Low waste cook space with Good Intent

Mar 4, 2021 | by Hawnuh Lee

good intent founders

Photo from Good Intent

Our friends Alex and Lindsay, the partners behind low waste product shop Good Intent, are sharing a look into their culinary havens with our latest edition of The Heirloom Kitchen. We’re so excited to talk shop and hear what these sustainability experts are cooking up. With pantry setups to inspire and surprising tools of the trade we’re totally wishing we could come over for dinner. In the meantime, you’ll feel right at home with this kitchen sneak peek. Let’s dig in!

Morning beverage of choice?

Alex: Tea! I just transitioned away from my caffeinated tea habit, but I still love the ritual of drinking hot herbal tea in the morning. Sometimes I’ll treat myself to hot chocolate with cacao powder, maca, cinnamon (or pumpkin spice powder), and a little honey.

Lindsay: Medium-roast black coffee, brewed in a french press. 

Describe your preferred vessel to drink aforementioned beverage out of.

Alex: My favorite mug is the only one I’ve actually purchased for myself. It’s a beautiful handmade purple one I got from Backtalk PDX when they still had a storefront.

Lindsay: I get so much joy out of my mug collection, it’s really hard to choose. My friend recently bought me an “I’m Speaking.” mug that arrived on my doorstep just days after the VP debate. My husband also bought me a Michelle Obama mug when he visited Washington DC years ago. Both of these mugs are the exact vibes I need before starting my day. 

Go-to knife?

Alex: We have a Wüsthof knife set, and by far the most used one is the large Chef’s knife. It gets used on the daily for crushing garlic and chopping vegetables.

Lindsay: We are a loyal Cutco family (my husband was a Cutco salesman in college). The Santoku Knife is our favorite! 

Necessary object / appliance / tool in your kitchen?

Alex: Hard to choose just one. Either our enamel tea kettle that we use several times a day or the cheese grater that gets used enough that we just assume it’s in the dishwasher when we’re looking for it.

Lindsay: Garlic press. Unequivocally. 

Kitchen object with a story?

Alex: My husband and I both have ceramics that we painted when we worked at the summer camp where we met that we haven’t been able to part with. Mine is a tea pot and cup that says “Fight fire with tea” and “Do like Pooh” (I had just read The Tao of Pooh and was feeling inspired). His is a plate that encapsulates his time working with Capuchin monkeys at a wildlife refuge in Bolivia. 

Lindsay: An antique cake stand that I used for my wedding cake. I wanted to serve vegan cake, and the easiest way to do that was to make it myself. But then I couldn’t narrow down what type of cake to make, so I ended up having 5 wedding cakes, each with its own antique cake stand and handmade wedding cake toppers.

Gadget you’re not sure why you still have?

Alex: A breadmaker. It’s pretty much the classic wedding gift you register for with dreams of grandeur, and then we subsequently learned my husband is allergic to wheat. He’s still optimistic about gluten-free breadmaking though.

Lindsay: A spare french press. I’ve had two french presses for as long as I can remember, and there is no reason I need two. Anybody want a french press?

Describe how your pantry is organized.

Alex: I love this question since I just moved and put a fair amount of thought into this recently! The cabinet next to the fridge has snacks on the bottom shelf, bulk grains and gluten-free pasta (the bases for most of our meals) on the middle shelf, and sauces and canned goods on top — the thought being that if we were deciding what to eat last minute or what ingredients we have to make a meal, we could see all the main ingredients close to each other. In another cabinet, we have coffee/tea/beverage stuff on the bottom and nuts and other toppings on the middle shelf. The cabinet closest to the stove has baking ingredients on bottom, oils and vinegars in the middle. I try to avoid putting anything I actually use regularly to cook with on the top shelves because it’s a little too tall for me to reach. All the spices are in a low and deep cabinet where I can see the tops of each of them that I have labeled with a chalk marker.

Lindsay: Alex is really making me look bad here. There is no rhyme or reason to how my pantry is organized. We just try to squeeze everything in wherever it will fit!

Last impulse produce purchase? Did you make anything with it?

Alex: A bunch of citrus, and I accidentally ended up with double what I was hoping because my husband picked some up and I had already ordered some via Instacart. I always try to get whatever fruit is in season just to snack on or use in baking. Last time I checked, we still had quite a bit left.

Lindsay: We’re big grocery list people. The last time I deviated from the list in the produce section was to buy collards. Which I prepared right away because collards are delicious! I fried them with oil, garlic, crushed red pepper, and miso paste for extra umami!

Top three pantry staples? And ideas for what to do with them?

