Chef Pantry | Adam Sappington’s Portland Kitchen

In this post we feature Adam Sappington, a renowned chef from Portland, OR, who has graciously shared some of his best tips for crafting a healthy pantry with us, as well as written a recipe that can be made mostly with pantry staples.


Adam grew up in the farmlands of Missouri, cooking and going to farmers’ markets with his mother and grandmother, so it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that he is now known as the top made-from-scratch, farm-to-table chef and butcher in Portland, OR. With early experience working in a Midwest trattoria and studying at the Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Adam was hired at Wildwood Restaurant and stayed for over 11 years, moving up from pantry cook to executive chef during his tenure. Today, he co-owns – with his wife Jackie – and is executive chef at The Country Cat, and has been nominated for multiple James Beard Awards for Best Chef Northwest.


Adam’s home kitchen strikes an easy resemblance to his own persona; refined with rustic touches, styled but ultimately utilitarian, and carefully designed to use all the space. He had some great ideas for how to stock and organize a pantry, and shared a mouth-watering veggie-centered pantry recipe (shocking, we know!) for Tomato-Braised Orca Beans & Cauliflower.

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  • Consolidate all of your dry goods into sealable mason jars. This keeps your ingredients fresh and easy to identify
  • Stock up on ziplock sealable bags. I use these for all kinds of things. Almond meal, marinating meats and vegetables, placing proteins into brines. It’s a real space saver.
  • Go to your local ethnic stores and stock up on all of your favorite spices, pastes, hot sauces, soy sauces. Then throw a few new flavors into your basket that you haven’t used in the past for those dog days of winter when you need a fresh approach to the same old vegetables and blends you’re used to.


Muir Glen Tomato Braised Orca Beans & Cauliflower with Olive Oil & Fennel Pollen by Adam Sappington





  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Make the Orca beans:
    1. Pour the beans and the soaking water into a small saucepan. Place pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
    2. Once at a simmer, add one tablespoon of salt to the pot and stir. Skim any impurities that gather on the surface.
    3. Add ¼ cup of the olive oil. Cook beans until they are soft and cooked through, about 30 minutes. Be careful not to cook the beans too long as they will burst and turn into a paste. It’s important to taste the beans through the cooking process to ensure desired doneness.
  3. Finish the Dish:
    1. Once the beans are cooked, pour them into an oven-safe skillet (preferably cast iron) along with any remaining liquid. Add the tomato basil sauce to the skillet and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
    2. Add the half head of cauliflower to the center of the skillet and drizzle the remaining ¼ cup of olive oil over the top of the cauliflower. Season with the remaining tablespoon of salt and fennel pollen.
    3. Place skillet into the oven and bake at 400°F for 30-45 minutes, or until the cauliflower is easily pierced with a knife.
  4. To serve:
    1. With a serrated knife, cut the cauliflower into four equal pieces.  Serve the cauliflower, beans, and tomatoes in small bowls.


Photography by John Valls


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