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Why I am eating samosas for breakfast – Meusli

My breakfast is sitting in my refrigerator. At home.

But let me tell you about my new-found joyous quick breakfast. Okay, so fine – I was introduced to it back in early summer by [redacted], but it took me a while to believe it was good in more than just a novelty way.


(but not that crazy healthy-looking stuff they’d offer for breakfast in Switzerland if you were really lucky and they were offering more than brick-like rolls.)

put 1/4c oatmeal (the real stuff that takes half an hour to cook) into a container.

optional: Add some dried fruit – I like using cranberries, figs, and/or dates… probably I’d like a whole bunch of other stuff, too, but that’s what’s in my pantry.

Add 1/4c orange juice. And since I was doing this from memory, I add my dairy product now. But on later checking, [redacted] adds her dairy the next morning. Your choice. 1/4 c dairy product (I have been using 2% milk, but just about anything is good here: skim milk, whole milk, light cream, heavy cream, nonfat yogurt, full fat greek yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream – or no dairy and just more fruit juice).

optional: Add a sprinkling of cinnamon or nutmeg or some such spice.

Close up the container and chuck it in the fridge overnight.

Next morning, toss in some nuts. Maybe toasted nuts. One kind of nut or several… or no nuts.

Also, shred half an apple into the container (or, you know, into another container and then dump it into your meusli) – just wash the apple, cut it in half, and shred it coarsely – skin on and using the core as the place to rest your fingers. I suppose you could also shred carrots or some other excitingly healthy thing. But you stir it all up and then you can carry it to work, and there’s enough juice and all that the apple doesn’t get brown.

Eat and enjoy – you’ll find that all the fruit makes it plenty sweet, and it has protein from the nuts and dairy. And it requires no special storage (assuming you have non-leaking containers).

But… it does require remembering to bring it with you.

Good thing one of my coworkers was kind enough to bring in food to share with the department this morning.

Fancy Roman and Medieval finger food – Nutty Dates, Pickled Cucumbers, Asparagus Frittata, Mushrooms, Stewed Apricots, Pig Liver, Pears in Compost

I have agreed to go to an SCA casual outdoor thingy this weekend, so now I have to make a potluck item… a potluck item authentic for prior to 1600.

So you get to help me with the joy of indecision mixed with compulsive planning. [ingredients I need to buy for the recipes will be in bold]

I made a poll to let people pick:

Medieval and/or Roman picnic food: At a picnic – in the heat & humidity – I’d want to eat [note: check the recipes, no really]

Nutty dates – 9 (50.0%)
Pickled cucumber – 5 (27.8%)
Asparagus frittata (served cold) – 7 (38.9%)
Mushrooms – 6 (33.3%)
Stewed Apricots – 4 (22.2%)
Pig liver “sausages” – 1 (5.6%)
Pears in compost – 9 (50.0%)
eh, screw authentic! I’ve a hankering for more strawberries in balsalmic vinegar – 6 (33.3%)

Nutty Dates
Stone dates, and stuff with nuts and ground pepper. Roll in salt, fry in cooked honey, and serve

Pickled cucumbers
Prepare cucumber with pepper, pennyroyal [lovage and oregano], honey or reduced wine, fish sauce, and vinegar. Sometimes asafoetida is added.

Asparagus frittata
Put in the mortar asparagus tips, pound, add wine, pass through a sieve. [note: I have a wee food processor now!] Pound pepper, lovage, fresh coriander, savory, onion, wine, fish sauce, and oil. Put puree and spices into a greased shallow pan, and if you wish break eggs over it so that the mixture sets. Sprinkle finely ground pepper over it and serve.

Cook mushrooms in reduced (white?) wine with a bouquet of fresh coriander. When they have cooked, remove the bouquet and serve.

Stewed apricots
Take small apricots, clean, stone, and plunge in cold water, then arrange in a shallow pan. Pound pepper, dried mint, moisten with fish sauce, add honey, reduced sweet wine, wine, and vinegar. Pour in the pan over the apricots, add a little oil, and cook over a low fire. When it is boiling, thicken with starch. Sprinkle with pepper and serve.

Pig liver “sausages”
Make incisions in the liver with a reed, steep in fish sauce, pepper, lovage, and two laurel berries. Wrap in sausage casing, grill, and serve.

Pears in compost (note: only recipe not from Apicius – and, yeah, that’s what the title said – think compote)
Put 3/4 cup white wine, 1 tsp cinnamon powder, and 1/4 cup sugar in a large pot. Heat, and stir until the sugar melts. Add dates, pitted and sliced into thin strips; 1/2 tsp sandalwood powder [saffron & nutmeg]; 1 teaspoon ginger powder; and a dash of salt. Stir. Remove from heat and set aside. Put 2 firm ripe pears, cored and washed, in a 2-quart saucepan with enough water to cover [+ some wine for flavor/color] to cover them. Heat to boiling and cook for 10 minutes, or until pears are fork-tender. Remove pears from the water and cool. Slice the pears into eighths lengthwise and add slices to the wine syrup. Stir gently to coat the pears with the syrup. Heat the syrup to boiling and cook for 5 minutes, or until liquid is slightly thickened and turns red [yellow]. Remove from heat and pour the pears and syrup into a serving dish. Chill. Serve cold.

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.