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Klatsch: a week without shopping


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Sunday, Day Two: Lunch & Dinner

Thus far I haven't noticed any real effect on our meal plans from this exercise. I expect this will soon change, though, as I noticed last night that we only have a single head of lettuce and nothing else for greens. For veggies—one head of cauliflower, one parsnip, a couple sweet potatoes, and normal potatoes.

I basically skipped lunch yesterday while I worked on this lollipop project, churning out various hard candies and gelées.I ate a small bowl of Crispix around 6 PM before preparing dinner.

For dinner, and the Oscars, we invited a friend over and I made a 2-lb grain-finished steak with a simple red wine reduction sauce. For sides we had leftover onion-fennel soup, leftover potatoes-parsnip mash, and some steam-sauteed carrots.

For dessert we had some avocado ice cream. On the side was a little experiment: a gelatinized bacon-infused bourbon cube topped with Angostura-vermouth hard candy and maple-bacon hard candy. Really crazy, in texture mostly—still needs a lot of work.

The most bizarre event of the night was testing out these lollipops that utilize bioluminescent proteins. We had no idea what would happen, so we turned the lights out and started sucking. Within seconds our entire mouths and the lollipops started to glow very brightly. It was amazing! You could even get them wet and throw the bioluminescent glowing protein water around, making it look like some crazy scene from CSI or something. I'll post a photo later today.

Day 3 Plan

Breakfast will be steel cut oats with dried fruits. Easy, and yummy.

Lunch will be something small, maybe yogurt and an apple (the last apple).

Dinner will be a grass-finished steak—but what to eat with it? Rice? Couscous? Noodles? I'm not sure just yet, so we'll have to see what I conjure up.

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Day 3 and I've experienced no interruptions thus far -- this challenge will get much more interesting once the midweek shopping trip is skipped. It was difficult not to stockpile last Friday, the only thing I did was buy 8 litres more milk and some stuff for a party.

I'm still having trouble with the formula: hot dogs + jam + mustard = good.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Pics! From Day #1 of the challenge, which was spent preparing for the week....

Here's the butternut squash post-roasting....I'm going to saute up some pancetta and make a butternut squash pasta with lots of parmesan and black pepper later on this week.

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Bread (half of one loaf is missing because I couldn't stop slicing pieces off and eating them with KerryGold butter)

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And chili-cheese calzones, for the inevitable late night when I don't feel like cooking

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Edited by mssurgeon81 (log)

Sarah Fernandez aka "mssurgeon81"

Philadelphia, PA

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Following you-all's adventures has been more fun (and time-consuming) than I expected. Last night we had penne with broccoli rabe, chickpeas, proscuitto (my latest discovery--proscuitto ends from the Italian deli, for $5.99/lb. Perfect for cutting into little batons for the pasta.), onion, lots of garlic, olive oil, Aleppo pepper. My husband, who sometimes balks at low-meat content pasta dishes, loved this one.

I'm going to have to bow out earlier than I thought, because my husband ended up having dinner meetings tonight and tomorrow. I'll just eat leftovers, which I do for lunch as well.

I do have four portobello mushrooms in the refrigerator that I need to do something with before Wednesday. Any advice?

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I can't help but coming up with more Japanese ideas -I hope that's okay.
to the left a carton of chicken livers

Chicker liver yakitori? If you really like chicken livers, that is. Skewer and brush lightly with a 50/50 mix of mirin and soy, then grill. Enjoy with beer.

It's more red colored tiny fish eggs than anything very flavorful, but it made a nice garnish for a seafood appetizer during the holidays. Now I've just got to find some more seafood that can use a garnish of this roe.

Or, you could make chirashi-sushi, if you have the makings for sushi rice and some eggs around. Prepare your rice as you would normally, season it with salt, sugar, and vinegar to turn it into sushi rice. Then place it in a bowl, and top with cut-up pieces of omelette, fish roe, and sliced vegetables like cucumbers. It's very refreshing.

Thanks, those are great ideas. And based on your idea for the chicken livers, I've got them thawing in the fridge right now. I've got both mirin and soy already in my pantry. So tonight it will be a choice between Salmon and the chicken livers. Thanks again for the suggestions.

