Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Producer

A recent Economist article reports that Americans throw out 40% of the food they buy. I find fresh produce to be the most challenging part of kitchen management. I like to have it on hand, but I hate throwing away spoiled fruits and vegetables, and I don't want to go to the the farmers market or the grocery store every day.

I am keeping an herb garden, but the ubiquitous deer and my own laziness have kept me from planting a vegetable garden. Nevertheless, in our quest to live better and eat well, I have adopted a couple of  practices to squeeze a little more out of the fruits and vegetables in the kitchen.

I posted awhile ago about smoothies, which I'm still making them regularly. I'm also moving fruit on the edge of ripeness into the freezer, and using it as either a base or a complement in the next smoothie. This works nicely with strawberries, peaches and bananas: their frozen state improves the consistency of the smoothie, and even the supertasters don't notice any difference.

Yesterday, I turned some disappointing Granny Smith apples into a pie. Nothing like the addition of copious quantities of brown sugar and butter to spice things up!

Finally, I'm a big fan of vegetable soup. Using the basic guide of 3 cups of stock for every 2 cups of vegetables, I've made lots of tasty lunches over the last couple of years. I like to simmer the vegetables for ten minutes, and then to puree everything. I'll often add some more cut up potatoes, carrots, leftover rice or the like at this point, and simmer a further ten minutes, until the additional stuff is cooked. I like curry powder, cajun seasoning and smoked paprika as spices, but pretty much anything plausible should work

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