wheat noodles with chickpeas and broccoli with garlic white sauce
Meal #5: Cuban-style black beans with the red peppers and rice.
I don’t know how many cans are involved in the above list, so at this point I feel like I might be running out of an appropriate amount of vegetables for balanced meals. But if there are sufficient cans of everything to make it work, one further thing that could be put together out of the above would be a soup with cannelloni beans, some pasta, green beans, tomatoes, corn.
posted by drlith at 11:36 AM on September 19


Chocolate brownies
posted by Mchelly at 1:28 PM on September 19 [1 favorite]


Shrimp (prawn) and vegetable stir-fry. (broccoli, baby corn, shiitakes, prawns, soy sauce, oil, maybe Kashmiri chili and coconut milk – rice optional)

Curried chickpeas. (chickpeas, oil, some combination of cumin, turmeric, garlic, ginger, Kashmiri chili)

Dal. (same as above, but with lentils instead of chickpeas)

Vaguely taco-inspired veggie bowl. (sweet potato, black beans, corn, cumin, lime juice, Tabasco if desired)

Bean salad. (your choice of drained canned beans, tossed with oil, vinegar, pepper, oregano, garlic, etc. – serve cold)

Tomato and cheese omelet. (self-explanatory)

Pasta with broccoli and cheese sauce. (make a roux with flour and oil; use that to thicken some milk; melt in shredded Jarlsberg to make a Mornay-like sauce; season with salt and pepper)
posted by escape from the potato planet at 1:54 PM on September 19


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