So it’s the last day of March. Full moon is coming up in a just a few days. The snow is melting (and, occasionally, falling again, but mostly it’s melting) and there are early, early flower stalks poking their noses above the muck. Spring is springing, as it’s supposed to do.
Which means that it’s Eat Down the Larder Month again.
This is a Challenge put on by Erica over at NorthWest Edible Life, which I participated in last year with much flailing and whining and gnashing of teeth, but which I think is a good idea and a good habit to be in when it comes to not having your dry goods turning to dust in the cupboards year after year.
The idea is that you eat ONLY what you already have on hand, as of April First, in an effort to empty your preserves jars, clear out your freezer, and institute some turn-over in your dry-goods and non-perishables.
In my case, I cheat a little: I know going into this that I’ll be buying coffee (though I may not have to – it’s on my “no stocking up beforehand” grocery list – along with eggs, marmite, and white vinegar for Cleaning Supplies – anyway, so if I get that done today it won’t “count”), earl grey tea, and milk (I go through 3-4 gallons of the stuff every month) as needed. But as far as vegetables, fruit, meat, cheese, carbs, fats, pulses, and seasonings go… No. We’ll make do with what we’ve got.
Which is a fair bit, to be honest.
In addition to being gifted the Queering Power Party leftovers – we have a dozen or so clementines, a bowl of grape-tomatoes, two chunks of Fancy Cheese, half a litre of half-and-half cream, a couple of tubs of hummus, and a few other goodies, courtesy of the QP Organizers who know that buying groceries isn’t always an option for us, even when we’re NOT playing a voluntary austerity game – we’ve actually got heaps of food lying around.
800g of old cheddar (“cooking cheddar”, not the Good Stuff) that I picked up a few weeks ago when they were on for ~$1.25/100g; 3lbs of butter (same situation). A jar of pre-grated parmasan cheese. A litre of 3% milk. 1kg of plain yoghurt.
An unopened litre of sunflower oil plus some olive oil, sesame oil, plus a tin or two of coconut milk and a couple of pucks of lard still in the freezer.
We have half a dozen tins of tuna that we do need to start going through in short order.
Two big bags of rotini plus frozen perogies and half a jar of tube pasta. Probably have a heap of whole-wheat couscous hiding about the place, too.
2lb of cooking onions, a bulb and a bit of garlic, half a celeriac, half a dozen carrots, 4-5 beets, a 3lb bag of boiling potatoes, and a 3lb bag of cortland apples.
Copeous frozen veggies (beans, broccoli, edamame, eggplant, ruby chard, possibly kale) and fruit (berries of various kinds, mixed and single-variety)
A freezer bin containing: 1lb pork sausage (maybe more than that?), 2-3 packages of bacon. 1 whole roasting rabbit, a little bit of fish, 1 beef heart, 2 pork kidneys, a package (iirc) of smoked salmon or similar, and possible (I’ll have to check) a package of two turkey wings (or possibly drumsticks, not sure).
A bag of Great Northern dry white beans, 1L red lentils, 1C+ black lentils, 1L+ brown rice, a cup or two of wild rice, 1C+ pot barley, 2L red quinoa, 1L pearl barley, and maybe some whole amaranth. Not sure what else I have hiding about in the form of dry beans and grains, though
3-4 tins of beans
1 jar of peanut butter
5Kg white wheat flour, 2.5Kg whole wheat flour, ~500g fine corn meal
A jar of yeast for bread-making + plenty of salt, baking powder, baking soda, herbs, and spices
2Kg granulated sugar, 250mL honey, 4+ tins of maple syrup + 250g maple sugar, an unknown but present amount of brown sugar, and LOTS of half-cup jars of jam, jelly, fruit-butter. Also: Chocolate chips. Also: half a pint of rhubarb syrup still in the fridge (makes a very nice cocktail when mixed with vanilla vodka, fyi)
1L cider vinegar + a little balsamic + 500mL red wine vinegar
6+ pints of pickled cucumbers (I’m open to suggestions for how to incorproate this into meals as a vegetable option rather than a garnish, fyi), 1 cup of diced tomatoes, 4-8 half-cups of tomato sauce, 2-3 cups of tomato-peach salsa
Dried peaches, dried mushrooms (I got a pound of them the other day, and put some in a chili, but there’s tonnes of them left… dried mushrooms don’t weigh very much), dried peppers (one hot variety, one mild variety) and dried cranberries.
