Thursday, September 16, 2010
This is my pantry. One shelf of a two-foot wide cabinet. It is a little sad, empty pantry.
In the interest of full disclosure, part of the reason the pantry is this empty is because today is my shopping day, and I haven't been to the grocery yet. The pantry will be moderately more full when I return from the store.
The main reason, though, that my pantry is empty, is because of this:
All of my staples that do not come in thick containers are in my refrigerator.
Why do I keep my flour (and pasta and pop-tarts) in my refrigerator?
Because of these:
Okay, those are disgusting. Those are the three stages of the meal worm beetle, a tiny insect that lives in my pantry and likes to eat my cereals and grains.
We've talked about calling an exterminator, but in the meantime, we've taken the advice of HB's coworkers and moved most of our dry food stuffs into the refrigerator.
I am telling you all about my meal worms and my refrigerated cereals and grains so I can share a lesson I learned earlier this week.
Tuesday night, I decided to make griddled turkey sandwiches and onion rings. I pulled my flour out of the fridge, and started making my basic beer batter. 2/3 c flour; 1/3 c flat beer; 1 egg white; whatever seasonings you feel inspired by. I measured everything and mixed it all together, but something had gone wrong. The batter, which is often a bit stickier than other batters, couldn't even be called a batter this time. It had congealed into more of a ... dough.
I thought maybe I'd mis-measured the beer, so I added a bit more, hoping it would thin things out. The mixture retained its dough-like consistency. Frustrated, I decided to soldier on, so I heated up the skillet, and started doing my best to make onion rings with the dough.
As the kitchen warmed from the skillet, I noticed that the dough was transforming itself back into batter, and I realized my mistake!
Just like with any other ingredient, flour behaves differently at different temperatures.
So, just a heads up for anyone else out there who has to store their cereals and grains in the refrigerator: Let things warm up before you really get cooking.