Cleaning out the Pantry

It is very easy to lose track of what ingredients you have hiding in your cupboard, basement, cooler, fridge or wherever else you store your food. It is a good habit to regularly clean and organize your pantry. This is an important practice because using up what you have will inevitably lead to less food waste.

The fun and challenging part of this exercise is to put together a meal with ingredients you may initially find disparate. With a little thought and some confidence you can make a tasty and healthy meal.

This is my cleaning out the pantry meal for this week with a little bit about each ingredient I decided to use.


Wild Rice and Maple Cured DuckIMG_20150302_210149


The Duck leg is the one I wrote about in January, I stored it in its own fat in a cool, dark place for the last seven weeks.

I didn’t have that much wild rice and sunflower seeds left so I thought it’d be good to use up the last of them to make room in the cupboard.

I had some swiss chard and parsley that was grown in the Our Sustenance Greenhouse at 2676 Fourth Line.

The garlic was from last years growing season and was hanging in my garage for the winter.

The pickled vegetables I used were ramps that were gifted last year to my partner by a good friend. I also decided to throw in some pickled hot peppers that were done at the end of last year’s growing season.


Maple Cured Duck Leg
Wild Rice
Swiss Chard
Pickled Vegetables – ramps (wild leeks) and hot peppers
Sunflower Seeds

I gently heated the duck meat in the oven at 300F with some of the rendered fat that it was stored in. As that was happening, I cooked my wild rice just like pasta in a generous amount of water. I cooked the rice to the point where it was starting to split, still somewhat firm. It was strained and I saved the water in case it was needed for cooking the swiss chard.

The swiss chard was cleaned and torn into small pieces. I wilted it slightly with a short sauté with crushed garlic in some of the duck fat from the jar.

Then, as a garnish for the meat I chopped up and mixed together some parsley, pickled ramps, pickled peppers and sunflower seeds.