My original post for today was going to be on the value of the fresh fish market, but after visiting Greg @ Sippitysup and seeing his post on a cocktail that includes basil, well, I changed my mind. His post reminded me that a month ago hubby had purchased a few pounds of cherries. I took the opportunity to use them in a variety of dishes over a course of the week. We ate our fair share on their own, but I do believe in trying to conquer the inevitable waste factor. There was a dish I had made that made it to the cutting room floor, but it sat on the shelf until now.
I took about two cups of cherries, some remaining heirloom tomatoes, plum tomatoes, onions, lemon, garlic, herbs, pistachios, homemade Greek oregano lamb meatballs, and placed them all together in my Tagine (slow cook for an hour; then high for the last thirty), or a baking dish if you like to make not the prettiest dish, but a darn good saucy one! The flavor was rich from the melding of all the flavors into the yummiest mouthful I could ever ask for. Just cook up some couscous, and in this case I dog boned some brown rice. Spoon a ladle over, and you got a nice comforting meal.
I mentioned to Greg that while at the market a woman next to me was complaining that when she needed cilantro in a dish, she only needed about two or three handfuls; once its was no longer needed, the cilantro was mush within a few days. We can all relate to this. I asked how she was containing the cilantro in her cooler. She responded that she had just kept it in the plastic bag, and on one of the shelves. I suggested that she simply wrap a moist paper towel around the bunch (no plastic bag for airflow), and store it in her bottom high humidity storage drawer. I even simply leave it in a glass jar on the counter in cool water, and it keeps just fine for up to three days.
Our family is not going to notice if we build meals around ingredients; unless it is the main course, or over kill on quantity. This is how I learned to cook, even in my personal chef business- I use tomato, onion, and garlic on a regular basis, so why not throw in a little cilantro into the pot. Side course, main course, and even dessert can each conceal the reuse of something as simple as cilantro; unless you simply do not like the taste.
Organizing the weekly meal plan is really not that hard. I always approach the market each week with an idea of what it is I want to produce for my family, and clients. Unfortunately in our society today we are busy, have access to ready made foods, and have a tendency to eat according to our sudden cravings. Stick to your guns, and try at least once a month to use a few recipes that require the same ingredients, and see if you can reduce the waste factor.
Keep an eye out on Greg. I do. He presents a weekly post of 'Tomatomania', and is going to be posting a week's worth of recipes that will use 'Basil'. I and others are looking forward to some new ideas for my own usage of this beautiful green plant. Abundance can work in our favor!
"I experiment with Flavors"...
Elizabeth Stelling, hails from her home state of Texas and has been involved in the food industry via institutional, fast food, B&B's, ethnic eateries and other restaurants since she was fourteen. Now living n New Jersey she has ran her own cafe, teaches culinary classes, runs a small boutique catering and staffing business, restaurant consulting for NJWBO, is a personal chef and shares her love of cooking with local, organic, healthy, and natural ingredients with the community.
Chef E is a member of Slow Food and the American Wine Society, Princeton, New Jersey. She has published written works of poetry and media pieces, as well as ran Open Mics in the Princeton, NJ area.
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