One of the benefits of community living, or having several housemates over the years, is the food culture that’s brought in and shared. Hands down my favorite addition was from a couple who introduced me to the concept of using the weekend to prep food for the week including the bean soaking and sour dough bread making. So when I went to clean out the fridge and found a few veggies in dire need of rescuing, I also scoured the cupboards and found some gems there as well.
And so I set out to make some food for my immediate lunch and the week ahead. While I don’t have specific recipes to share, I figured I’d share the general outline and what I learned in case you’re in need of some food experiments.
Crab “cakes” over a bed of garlic heads and onions. Born out of my need to rescue the aging garlic heads, a couple half-eaten onions and a bag of mostly dead mint.
- Rinsed and cut the dried end of the garlic heads off. Then I cut the garlic head stems in half. I threw them into a warmed cast iron skillet with already melted butter and salt.
- Diced the remaining fresh portions of 1/2 red onion and 1/2 a white onion and added them in.
- Rescued the inner most garlic cloves of some elephant garlic that had mostly dried out on the outside. Halved some fresher garlic and added them all in.
- Added a splash of Sauvignon Blanc vinegar and removed the veggies once they started to brown. Some taste sampling revealed that the onions had sweetened and the garlic heads perfectly al dente.
- After scouring my cupboards I discovered a can of crab meat. So I cheated and looked up some crab cake recipes and manage to muck it up anyway since the base of the recipe I wanted to follow called for 2 eggs for 1 pound of meat and I used 2 eggs for 1/2 pound of meat. And I had no crackers. So began the improvisations. I added celery salt, pepper, some of the onion mixture I’d just cooked, the rest of the fresh mint I could separate from the not-so-fresh bag and a splash of lime juice from a mostly hardened lime. It was a bit runnier than I could fathom rolling into patties so I some coconut flower to the mix and poured it into the pan like I would a pancake.
- Though I wish I’d better greased the pan, the cakes cooked like potato pancakes and I only broke it into a few pieces when I did my best to flip it.
- Upon tasting, while I liked the cakes, I think the addition of the flour gave it a bit of a dry taste I wasn’t too keen on. Bummed I’d used the mint IN the cakes vs having for use in a sauce, I whipped up a dollop of mayo with mustard powder, dill, Cholula and lime juice. Put the cakes on the bed of garlic greens and voila! Fancy lunch.
- Next Time: I’d only use 1 egg and no flour in the cake mix. And I’d use about 1/2 as much mint, as I think it’d be much better in the sauce.
A non-traditional Gazpacho Chile. Neither a gaspacho nor a chile, this came about as an attempt to use some aged, dry beans.
- Rinsed and soaked a bowl of black beans and a smaller bowl of white beans.
- After about 8 hrs I rinsed them again and started a crock pot with 2 cans of tomatoes: one diced and “fire roasted” and the other whole and peeled. I added the black beans (not the white), some seasoned salt, garlic cloves, dried dill (lots of it), some dried pepper flakes & two cans of water. I put it on a high and waited for the mixture to get bubbly. My thinking is that I’d bring the beans as close to a boil as I could, then I’d add the white beans.
- When I added the white beans, I also added some Sauvignon Blanc vinegar and lime juice and brought the pot to low (not warm).
- I checked periodically and eventually added a bit more vinegar, pepper, salt, ground mustard, Cholula hot sauce and dill. I purposefully avoided any chile powder and smoked paprika, wanting to keep the flavor more on the citrus side than the traditional chile side.
- It went to warm overnight and back to low while I was out for a hike – so it cooked slash simmered for nearly 24 hours before I felt good calling the beans done.
- To serve, I added a dash of freshly opened “fire-roasted” tomatoes and a splash of vinegar and enjoyed!
- I also cooked a dying sausage, sliced it up and added it to my bowl only (as I wanted to keep the main stock vegetarian) – even better.
- Next Time: I’d use less beans and more water. The sauce of the “soup” is quite tasty and the beans are a bit much. I’d also use more vinegar and lime juice – even if it required refilling at the store as these are two ingredients I love having in the kitchen.
Extra: Today is Day 9 of my 30 day blog challenge. Click ‘Follow’ at the bottom of the page to receive weekly updates in your inbox or follow me on Tumblr if that’s your scene.