Saturday, February 23, 2013

Hello. Is this thing still on?

Hello, loyal Orange & Salt readers! It's been well over a year since I updated this blog, with a lot of changes in between. After a nice long break from blogging, I've come to realize that I miss sharing my photos and recipes (not to mention my successes and failures!) with you via the interwebs.

So, to anyone who is still paying attention, this post will serve as the official end of one era (and the closure this blog so badly needed, although I will leave Orange & Salt up and running for anyone who would like to dig through past entries), and the announcement of a new one. I am now blogging my new kitchen adventures over at [ a treat grows in brooklyn ]......join me there, won't you? :)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Turkey Day for Tiny Families: A 'Thanksgiving Dinner' in Small Bites

Hold the phone, I'm sorry........but, what?? What day did you say that today was? Oh holy cranberries, and bless me Mother of Giblet Gravy and Stuffing: it's Thanksgiving. If you've reached this day and are currently suffering from any of the following circumstances, take heart! Help may soon be on the way. Did you:

1. Completely forget to buy a frozen turkey when you should have weeks ago, only to remember now when every single turkey is either sold out or prohibitively expensive, not that you'd have time to defrost it from a frozen rock solid state in time for tonight anyway?

2. Forget that you live in a tiny apartment complete with tiny apartment kitchen, in the oven of which you can barely bake a pork chop, let alone cram in an entire whole large fowl plus roasting pan?

3. Forget that you have a tiny family which may only consist of two humans and a pet, for which cooking an entire traditional feast, however wonderful leftovers may be, just seems a little silly and overblown?

4. Suffer a Thanksgiving-induced freakout a few weeks back and decide that NO SIR OR MA'AM, YOU WOULD NOT BE HAVING A TURKEY DINNER THIS YEAR, NO WAY, TOO MUCH WORK, LAY OFF ME IT'S NOT GONNA HAPPEN, only to then feel pangs of seasonal remorse leading to you changing your mind, then changing it back a few more times, only to reach today......secretly wishing for a little turkey on your plate? But unable to purchase an actual turkey, of course (see Scenario #1).

Fear not, my Turkey Disciples, for I have a plan. It's called............'Turkey & Stuffing' Meatballs with Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Brown Butter & Sage, and Miniature Green Bean Casseroles.

Some cubes of the stale ciabatta loaf (or any crusty bread, sourdough would also be lovely) that's been sitting around on your counter for the last few days will do nicely for the 'stuffing' component of the meatballs. Most meatball recipes call for the addition of bread crumbs anyway, but I left these substitutes whole & finely cubed (about 1/4" inch) as I worked them into the meatball mixture to give a more authentic 'Thanksgiving stuffing' sense memory.

Call me a food snob or purist (you wouldn't be the first), but I really can't stand the traditional green bean casserole that ends up on most tables. You know the one: a quivering mass of canned green beans, canned condensed cream of mushroom soup, and those anachronistic visitors to the 21st century from the 1960s, canned 'French fried' onions (yet another canned ingredient).....all combined in a casserole dish and baked into oblivion.

But when I though about it some more, it's really not so bad in theory, is it? I mean, fresh, snappy green vegetables, combined with silky mushrooms coated in a bechamel sauce, topped with something super savory and crunchy? I've reinvented this mid-century classic with fresh green beans, sweet caramelized onions and savory bread crumbs, individually baked in ramekins so that it's perfectly proportioned for one, two, or twenty people.

Turkey meatballs, combining ground turkey, cubed bread, celery, onions and dried cranberries. This dish combines all the flavors of a traditional, huge holiday meal without any of the worry or effort of roasting a huge bird and preparing endless side dishes. They are juicy, savory and sweet in every bite.

Sweet potato gnocchi, I knew I had to make these this year! Tender, sweet, and bathed in brown butter, they will make you forget all about pans of nasty orange goo coated in factory-made marshmallows. Satisfaction guaranteed.

I recommend serving this meal with something easy, cheerful and seasonal. A cocktail of sparkling wine and cranberry juice couldn't be simpler!

