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Urban Pantry: Tips and Recipes for a Thrifty, Sustainable and Seasonal Kitchen

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A guide to stocking a small kitchen that explains the essential spices, ingredients, and equipment to have in order to create nutritious, easy meals, with more than sixty recipes to fit the urban lifestyle.

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A guide to stocking a small kitchen that explains the essential spices, ingredients, and equipment to have in order to create nutritious, easy meals, with more than sixty recipes to fit the urban lifestyle.

30 review for Urban Pantry: Tips and Recipes for a Thrifty, Sustainable and Seasonal Kitchen

  1. 5 out of 5

    jess

    You know, I was doubtful that this book had much to add to the new explosion of food preserving books, but I actually like this a lot. There is a dedicated focus on small-space living (small pantries, tiny kitchens, no counter space, etc). Any good urban-focused book should recognize how small the footprints are inside the city limits. The recipes emphasize fresh, local, seasonal ingredients and good advice on sourcing them (ask your local farmers market producers for seconds to make pickles. th You know, I was doubtful that this book had much to add to the new explosion of food preserving books, but I actually like this a lot. There is a dedicated focus on small-space living (small pantries, tiny kitchens, no counter space, etc). Any good urban-focused book should recognize how small the footprints are inside the city limits. The recipes emphasize fresh, local, seasonal ingredients and good advice on sourcing them (ask your local farmers market producers for seconds to make pickles. the small nicks and imperfections won't matter). The entire book centers on a wise, frugal "waste not, want not" approach to really healthy, inexpensive recipes. The first section of the book has some fantastic advice on keeping a pantry that's well-stocked enough to make a meal easy to improvise without being so overstocked that things go rancid or moldy before you can use them. Then, there are a variety of recipes using the pantry staples you have now learned to keep on hand. The recipe sections are divided up into whole grains, beans & peas, eggs, nuts, milk/yogurt and small-batch preserves. More than strict recipes, the book offers up a way of thinking about your food, and how to make it go further. If you're making a carrot soup, save the peels for your vegetable broth. If you're using parsley, save the stems for broth. If you're making grains for dinner, don't add the savory seasoning in the big pot -- then the plain grain leftovers can become a warm breakfast porridge. It's a holistic approach to meal planning with the hard limitation of balancing storage/cooking space, cost and nutrition. I really wanted to make at least a third of the recipes the first time I flipped through the book -- the carrot/coconut soup, the whole grain hippie hotcakes, all of the pickled carrots. This is pretty unusual for me, since I usually disregard most recipes on the first pass. It's only the second or third time I read through a cookbook that I get interested. SO, I think Amy Pennington has written a really helpful and interesting book here. I got it from my public library (how frugal and space-conscious of me, right?) but I might actually buy it so I can add the recipes to our cookbook collection. Bravo, Amy Pennington.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    More than a cookbook, less than a comprehensive treatise on the subject, I got a lot out of this. Most of what I got is to-dos. For example: I'll be preserving lemons. It just sounds worth doing. I'm considering the idea of small-batch preserving. I'm thinking that more of my hostess gifts will be homemade sauces and preserves and things, going forward. I enjoy making these things, I believe people like to get homemade items, and with the small-batch format, it shouldn't be the headache that full- More than a cookbook, less than a comprehensive treatise on the subject, I got a lot out of this. Most of what I got is to-dos. For example: I'll be preserving lemons. It just sounds worth doing. I'm considering the idea of small-batch preserving. I'm thinking that more of my hostess gifts will be homemade sauces and preserves and things, going forward. I enjoy making these things, I believe people like to get homemade items, and with the small-batch format, it shouldn't be the headache that full-blown jam making can be. She's changed my ideas about the herbs I'll be planting this spring. Hello Chervil. I'll be making my own ginger soda. So much of this is practical and sensible for someone like me without a lot of space for growing, storing, or cooking. Because so much is made from scratch, I don't know how deeply I'll dive into making it work for me (I go on stretches where I cook a lot and then I go on stretches where I don't eat at home at all. For weeks. Largely because I don't wanna and can't make myself.) As with everything, I'm dreaming big about this, but even if the changes I make are small, I think they'll be worthwhile and consistent with the direction I'm trying to take my life. Which is really something, when it comes down to it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Pam