Sunday, February 22, Day Four, Dinner-

Last night I couldn’t decide whether to use chicken livers or salmon, so I did both, and I threw in a chicken breast to boot. I don’t think the chicken breast was intended for an Asian style dish-it was in the freezer bag with a sprig of rosemary and a slice of preserved lemon!

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As I mentioned in a earlier post, I had the chicken livers in the freezer leftover from when I last made baked cannelloni. The chicken livers are ground into a savory beef-spinach-cheese filling for the cannelloni. I only use a couple of the livers in the recipe, then I’m stuck with this container that sits in the freezer for months.

But nakji came through for me with the perfect suggestion for skewering the livers and glazing them with a sweet mirin-soy sauce glaze. Thank you again for the great suggestions. I feel like I’ve discovered one of the “Mother Sauces,” and I’ll be using it again and again and again.

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I reduced the mirin down with soy sauce and honey. I keep about three types of honey on the shelf and this particular jar was from Eastern Europe, (beautiful piece of honeycomb included). Once the sauce was reduced by about a third, I added some garlic, lemon juice, ginger and a dash of sesame oil. I reduced the sauce down further into a syrupy consistency.

I discovered that I actually had some napa cabbage in the refrigerator. So the idea of a salad started to come together: napa cabbage, pickled shallots, green onions and a dressing of ginger, sesame oil, lemon juice, rice vinegar, chili oil and some of the pickled shallot brine.

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This was the last of the green onions and the cabbage is now gone. As you can see, the ginger is wrinkled and old and needs to go.

Close-up of the pickled shallots-a tangy, crunchy, mildly spicy addition to the salad.

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I didn’t have any short-grain rice, (my preference for this dish because I would have liked a more starchy, sticky rice), so I substituted jasmine rice.

I alternated the chicken and livers on one skewer and then the salmon went on a separate skewer. The meats were glazed with the sauce before going under the broiler. I intentionally put the salmon on “skin side up” so the skin would get charred under the broiler.

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Chicken-Liver and Salmon Yakitori, Steamed Jasmine Rice, Napa Cabbage Slaw with Pickled Shallots-

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The Salmon-

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The Chicken and Livers-

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Dinner tonight is going to be some sort of pasta dish and probably a salad of canned cannelini beans.

My supply of fresh vegetables is now gone, but I’ve found that I’ve got more than enough food to sustain me through the final three dinners of my week. I’m now at the point where I’ve gone beyond the feeling helpless stage to having enough ideas and products to push me well beyond this week.

I don’t have fresh buttermilk or good chocolate for that Devil’s Food Cake, but I do have dried buttermilk powder (that I use in my cinnamon roll dough), and chocolate malt powder (that I used for chocolated malted ice cream), that I think would be good substitutes for the cake.

Now tonight when I get home, I’m going to go digging back into the depths of the freezer in search of a very elusive ingredient. Should I be successful in my hunt, I’ll do a dish inspired by Peter the eater.

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I had been thinking about doing something like this for a while, and since I was away for a quick weekend trip, I didn't see this until I returned yesterday afternoon. Perfect timing - I last shopped Sunday the 16th and had only picked up a quart of milk, a cucumber and some fresh mozzarella to get me through this coming week! Too bad I bought the milk - I could have used up some of my oatmeal.

Last night was homemade pizza - utilizing half a jar of marinated artichoke hearts, a bit of homemade sauce, one of the two plum tomatoes I had, a few pieces of pepperoni, and the aforementioned fresh mozz. Soo good! I still have all of the ingrdients left so it could actually reappear - or also morph into a pasta dish with all of the same toppings. Or, add the various olives and some cuke I have in my fridge and become a salad (with out the sauce or pepperoni).

Tonight I plan on using the carrots, cuke, frozen shrimp, cilantro and some of my many rice noodles and make imperial rolls (summer rolls). I may experiment with the tamarind chutney in my freezer as a dipping sauce, or use some of the various condiments I have to create something.