The full mini-Thanksgiving extravaganza on a plate: a few bites of everything that is good about the holiday, without any of the excess baggage. Happy Thanksgiving to all the families out there both large and small, may your day be full of coziness & merriment, and most importantly plenty of delicious, stress-free food! :)

'Turkey & Stuffing' Meatballs

1/2 lb. ground turkey
1/3 cup finely (1/4" inch) cubed stale bread
3 T. diced celery
3 T. diced white onion
3 T. chopped dried cranberries
1 T. finely chopped fresh sage
1 T. melted butter
splash of milk
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine turkey, bread cubes, cranberries, butter and milk in a mixing bowl, mix loosely using your hands (do not overly mix or 'squish' the mixture, especially the bread crumbs, just mix until barely combined).

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and 'sweat' the onions and celery so that they do not color, but begin to soften until translucent. If you throw the vegetables into the mixture while raw and then proceed to cook the meatballs, they will throw off a lot of water during cooking and your meatballs will do more steaming than actual roasting. Trust me, do not skip this step! When they are nearly done, add the fresh sage and cook for 30 more seconds to release flavor.

Remove celery, onion and sage from heat, let cool, then add to mixture with salt & pepper. Form into balls about 1.5" in diameter, place on a nonstick baking sheet or one lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes, or until meatballs are thoroughly cooked. Serves 2.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Brown Butter & Fresh Sage

1 sweet potato
1 cup flour (plus extra)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 egg
1 tsp. real maple syrup
3 T. butter
1 T. fresh chopped sage
Preheat oven to 350. Bake sweet potato for at least 30 minutes, or until soft to the touch. Remove and let cool thoroughly (I stuck mine in the freezer to cool faster). Peel and press through a potato ricer or a food mill into a mixing bowl. Add salt, nutmeg, maple syrup and egg and mix thoroughly. Add flour a small amount at a time and mix until you have a smooth dough (you may need slightly more or less flour than is called for).

Place a large pot of salted water over high heat to boil. In the meantime, form gnocchi. The traditional method is to form a long rope of dough, then slice off small sections and roll them over a fork like so. I was impatient with the rolling & slicing method, plus my rope of dough didn't seem to want to stick together, so I skipped straight to just pinching off a small amount of dough, rolling it into a ball in my hand, then pressing it over the tines of a fork to get the texture. Your mileage may vary. You may find a little extra flour useful here to keep the gnocchi from sticking.

Boil the gnocchi until they float, about five minutes. Remove & drain the excess water. In a large skillet, heat butter over medium high heat until it just begins to brown. Add sage and gnocchi, toss to heat & combine for about 60 seconds. Serves 2.

Miniature Green Bean Casseroles

1 cup fresh green beans, cleaned, trimmed and sliced into 1" lengths
6 white button mushrooms, sliced
4 T. sliced red onion
3 T. bread crumbs
2 T. butter
2 T. canola oil
salt & pepper
3 T. milk
1 tsp. flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine bread crumbs with 1 T. canola oil and some salt & pepper, spread on a baking sheet and bake until just barely brown and crunchy (watch them closely, they will cook in just a few minutes).

Heat 1 T. of canola oil in a skillet over medium high heat, saute green beans about 3 minutes until slightly tender but still a bit crunchy. Remove from heat. Wipe out skillet, lower heat to medium, add butter and sliced mushrooms. Cook until softened and slightly browned, then sprinkle with flour. Stir until a kind of roux forms and coats the mushrooms. Remove from heat, add milk and stir quickly until mushrooms are coated lightly in a white bechamel coating. Salt & pepper lightly, then divide mixture between 2 ramekins and press into bottom. Add green beans on top of mushroom mixture.

Wipe out skillet once again and add onions. Cook slowly over medium heat until brown and caramelized, but not burned. Divide over green beans, then sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake at 350 for about 12 minutes, then brown quickly under broiler until bread crumbs are thoroughly browned. Serves 2.

Cranberry Sparkling Wine Cocktail

sparkling wine
cranberry juice
Mix to taste. Be festive. :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cooking with Skulls: Sweet, Frosted Dia de Los Muertos-Inspired Treats

Greetings, my halloweenies! All right, technically we're post-Halloween here, but I made the delicious treats shown above for my coworkers and took them in on the day itself, so we'll go with it. Just a quickie drive-by blog entry to show off some of my latest holiday handiwork! More new entries are coming as soon as I can catch up (I've been cooking up a storm over here).

