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I think I bought too many vegetables

It has been cold, and I have been getting home kinda late, so I haven’t been doing as much cooking lately… but I was finally home for a weekend and went to the produce stand… and now I am not sure I will get around to cooking all my food before it goes bad.

So here’s the thing — I am listing a bunch of ingredients, and you and I will think of fun way to put them together.

Vegetables/Green matter:
Cauliflower (1 head)
Broccoli (1 stalk)
Red bell peppers (2)
Potatoes (3 lbs)
Cilantro (1 bunch)
Romaine Lettuce (the inside half of 1 head)
Roma tomatoes (20?)

Unfrozen Meat:
Turkey andouille (1 1/2 left)

Frozen Meat:
random beef (ground and in steaks)

And I have a good selection of legumes.

Dish 1: Aloo Gobi — nope. This was a new dish for me, but now I’ve made it several times and it is no longer as exciting… might still make is as a good use for lots of potatoes and cauliflower.

Dish 2: Red beans & Rice w/ andouille — maybe. I cringe a little because my momma always made red beans and rice with a piece of pork or some ham hock… but it’s a possibility.

Dish 3: Creole Chicken or Shrimp — I’d have to buy the meat product, but it would use up all those lovely tomatoes in one go.

On my stove right now I have a pot of chili cooking. That was to use up a collection of miscellaneous beef leftovers. I used the same mix I have always used (and strongly recommend because all the spices come in individual packets instead of all mixed together)… but it seemed like a lot of salt as it went in… apparently I have stopped cooking with as much salt as I used to. This is odd. So I have already used two potatoes to soak up the saltiness — yesterday’s dinner was potatoes boiled in chili. 🙂

In other food news — I have only one bagel left in my freezer — Woe!

ETA:Okay, the “rabbit” is strange and exciting, but it’s frozen and will keep. What about the pretty, sexy veggies?

Winter is coming – Rabbit explorations

I have realised that all the food I have been saving for winter (legumes, breakfast cereals, and some frozen meat)… well, it’s time to start planning menus.

In the frozen meat world, I probably have 2 rabbits. When the supermarket across the street closed, I saw a chinese couple buying cheap frozen meat… and, indeed, there was a lot left even after all the other meat had been snagged… because there is no label on this meat positively identifying the animal of origin. And there’s a stamp saying it’s from China. So I bought two. Because I’ll try anything. Then I had a friend, who is a chef, give his opinion on the meat, and his best guess was rabbit. I have found three rabbit recipes, but I only have two rabbits. Any idea which recipe I should choose? Do you have an amazing rabbit recipe?

In the legume world, I have lentils (red and brown), split peas, pinto beans, kidney beans, and a few others. I’ll need to get my mother’s amazing recipe for red beans and rice. No clue really what to do with the pinto beans other than random chili concoctions.

And breakfast cereals — I found cream of rice! I am very excited. It should be smooth and sweet and delicate.

Here is the story of the lamb stock

So my mother and I both bought small lamb roasts, and I stole her leftovers. After I made my roast, I cut the leftover meat off both of them to use for curry… but I was fairly careless as I am only one person and there was still plenty meat.

So I had fairly meaty bone pieces, yay.

First into the pot —
*one yellow onion and one purple onion, slightly trimmed and quartered… but with skins intact
*about 10 or so cloves of garlic. I have them pre-peeled and just tipped the jar, but if I were going from a pod, I would not peel the cloves and just cut them in half to expose the goody.
*bunch o black peppercorns (maybe 10-15… maybe more) again, I just tipped the container
*two stalks of celery

Then I put in to bones. YAY!

Then —
*three parsnips cleaned and trimmed, but not peeled
*6-8 baby carrots
*handful of parsley
*handful of thyme (finished off what was left in my herb pot because it froze that night)
*one bay leaf
*some shreds of ginger peel

And enough water to fill the pot.


The next day, the meat on the bones had softened enough that it just fell into the water… I boiled the bare bones for just a bit longer before pulling them out and replacing them with two turkey necks.

More boiling.

Maybe by the end of today, or maybe tomorrow, I will strain it — but — damn — it smells lovely.

As of now, I think the addition of turkey was a good idea…

because The Joy of Cooking suggests making beef stock with some chicken parts to make it richer. When I have made beef stock in the past (w/o adding chicken), it was indeed a bit thin. Right now I have lamb stock going from bones pulled out of finished roasts of meat… it should be thin… but it smells amazing already. Do I:

And then when it was originally posted there was a poll here –
Leave it alone. It’s supposed to be lamb. Why would you but chicken in lamb stock?
4 (40.0%)

Add the chicken… It can only make things tastier. Purity is for silly people.
6 (60.0%)

Lamb roast

I have lamb. A wee little roast that is perfect for one person.

