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Culinary Confession: Where are you shirking?


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Is there some way to...you know, save lettuce? Preserve it somehow? Can it be cooked? Or made into a soup? Or should I just invest in some rabbits? Because evidently I'm unable to simply stop buying lettuce.

Depends on the kind of lettuce you buy. Romaine, when treated right, can keep for a long time. "Baby lettuces," on the other hand, can seem to wilt and slime up before your eyes.

In any case, the first thing you want is for the leaves to be as crisp as possible, so I soak them in cold water for 15 or 20 minutes. Unfortunately, the next thing you want to do is dry them completely. Easy enough with romaine, not so easy with crinkly leaves like Boston or red leaf lettuce. Once they're dry, put them in ziplock bags and squeeze as much air out as possible. As I said, romaine, if it's fresh when you buy it, will last for a month or more this way. Even butter, Boston or red leaf lettuce will last for a couple of weeks, if you can get all the moisture off the leaves.

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Is there some way to...you know, save lettuce? Preserve it somehow? Can it be cooked? Or made into a soup? Or should I just invest in some rabbits? Because evidently I'm unable to simply stop buying lettuce.

I have a Salad Sac - essentially a terry cloth bag with a drawstring that you dampen, store lettuce and greens in, and keep in the crisper. It stretches the life span of lettuce for at least several more days. Works with herbs too (except basil - I have yet to find a way of keeping basil fresh longer than 30 seconds). Mind you, you'll need to remember to keep the bag dampened - which I tend to forget to do, resulting in decomposing lettuce smooshed into the cloth.....

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Depends on the kind of lettuce you buy. Romaine, when treated right, can keep for a long time. "Baby lettuces," on the other hand, can seem to wilt and slime up before your eyes.

In any case, the first thing you want is for the leaves to be as crisp as possible, so I soak them in cold water for 15 or 20 minutes. Unfortunately, the next thing you want to do is dry them completely. Easy enough with romaine, not so easy with crinkly leaves like Boston or red leaf lettuce. Once they're dry, put them in ziplock bags and squeeze as much air out as possible. As I said, romaine, if it's fresh when you buy it, will last for a month or more this way. Even butter, Boston or red leaf lettuce will last for a couple of weeks, if you can get all the moisture off the leaves.

Excellent advice.

Lettuce arrives at my door once a week through my CSA - it's either red-leaf or something they call "lactuca", which, according to the internets is just a botanical name for lettuce in general. It doesn't look like any other lettuce I've ever eaten, but has very long, narrow leaves that are folded over on themselves and fitted into a plastic tray before being covered in plastic wrap. I usually bung that directly into the crisper on arriving home. I know I should take it out, wrap it up in paper and plastic. But I don't, frankly, because I'm lazy. (There is no health in me) Then, one or two days later I might get around to wanting to eat it. By then, it's not looking so great. It usually doesn't slime up, but it gets distinctly wilted. Sometimes I attempt to revive it by soaking it in cold water. I've seen a recipe somewhere - Jamie Oliver? That calls for grilling a whole head, then dressing it with olive oil and meon juice. The next time this happens, I may attempt to cook lettuce.

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.....I've seen a recipe somewhere - Jamie Oliver? That calls for grilling a whole head, then dressing it with olive oil and meon juice. The next time this happens, I may attempt to cook lettuce.

I have grilled heads of romaine successfully, and like it. Cut them in half, or quarters if they're large, leaving the core intact. Brush with some oil, and plop over a low charcoal grill or onto a grill pan also works well. I've only dressed them with a thick dressing, bleu cheese or ranch, but I'm scheming on doing it with 1000 Island that I bought for some Reuben sandwiches a bit ago. I've also thought of grilling iceberg in a similar fashion. Wouldn't think any type of grilling would work so well with any of the more delicate, or baby lettuces. I think they need to be pretty robust to take the heat.

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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Well, at least I'll be in good company with the rest of you, picking up all the lettuce, cucumbers, parsley and poultry carcasses down there in Hell with my eyelashes and wearing that coconut hairshirt ... :biggrin: I have done all of these, and more.

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Guilty as charged! If not worse. I have let so much go bad, I have wonderful cookbooks I don't use that much, I have all the stuff to cure my own sausage, don't use it, a beautiful tagine, that I don't use.....the amount of produce that goes bad in my fridge could feed a whole other family.....

I hang my head in shame....

"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

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I am another one with with a big herb garden but no herbs in my food. In my defense, in the summer I am too busy working in the garden to cook much, and Penzeys has all those lovely herbs all packaged up in neat little bottles for the wintertime.

I hang my head.

(Come on over if you want some thyme, sage, lavendar or rosemary. The basil, cilantro and sweet marjoram are still in the seedling stage, so give me a month or so before I start letting those go to waste.)