Later in the week, I have a cup of lentils I have been determined to use for a while - they may become a soup; two bell peppers that I have to do something with - probably one at least gets roasted; frozen edamame, with fresh carrots, bell peppers, onions and maybe even celery can become a stirfry - with or without shrimp; homemade bolognese sauce exists in my freezer if I really don't feel like cooking. The truth is, I could probably go two more weeks without shopping as long as get most of my veggies at work (I run a small cafe so I don't prepare a lunch).

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Oiishi-so! That looks delicious! If you want to be really crazy, substitute good maple syrup for the mirin, and don't add any other sweetener. It makes an excellent glaze for salmon.

Thank you again for the great suggestions. I feel like I’ve discovered one of the “Mother Sauces,” and I’ll be using it again and again and again.

I basically have a one litre bottle each of soy, mirin, cooking sake, and sesame oil in my pantry, and it hardly seems a day goes by that I don't use them. May I present the truly excellent Soy-mirin-dashi ratio topic for your perusal?

I may experiment with the tamarind chutney in my freezer as a dipping sauce, or use some of the various condiments I have to create something.

I had a lovely tamarind sauce while living in Vietnam - basically a few tablespoons of tamarind, thinned with stock and simmered with ginger, garlic, chili, and lemongrass - after about 10 minutes of simmering, strain; adjust for sweetness; reduce, then thicken, if you like with a cornstarch slurry. Gorgeous with pan fried chicken, but it would also make a good dipping sauce.

I still need a recipe to use what is on hand - or for something where I must buy many of the ingredients.

So do I, most of the time!

I've realized that often I get home so late and tired that I don't really feel like cooking, and thus most of the stuff that I buy to cook goes un-used while I make frequent shopping trips for more convenient provisions. This is a direct consequence of the fact that my weekly shopping trips consist of buying for planned meals that I never get around to making.

This happens to me a lot, too. I think your idea to make calzones for nights when you don't want to cook is an excellent idea.

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We actually had a last-minute change of plans with respect to PJ's lunch. He requested an egg sandwich. This is one of his favorite breakfasts or lunches to eat on the way to school (he rides in the stroller and the walk takes me about 40 minutes, so it's a leisurely meal opportunity for him).

PJ discovered the egg sandwich one day a year or so ago after a Music Together class. I had to feed him something so we went to the deli near the church where we went for the classes. I ordered each of us an egg on a roll. He loved the sandwich, but even more so he was enamored of the way the deli guy wrapped the sandwich in aluminum foil. The next day he asked me to make him an egg sandwich so I did, and PJ was like, "Why didn't you wrap it in foil?" So I wrapped it in foil. Now, all egg sandwiches produced in our home need to be wrapped in foil prior to service.

So, one of the three remaining kaiser rolls in the freezer got used up, as well as one egg, as well as a tiny pat of our dwindling supply of precious Anchor butter. I love how Anchor butter is considered fancy in America but is probably just some cheap generic product in New Zealand.

The incredible shrinking supply of Anchor butter:

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Yolk intentionally broken, for portability of the sandwich:

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Ready for professional-style deli wrapping:

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On the dinner front, I spent the afternoon in Philadelphia judging this Philly Cooks! competition. When you see what I had for dinner today you'll see why it's not a challenge for me to go a week without shopping. (When you see tomorrow night's dinner, you'll just be disgusted with me.)

My dinner:

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Actually my team of judges was only responsible for 14 of those dishes (there were other teams too), and we ate them in tasting portions rather than the presentation portions you see there. Still, it was a ton of food. Some of the dishes were not easily divisible so the tasting portion would be something like one entire double-cut pork chop, or a whole lobster tail. There was also a ton of wine and other snacks after the judging.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Monday, February 23, Day Five, Dinner-

This evening's dinner had to be the most satisfying so far. Satisfying because I took a total creative turn from what I had planned two days ago-bottled pasta sauce, ground veal, spaghetti and a salad of canned cannelini beans. And I found even more products in the cupboards, freezer and fridge that I didn't realize existed in those dark places.

