Wednesday, April 29, 2009

where I use up the leftovers

My family is not one of those to over gorge themselves with food.

I am still eating leftovers from Sunday's dinner. I tried to give away as much as they could carry, but it was a struggle at times as I pointed to my freezer, "do you see the immense smallness of that thing?" after protestations of keep it, you can always freeze it y'know. Yes, I could make soup, I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner and snacks in between. But, I don't want to. I will be sick of it long before the week is out, then it will be bad by the time I remember it sometime next month. The times I have bought fresh produce, with all the greatest of intentions, only to bung it in the non-clear crisper bins and promptly forget about it. Or use a small portion, then ... end up throwing it out days weeks later after it has sat forgotten decomposing, because, really, just how much parsley does one person need?

Of course, part of this week's particular problem involves the vast amount of food I bought because feeding six is a lot more food than for one. With the help of my friend (yes, the one who likes to help - though at least this time it did not involve travel plans). He has access to the "market" that is actually the Ontario Food Terminal. That massive swath of land under the highway in west end Toronto where growers and wholesalers of all things vegetable, fruit and plant sell their wares to retailers of all manner of grocery stores. The general public is not invited. I love going there. The shear size of the market, and the quantities of food, blows me away every time. Watching the guys zip along on their motorized forklifts and scooter type things is fun, too. (click on photos to embiggen)
The thing is, you can't just buy one or three cauliflower. You must buy the whole flat or box. As in 15. I split it with my friend, then gave away some to the family and to a neighbour. I still have four. But, the price of this stuff makes it worthwhile, and now I know how much of a mark-up some of these grocers take to their advantage. Pusateris and Longos and the Asian shop on the corner all shop at the same food terminal. My cauliflower was much less than a dollar each.
Oh right, and I thought I had problems using up a bag of parsley...
I have some spinach and caulifower soup to make. A modified recipe involving:
  • a head of cauliflower cut into florets and 2 shallots chopped up and sauteed in a pan with lots of butter, then add some vegetable broth and simmer covered for about 10 minutes
  • top it off with couple hundred grams several handsful of baby spinach and let it wilt in the heat, add lots of nutmeg, and a bit of salt and pepper, stir it all up, then let it cool before blending
  • when ready to eat, stir in the creme fraiche you bought but forgot to use, and garnish with some fontina or gruyere or other melty creamy cheese, and maybe the rest of the walnuts just for some crunch

17 comments:

  1. I totally relate to this post! I get all carried away in the greengrocers, & think of all the wonderful vegetable dishes I want to make. I could easily be a vegetarian. Gom however, is not a fan of veggies, & he takes great delight in waving rotting things at me, that he has found in the depths of the fridge.
    We do have a rather good sized freezer, but it is just the effort I seem to lack now.

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  2. I find it hard to get through even one head of cauliflower! I love fresh veggies, but want just a bit of each thing.

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  3. like the reasons why I could never buy in bulk when I lived in an apartment. now that I live back with family - we split flats.

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  4. Meggie: I must learn to plan my menu before shopping, instead of thinking "oh that looks good" then wondering what to do with it

    Citizen: I waste more food simply for that reason

    Char: yep, that's a problem with living alone

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  5. You could use the cauli instead of potatoes since potatoes will last longer and don't need to be in the fridge. Mash them with butter and milk and they are almost the same. I do this because I can't eat potatoes or I add a tiny bit of potato to them and they pass quite well especially with a little gray on top.

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    http://www.rfalconcam.com/rfc-main/multiView.php

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  7. Must give mjyself a pat on the back over this! I now plan my menus and buy wha I need. I also get a veggie box once a fortnight from local farms. I never know what I am going to get, so I have had to use my imagination over recipes more than once!

    But I do have to confess to having half a swede (?rutabaga to you North Americans??) and half a cabbage lurking. Not too keen on swede, one small one lasts a loooong time!!

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  8. Thanks, Mr N. When I tried it earlier it wasn't up, and I hadn't looked lately.

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  9. I'm all for blanching and freezing vegetables in one size portions. You can even freeze herbs and cut them while still frozen and use them in hot dishes. It's such a shame to waste food, especially nowadays. Good soup recipe!

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  10. I prefer to think of them as "plannedovers". I'm so my mother, that it's hard for me to throw them out, so they reappear mysteriously as another dish. I've gotten pretty good at fixing just the right amount for the two of us. When the family is here, it's a different matter altogether. They like taking food home, so I never have to worry about having much left over. Especially dessert!

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  11. Gilly: I like the idea of a veggie box, but have heard of times when the distribution of foodstuffs in the boxes isn't proportional - so you might end up with kilos of okra or rutabaga and only two tomatoes. As you say it might make one very creative with meal planning, though!

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  12. Irene: Good for you. I've tried using the ice cube tray for herbs, but again, out of sight out of mind...
    I do freeze small portions of leftover meals, though, and remember to eat them (because that only involves reheating in microwave. I can be so lazy.)

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  13. Susan: I don't know what it is about my SIL - I don't often get offered much of the leftovers from her meals, either, so I've learned to stuff myself when I go there!

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  14. I throw away far too much food but a lot of leftovers does go to the hens. You sound like my mum used to be with her brother when he came for tea. She would make up doggie bags for him to take home and sometimes it would feed him for the week!!

    CJ xx

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  15. Crystal: Those hens come in handy for clearing the scraps of dinner

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  16. Wow, these cherryblossoms are really impressive!

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