    Normally, I wait until I’ve made several recipes out of a book before I review it, but this was just so lovely, I had to share it now. First of all the pictures of her pantry with all the food in jars totally won me over immediately. Put some polenta, or beans, or grains in jars and line them up in your pantry, and I am in love. Then take those simple, lovely ingredients and turn them into simple, lovely meals, I am yours forever. She divides the book into chapters titled: Breakfast, Appetizers, Normally, I wait until I’ve made several recipes out of a book before I review it, but this was just so lovely, I had to share it now. First of all the pictures of her pantry with all the food in jars totally won me over immediately. Put some polenta, or beans, or grains in jars and line them up in your pantry, and I am in love. Then take those simple, lovely ingredients and turn them into simple, lovely meals, I am yours forever. She divides the book into chapters titled: Breakfast, Appetizers, Soups, Salads & Side Dishes, Main Courses, Garnishes Vinaigrettes & Sauces, Pantry Staples, Pickles & Preserves, and Desserts. Picking just one recipe from each chapter: •Hippie Hotcakes •Onion-Thyme Tart •Herbal Minestrone •White Bean & Preserved Lemon Salad •Over Easy Tomatoes with Polenta •Steeping Fruit •Homemade Bread Crumbs •Boozy Blood Orange Marmalade •Vanilla Quinoa Pudding And there is lots more! Really, I’ve marked practically the whole book to make. The vanilla quinoa pudding is next on my list. I was trying to decide last night, what I could quickly make, so that I would have at least tried one of the recipes. I settled on Quick Pickled Chiles, because I love all pickles and because I had just picked some peppers from my garden. These were quick, simple, and a nice spicy garnish for a simple fish dish.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Shannan

    I thought this would be a fantastic read! I saw this on Amazon and wanted to purchase it immediately, but my instinct was to first check it out from the library before I spent hte money on it. I'm glad I did. I'm an urban organic gardener and I thought this book would be a fantastic compliment to my preserving and gardening, but in reality it wasn't. I'm a mom of four young children and I need speedy easy whole food things. This book is more of a cookbook for a foodie type person where unusual f I thought this would be a fantastic read! I saw this on Amazon and wanted to purchase it immediately, but my instinct was to first check it out from the library before I spent hte money on it. I'm glad I did. I'm an urban organic gardener and I thought this book would be a fantastic compliment to my preserving and gardening, but in reality it wasn't. I'm a mom of four young children and I need speedy easy whole food things. This book is more of a cookbook for a foodie type person where unusual foods take center stage. Not so much in my stage of life. I didn't like the recipes per say because many of the recipes I already make and the recipes I make work for me and contain far less ingredients. She gives explanations of many food things and it was either stuff I already knew or didn't care to know. Oh well.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Catherine Gillespie

    The book is dedicated to recipes that pull from “a pantry full of new and interesting ingredients that come together quickly and inexpensively and turn out stellar, inspired meals.” Yes! That’s what I’m always aiming for. The recipes in the book sound like things I already make, but simpler or more interesting. I am looking forward to making Spiced Kibbe, Apricot Chickpea Salad, Spiced Yogurt Chicken, and several other recipes from this book. {Read my complete review on A Spirited Mind}

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ami

    Amy Pennington is a food snob who would normally have gotten on my nerves, if it weren't for her descriptive writing and her recipe for preserving lemons. I have a hard time with her use of the word 'thrifty' in the title. While many items in her recipes can be found cheaply, some items she uses are definitely extravagant wallet-wise. I'm looking at you coconut oil. Overall the few hidden jewels found in this book cancel out the aggravation and I was left....ambivalent. And hungry.

  7. 5 out of 5

    rachelm

    The author's self-congratulatory tone is a little abrasive at points and kept this from getting a higher rating, but there was a ton of great material on exactly what the title promises -- a thrifty, sustainable and seasonal kitchen. Lots of interesting ingredient and storage ideas, and the recipes I've tried have been great. Looking forward to having it in my kitchen.

  8. 5 out of 5

    shiny

    don't have caster sugar? icing sugar? make your own from raw sugar. full of now obvious tips, and details on how food is processed into other food, so I don't needs 10 types of sugar in my tiny pantry anymore.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Esther Marie

    Urban Pantry: Tips & Recipes for a Thrifty, Sustainable & Seasonal Kitchen is a 2010 book by Amy Pennington for Skipstone. Like other Skipstone titles, Urban Pantry has a lot of information presented in a beautiful yet economical way. Unlike other cookbooks, Urban Pantry has a few color photos but mostly relies on black and white images to accompany the text. Instead of being boring for the reader, this simplicity is inviting. Leafing through the recipes, I saw many quick and simple dish Urban Pantry: Tips & Recipes for a Thrifty, Sustainable & Seasonal Kitchen is a 2010 book by Amy Pennington for Skipstone. Like other Skipstone titles, Urban Pantry has a lot of information presented in a beautiful yet economical way. Unlike other cookbooks, Urban Pantry has a few color photos but mostly relies on black and white images to accompany the text. Instead of being boring for the reader, this simplicity is inviting. Leafing through the recipes, I saw many quick and simple dishes that would be easy to prepare with minimal purchasing of special ingredients. For those who don’t regularly cook at every meal, this can be the mark of a very useful cookbook. In spite of the simplicity of many recipes, Pennington provides creative twists and novel uses of flavor to spice up everyday dishes. Urban Pantry is a great book for the beginner cook or the casual cook.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    Adding Stracciatelli Soup as a go to soup! I did add a hint of Italian seasonings and garlic to this basic dish and find it perfect and refreshing on a cloudy day. Side note, great use of farm fresh eggs!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Heydi Smith

