Behind Closed Doors: Heidi Swanson

Heidi Swanson and her seminal food blog, 101cookbooks, are responsible for more of the meals-on-rotation in mine and Kerrilynn's kitchens than almost any other source. Her soups alone carry us through the colder months and her travel-inspired fare keeps the flavor on high. We were thrilled to get a peek inside her plant-filled fridge and some insights into how she shops. Thank you, Heidi, for years of great meals. To many many more.

I love the ritual of cooking at home, all the chopping, slicing, cleaning and sourcing ingredients. I know some people can pass on cooking entirely, but I don’t know what I’d do without my time in the kitchen. It really focuses and quiets my mind. And I love bringing all those colors, textures and flavors into our home. 

All our meals are vegetarian and a lot of them are whole food, plant based and vegan. Whatever looks great at the market is what sets the tone for our cooking, and I like our refrigerator to be filled with lots of nutritious, fresh, flavorful foods. We cook dinner about five nights a week and I keep a range of pastas, grains, rice paper wrappers and noodles on hand for quick, weeknight friendly meals. But what you see in the refrigerator changes pretty dramatically from month to month. This is a spring shot. I suspect I might not be able to get baby artichokes next week, so I really went for it.

Top Shelf Some powders that I use to boost my breakfast bowls or smoothies, that's camu camu powder and goji powder. I like the Vitamin C boost with these two. There’s a local miso, farro and a vegan “fish” sauce I’ve been experimenting with. I like to keep a homemade broth on hand for quick noodle bowls and the like. And this is a black garlic broth. It’s nice because if you really lime it out as you’re serving, it develops a wonderful sweet and sour thing, sort of like you get with tom yum. I always have tomatoes around (canned this time of year, fresh through summer), and Wayne’s sourdough starter. He’s the sourdough king in our house.

Second Shelf Olives, Job’s tears (I blend with millet and adzuki beans whenever I cook rice), more broth, a kumquat relish, a jasmine infused vodka, leeks and other aromatics.

Third Shelf The baby artichokes edged everything else out here. There is some leftover chana masala, the last of my favorite turmeric curry paste, some chickpeas waiting to become hummus, cashew cream, some umeboshi puree, and arugula and herbs wrapped in damp paper towels on the right.

Drawers  Blood oranges, grapefruit, apples and tangerines in the fruit bin and some baby fennel and spring onions in the vegetable bin. The bottom drawer is packed with different rices, nuts and seeds, brown basmati and jasmine rices, jade bamboo rice and pink Himalayan rice, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts, peanuts and pepitas. 

Basically, I try to keep everything where I can see it, so I’m inspired to cook.

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