For now, please enjoy the Dia de Los Muertos-inspired (Mexican 'Day of the Dead') sugar cookies I made for Halloween this year, inspired by the hyper-decorated traditional sugar skulls made in Mexico. The cookie base is from Alton Brown's recipe for rolled sugar cookies, and like every other recipe with his name on it, it is absolutely flawless (with one small caveat: go ahead and double the amount of salt he calls for. It's an adjustment you don't need to feel guilty over, since you're only going from 1/4 teaspoon to 1/2, and the difference it makes in terms of the flavor is astronomical). His recipe quotes a yield of 3 dozen; I used a slightly larger cookie cutter (4" x 3") and got about 30 cookies.

Frost with plain white icing of your choice, then decorate as garishly as you dare. I'm partial to colored gels, star-shaped sprinkles, and of course, a 'more is more' approach. Feliz Dia de Los Muertos, everyone!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Greetings From the Surface of the Sun!!




That sound you hear isn't me sweating. It isn't my husband sweating, or even our little dog (he can't, poor thing). It's literally the liquid sound of the salty remnants of our sanity draining away slowly, one agonizing drop at a time. It's August in Phoenix, and it's HOT, and I don't want to eat anything but frozen treats.

With that in's a perfect time for fruit sorbets! Nothing says summer like frozen watermelon with a hint of lime. This recipe will give you a delicious, cooling confection to help battle the summer blues, whether or not you have an ice cream maker (we actually don't--bad foodies!).

We had some adorable mini watermelons (I also like the term seen in the produce section of the local Asian supermarket where we purchased these: 'personal watermelon,' but it makes me giggle. It just sounds so....I don't know, intimate? This is my personal watermelon. Hee hee.), so I used those. Bonus bowl afterwards!

I recommend serving a scoop of watermelon sorbet nestled next to a creamy scoop of Haagen Dazs lemon ice cream, with a sprig of mint, in your own personal watermelon bowl. Bliss.

Fresh Watermelon Sorbet

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
5 cups fresh seedless watermelon chunks
6 tbsp. fresh squeezed lime juice

Bring the sugar and water just to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the sugar is completely dissolved--do not stir or you will introduce sugar crystals and everything will get weird. Trust me. Set aside in a bowl until completely cool.

Put the watermelon chunks and the lime juice into a blender or food processor. Pulse several times to chop the melon and then process until the fruit is completely pureed. Press melon puree through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds and any extra pulp. Combine with the cooled sugar syrup. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

If you have an ice cream maker, pour the watermelon mixture into the freezer bowl, and process according to your manufacturer's instructions. If you don't have an ice cream maker, pour the mixture into a 9" x 13" pan and set in the freezer. Using a fork, stir the ice crystals at least once every hour for the next three hours, making sure to scrape the crystals from the side of the pan (where they will form first) and re-introduce them to the rest of the mixture. Freeze overnight. The next day, before serving, scoop out the desired quantity for serving and blend in food processor until soft*. Serve, & enjoy the cooling goodness!

(*This is one of those times when I can really see the use for a kitchen gadget, i.e., an ice cream maker. After all, ice cream or sorbet made in a machine intended for that purpose is smooth, evenly textured and lovely, because the machine continually churns air into the mixture as it's freezing. Technically, what you're making by using the pan-and-stirring-with-fork method is a granita, equally lovely tasting, but a lot coarser in texture, more like a snow cone. Putting it in the food processor the next days helps to incorporate some air and makes the texture finer, but you may need to stick it back in the freezer for a few minutes afterwards to firm it back up a little. Takes a little extra work this way, but it does taste delicious.)

I had some textural issues with this sorbet, mostly due to the fact that we don't have a proper ice cream maker. The mixture froze absolutely solid in its container, and was a real pain to chip out for serving. I'd like to experiment with some additives to keep it from freezing solid and hopefully maintain a smoother, softer texture. Gelatin, maybe, or a splash of vodka or sparkling wine? I'll keep you posted. But, not wanting to waste our precious frozen personal watermelon mixture, we ate it once as sorbet and from then on just threw chunks of it into the blender with limeade to make......FROZEN WATERMELON LIMEADE. Which, I'm telling you, is an instant summer classic.

Serve in a tall glass with bendy straw. :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

In Cold Blood: A Tale of Crustacean Murder in Three Parts

I. It was a dark & stormy afternoon. It was a Thursday, as I recall, or maybe it was a Friday. They say you never forget your first time, but now that I've been there and back, who can remember? Anyway, the dates don't really matter, because I'd had only one thing on my mind for a long time.