The sauce that nakji recommended for last night's dinner, (soy-mirin glaze for the chicken livers), was so delicious I wanted to use it again tonight. But rather than repeat an Asian theme, I started to think about Mexican flavors.

I found a frozen, pre-cooked, half duck in the freezer and some overlooked watercress in the refrigerator.

I decided to re-heat the soy-mirin glaze and add in some molasses. I heated the duck in the oven for about 20 minutes, then brushed on some of the glaze and turned up the broiler to crisp the skin.

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I've had these pre-cooked duck products before and they are quite good. The half-duck is partially boned for easy cutting and the meat is very tender.

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I've not gone wanting for meats so far, but as you can see from the yellowing of the bottom leaves, my fresh green vegetable stock is showing its age-which in the case of the watercress is about 8 days. (The watercress happened to be "live," when I bought it, meaning the root structure was still intact. I think keeping the watercress in a water bath helped extend its life).

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I started to think about a cornbread and another vegetable. The vegetable was easy-the old standby of frozen green beans. But I wasn't sure I could pull off the cornbread.

I like to put actual corn in my cornbread, and the last of the frozen corn was used weeks ago. Then I remembered an odd product I bought a month ago for a salad-pickled cactus. I decided to add some diced pickled cactus, diced roasted red peppers and half of a diced yellow onion.

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The cornbread batter only called for one egg so I've got about 9 left out of a dozen I bought over a week ago. The recipe also called for milk. I was worried my milk was spoiled-I don't drink milk and only use it for cooking and baking. It tends to sit in the fridge far after it's "due date." Luckily, the milk was still fresh. (As a standby, I do keep powdered milk in the cupboard that I use in a bread dough so that was my backup).

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The dry ingredients for the cornbread were corn meal, flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. I also added some chipotle chili powder, and then I added the cactus, red pepper, onion and wet ingredients.

I baked the cornbread in a square glass baking dish, then cut a serving using a round cutter that I cut out of a tin can. Makes a nice presentation.

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When you are relying on ingredients you have on hand, your ability to add color to the plate is often a bit constrained. O.K., I'm being picky here, but I've got too much green on my plate. As far as taste-delicious. Especially that silky mirin-soy-molasses glaze.

Roast Duck with Soy-Mirin-Molasses Glaze, Watercress Salad, Green Beans and Cornbread with Pickled Cactus-

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One thing that makes this week easier for me than for many others is that I'm only cooking for myself. If I end up with Triscuits and peanut butter with a side of tater tots on the last day of the week, I don't have to worry about endangering children or disappointing a spouse.

So, Day 1 for lunch, I had leftover mashed potatoes with some cheese stirred in. No big deal.

Night 1 for dinner, I had leftover grits (aka polenta) topped with some tomato sauce I had in the freezer. I added some mushrooms and pancetta and topped it with Parmigiano. A salad of romaine and arugula finished the meal. I would have made croutons for the salad, but I feared I was running low on bread. Although actually I've found a few slices in the freezer -- they're probably only good for toast or croutons, but that works for me.

Day 2 for brunch, I scrambled one of my four eggs, mixed it with some jalapeno pepper cheese and had it in a flour tortilla. For dinner, I went over to a friend's.

In the way that any dieter will recognize, my main problem so far has just been wanting whatever I can't have -- for instance, ordinarily, I can easily go a week without fish, but since I don't have any on hand, that's all I can think about.

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I started the carnitas and black beans for tonights supper early this morning. All that was left to do this evening was crisp up the pork, fry the beans in a bit of fat and chop some romaine lettuce. All in all we had soft shell carnitas tacos on corn tortillas with pico de gallo, Nancy's yogurt and Tillamook sharp cheddar. On the side was mexican rice (finishing up the white rice from Saturday's stir-fry), refried black beans (only 13 more cans to go! :rolleyes: ), chopped lettuce, more pico de gallo and lime wedges. My supply of tomatoes and jalapenos is gone so after a repeat of tonights supper when I use the remaining pico de gallo I'll freeze any leftover pork, beans and rice to use as a future enchilada filling. I snapped a few pictures but they're really bad so no pics. :hmmm:

Also, I cubed the remains of a loaf of bread that I baked almost a week ago and tossed them with olive oil, parmesan and herbs to make croutons for future salads. We've been on a big-salad-with-broiled-chicken breast kick for awhile now and I thought the croutons would be a nice touch. Thriftiness can actually taste pretty good!

