Monday, December 8, 2008

Attempting Resourcefulness

So, I embarked on this exciting project of a new food blog and then...neglected to update for over a month. My apologies, dear friends. Mostly I have been eating quesadillas, large quantities of polenta, and bowls of cereal. And though I myself could sing the praises of dry cereal or a quesadilla for hours, I'm pretty sure the rest of the world doesn't feel that way. But, never fear! You have not to snore through a post about the merits of Whole Foods generic brand "Peanut Butter Pows" cereal (it takes like Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch! But is marginally better for you!) Through this month, I did manage to make a few new and delicious dishes. The challenge of these past few weeks has been: "Try not to buy a bunch of things you are not going to eat, and make sure you cook with what you already have." This is particularly challenging for me, since I grew up in a household where seemingly hundreds of novelty food items crowded our pantry, gathering dust. Our family food ethic seemed to be "buy a ton of weird condiments and frozen appetizers and don't look at them ever again once you've stuck them in the fridge or freezer." As fun as it is to live that way, my pocket book can now scarcely handle such profligacy. And so! Gussied up leftovers! Here they come:

Scenario: Rooting around the fridge, hungry, on a Sunday morning.
To Work With: from a dinner the previous night, some leftover sauteed cod, and some rolls. Also had a few leaves left in a package of arugula, and some eggs. The result:

Amazing cod, egg, and arugula breakfast sandwich! I sliced the roll in half, toasted buttered it, warmed up and flaked the cod, fried an egg over-medium, made a little bed of arugula on either side of the roll, sprinkled just a little olive oil, pepper, and salt on the leaves, then assembled everything on the plate. Delicious.

Feeling malnourished and mildly woozy from too many bowls of cereal and not enough real food.
To Work With: A bunch of kale bought in a fit of concern for my health two days prior. Also some chorizo, some left over mushrooms, as well as some new potatoes, a shallot, and garlic from the farmer's market two weeks ago. The result:

Yummy kale, potato, and mushroom sautee with chorizo. I sauteed every element separately and reassembled them in a separate bowl; first the sliced shallot and minced garlic, then the mushrooms, then the kale, adding salt and pepper at each step and making sure to remove any burning bits before moving on to the next vegetable. In the meantime I boiled the potatoes until soft, let them cool, and cut them into quarters. I cooked the chorizo until the casing felt snappy, then removed them and fried the potatoes in the leftover fat until they were nicely browned and crisped on their sides. I sliced up the chorizo, and along with the potatoes, tossed everything together. Really yummy, and wholesome to boot!

Scenario: Thanksgiving withdrawal.
To work with: A butternut squash, a small red onion, some sage, a sharp knife. The result:

Almost-as-good-as-Thanksgiving roasted butternut squash with sage. The biggest challenge here is cutting and peeling the squash, which is why the sharp knife is absolutely necessary. I peeled the thing with my impressive little vegetable peeler, and then cut it into pretty thin slices (no more than 1/4" thick and 1" long). I sliced a very small onion, two or three cloves of garlic, and chopped a few leaves of fresh sage, then tossed everything with olive oil, salt and pepper. Then on to a cookie sheet, a bake at 375 for about 25-30 minutes with an occasional stir, and there you have it. Simple, seasonal, super tasty.

Ok! That's what I have been eating. Now back to studying for my French final, which really should take precedence. Who am I kidding? Food takes precedence, toujours.