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Why have a calendar, when you have food?

It’s the end of the season, and I have an abundance of food.

food I have

Not frozen meat
8 or so assorted pieces of Kentucky Fried Chicken
leftover filet mignon (with sauteed peppers and mushrooms on the side)
bacon (this usually is just assumed, but I thought I’d throw it on the list today)

Frozen Meat *means should be used soonish
ground beef
hamburger patties
taco seasoned ground beef
london broil marinated for stir fry*
chicken breast
diced roast pork* (only 1 meal’s worth)
chicken backs for stock

sorely tempting meat on sale this week
ground beef $1.69/lb
skinless boneless chicken breast $1.99/lb

I have a bread machine!!!
1/2 pound of bread leftover from a loaf

10 peaches of dubious virtue (these are the least ripe ones from the $5 of peach seconds I got at the farmers’ market and put up and sugared and put in the back of the fridge to ferment. Now my container is full, and I need to think up something different for these last few)
10 pounds of potatoes
5 bell peppers
2 zucchinis
3 long skinny eggplants
jalepeno peppers
2 apples
garlic (whole and peeled)

sour cream
cheddar cheese
2% milk
heavy cream
and end of a blue cheese that should be finished soonish
cream cheese

OMG food!

I looked through all my cookbooks for stuff for peaches and potatoes (separately)

One of my favorite cookbooks, Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen, had a recipe for a frittata that not only included potatoes, but also bell peppers and day old bread! Score. I had that last night, but I put all the stuff on the list, anyway, just so I could brag about finding the perfect recipe. I wonder how well the potato frittata will reheat? I’ll find out eventually, I guess.

Cooking With the Seasons had an exceptionally tasty-looking peach dessert, but I’ll need people over to try that. Hint. Hint.
ETA: I lied. The recipe is in Winterthur’s Cullinary Collection, which also has an interesting recipe for a pie with dates and sesame seeds that I might like to have help trying to create some moot.

Otherwise, it looks like I’ll make a coriander and peach chutney/salsa thing and find a good meat to put it with… my choice would be lamb, but it’s looking like chicken is the available option.

I have separated the chicken into meat, crunchy bits, and refuse. I can’t quite bring myself to toss the crunchy bits. They are so tasty – there must be a way to use them without the hideous gluttony of a meal of chicken skin. Crumb topping for casserole?

I’d been planning to put the filet mignon with peppers and mushrooms either in tortillas or over rice all mexican-y with maybe the zucchini and perhaps a can of beans. I think the starch shall, instead, be diced potatoes. Lots of diced potatoes. And I could probably grill down at least one additional bell pepper. I might be able to put away five or six lunches from that dinner.

Ummmm… eggplant. That could go with potatoes in a curry. With jarred tomatoes (from [redacted]’s mother!). And… ummm… lots of jalepenos. Yeah.

So what else is urgent? I should have a bell pepper left, unless it self destructs before I get to it. More potatoes. Some pork for a small dish. Beef for a stir fry. Wherewithal to make hella tasty mashed potatoes to feed a large army. Bother – peaches still, I can’t imagine the chicken using up more than half what I have. Oh, and cooked chicken. Right.

So I need salad greens. I think a chicken, peach, grilled onion salad with stilton would be kinda tasty. Maybe some toasted almonds in that. But way too early to buy the greens yet.

roasted pork with potatoes and carrots and gravy. *yawn* Boring, but it’ll still be tasty.

And then I thaw the meat for stir fry again and make it right quick. Probably by this time I will need to buy more bell peppers. There can be potatoes in stir fry. Totally.

Ooh, and the Better Homes and Gardens has a recipe for bread machine potato bread that starts from a real potato.

Yeah. That should feed me into next month. And I think I’lll still need brilliant ideas to eat everything.

And I have a hankering to make lots of bread… only no room to eat it.

ARGH! I forgot about the three pounds of dates I bought to stuff for an SCA event and never got around to doing anything with… and the container of feta cheese and the bag of walnuts. Is anyone throwing a party any time soon who wants to join me in making a tasty little finger desserts?

Meanwhile, I am feeling both antisocial and lonely… and not quite sure what to do with that.

Ahrrr! This and That

For some reason, people kept feeling urges to take me out to expensive restaurants this weekend.

Thursday was my mother’s birthday, so on Friday we went to the Duling Kurtz House and sat in the private room and were served by our favorite waiter (he tells bad jokes and waxes poetic about the beauty of Ireland so far north that it pretends it’s really part of Scotland). Now as my parents have gotten older, eating with them has become stranger. My mother has half the appetite she used to, and my father could be a supermodel for all he can eat – So I’ll order an appetizer and a salad and completely stuff myself by the end of the meal because I eat their leftovers… actually, I managed to completely stuff myself and still take a bag home.

So the food – I had grilled scallops with horseradish cream and black caviar to start… and it was amazingly well put together. All the flavors and textures worked together to make it a soothing and tasty dish. And then I had a Caesar salad (with extra anchovies on the side) – which they make tableside the proper way. My father had french onion soup and a flambe steak au poivre – much fun. And my mother had the crab cakes, which she swore were nothing but crab.