Edited by petite tête de chou (log)

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

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No real changes here as we had so much on hand. First things to miss will be carrots (1 1/2 left) and citrus (one old orange and 2 clementines). I diluted the 2% milk (usually have 1%) with 2 cups of powdered skim when I took out 2 cups to make yogurt. Yogurt was better/thicker than usual using half powdered and half 2%.

We ate out Sat. night (a very rare thing) at a chain place with a BOGO free deal. Salad bar was tempting so most of meals came home. I LOT of very over-cooked broc which I turned into soup. Probably should have tossed it. Soup OK but not to my taste.

Breakfast was my version of whole-grain no-knead bread from freezer with pb from a co-op and home made peach,plum, brandy jam. Jam is a bit soft (I misread amounts) but very good.

Figure I need to go at least two more weeks with perhaps the purchase of a couple of fruits/vegs.

I have a big bag of roasted Hatch Chiles in freezer...and a big bag of Amish corn meal so am thinking on that for later in the week.

I decided to wait on the rice flours, coconut.coconut milk pancakes. I will take them to an event in 3 weeks when I need to bring dessert. Another can of red bean paste will be used then too in Japanese pancakes. I AM planning on how to use this stuff up.

Really enjoying seeing what people have on hand, and how inventive they are.

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With two sick kids, soup last night. As I looked in the pantry, there was a can of chickpeas and more cans of tomatoes than I can count.

Pasta e cici soup, except that I forgot to add the pasta. Oh, well. We do agree that this is a fab tomato soup.

Alongside, quesadillas with pre-grated cheese. Some with the last of the deli sliced smoked turkey breast.

I added crushed red pepper to my soup.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Ended up getting invited out to a dinner party last night and it was awesome. But it will probably be the only time I eat out this week. If I get home early enough tonight I'm going to try and make the butternut squash pasta :)

Sarah Fernandez aka "mssurgeon81"

Philadelphia, PA

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What would we do without chickpeas? So meaty, so tasty, so many cuisines. I keep a lot of dry chick peas on hand and cook up a big batch at a time. With my last, I made a chickpea/cauliflower/spinach curry, the pasta dish with broccoli rabe that I described earlier, hummus, and an Italian soup. True survival food for foodies.

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Day 3: Lunch and Dinner

Lunch was spectacular: leftover ground pork, combined with taco spices, and eaten on home-fried corn tortillas with some toppings—tomato, lettuce, muenster cheese, cilantro, scallions, and sour cream.

This was the first time "rationing" was considered when making a meal. We had tacos last week (that's what the leftover pork was from) and some of the toppings were left over from that. The two-day-old chopped tomatoes that my fiancé didn't cover with plastic wrap weren't looking too hot, but I looked around and saw I only had two other plum tomatoes. So, I thought to myself, "I'll probably need those later, and can put these already-chopped tomatoes to good use now." Hands down, every other time I would have opted for freshly chopped tomatoes. In the end, it made no difference in the taco and I forgot about the "not fresh" option of the toppings.

Dinner was our first major setback. I had planned on having a grass-finished steak, which I pulled out on Saturday and wrapped in parchment paper, letting the steak breathe but still being covered. When I unwrapped it parts of the steak had bonded to the parchment paper, and areas of the steak were dried out and crusty, something I've never encountered in such a short period of resting time for raw meat. Prior to opening it was a professional frozen and vacuum sealed piece of good looking meat. So, one main component to a meal has been lost.

Then the fiancé, Lola, arrived home, not feeling all that hot; she didn't even want me to make the whole roast chicken I had lined up. Makes my life easier! So we ended up eating my childhood comfort-food-staple: buttered macaroni, this time with farfalle noodles.