Alex: I tried but I cannot figure out a way to narrow down to 3 without sacrificing one of my beloveds, so I’m cheating by choosing 3 categories. 1. My favorite grains: Grits, arborio rice, and gluten-free pasta. All of these are perfect bases for last minute scrounge meals using whatever other ingredients we have on hand. 2. Spice: Spice is one of the core tenets in our family manifesto, and the most essential are cinnamon, crushed red pepper, cayenne pepper, and hot sauce. I love adding cinnamon to my oatmeal, hot chocolate, or baked goods often whether it calls for it or not. Crushed red pepper takes things up a notch in pastas or on pizza. Cayenne is great for adding subtle spice and flavor to curries, soups, and eggs. And hot sauce we literally put on anything savory, especially if it needs some extra flavor. Favorites in our home are Crystal, the Jalapeño one from TJ’s, and Sriracha depending on the flavor profile of the food. Adding spice has multiple health benefits and really kicks the flavor up a notch. 3. Alliums: I try to never run out of garlic and onions and often have shallots and green onion too. There’s very little I make without them.

Lindsay: 1. Nutritional yeast. I use this most frequently in one of our dinner staples – vegan risotto. It’s also great on salad! 2. Crushed red pepper (aka CRP). CRP is the super star of many of our regular dinners, including risotto, my own signature pasta sauce, and thai curry. 3. Cashews. Many vegans would agree that this nut is clutch! They can be used to add creaminess and fullness to cheesy dishes like risotto (last time I’ll mention risotto, I promise), “cheese” sauce, and alfredo sauce. 

Special pantry item that’s nice to have on hand?

Alex: Toasted sesame oil. Ooo it’s so good. Whenever a recipe includes it, I know it’s gonna be amazing.

Lindsay: Flavored salt. Flower salt and kala namak (black salt) are some of my favorites. 

Must have condiment?

Alex: Barbecue sauce hands down. My current favorite is the Organic Sriracha & Roasted Garlic BBQ sauce from Trader Joe’s.

Lindsay: Soy sauce – for adding umami to so many foods, and not just asian dishes! 

Describe the food you most relate to.

Alex: An organic, fair trade 70% cacao dark chocolate from a local chocolatier. Trying its hardest to be the best and most ethical version of itself as possible. Full of nutritional value but also just sweet enough to feel like a treat. Most people generally like and even crave the flavor, but some think of this brand as being a little extra and might be like, “Please just let me enjoy my Hershey’s,” but once they try this version, see how passionate the local artisan is about the ingredients, sourcing, and process, and read the story and mission on the back of the label, they’ll be like, “Dang, this is some bomb chocolate,” and feel 100% good about eating it on the reg.

Lindsay: Avocado. From California. Can be a bit temperamental. You wouldn’t really know what’s going on inside based on just the exterior. Are at their primes for brief moments in time, and that’s when they are also most vulnerable. Are delicious (not really something I relate to, but needed to be said). 

Clean as you go or save it for later?

Alex: Clean as I go, but there still always seems to be more for later anyway.

Lindsay: Definitely clean as I go. It’s a lot easier for me to enjoy a meal when I don’t have a pile of dishes looming in the background. 

Any current kitchen experiments happening?

Alex: Gluten-free baking! We found out a year or two ago that my husband shouldn’t eat gluten, which I initially thought meant baking anything truly delicious would not be a thing anymore. Then I discovered Bob’s Red Mill’s 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour and literally bought a 25 lb bag. We’ve been able to make so many delicious things, although it can also be a little hit or miss depending on the recipe.

Lindsay: Vegan soft cheeses are next on my list. I’ve been inspired by some amazing finds from Whole Foods and Compassionut Creamery

Trusted recipe book or site?

Alex: Minimalist Baker has definitely been my go-to recently. My good friend @mayashealthyday is also a great recipe maker and wellness role model with a newsletter called Soul Food Sundays, and luckily she has a cookbook coming out later this year! She’s great at coming up with plant-based alternatives to comfort food classics and has a unique perspective as a Black woman in the wellness space.

Lindsay: I’m also a big fan of Minimalist Baker and Maya’s Healthy Day. Vegan Bowls is another favorite. Hipcooks is also an awesome resource for inspiration, and their Portland location is still offering virtual classes!

Scrappy kitchen tip to share?

Alex: Learning how to properly store produce has been a game changer. So many fruits and veggies gone bad prematurely because I was storing them next to the wrong things or not in the best containers. Like putting apples next to oranges makes it so the oranges go bad faster because of the ethylene produced by the apples. Storing green onions, carrots, and asparagus in jars or glasses filled with water like flowers. I’m also obsessed with the potato bag, onion bag, food huggers, and veggie crisper bags we carry at Good Intent because they keep produce fresh for so long! Potatoes can go weeks without eyes and greens can go weeks without wilting! I also love stocking up on fresh seasonal produce from the farmer’s market and storing in reusable silicone bags in the freezer for later in the year, especially the winter, when I’m craving some variety.

Lindsay: Freezing herbs! I know I’m not alone in saying that herb plants tend to instantly die under my care, so freezing fresh herbs in oil is pretty much the only way to go. I freeze my herbs in olive oil in an ice tray. We have a stainless steel ice tray at Good Intent that is pretty perfect for herb-saving! And once frozen, you can transfer them to a reusable silicone bag so that you can move on to freezing the next thing.

We loved getting a look into the Good Intent kitchens! Find more of their hot tips @shopwithgoodintent.


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