In Our House We Call It A Riff


Yes, my husband is a drummer and we can hear him in his practice during the off hours not being an engineer. But in our house we have kitchen riffs too. Open the refrigerator, survey the contents, and weave them together to make harmony. Sometimes it works exceptionally well and occasionally we get a drag. It starts with the random assortment of produce, maybe there is a cup or so of beans, and then a little pasta or possibly rice. The majority of the time it ends up as soup. Carrot, celery, and onion are almost always a part of it. I learned the terrific trio underpinning of soup from my mom and grandma long before I knew it was mirepoix.

I‘ve been lucky to have a portion of my working life include recipe testing. And along with the specifics of the testing process itself, I have become a skilled grocery shopper. Knowing how to cut down on the number of trips to the store, optimize what is bought, without having too much leftover. But, even despite my best efforts, there are weeks that I have a random assortment of things unused, usually an abundance of an ingredient or two.

Depending on the projects I am working on, the amount of meat we eat varies the most. Generally, we are a highly plant-based family. However, with only a few exceptions, for now, I don’t say no to the traditional proteins. I aim to balance our diets. If we have a day or two with more meat than usual, then we have more meat free days to follow. The concept of meat-free Mondays is sort of the opposite for us. Some weeks it is meat only Monday.

This last week the highlights of what was leftover in the fridge were 1 pound of ground turkey thigh meat and almost 2 pounds of parsnips. The byproduct of a recipe I thought would be tricky, so I bought enough to make it three times and I nailed it on the first take. Also available was celery root, almost a full head of cauliflower, miscellaneous peppers, a big piece of ginger, garlic I had previously peeled, some fresh turmeric, and a couple of lemons. No surprise, there were also onions, carrots, celery and a couple of potatoes to work with.

Based on some dog eared magazine pages, a little internet searching, and a desire to make something out of my newest cookbook purchase Masala & Meatballs by Asha Shivakumar, I came up with our Sunday supper, something for the pantry, and something to give me a head start on the week.

Ginger Garlic Paste
Ginger Turmeric Tonic
Parsnip, Celery Root, and Cauliflower Soup
Mashed Curried Parsnip and Potatoes
Turkey Meatballs with Indian Spice