We work on eating local and sustainable as much as possible, and as a result I am so over root vegetables right now. We've been eating them for months and their heavy, starchy sustenance is just not all that appealing. Well, without the green component around the house—dandelions, watercress, arugula, etc—all I'm left with are potatoes, parsnips, sweet potatoes, and the like.

Day 4: Breakfast

Today I continued to eat the steel-cut oats I made over the weekend, this time paired with donuts from the Donut Plant. (mmmmmmmmmmm) [edit: the Donut Plant donuts were leftovers from Lola's school project. I've been avoiding going out to eat at all as well, which in New York can be pretty challenging.]

The plan for today is: simple lunch (probably a sandwich) and a roast chicken with sweet potatoes for tonight.

Edited by vyieort (log)
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This topic is so timely for me.THIS IS DAY 2

I,like ZENPUP live in a "stocked" kitchen.Well managed pantry,frig(2) and freezers.

Now the yeah but,all the scraps of "?" everywhere.We are gearing for a move.Now is the time to locate the scraps and trim for soup and stock and use them!!So I will be avoiding all non menu impulses.Fortunately lunch for 2,some meals for my father in law,wine class for 16 (weekly) are players on top of the standard breakfast and dinner fare for two.Great menu options without resorting to our 3 dogs or resident crows who will eat anything.

So #1,located ALL the bones,veg & meat scraps.Made fast,flavorful soup base.

leek and asparagus trim with beef bones - base for potato soup (farmer gifted me 25#)#2more bones,(venison & beef),mushroom stems,base for elk and mushroom

stew.

I need to finish as many "open" condiments and vinegars etc,and not open more for 3-6 weeks.What to do with the sourcherry sauce(1/2 litre) left from the holiday goose in the freezer?add to pears for a cornmeal upside down cake with a Bandol's

Thursday?(wine class)

Specialty grains and flour,use up tiny odd amounts in bread.Leave the kilo vacuum

sealed bags alone if they can't be finished in 3 weeks.

The silver lining here will be how much my husband and father in law like soup and stew and that there is little "fragile" in the freezers,scallops etc.

So for THREE WEEKS only produce for a raw salad,DR recommended bananas and fresh milk will enter.Will use on hand for all else.Intend to glean all the tips I can.

Nothing need be new or fancy,just good.

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A word on fresh vegetables.

My biggest concern going into the project was that I'd be depriving my three-year-old of fresh vegetables for a week. Not that it would really matter -- a healthy person going a week without vegetables is hardly a significant event -- but I felt bad.

Now that we're into it, I'm realizing that my fears were utterly unfounded. We still have enough ingredients left for small salads through Thursday. Some of the vegetables -- carrots, celery, onions, potatoes -- are very long lived and will be with us for several more weeks (unless we run out). The radicchio seems quite sturdy -- it should still be around this coming weekend. I also have a box or bag each of frozen broccoli, spinach, corn and peas in the freezer -- that's just what I've discovered so far.

The lentil soup I made has carrots and mushrooms in it. The lasagna I reheated had spinach and mushrooms. I don't really know how to count tomato sauce (perhaps it's a vegetable, like ketchup) but it contains many of the nutrients that people seek in fresh vegetables. Speaking of nutrients, it seems that hardly a year goes by without a variant of the "frozen vegetables more nutritious than fresh" story running is some newspaper somewhere:

The Austrian researchers compared the nutritional value of frozen food with imported fresh vegetables on sale during the winter.

The vitamin content of frozen peas, cauliflower, beans, sweetcorn and carrots was significantly higher than fresh vegetables imported from Italy, Spain, Turkey and Israel. Fresh vegetables on sale during the winter usually came from southern Europe or Africa and might have lost some of their nutritional value.

Mark Bittman has written compellingly about the flavor benefits of frozen vegetables:

At a meal last fall at Citronelle, the great Washington restaurant, I was served a delicious plate of brussels sprouts. When I asked the chef, Michel Richard, where they were from, he said without hesitation, ''the freezer.''

I'm sure I also have some pickled items kicking around. Then there are all these things in the pantry that live at the vegetable-starch-protein crossroads: chickpeas, etc.

