Six days into this challenge, we decided to do something that was either very smart or very stupid. We decided to host a dinner party.
Okay, not really a dinner party -- we just had our friends Drew and Ralph over for Friday night dinner. We thought it might be a good way to help use up some of the things still lingering in our pantry.
We started things off with sort of an antipasti platter: sliced salami, sunchoke relish on crackers, pickled green beans, and pecans that we'd toasted and tossed in salt and shaved maple sugar. (By the way, the maple sugar we've been using this week has been from that maple cube we mentioned here back in December 2010. Zach's dad surprised us with one as a gift after we mentioned it, but we haven't done a good job of utilizing it until this week.)
The main course was spaghetti in a clam sauce. We had two cans of baby razor clams in the cupboard, a gift from a friend who had been to Spain. We sauteed them briefly with some diced anchovies, a little garlic, oil, white wine, butter and some red pepper flakes. Then we tossed some cooked whole wheat spaghetti noodles into the clam sauce and topped it all with panko.
Drew and Ralph thought it was tasty. Clay thought it was pretty good. Zach, for some reason, thought it was absolutely delicious. The briny clams and salty anchovies, the buttery sauce, the noodles -- for whatever reason, he found that it completely hit the spot.
Dessert was a hodgepodge: sugar-free chocolate fudge pudding topped by a sauce we made using half of a bar of leftover white chocolate that's been sitting in our pantry since who knows when, a can of macadamia nuts, and some shaved coconut. The pudding was, you know, pudding. But we all thought the sauce was really fantastic.
So while we never would have served this food to company had we not been in Cupboard Cleanout mode, we're calling the dinner party a solid success.
Day 6 Breakfast: Oatmeal with chia seeds and pecans, topped with maple sugar
Cupboard Items Used: Shockingly: oatmeal, chia seeds, pecans and maple sugar
Degree of Difficulty: 1 out of 10
Verdict: Fine. We much prefer steel-cut oats, but we have a big tub of instant oats we're trying to get rid of. Also, we have an insane amount of chia seeds leftover from those Incan Super Power Bars we made last year. They're supposed to be very healthful, and they don't really have much of a taste, so throwing a handful into oatmeal seemed like a good idea.
Day 6 Lunch: More of that Wild Rice with Turkey Sausage from Day 5
Cupboard Items Used: You know, leftover Wild Rice and Turkey Sausage
Degree of Difficulty: 0 out of 10
Verdict: Really, really good. We're going to have to keep this in mind in the future. Even on the second day of this dish, the wild rice kept a great texture, and the pecans were still crunchy. Excellent leftovers.
Day 6 Dinner Appetizers: Antipasti plate
Cupboard Items Used: 1 stick of salami, a jar of sunchoke relish, a pack of crackers, a jar of Rick's Pick's Mean Beans, the last of our pecans.
Degree of Difficulty: 2 out of 10 (opening jars ain't hard, but we did toast those pecans...)
Verdict: Awesome, actually. Again, we probably never would have thought to serve this as an appetizer, but it worked out really well. Good, sharp flavors and fun little pre-dinner noshing.
Day 6 Dinner: Spaghetti in Clam Sauce
Cupboard Items Used: 1 tin of anchovies, 2 tins of clams, the remaining half a pack of spaghetti
Degree of Difficulty: 4 out of 10
Verdict: While we had varying degrees of excitement about this dish, we all enjoyed it.
Day 6 Dessert: Fudge Pudding with Coconut White Chocolate Macadamia Sauce
Cupboard Items Used: 1 pack of Jello pudding, 1 can of macadamia nuts, the remainder of a bar of white chocolate, some coconut (but we still have a lot of that left)
Degree of Difficulty: 3 out of 10
Verdict: The sauce didn't look all that appetizing, but it was really yummy. Honestly, though, we probably would have liked pudding topped with only the macadamia nuts just as much.
Just five more meals to go! And then we'll order pizza.