    I really appreciated the info in this book. It’s an easy read and very entertaining.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

    This is a great little book, with some great recipes, tips and tricks on how to be a little thriftier and yet have an amazing tasty pantry year round! It is definitely going to be one that I keep around forever. The author even provides a sample list of what to keep around in your pantry, fridge, etc and includes tips on storage (which I always need reminding of). Since I have gone gluten free, I find that I am so much happier (and healthier) making my own food and this is just another way to en This is a great little book, with some great recipes, tips and tricks on how to be a little thriftier and yet have an amazing tasty pantry year round! It is definitely going to be one that I keep around forever. The author even provides a sample list of what to keep around in your pantry, fridge, etc and includes tips on storage (which I always need reminding of). Since I have gone gluten free, I find that I am so much happier (and healthier) making my own food and this is just another way to encourage me to do so. This summer, there will be canning, lots of canning as I work to preserve some of the tasties of summer for the cold, dark winter. Pennington has some wonderful tips on that as well, all in smaller quantities so you aren't left with like a ridiculous supply of something you may or may love later on (of course, you can always gift home preserves, who doesn't love that?). Anyway, it's a reasonable price and I have found myself going back to it frequently for a sauce, for a tip I remembered she had. A great addition (that won't take up alot of space) in your cookbook collection. Plus, the pictures are fabulous! =)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    This is a unique cook book in that it is more than just a collection of recipes - it's a guide for stocking and creating a pantry that makes it easier to cook from. The author was inspired by a friend of hers who loved to eat her homemade food, but kept next to nothing on hand in his apartment. She started creating a list of pantry essentials for him that eventually turned into this book. Each chapter goes over a staple or staple category like whole grains, beans, eggs, etc. and each chapter has This is a unique cook book in that it is more than just a collection of recipes - it's a guide for stocking and creating a pantry that makes it easier to cook from. The author was inspired by a friend of hers who loved to eat her homemade food, but kept next to nothing on hand in his apartment. She started creating a list of pantry essentials for him that eventually turned into this book. Each chapter goes over a staple or staple category like whole grains, beans, eggs, etc. and each chapter has recipes that incorporate or focus on those staples. There are also chapters on small batch preserving and growing a "pantry garden." Overall, I liked it and there were a few recipes I'd like to try out plus it inspired me to revamp my own pantry soon.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    I noticed this book on our trip to Seattle and decided to read through it when I got home. It is definitely concise and a great book for a beginner (someone just going off to college, a new bride) as it helps you set up a pantry that will help you create great meals. Recipes are included, which seem pretty healthy. Pennington is big on being eco-friendly and thrifty, which are pluses. I was hoping that this would expand my pantry organization/knowledge, but it is pretty basic info. I would love t I noticed this book on our trip to Seattle and decided to read through it when I got home. It is definitely concise and a great book for a beginner (someone just going off to college, a new bride) as it helps you set up a pantry that will help you create great meals. Recipes are included, which seem pretty healthy. Pennington is big on being eco-friendly and thrifty, which are pluses. I was hoping that this would expand my pantry organization/knowledge, but it is pretty basic info. I would love to see a volume two.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tamara

    Soba noodles and almond butter and barley and sesame oil. These are all ingredients that the eco-friendly cookbooks are raving about, and yet for some reason I still fight against working with them, opting for spaghetti and peanut butter and rice and olive oil. Maybe I'm just stubborn and anxious about working with unfamiliar ingredients that I don't know how to find in the grocery store...Maybe I'm just lazy and don't want to think how the different ingredients would work with different flavors Soba noodles and almond butter and barley and sesame oil. These are all ingredients that the eco-friendly cookbooks are raving about, and yet for some reason I still fight against working with them, opting for spaghetti and peanut butter and rice and olive oil. Maybe I'm just stubborn and anxious about working with unfamiliar ingredients that I don't know how to find in the grocery store...Maybe I'm just lazy and don't want to think how the different ingredients would work with different flavors....Wonder what it will take to tip me?