For most of history, if you lived in a climate with a real winter, you didn't get much in the way of fresh vegetables during winter. What is available to me this week, just from my larder, is far superior -- nutritionally and culinarily -- to what my ancestors had available at this time of year.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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For most of history, if you lived in a climate with a real winter, you didn't get much in the way of fresh vegetables during winter. What is available to me this week, just from my larder, is far superior -- nutritionally and culinarily -- to what my ancestors had available at this time of year.

Quite frankly, in the dead of winter, that corn I froze within a couple of hours of it's picking, or the green beans that were picked just moments before the blanch and freeze process are far fresher than what's imported from who knows where at this time of year.

One of my summer jobs when I was in college was at the Bird's Eye canning/freezing place in Waseca, MN (a job guaranteed to motivate a person to get a degree, BTW), and the stuff that was processed was really fresh. Corn was picked in the am for the pm processing.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I sailed through Sunday, my usual shopping at TJ's day, with nary a stumble.

Saturday evening I braised a duck that I had removed from the freezer on Thursday. Mixed vegetables, steamed in their own package - from my last TJ's shopping trip. A green salad (ditto TJ's) followed by bread pudding.

Earlier that day I had cold cereal with kefir - an excellent option with a type of dairy that keeps for weeks - one can also use yogurt that is fairly thin - one advantage of making homemade stuff with no unpronounceable additives.

Lunch was a bread salad with a few of the Roma tomatoes I had in a basket on the counter and half of a red bell pepper, simply dressed with oil and vinegar(homemade).

Sunday began with a brunch of a fruit and cheese tart topped with a few blueberries from my frozen stash. I then began the oxtail stew, braising the oxtails slowly in the oven while I thawed some more of the roasted root vegetable medley, which is good on its own but even better when used in a stew.

This morning I had mock French toast for breakfast - the leftover bread pudding from Saturday evening.

Tonight I will have leftover duck, leftover oxtail stew. With this will be some "wilted" mustard greens, picked just a few minutes ago from a protected area in the kitchen garden. The stuff is even blooming - it is very hardy, having sprouted and grown even with some below-freezing temps week before last. The recent rains, after a dry January, have caused a lot of dormant plants to begin regeneration. The sorrel has put out a lot of new leaves but not yet enough for harvesting.

It's now time for lunch and I am baking some cornbread and have yet to decide what will go with it, possibly some ham and cheese.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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The smoked trout I mentioned above: I'm planning to flake the meat and mix it with a potato puree. Can somebody please give me very explicit instructions for getting the meat off those trout?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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The smoked trout I mentioned above: I'm planning to flake the meat and mix it with a potato puree. Can somebody please give me very explicit instructions for getting the meat off those trout?

I'd start by pulling the head off, and removing any meat attached at the "neck." Oh, and don't forget to check and see if there are any cheeks lurking sort of under the eyes. So, with head removed, grab a gill and start removing the skin. Once the skin is removed, lay it flat, and running from head to tail will probably be a "line" -- separating the top and bottom flesh. I usually just use my fingers and remove the top flesh gently, so that the bones stay on the spine. For the bottom, do the same thing, but don't be surprised if the belly bones stay with the belly part -- there's often a "skin" on the inside of the belly that you can peel back and the belly bones (they will be concave -- or convex -- depending on how you are looking at them) should come with it.

I much prefer flaking smoked fish once it's off the bone or you'll spend a lot of time with a magnifying glass looking for bones. Also, any gray scum stuff on the outside of the meat should be removed and discarded. According to the MN DNR, this is where the pollutants reside.

Smoked fish, BTW, also makes a lovely addition to a frittata. Also good eaten cold, standing in ones skivies with the fridge door open.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Day 4 was easy -- it's Pancake Tuesday and the $5 church suppers are easy to find in my neck of the woods. You typically get two flapjacks, a piece of bacon, a mediocre breakfast sausage, choice of 10% real maple syrup or blueberry sauce, and a Sanka.

Speaking as an devout Anti-Creationist Atheist, I'd have to say Shrove Tuesday is my favorite religious holiday. Sadly, I forgot to bring my camera.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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