I have a giant bed of leaf lettuce, too--but no time to clean it and make salads. And when I do go on a picking/cleaning spree, half of it rots in the bottom of the fridge.

sparrowgrass
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Is there some way to...you know, save lettuce? Preserve it somehow? Can it be cooked? Or made into a soup? Or should I just invest in some rabbits? Because evidently I'm unable to simply stop buying lettuce.

My chickens just got old enough to start eating kitchen scraps. I can tell already that this is going to be the ultimate solution to my lettuce et cetera shame. Chickens gotta eat! Right?

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Last week I thought about the no shopping experiment to clean out the freezer....then I got a grocery bag and cleaned out the freezer the old fashioned way, on garbage day.

Chicken stock, bacon rinds, December's pastrami ends, lots of frosty Zip-bags, and the keilbasa that I have been threatening my husband with since last summer...They are all GONE

the lettuce we ate

tracey

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

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Last week I thought about the no shopping experiment to clean out the freezer....then I got a grocery bag and cleaned out the freezer the old fashioned way, on garbage day.

Chicken stock, bacon rinds, December's pastrami ends, lots of frosty Zip-bags, and the keilbasa that I have been threatening my husband with since last summer...They are all GONE

the lettuce we ate

tracey

Want to do the same thing but have to wait until hubby is away from home on garbage day else I will never hear the end of it. The use it before you lose it technique just ain't working. :laugh:

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Last week I thought about the no shopping experiment to clean out the freezer....then I got a grocery bag and cleaned out the freezer the old fashioned way, on garbage day.

Chicken stock, bacon rinds, December's pastrami ends, lots of frosty Zip-bags, and the keilbasa that I have been threatening my husband with since last summer...They are all GONE

the lettuce we ate

tracey

Want to do the same thing but have to wait until hubby is away from home on garbage day else I will never hear the end of it. The use it before you lose it technique just ain't working. :laugh:

Hahaha! I have to sneak-clean the freezer, too, or else I hear "don't throw THAT away, someone will eat it!" regarding a chunk of something that looked like about 3 oz. of freezer burned, poorly wrapped, chili. I always feel pangs of guilt, tossing all my well intentioned bags of crumbs and ends and bits and bones. I do use some...just not all of em...

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Lettuce turns to mush in my frig ... and bits of leftover cheese become fuzzy and/or petrified. But in reply to a question a few entries up ... sure, if it isn't too far gone, lettuce can be made into vegetable stock or added to other stocks that you might be making, (of course, then the stock will be taking up space), along with other wilting veg. But not broccoli or anything strong such as that ... once tried throwing the broccoli trim into stock and it was ugly! Actually, I think it's good if the stock makes it to the freezer ... I'm inclined to leave it lingering in the frig until I have to go an a trawl for what's causing the funky smell.

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Last week I thought about the no shopping experiment to clean out the freezer....then I got a grocery bag and cleaned out the freezer the old fashioned way, on garbage day.

Chicken stock, bacon rinds, December's pastrami ends, lots of frosty Zip-bags, and the keilbasa that I have been threatening my husband with since last summer...They are all GONE

the lettuce we ate

tracey

Want to do the same thing but have to wait until hubby is away from home on garbage day else I will never hear the end of it. The use it before you lose it technique just ain't working. :laugh:

Hahaha! I have to sneak-clean the freezer, too, or else I hear "don't throw THAT away, someone will eat it!" regarding a chunk of something that looked like about 3 oz. of freezer burned, poorly wrapped, chili. I always feel pangs of guilt, tossing all my well intentioned bags of crumbs and ends and bits and bones. I do use some...just not all of em...

Omigawd, are they all the same???? With my DH, it's always horrible, rock-hard, tiny bits of bread and buns. Or 1/2 cup of soup that not even the dogs would probably eat...nor my DH for that matter. The game goes on...as it has, no doubt, for centuries... :raz:

Imagine that SHE comes across last year's frozen disintegrating mastodon soup and...

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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Hah! In my house, I load the freezer, he loads the fridge.

So once a week I have 'leftovers' day, and put all the fridge stuff out for dinner.

The rest gets binned. But no one intervenes in the junkyard of the freezer, so some of that stuff is old enough to go to school.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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I used to have celery shame.

I have one of those classic green Tupperware celery containers. I would put the celery in it and promptly forget about it until it was mush and mold. Really, it wasn't my fault. The Tupperware container lid has a flat surface so I would place other flat items on top of it (it's the perfect space to hold a carton of eggs :wink: ) and it became a case of "out of sight, out of mind".

I guess I'm too efficient at using up the space in my refrigerator. Yeah that's it... :laugh:

However, I decided after wanting some celery only to find it was beyond useable, I vowed to change my celery-killing habit. Now when I buy celery and get it home, once I put away the groceries I make myself cut and clean the celery right then and there. It takes all of five minutes. I bought a small plastic pitcher that I fill with water and in goes the cut and prepped celery. The only maintenance I do is to change the water about every 3 days (the old water is used to water indoor and outdoor plants so it doesn't go to waste).