  16. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    At first, I thought this book was more of a way to make your pantry more "cottage" and "simple". Then, I found myself referring back to this book several times for simple recipes as well and suggestions on what to do with and how to store specific ingredients. I hate to waste food and Amy offers suggestions on stocking the pantry with easy to find items that fit into the small urban kitchen. Buy in small quantities and use them up before buying more. Her dense whole grain bread recipe and Onion At first, I thought this book was more of a way to make your pantry more "cottage" and "simple". Then, I found myself referring back to this book several times for simple recipes as well and suggestions on what to do with and how to store specific ingredients. I hate to waste food and Amy offers suggestions on stocking the pantry with easy to find items that fit into the small urban kitchen. Buy in small quantities and use them up before buying more. Her dense whole grain bread recipe and Onion Thyme Tart are simple and crowd pleasers.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    I can't think why I picked up this book in the first place, because neither the title nor the cover is especially compelling. I'm glad I did, however, because some of the recipes inside are gold! As a vegetarian, I found a fair number of recipes that I could use or easily convert. I like the fact that there is an emphasis on thrift -- and full flavors -- in the kitchen. I can't wait to try peach-hibiscus preserves and cashew potato gratin. Mmmm.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    Nice tips and recipes. A lot of the information I already knew but I copied down the recipe for vanilla quinoa pudding and quick cucumber pickles, and I am interested in trying preserving this summer. A lot of the information seemed suited more towards the beginner who doesn't know what the essentials are in a well-stocked pantry. I would recommend this to people who are looking to eat fresh and seasonally.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    Not what I was expecting, but still rather nice. I was expecting more of a primer on cooking with limited ingredients, smart substitutions, cookware you don't need, but this was more of a collection of interesting recipes with some limited household-hints business. I'm still not sure how to make my kitchen feel bigger, but I am very curious about "Lentils with mint and beets."

  20. 4 out of 5

    lauren

    Urban Pantry has some nice ideas and some good looking recipes, but it kind of goes together in a strange way. Some things are very simple and seem aimed at people just getting into cooking from scratch, and then other things seem quite a bit more involved. I skimmed this book and most of my interest was in the section on small-scale preserving.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Selena

    Not a bad book, however her tastes are so very different to my own that the tips and pantry items aren't something I have to begin with let alone would look at buying. I would suggest people get the book from their library (as I did) before committing to buy. I'm sure it has an audience, I'm just not it!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jan Pliler

    Looking forward to trying some of the recipes. Great "little" tips throughout the book that make a "big" difference in the kitchen. Easy read. Fun stuff. Even great for the suburban pantry. We could all use the efficiency techniques put upon urban dwellers to make our suburban living more manageable.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    Chock full of clever and inspiring hints and shortcuts for storing and preserving food. This author's approach fits with mine - I don't like the grocery store trip every night I want to cook something unique with flavor, but I'm not keen on weekly menu planning, either. I have a feeling this will become my kitchen bible!

  24. 5 out of 5

    caroline

    To say I love this book in its entirety might be jumping the gun since I haven't made one recipe from the book. BUT I loved the core of the book. It gives your smart tips on how to create an efficient pantry/kitchen and live a sustainable life. I think this book needs to be part of my collection as in I need to buy it now.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Nolan

    I love the concept of the book, but it didn't fit my needs. Many of the pantry items in the book were not what I have, or would want to have, or even really need. If you are a lover of all-things herbs, and grow them, and want to learn about other herbs, you'll love this book! Of course there are lots of other items in her pantry!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    This book has inspired me to rethink how to stock my kitchen. There is some really good and well-researched/tested information in here that I plan to implement this week. I borrowed this book from the library, but the recipes make me want to buy this for my kitchen. Some really great and useful information in here. One of the only "cookbooks" that I've read cover to cover.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jessie

    Very nice, with some great tips. Pictures make me want to go buy a hundred canning jars in which to store my entire pantry. Lots of use of sumac, which I've never cooked with. However, I feel like every cookbook makes canning sound really easy when actually I need a giant chapter on how not to kill people due to my novice canning skills.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jillian

    Best cookbook for small urban kitchens!! All the recipes in here are health conscious, scrappy, and made for small kitchens. There's a berry-lime syrup I make every time we have waffles now. And the canning recipes are for small 4-6 pint recipes - again great for a small kitchen.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    This was a disappointment. It's a good idea, but I feel like having really good cookbooks on the separate topics would be more beneficial (ex: Bread Making, Herbs, Preserving, Whole Grain cooking, etc.).

  30. 5 out of 5

    Colleen

    Really loved this book. Loved the concept that your pantry can be your shelves, your cupboard, your fridge and freezer. Got lots of good tips and recipes from here. Found myself choosing to read this over my novel at night before bed!

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