Spring Clean Your Pantry

By: Liz Gray
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Photo by: Thomas Schauer >> studio for pho ©Thomas Schauer >> studio for photography >> www.schauer.cc

Thomas Schauer >> studio for pho, Thomas Schauer >> studio for photography >> www.schauer.cc

Oh, winter, with your gray days, cold temps and snow drifts. I may wax poetic for picture-perfect snow storms when the oppressive August heat arrives, but right now I'm so ready to move on to warmer and greener things. My pantry, however, is still stuck in depths-of-winter mode. Is yours still prepped for the next ice storm? This week, bring it into the light by using up the last of all those winter remnants.

Braises

Yes, braised meat is delicious, but the warmer things get, the less you'll want to have the oven on for 8 hours at a time. Don't worry, you can satisfy your low-and-slow cravings this spring and summer with a smoker. Send your dutch oven out in style with Daniel Boloud's Braised Veal Sweetbreads With Fennel and Tomato ( pictured above.)  Then, stow the heavy pot on the top shelf -- you're going to need room for the grill pan!

Winter Squash

You've roasted them, pureed them, eaten them in soups and if you're anything like me, you're over them for a few months. But, if you still have some lying around, make a final push. Even things you're sick of taste delicious made into a cobbler with whipped cream on top.

Last Year's Pickles and Preserves

Remember all those jams, pickles and preserves you put up last year? It's time to break out the relish and marinated vegetables to make room for this season's bounty -- after all, you can never have too much strawberry jam.

Winter Holiday Staples: Cranberry Relish and Canned Pumpkin

Don't worry, there's no pumpkin shortage this year, so no need to hoard these holiday staples year-round. Use up your stockpile with a last taste of pumpkin pie or pumpkin soup, or disguise it in Hungry Girl's lightened-up brownies. For the cranberry sauce, revisit fireside moments with cranberry-blue cheese bruschetta.  Or, eat it straight out of the can!

A Tribute Menu: Hasta La Vista, Winter

Bring your friends into the pantry-cleaning party: Celebrate the end of fuzzy boot and wool sweater season with a menu featuring all your quintessentially winter ingredients. Buh-bye, cold weather!

Indian Food Made Easy - series 2 WARNING - This image may only be used for publicity purposes in connection with the broadcast of the programme as licensed by BBC Worldwide Ltd & must carry the shown copyright legend. It may not be used for any commercial purpose without a license from the rights holder.

Photo by: Mel Stanley ©BBC 2008

Mel Stanley, BBC 2008

Dessert: Pumpkin Mousse
What winter foods are still hanging around in your pantry?
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