As a bonus, when I buy red radishes, I do the same prepping and they go into the pitcher with the celery. It's always front and center in my refrigerator, no longer hidden in that long green Tupperware, so I tend to use it up more frequently.

Today I am a reformed celery-killer. :cool:

edited for clarity

Edited by Toliver (log)

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

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Hah! In my house, I load the freezer, he loads the fridge.

So once a week I have 'leftovers' day, and put all the fridge stuff out for dinner.

The rest gets binned. But no one intervenes in the junkyard of the freezer, so some of that stuff is old enough to go to school.

When my kids were still home our "clear out the fridge night" was a favourite. I would set it all out buffet style and we would serve ourselves. Now, with only two at home most of the time there are rarely enough leftovers to pull off that kind of buffet - I miss it.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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  • 3 weeks later...

I confess I am a sinner, bigtime!

I buy bagged lettuce - and frequently the bag ends up being tossed in the trash unopened because the leaves have turned to green slime in the bottom of the bag. When I cook a roast I put the yummy broth/juices into the fridge to flavour something else... but I might as well save time and put them straight in the trash because 90% of the time they never get touched again until I have to throw them out or die from eating them! My poor fresh vegetables sit in the veggie keeper until they rot, while I eat frozen mixed veggies on a daily basis. Woe betide any fresh spinach or herbs that enter the house. I might as well save the time and put the rest of the bunch into the trash after I use two leaves, because that's where it's going to end up sooner or later!

And I feel guilty about all the wasted money these poor dead and dying foodstuffs represent and I vow to do better on a regular basis...

At least I put my chicken carcasses and chicken scraps into the freezer and occasionally make broth in my crockpot. Boxed/canned broth just doesn't taste the same. And last month I took all the bread ends from the freezer and made a tray of delicious homebaked croutons. Now I just need to remember to do this regularly.

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I have finally done the unthinkable...on the fridge is little pile of paper tables headed 'foods in the fridge'. Those are the foods which are subject to the 'throw out' mode: mushrooms, sour cream, etc. Each Monday this list gets updated. So far, so good. The only slip ups to date are when DH buys something...like mushrooms...and doesn't tell me or write it down...heavens forbid...and I don't know the mushrooms are there and they go bad and ooops! they are thrown out.

Salad stuff is never thrown out because our supper every second night is simply a huge salad.

Whether I can keep this up forever or not, I cannot say.

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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Coming from a military background, the night before trash day is "Last Call" around here. You are not allowed to cook other than heating items or toasting bread for a sandwich.

Now it is just the two of us and I have slowly learned to cook for two. This is made more difficult by the fact that my wife gets lunch as part of her job. I almost have to shop every other day to keep from buying all the good things I stumble across in the store.

And the freezer is still full of sale items I could not resist or the smoked pork when requested to make bbq.

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I wish I were not so lazy.

I picked ten pounds of beautifully ripe and sweet strawberries one week ago today. I made a strawberry cake with around two pounds of them, and left the rest to sit in my refrigerator until yesterday, when I finally got around to making three pints of seedless, low sugar jam. I've got about four+ pounds remaining, and I need to hull, wash, and freeze them, but I've managed thus far to avoid this task. Fortunately, they're all still in very good condition. Unfortunately, refrigerating fresh berries for one week before preserving them is not exactly capturing that fresh-picked flavor. :rolleyes:

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  • 4 years later...

This post and the next two have been moved here from the Drop Biscuits discussion.

 

 

That flour sounds perfect for super tender biscuits. 

 

So many novice cooks/bakers have told me that whenever they read a recipe that says "cut the butter or fat into the dry ingredients" they immediately turn the page and forget about it. 

One told me that the one time she did try to make biscuits that way, she baked "clunkers" that could have been used for "diving weights" (she does the scuba thing).

 

Since she tried this recipe several months ago, she tells me she has baked biscuits two or three times every week, always on Sunday mornings, and has experimented with various "additives" including chocolate chips, and various sizes.  She bakes tiny ones, about 1 1/2 inch in diameter, with cheddar (powder) and parmesan mixed into the dry ingredients, for snacks - those are rolled out much thinner. 

She says her boyfriend now brags about her baking - before he was a reluctant "taster" when she tried a new recipe.

"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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So many novice cooks/bakers have told me that whenever they read a recipe that says "cut the butter or fat into the dry ingredients" they immediately turn the page and forget about it. 

 

This to me is yet one more interesting example as to how times have changed.  I remember that, when I was very young, getting two table knives and cutting the butter into the flour was a kid's job.  I liked doing it, watching the knives flash as the butter and flour morphed into tiny beads.  And that was a pretty common task among all my friends, as well.  Along with other routine chores assigned to the family's children, like cleaning the shrimp and polishing the silver.

 

Other household chores which seem to have gone the way of starched linens and cloth diapers.

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I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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