Daily Archives: April 27, 2015

Eat from the Larder Challenge 2015 – Week Four Wrap-Up

So Week Four involved a lot of tinned tuna.
I finally made the red lentil curry that I’d been putting off for, what, a few weeks now.
It worked out quite nicely. 🙂 I think a lot of this week’s meals are going to involve frozen roasted eggplant. I went through the chest freezer (which, at this point, contains mostly bags of frozen bones for soup stock – many of which are actually going to get emptied into my garden beds to be used as a source of slow-release fertilizer – providing the P in “NPK”, in particular) and discovered a package of sausages, a shoulder roast, and my other roasting rabbit. I feel like I’ve stumbled upon an embarrassment of riches!
No, really.
I’d be thrilled if I could use that package of sausages in dinner tonight (it will depend on whether or not they have peppers in them. If they’re Honey-Garlic, we’re in the clear, but otherwise our lovely Archivist won’t be able to eat them, and she’s over for dinner tonight). So we’ll see.
If I can’t, it’ll be tuna-fried-rice with garlic, finely slivered carrots, frozen edamame and green beans, maybe a little onion, and whatever else I can find to throw in there.
I keep looking at the contents of my fridge and thinking “Wow… there’s so much still in here!”
I mean, yes, I’ve been buying milk at an only slightly slower rate than usual (a gallon every ten days or so, rather than per week), and we’re (almost) out of cheese. But it’s been four weeks, and we’ve still got half a pound of cheddar, plus most of a tin of grated parmesan, so go us. We’re out of eggs – alas, and I do miss them. Pancake breakfasts are getting Interesting – I used a half-cup jar of black currant curd in lieu of eggs on Sunday morning, plus a cup of black currant jelly in lieu of sugar. They were really tasty – which is awesome – but they were also kind of… gummy? in a way that pancakes cooked with even just one “fresh” egg typically aren’t. They went over really well, which is fantastic, but I didn’t personally like the texture. What can you do.
Now, we have eaten out a bunch of times, between Week Three and the two restaurant meals we ate this week (or I ate, as the case may be – We went out for burritos, early in the week, and I had dinner with a friend on Friday night before going to Writers’ Fest here in town).
But a reasonably big part of our continuing abundance comes from just having known, from last year, that it’s good to have a LOT of frozen veggies on hand and, thus, making sure to put up (in freezer bags, but also in jars, and also in store-bought frozen stuff) a lot more preserved veggies than I had – or had the space for – last year. Last year, I didn’t have a chest freezer, so I was working with less than half the space I have now for frozen meat and veggies. This year, I’ve been able to do things like stocking up when the Traditionally Raised pork goes on deep discount, or pick up multiple bags of Arctic Garden (who get their harvests from Quebec and Ontario, including Ingersol which is my ancestral farming community) broccoli and similar at a time, rather than getting just one. I’ve been able, too, to plan ahead and put up 9+ large eggplants, half a dozen big bunches of Ontario ruby chard and other greens, and goodness knows how many punds of roma tomatoes (as diced tomatoes, bruschetta mix, tomato-peach salsa, and roasted-garlic-balsamic sauce). It’s been really nice to not need to buy canned tomatoes this year, so I think I did good on that front, even though I have been rationing them jarred tomatoes a little bit.
Also, I’m kind of pleased with myself because, yesterday, I went to a grocery store and, rather than buying any groceries at all (this is me “resisting temptation”, folks), I bought bed sheets. Which, fyi, I managed to get for damn close to FREE because I had enough grocery points to cover all but about $8 of the purchase. A fitted queen sheet + matching flat sheet + two pairs of matching pillow cases + two new, not-completely-bargain-basement pillows, for eight freaking dollars. I think I win. 😀
So it’s been a good week.
Right now, clearly, I’m looking down the barrel of the last four days of April. I don’t think I’m going to celebrate Beltane by buying groceries this year. At least probably not. We’ll see if our road-trip hostess wants us to bring anything and, if yes, we’ll pick something up if I can’t throw it together with what’s on hand. (And, yes, it is SO nice to have the option of doing that).
I know that I have a heap of drygoods, still, some of which have been around for many months already. The red quinoa, for example, which I’ve hardly made a dent in. But I’m slowly using up the red lentils and the (ye gods) brown rice, which was one of my goals for this year’s challenge. I’ve still got, probably, a good litre-and-a-bit of the rice, though hopefully I can use some of that up this evening. I’m not actually sure that I wll buy brown rice again. I mean, probably yes, at some point, but it won’t be for a while (like potentially a year) and, if I do, it’ll be a small quantity rather than the enormous amounts that I’ve been swimming through for months. I’d rather focus on barley (pot and pearl) and quinoa, I think, as well as black (and red – even though red is feeling a little iffy right now – or green) lentils for my amino acid complements at the moment.
My plan for Thursday’s dinner – partially because we’re heading out of town on Beltane, and partly because it will be a celebration of the end of Eat From The Larder Month – is to slow-cook (since I’ll be working an office job) that pork shoulder roast in our crock pot using some fancy balsamic vinegar, the last of our peach-marmalade, our last remaining onion, and the bag of dried peaches that I’ve otherwise not put to much use over the past year. I might also put (some of) the peaches into a peach-currant-coconut cake that will use the creamy-fat part of the the coconut milk (I have half a tin of the stuff in the fridge after the other night’s curry) in lieu of butter, or similar. I think it will be delicious. 🙂
Anyway. Four days to go. I look forward to writing the Challange Wrap-Up post (complete with a list of all the things I bought over the course of a month when I was supposed to be not buying anything, ummm…) and making some notes on what I want my larder to include in the future.
Meliad the Birch Maiden.