Guest Blogger Liz Emrich on her Fridge

What’s in Your Fridge?



Today’s guest blogger is Liz Emrich, my friend and fellow foodie.  For those who are not in the know, her Open Salon blog Iron Skillet: Culinary Punditry as Food for the Masses is one of the best blogs about food on the net. 


With out further interruption, here is Liz on her fridge:  (And shame be upon you to those who are not reading the Iron Skillet!)

What’s in your fridge?

Oh my god, where to begin?  There’s things to drink, of course.  Hemp milk for the boy – chocolate and vanilla – that’s because he’s on a casein-free diet.  We have orange juice and chocolate soy milk. We have alcohol of course.  A bottle of red wine (open), a bottle of white wine and a bottle of champagne (unopened).  There’s also a 750 ml bottle of fine Belgian beer, Gulden Draak, but I’m cracking that open right now.

Then there’s the things that I love to cook with – onions, shallots, cilantro, brussel sprouts, eggs, parmesan cheese, peas, chestnuts, a container of my homemade chipotle sauce.  I like to cook, and there are some things that you just need to keep on hand when you cook.  There’s also the condiments – Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, lemon juice, strawberry jam and ketchup.

Then there’s the stuff we snack on, eat as is:  a ball of mozzarella, tomatoes, apples, avocados, kiwi fruit, spinach, manchego cheese.

You’ll notice the absence of proteins (besides the bacon….mnnnnn….bacon).  Usually I buy meat and fish at the grocery store that day or pull it out of the freezer and defrost.  It’s been a couple days since I’ve cooked, so there’s no meat right now in the fridge.  The freezer is another matter entirely.

What would you like to have in your fridge?

California Ossetra caviar, crème fraiche and blinis.  I am a total sucker for caviar.  I usually try to buy myself a small jar about once a year.  It’s been a little too long since I have indulged myself.

Other things I want in my fridge? Another bottle of this Gulden Draak I’m drinking, that’s for sure!  Some exceptional salmon fillet, or maybe some halibut or shrimp would be nice.  I could whip up something stellar with that.  Maybe I’d like some fennel and some heirloom tomatoes. The truth is there’s very little in this world that I could want in my fridge that I can’t have.  That makes me blessed.  And I’m smart enough to know that.

Another thing I am jonesing for is taramosalata…yes, more fish eggs.  It’s a weakness.  What can I say?

What should everyone have in their fridge?

Now *this* I have an opinion on….

I’ll never forget when I visited my brother in New York City, opened his fridge and found nothing but a bottle of champagne, a bottle of soy sauce and two or three containers of take away leftovers.  It was disheartening.  And on the isle of Manhattan that kind of thing is totally normal, which I find frustrating.  I pride myself on having the ability to create a reasonably impressive dinner party for four on demand with what I have in my refrigerator and pantry at any given moment.  One of the things that comes with Greek heritage is a compulsion to feed people.  Nothing makes me happier than friends around my table, eating, drinking, talking.  So I never miss an opportunity.  I think the ability to be hospitable is part of what makes a house a home.

To be the kind of cook who can produce a good meal on demand, there are some staples that you must have on hand in the refrigerator.  Heavy cream, milk, parmesan cheese and eggs are a good start.  And yes, you need all of them.  Onions, shallots, and mushrooms are also key.  (I keep the onions and shallots refrigerated because if you cut them while they are cold you won’t cry as much.)  Basic condiments are also important:  mustard, mayonnaise, lemon juice, lime juice, soy sauce, Worcester sauce, and balsamic vinegar.  Chicken or vegetable broth is also a good idea.

One needs more than these basics to make a meal, of course – you need proteins, fresh vegetables, greens, grains.  The fresher the better.  Organic is even better. What kind is academic, really.  In the last couple years I’ve really gotten away from microwaving anything except for leftovers from the crockpot. (Which reminds me, I need to do that beef stroganoff again…) I’ve come to loathe frozen dinners.






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