So tonight I shall:

  • Run home from work and put the lamb on a broiler pan.
  • Cut into meat and insert garlic cloves.
  • Lay rosemary on top.
  • Lay fatback on top crossing the rosemary (because the roast has had the natural fat trimmed off).
  • Roast it in the oven at 300 degrees for 40 minutes per lb or so.

Then tomorrow, I shall:

  • Cut off all the good meat leftovers from the roast (and the lamb leftovers I stole from my parents) and turn it into curry.
  • Then the rest (bones, etc.) gets turned into lamb stock.

ETA: So here is the lamb follow up

I’ve been having a stale kind of smell in my house the past couple days and had been unable to place it… well, it was the lamb. But I had plans for that lamb! So I trimmed off the most questionable bits and covered the meat with salt. About 15 minutes later, when the salt was a bit damp around the edges, I rinsed off the salt and patted the lamb dry… still smelled a little questionable, but much better… so I trimmed a couple more small bits… and prepared as planned. Only… with a slightly longer cooking time, and I did not take it out of the oven until it’s juices ran completely clear. As of now, I am not poisoned at all… and it was very tasty. Leftovers are in the fridge for curry.

ETAA: Here’s an explanation of why I have started posting about food

I grew up in a 50s kind of household — meat and potatoes. Our definition of vegetable was the box from green giant that you pop in the microwave for five minutes and stir halfway through… in fact, these days my father will only eat the sugar snap peas from there because the other vegetables are too… healthy.

So I have moved out on my own. I can now eat anything I want. Some things I can figure out with books, but my cookbook budget it limited. I also use allrecipes.com fairly frequently — they have an advanced search feature where you can search by ingredients. I have found the answers to some questions that have been bothering me for a while: for instance, the difference between a parsnip and a parsley root and what both their relationships are to parsley. But some answers I have not found yet: like what exactly is that vegetable, at my produce truck, that looks like a long seedless cucumber (only with a slightly lighter-colored skin) but has this fuzzy mass inside instead. So this is me exploring.

What don’t I know? I know basic ways to make vegetables, but I am looking for more exciting ones. I don’t know authentic approaches to ethnic cuisines. I don’t know (and am intimidated about learning) how to cook fish, bake, or even make most desserts. I’ll figure it out.

Mostly Vegetarian (+butter) – Butternut & Apple Soup, Indian String Beans, Apple & Cabbage

I am having my lovely neighbors over for dinner, and am making vegetarian food. Since I have been planning and thinking about this all day, I am sharing with you.

Butternut & Apple soup (recipe source)
– melt 2 tablespoons butter
– finely chop 1 onion, and throw that in the butter
– cut squash in half, scoop out seeds, remove skin, and cut up (well, this was what my recipe said, but I suspect life would be easier if I had just popped the squash in a pan with some water and pre-cooked it in the oven)
– by now, your onions are lovely and translucent, so add a teaspoon or so of curry powder and cook a bit more, stirring often, but also taking time to dice one apple
– add about 3 cups of stock, squash, apple, and bring to a boil.
– cut up 3-4 sage leaves, add to soup
– reduce heat, cover, simmer for a while
– now here is where I have philosophical differences with cookbooks. The cookbook has you taking the soup and putting it in a blender so everything is smooth. Then it has you cleaning the pot to remove any traces of foam, and slowly reheating the soup. In my world, that’s a big no. I don’t have a blender. If I did, it still wouldn’t be worth the mess, besides — I usually make more then one blender’s worth of soup at a time. In my world, you cook the soup for hours instead of minutes, preferably for more than one day, and the ingredients get mushy enough to become homogeneous all on their own (and anything you don’t want homogeneous, goes in nearer serving time).
– So — cook, cook, cook
– Season to taste with salt, pepper, worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and a dash of thyme (the last three were not in the cookbook, but were tasty additions).
– when the liquid got a bit low (cause I forgot to re-cover the pot while I made this entry initially), I also added some whole milk and apple cider.
– when serving, top with a sour cream flavored with curry powder and horseradish sauce (but not too much, because the black pepper in the soup actually makes it kinda spicy, and the cream should cool things off)

Indian String Beans (recipe lost… from allrecipes.com?)
– melt ghee
– fry black mustard seeds until the pop a bit (I also fry a bit of asofoetida)
– add sliced garlic
– add parboiled string beans

Chinese Cabbage (recipe from Meghan, a friend who is neither vegetarian nor sushi)
– Melt 2-3 tablespoons of butter over as high a heat as will not burn the butter
– throw in a couple cloves of chopped garlic, and then almost immediately
– toss in shredded apple and shredded chinese cabbage
– season with pepper
– cook until almost mushy, but not quite

ETA: this was even more tasty with some pepper, soy sauce, and a splash of red wine… and might have been good with a teensy bit of white vinegar as well)

I forgot to eat breakfast, and now it is too close to dinner time to snack much. Buggery.