Sunday, my parents were in town for a conference, so I met them at their hotel for a meal at Shula’s, the hotel restaurant. At this meal, again, I just ordered a meal of two side dishes and I walked away stuffed and with leftovers. The asparagus side order was a little disappointing – the asparagus was a touch overcooked and the sauces (I tried both hollandaise and bearnaise) were thin. The creamed spinach, however, was most excellent. And I still got a plate with mushrooms and bell pepper as I would have if I had ordered meat, and both of those were exceedingly tasty. Both my parents ordered the filet mignon, and it was like butter – only even tastier.

Then last night, a friend from Minnesota and I met up for dinner around 16th & Chestnut and wandered around looking for somewhere to eat. She mentioned that she had passed a cute looking french restaurant on her way to meet me, so I (correctly) guessed she meant Brasserie Perrier, which would mean no chance of getting a seating. So we tried Alma de Cuba right next door, instead. It was pricey, but not unreasonably so and worth every penny! This restaurant has finally convinced me that Stephen Starr is not a complete hack and can actually own a restaurant worthy of its reputation. We started off with tempura avocado halves over watercress. My dinner was crisp roasted pork with traditional sour orange mojo served with congri and sweet plantains. The crispy skin on the pork was so good. And my charming dining companion had Annato-Honey Grilled Swordfish, which was served with sweet pea mash, mushroom escabeche, devonshire chive cream and truffled pea greens. I completely forgot to steal taste some of her food because I was so impressed with my own, but it looked really good. She loved it. We giggled over the dessert selections, and after deciding to skip any dessert including espuma, we went for the ginger peach sorbet – which was about all we could handle and settled the meal quite well.

Oh, and there was alcohol. Between the alcohol and the wonderful conversation, I woke up this morning with my back feeling much more nearly normal.

Oh, right – my back. So it had been feeling slightly achy and complainy the past couple of weeks, so I had been being especially attentive to exercising and stretching it… only not good enough. That was part of why I had been so eager to get to the gym last week… and couldn’t.

So Saturday morning, I am just bending a little to tuck my heel into my sandals and I feel something twinge. In a bad way.

Luckily, while bad, it hasn’t been impossibly bad. I still got to the shoe store to buy shoes that will get me into the gym AND will not tear holes in my feet. And then I went to Freaks and Geeks, which I probably would have begged off if I hadn’t been driving [redacted]. It was great to see [bunch o’ people, redacted] – it had been way too long since I had last seen them.

We started off playing Linkety, which was a fun card game that took no time at all before we were having lots of silly fun, but man don’t ever start a run on animals or rivers. We went on to Zigity, which was not as much fun. the cards, while pretty, were a little hard to work with – the see-though cards were really cute, but (for example) you had to pull them off the stack to complete the puzzle or you’d get confused by the cards underneath.

Our first board game was Bean Trader, and I found it a lot of fun – but then, again, I kicked butt at it. The hard part was figuring out when the end of the game would come for an appropriate end game strategy. And then [redacted] was looking for a new game to buy, so we tried out Pirate’s Cove. The set up time was about on par with monopoly – with a bunch of fiddly bits and stuff. But once everything was laid out and the bleeping spinners assembled, the game was a lot of fun. The rules required a bit of experience with role playing games to figure out that each die rolled was its own cannon instead of adding the amounts on the dice, and it kept feeling as though there were situations not covered in the rules, but I think we ended up finding most of them and it was our fault for starting play after having read only half the rules rather than the game designers’ faults.

Kenyan Collard Greens

Before my lovely and friendly neighbors moved out, they had me over for dinner and served collard greens. The husband, who cooked, told me that it was a traditional recipe from Kenya, but that the spice/spice mix he used was one available at a couple markets around town – available in either powder or a cube.

The resulting greens were smooth and velvety and tasty.

After he left, I tried making it myself with a cube of bouillon from Nigeria hoping that was the seasoning he meant. It was close, but not quite right and too salty.

Last night I tried again, and got something that tastes spot on perfect – Woo!

Kenyan Collard Greens (a version of Sukuma Wiki)

start some nice white rice to cooking (you know whether you like a lot of rice or a little)

(Optional step – his wife was a vegetarian, but he told me meat was traditional – any kind of meat) Cut up two slices of bacon into 1/2 inch strips and scatter them in a pan. Start to cook them.

Dice small on medium onion and add to pan once the bacon is fully cooked and almost crisp. Add garlic when the onion is mostly cooked and you are almost ready to add the other ingredients.

Wash carefully 5-7 leaves. Shake them off, but don’t try to get them perfectly dry. Fold in half and cut out the spine. Slice lengthwise into two or three strips depending on the size of the leaf. Stack the strips. Now cut widthwise into narrow ribbons. Add the ribbons to the pan.

Season with two healthy dashes of 5 spice powder and half a bouillon cube crumbled.

Peel and dice one tomato and add.

Serve over rice.

ETA (11/12/2010): I just found another blogger who discovered this recipe – The Noshery makes Sukuma Wiki