Well I did it. I registered for a domain, setup a blog, and now it’s time to figure out what to do with it. I’ll start by trying to pull together a random assortment of thoughts, ideas, and … ohhh shiny object… sorry, it happens. My initial thoughts are to use this as a forum to try to peak some interest, share some insight, and inspire a little creativity… in you and in me.

Why a blog? Why Jim? Why bother?

These are all very valid questions, after all everyone is busy and reading someone else’s ramblings is a choice you make to take time out of your life and schedule… I hope it’s worth it for you and thanks for giving me a shot.

So the blog thing came about after the encouragement of my friends. I’m often sharing my cooking and life moments  on a social media site (yes, I’m a junkie on a certain site named after the front of a head and a bound collection of pages… today was the whole internet  piracy/blackout day so not sure I’m allowed to list things by name… note to self: research blogging ). I’ve been using it as a forum to share my cooking pics, kitchen adventures, and whatever else peaks my interest at the time (inspiration for the site name).

So where does “cleaningoutthefridge.com” come from? It’s rather simple, I like to shop and more specifically I like to look for things that inspire me, peak my interest, catch my eye or are just a good deal. That often leads to me coming home with a random assortment of ingredients (or other items) that I don’t always have a specific, immediate plan for (no, I’m not a hoarder).

Let me see if I can use an example to help here. Several months ago I got a craving for Pork Larb, a Thai dish I hadn’t had for several years. I have only eaten Larb at one restaurant (no longer in business) and never tried to make it. I found a recipe, made a list and headed to the specialty grocery store that I happened to have a gift certificate for. I didn’t find all of what I was looking for (likely because I wasn’t sure what some of it was) but I came home with an assortment of new items that went to the pantry (for the record, I still haven’t made Larb). Now fast forward several weeks: I need to make dinner and I have a package of chicken breast tenders in the fridge… the result: Peanut chicken, coriander rice, and spicy green beans.

Peanut Chicken, Coriander Rice, and Spicy Green Beans
Peanut Chicken, Coriander Rice, and Spicy Green Beans

Now before I lose you let me break down how things often happen in my kitchen. 1. What is in the fridge, freezer and pantry? 2. How long do I have (usually not a ton of time)? 3. How can I make it simple?

Peanut Chicken

Boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders (cut to bite-size pieces)

Thai Peanut Marinade (I used San-J, purchased during my Larb expedition, don’t use the whole bottle, just enough to coat the chicken)

Cornstarch (enough to coat the chicken… 3/4-1 cup)

Salt (to taste)

Pepper (to taste)

Vegetable Oil (I used about 1/4 inch in my large heavy pan)

Marinate the chicken (I did this for about 30 minutes).  Combine cornstarch, salt and pepper in a bowl or zipper bag.  Coat chicken pieces in dry mixture. Discard marinade materials.

Heat oil (400 degrees or so) in a large, heavy pan (a deep fryer would probably work too, but I don’t have one). Add the chicken and cook for about 7 minutes (or until fully cooked), turning to cook all sides. Remove from oil and place on paper towel lined plate to absorb excess oil. Toss with a little bit of fresh marinade and serve.

Coriander Rice

2 cups long grain basmati rice

4 cups chicken broth (or water)

2 tablespoons butter

Salt and pepper (to taste)

1 tablespoon Coriander Chutney (I used Swad – adjust amount to taste)

Prepare rice using all ingredients except the chutney (I use a rice cooker). Toss cooked rice with chutney. Serve.

Spicy Green Beans (here is where quick and easy come in and this is a default go to for me)

Frozen green beans (approx. 4 handfuls – adjust for smaller or larger hands)

Sriracha hot chili sauce (to taste)

Salt and pepper (to taste)

Toasted Sesame seeds (optional)

Microwave green beans according to package instructions – ok I get the big bag of frozen beans from Costco and they recommend cooking on high, covered for three minutes. Stir or shake. 3 minutes on high uncovered. Stir or shake. Continue 2-3 minute intervals until hot but not overcooked/heated. Add remaining ingredients to taste. Shake or stir. Serve.