My partner, he phoned me from the place, you know, the place, the one where things get taken care of*. 'You wanna do this thing?' he asked me. I hesitated for only the briefest fraction of a second, considering the practicalities: Did I have the tools** to get the job done? Did I dare to do the deed itself? 'Oh yes,' I said hastily. 'Let's do this thing.' He arrived with our victims loosely contained in a paper bag, gently crinkling with the movement of an exploratory claw here and there.

* aka, the grocery store. You know. The place where things get taken care of.

** 5-quart stockpot, cooking tongs, large sink for rinsing, fresh sweet corn on the cob, potatoes, smoked sausage and seasonings.

II. Now before anyone gets upset, you should know that these particular freshwater crustaceans deserved their fate, for having thwarted me once before. We had a long, twisted history, and it wasn't pretty. When my partner arrived we dumped the unsuspecting victims from their brown paper sack into a large pot and covered them with a few changes of cool, fresh water.

We gave them a final rinse in the sink to remove any lingering traces of grit. I gave them a final chance to repent, but they were recalcitrant. I swear, one of them even raised a tiny, clenched little claw out of the water at me and shook it menacingly. 'All right, you little devils,' I said with gritted teeth tightly clenched. 'I've got a nice hot bath for ya.' And it was nice: full of halved cobs of corn, fat slices of smoked sausage, onion wedges, whole garlic cloves and generous shakes of cajun seasoning. Delicious*. As long as you weren't a crawfish.

* We used a recipe/method similar to the one given here.

One of them made a last, desperate attempt at escape. We laughed, having our 'Annie Hall' moment, somewhat nervously wielding a mesh strainer and hoping that between the two of us, we'd have the strength and steely nerve to wrangle this lone ranger back into the pot. Luck, or skill, was on our side. He was a brave fighter, but ultimately, a goner.

III. We pitched the whole mess out, once done, onto a tablecloth of newsprint*. Once you've dispatched your victims, it's best to get rid of them as quickly and as tastily as possible. And that mean sucking the delicious hot fat & liquid brains out of the heads**.

The sweetness of the crawfish meat (they are like tiny lobsters, after all, with most of the amazing meat resting in the tail) contrasted nicely with creamy bites of potato, golden kernels of corn, and salty, savory bites of sausage, all bound together in the same spicy seasoning that hints of fresh garlic and onion. A few of my favorite things, all in a pot together. Definitely don't forget to suck the heads.

* This is the best way to eat a simple, delicious boiled dinner with your fingers: all jumbled together, whole, with spices all blended together and no need to clean up afterwards. Just fold up the used newspaper with the shells and cobs and throw away!

** How to eat a whole crawfish: grasp the head tightly in one hand, the body/tail in the other. Squeeze the body close to where it joins with the head, twist until they separate. Place the tail meat between your teeth, bite down and suck or twist the tail meat free until it leaves the shell. Now, place the open end of the head in your mouth and create suction--you will be rewarded with warm, spicy, fatty juices! Suck all that you can out of there. This, along with the delicious tail meat (something with the texture and size of shrimp but the sweetness of lobster) is the good stuff. Suck those heads.

This is where the whole sordid tale came to an end: at the dining room table. If you do commit murder, it's best to have an accomplice. Tasty, tasty murder. No regrets. :)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Appetizers for Dinner: Better Living Through Small Bites

I'm a great date, really. Take me out to a restaurant, any restaurant, and I'll regale you with sparkling, witty conversation, periodically punctuated with thoughtful, good-listener pauses. I know how to use a napkin, and I'm reasonably confident which fork is which. Really. I'm a great date.

What I am also, though, is a terrible orderer. I linger over menus, frozen with indecision, as unsure over which entree to select as though it were a life-and-death decision. Too small in stature for most multi-course meals (the phrase I often heard in childhood was 'eyes bigger than your stomach,' which sadly couldn't be more true. Huge eyes, teeny stomach. Unless you've got six hours to spend with me, the nine-course tasting menu is out), the choice does become kind of crucial. It can make or break an evening! Most often I end up liking what's on my plate, but loving whatever it is that my husband's ordered, and thus spending most of the night conducting sneaky, behind-enemy-lines raids on his plate with a dive-bombing fork. Which is fine until your dining partner finally catches on and begins defending himself with his steak knife, as mine will inevitably do.

