Activities + Crafts

Food Experiments – Non Recipes for the Daring

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.

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