Our first pantry fit into a shoe box. Really, it did. Twelve years ago, our belongings consisted of a beat up twin-size futon mattress as a bed, the futon frame (used as a bookshelf), an old, unfinished desk from Todd’s youth, our precious REI outdoor gear, a bearded dragon lizard and a small box full of cooking tools that we anxiously moved into our new apartment home of 800 square feet. Although we only took possession of 400 square feet of the small apartment, the other half belonged to our gracious roommates who generously furnished the communal areas of the apartment with their TV, their couch, their dining room table and their better quality kitchen ware. Although we pretty much mooched off of their nice furniture, we tried to make up for our lack of furnishings in other ways. Our contribution to making this tight apartment of 4 occupants more cozy and comfortable was the little shoe box of spices and a love of cooking. When the roomies had parties, we took over the kitchen to feed every poor, hungry and mid-term stressed college students that passed through our apartment doors. We created some wickedly good dishes with just 5 pantry essentials: butter, kosher salt, ground black pepper, soy sauce and fish sauce.
Those cramped apartment and shoebox pantry days are long gone. We’ve progressively moved to bigger spaces and gained extra kitchen cabinet space that don’t have to be shared with any more roommates! Hence, our pantry has expanded over the years with the help of better paying jobs, two self-remodeled kitchens (pull out the crow bar and hammer!) and a fascination of spices, oils, salts and anything else that helps tickle our taste buds beyond our comfort zone. Now our pantry has grown beyond a shoe box and fills much of our current kitchen with colors and aromas reminiscent of cuisines from around the world. Every time we think we’re well stocked with goods, there’s a new ingredient that we read or hear about that gets our radar buzzing again. How many do we actually have? Honestly, we’re afraid to even count. Between our combined ethnic heritages spanning from Germany, Holland, Ireland, Vietnam and China and our interests in world cuisines, we’re pretty much adding to our pantry faster than we can count. Our recent addiction of collecting spices includes those from India (we finally got asfoetida & amchur powder!) and peppercorns (kili and tasmanian bush peppers). Once we feel satisfied with gaining knowledge and comfort with using these spices for cooking and understanding their uses in their native cuisines, we’ll be scouring the world’s cuisine once again in search of more flavor and food products.
It’s our turn to submit our pantry to Lydia’s monthly “Other People’s Pantry” event. Over at her delicious blog, The Perfect Pantry, she shares members of her pantry family and highlights recipes and informative facts about these ingredients and specialty food products. She shares a wealth of information, drooling dishes and breathes new life to ingredients that we might already have and teases us with a new, unique spice that creates a yearning for us to try. We can’t seem to keep up with her!
Aside from the photographs, it was very hard for us to decide how or even if we were going to create a video for this event. We changed our mind a gazillion times. Do PEOPLE really want to see what’s in our pantry?Do WE want to show people what’s really in our pantry? The thought of boring everyone to death (oh look, more noodles! *big yawn*) or the thought of exposing our kitchen cabinets to everyone (no pre-cleaning) was embarrassing and possibly a bad publicity move for our blog (well, we’ve never made more than 23 cents off of blog adds anyways, hence, no more blog adds). Since we don’t depend on our blog for income, nor have we ever had a problem of making fun of ourselves, what did we have to lose? Nada, none, zilch.
So we turned on the video camera, put away our dirty dishes and here is what we came up with…
Video #7 – Todd & Diane’s Pantry
Shrimp & Won Ton Chip Asian Nacho's Recipe
Yield: Serves 2
Total Time: 10 Minutes
- Shrimp Chips or Wonton wrapper (cut diagonally into four triangle sections)
- 1/2 pound ground pork, beef, chicken or turkey
- 1/4 cup chopped shallots or onions
- 2 cloves crushed or finely minced garlic
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of fish or soy sauce
- lots of freshly ground black pepper to taste
- diced tomatoes, green onions, avocado, cheese (optional toppings)
- Heat oil and slowly fry shrimp or wonton chips till brown or puffy. Blot on paper towel.
- Heat pan and saute shallots and garlic till crispy and fragrant. Add meat or tofu and cook till brown.
- Add fish or soy sauce and black pepper.
- Arrange chips on plate and top of meat and your choice of toppings.
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Recipe Note for Salt: All recipes containing salt are based on kosher or sea salt amounts, not table salt. If using table salt, reduce the amount used to taste.
And More Crunch!
BTW- Did you really think Todd’s joke in the video was funny?
More appetizers that you might enjoy:
- Thomas Kellers Cornets
- Crispy, curry crusted tofu and basil fresh springrolls
- Salmon and sweet corn cakes
- Roasted klondike rose potatoes with herb goat cheese, thyme
- Vietnamese stuffed squid
- Asian nachos with pork and/or wonton chips/prawn crackers
- Parmesan poppy seed crackers
- Baked walla walla sweet onion dip
- Panko crusted shrimp lollipops
- Zucchini blossoms stuffed with pork
- Purple kohrabi chips
- Tofu frites, fries and mojo’s
- Vietnamese Spring Rolls – Pineapple and pork fresh springrolls
- Roasted nuts with parmesan, black pepper, sea salt
- Vietnamese beef wrapped in wild betal leaves – Bo La Lot
- Turkey and bacon fried springroll
- Vietnamese green mangoes and chili salt dip