The better option is to go for what I really want, which is many, many tiny bites of a variety of good things. You know. The tapas bar, the dim sum joint, even the humble office potluck--I love them all. I could, and have in fact been known to, make an entire meal out of appetizers when dining out. At home when we can't think of anything inventive to throw on the dinner table (which happens with disturbing frequency considering we're a foodie household, but hey, we're also employed full time.......and, y'know, human), we turn to two meals we call 'Bruschetta' (stuff on garlic-rubbed toasts) and 'Veggie Tapas' (sometimes this actually includes meats, but more often it's things like crispy paprika chickpeas, chilled cucumber salad, whole steamed artichokes, or Mike's Turkish roasted peppers with garlic yogurt dipping sauce). But occasionally, we raise the bar on 'Appetizer Evenings' to include some more ambitious small bites. Here's a roundup of some recent standouts.

All-phyllo extravaganza: Crispy 'Cigars' of Spinach & Feta, Caramelized Onions & Feta, and Black Forest Ham-Wrapped Asparagus Spears. Also, Phyllo 'Purses' of Mushroom Duxelles with Drunken Goat Cheese.

Crispy 'Cigars' of Spinach & Feta

Phyllo sheets
olive oil
2 cups of baby spinach, chopped
1/2 cup feta
1 tsp. minced garlic

Thaw phyllo according to package instructions. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To make filling: saute spinach in a small amount of olive oil until spinach is soft and most of the moisture has evaporated. Add minced garlic and a squeeze of lemon juice, saute for 30 seconds, then remove pan from heat. Add feta, stir until throughly mixed. Set aside to cool.

Cut sheets of phyllo into 1/4 sheets. Take 1/4 sheet and brush one side with olive oil. Place about a tablespoon of cooled filling at one end, squoosh with fingers into a long line of filling. Roll phyllo sheet into cigar shape, brush outside with olive oil, place on baking sheet. Repeat until filling is gone. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until outside is golden brown and crispy. Makes about 8 'cigars.'

Crispy 'Cigars' of Black Forest Ham-Wrapped Asparagus Spears

Phyllo sheets
olive oil
8 asparagus spears
4 slices of Black Forest (or other) ham

Follow instructions above regarding thawing & preheating. Wash & trim asparagus spears, then saute in a small amount of olive oil until about halfway cooked (this gives wonderful flavor but helps to eliminate overcooking), they should still be very crunchy but slightly browned on the outside. Let cool.

Cut sheets of phyllo into 1/4 sheets. Take 1/4 sheet and brush one side with olive oil. Cut slices of thin, deli-sliced Black Forest ham (prosciutto would also be good here, you know, if you're fancy) in half. Roll one asparagus spear in one half-slice of ham, then place on phyllo sheet and roll into cigar shape, brush outside with olive oil, place on baking sheet. Repeat until filling is gone. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until outside is golden brown and crispy. Makes 8 'cigars.'

Phyllo 'Purses' of Mushroom Duxelles with Drunken Goat Cheese

Phyllo sheets
olive oil
1 cup finely diced mushrooms (plain white button or crimini mushrooms work well)
3 T. grated cheese (I had a leftover chunk of my favorite 'Drunken Goat' cheese, so that's what I used. Heaven.)
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, chopped a little
1 tsp. cornstarch, mixed with 1 tsp. water
2 chives or scallion greens, for presentation (not necessary, but cute)

Follow instructions above regarding thawing & preheating. Saute in butter until soft and lightly browned. Add cornstarch mixture, continue cooking & stirring for about 60 seconds longer, then remove from heat. Add fresh thyme & grated goat cheese, stir to mix throughly. Let cool.

Cut sheets of phyllo into 1/4 sheets. Take 3 of the 1/4 sheets and layer evenly, brushing one side with olive oil in between layers. Divide filling in half, shape into a ball, and place in the middle of phyllo stack. Bring edges up around filling and twist slightly to form 'purse' shape. Brush outside all over lightly with olive oil. Repeat with other half of filling. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until outside is golden brown and crispy. Let the outside cool slightly, then loosely tie chives or scallion greens in a single knot. Makes 2 'purses.'