8+ pints of bone stock already in the fridge, plus 3-4 bags of actual bones that can be used to make more stock as needed.
That isn’t even all of it, I don’t think.
But it’s most of it.
So. With all that (all that!) available, here are a couple of meal possibilities:
Combine 1 tin of chick peas + reconstituted dried mushrooms + reconstituted dried mild peppers + 1 diced onion and some sesame oil in a frying pan and sautee like fuck. Make a sauce using peanut butter, a little more sesame oil, some cider vinegar, maple syrup, prepared mustard and red chili flakes. Combine the sauce with the sauteed mixture. Add in some cooked couscous (or cooked quinoa) and serve.
Make bread and use some of the dough as a home-made pizza crust. Top with apricot butter (instead of tomato sauce), left-over roast rabbit OR left-over roast turkey OR cooked pork sausage rounds, minced onion (possibly fried already), thawed frozen chard, and grated cheddar cheese.
Make cornmeal crepes. Spread with mayo and mustard. Top with tinned lemon-pepper tuna, tomato-peach salsa, frozen edamole (I have one bag left in the freezer), and plain yoghurt.
Fry some onions in butter in the bottom of a big pot. Add some grated carrot. Add a half-cup jar of tomato sauce, a pint of stock, 3C water, Half a cup of pearl barley, half a cup of red lentils, a dozen dried mushrooms (broken up into chunks and rinsed before adding), and 2 pucks of frozen diced eggplant. Season with a little soya sauce and a little ginger.
Fry some onions in butter in the bottom of a big pot. Add some grated carrot. Add a tin of coconut milk + 1-2 tbsp curry powder. Add 2-3 pucks of frozen diced eggplant + 2-3 pucks of frozen chard + a handfull of fresh grape tomatoes. Add 1C water + half a cup of red lentils. Serve over couscous or cooked brown rice. Mix in a little plain yoghurt if you want to.
Brine a beef heart for two days. Slice into thin strips. Combine some of it with reconstituted dried mushrooms, thinly sliced pork kidney, minced onions, grated carrots OR grated beets, diced potatoes, a pinch each of salt and rosemary, and a dusting of flour. Stove-top cook (or oven-braise) in beer, wine or stock. Serve with savoury biscuits.
Combine the rest of the heart with pot barley, black lentils, stock, water, tomato sauce, dried mushrooms, diced potato, celeriac, and frozen ruby chard stems. Cook on LOW in the slow-cooker for up to 48 hours (you may need to top up the liquid a little bit here).
Salad Nicoise ft fresh (or jarred) tomatoes, boiled potatoes, thawed frozen beans, boiled beets, hard-cooked egg (just one, diced fine), diced cucumber pickle, and a dusting of parmasan cheese.
Cook pasta. Top with home-made alfredo sauce (or tomato sauce) and frozen veggies of some sort. OR Cook perogies. Top with same + maybe a little plain yoghurt and fried onions. Sandwiches on home-made bread: roast-rabbit with apple, mustard, diced onion, mayo, & crab apple jelly; grilled cheese with spicy tuna (and probably a pickle on the side, because: pickles) and mayo; Bacon-tomato-and-cream-cheese (or yoghurt-cheese); peanutbutter and jam (of course); hummus and tomato (possibly with left-over edamole).
Pancakes, coffee cakes, brownies, and similar made with fruit butter and/or jam in lieu of some/all of the sugar and eggs. Yoghurt with frozen fruit, crumbled walnuts, and maple syrup.
Lots of options.
Lots of otions.
Just keep telling yourself that. ;-)
Meliad the Birch Maiden.