Coconut Shrimp 'Lollipops' with Dipping Sauce

1 lb. shrimp (you should have about 20)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
fresh ground pepper
pinch of flour (about 1 T.)
2 eggs, beaten
1 T. soy sauce
Sriracha sauce
1 T. honey
1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
vegetable oil
bamboo skewers (one per shrimp)

Peel & devein shrimp if necessary, set aside in large bowl. Mix together salt, sugar, pepper and flour, then sprinkle over shrimp and toss to coat evenly. Mix together beaten eggs, soy sauce, honey, and sriracha (to your preferred level of spiciness--this is highly personal. I used about 1/2 tsp.). Curl each shrimp into a tight 'C' shape, then insert skewer through to form 'lollipops.' Dip each skewered shrimp in egg mixture, then in shredded coconut, pressing on coconut with your fingers or a fork to make sure it sticks.

Heat about 2" of oil in a deep skillet over medium high heat. Once oil is hot enough (test with shreds of coconut) place lollipops in oil (skewers will rest on the side of the pan. Be very careful of these if you're cooking over open flame! I use an electric burner stove), a few at a time. Cook until golden brown on either side, flipping once during cooking. Allow to drain on paper towels as you cook the rest in batches. Lollipops can be kept warm in a low oven if necessary, but are at their crispy-outside, tender-inside best when eaten immediately after cooking. Make & serve immediately if you can!

Serve with dipping sauce of choice--something sweet & sticky is preferable. Storebought Asian sweet chili sauce is perfect for this; plum sauce, hoisin, or apricot jam with a glug of sriracha mixed in would also be splendid. Sauce pictured above is a homemade concoction of soy sauce, honey & spicy mustard which was also amazing but for which I took no recipe notes whatsoever. Experiment away!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Photo Blog Challenge: What's in YOUR Fridge?

What's in a Foodie's Fridge?

1. Eggs. Staple.

2. Fresh blackberries. My favorite, and they were on sale this week!

3. Leftover roulade of chicken breast with morel mushroom stuffing (hard to see in the glare of the fridge light, not much to look at anyway, but it's a knockout, flavor-wise)

4. 2 leftover egg yolks in an airtight container. I needed 2 egg whites recently, and couldn't bear to lose these. Suggestions?

5. Plain yogurt. Staple.

6. Half-used red onion. We always seem to have one of these going. I don't think there's much that either of us cooks that doesn't involve a lot of onion, which is one of many reasons I keep a toothbrush at work and brush after every lunch. My coworkers are no doubt grateful.

7. Sun-dried tomatoes. We are fancy.

8.Parmigiano-reggiano, the indisputed king of all cheeses.


10. Ever-present salad greens, this time it's arugula and baby spinach.

11. Mayo. Staple.

12. Forgotten container of crudités from last week's lunches. Whoops. Those may be past their prime.

13. Pitcher of filtered water, also ever-present. You do NOT want to drink the tap water of our fair city, it will make you grow a dorsal fin and sprout a third eyeball. True facts.

14. Neglected bottle of cola from my birthday party (three weeks ago!), which has languished because neither of us really drinks soda, but survived because I keep thinking that (even flat) I can use it as a marinade ingredient or something? Suggestions?

15. Various juices (apple, cran-raspberry).

16. Soy sauce. Staple.

17. Arizona Gunslinger, a local product and my #2 favorite hot sauce in the world. It's fiery, but less vinegary than Tabasco, and with delicious, almost smoky undertones. You can order it online. Let it rock your world.

18. Pickles, without which my husband could not survive (sort of like myself and coffee).

19. Backup bottle of soy sauce (I am serious about that 'Staple' thing).

20. Homemade strawberry-blackberry jam, made by my sweet friend and fellow blogger, the Splendidly Imperfect Miss M.! Her jam-making skills are legend. :)

21. Finally, my #1 favorite hot sauce for everything from dim sum to schnitzel......Sriracha! We're never without it.

All right, now quick, join me! Grab your camera. Open the fridge. Don't stop to arrange things prettily or wipe that sticky shelf clean, don't wait until you've stocked up on 'interesting' foodie-street-cred items like quail's eggs or reindeer testicles, don't move that shameful package of Kraft Singles an inch. Just snap a photo and show us what you've got. It's an interesting window into the daily lives of eaters, and inquiring minds really do want to know. Ready, set.......go!