|It doesn't rain all the time in Seattle...|
When we came back from our trip to Seattle, I did a small shopping for milk, vegetables and some fruits and decided to experiment: what if I don't go shopping anymore until the payday? We had milk, apples, flour, legumes, and different vegetables that I used for everyday cooking.
Three days before payday I realized I am out of many fresh ingredients, so I had to be really creative to cook from what I had available.
|Three days before payday: soup (a.k.a. Kale soup)|
After a quick inventory of the refrigerator, I made a "Three days before payday" soup, also known as Kale and Potato Soup. A friend, that we visited in Seattle, gave me the recipe, and despite a few missing ingredients, this soup quickly became my men's favorite. To make it I had one potato, a small container of whipping cream, one onion, a few kale leaves, two cups chicken broth, salt and pepper, a tablespoon of butter or good quality olive oil.
Cooking is just as easy: saute onions in fat of your choice, add chicken broth, bring it to a boil, add potato, cook until potato is done, add cream, salt and pepper to taste. Add kale leaves and turn the heat off. Quick, easy, and simple. Plus delicious, as my men said.
|Two days before payday: Beet salad with micro greens, and a meat filled pastry|
The next day, I decided to make a meat filled pastry and a salad from a roasted beets and shoe box microgreens. "What?!" I hear you. Microgreens are a tiny green vegetables, that grow in shoe box (in my case), that rent a kitchen's window seal. Still have question? I guess it's about the shoe box.
Well, there was an empty plastic shoe box, that was traveling from one closet to another, than to the shoe rack, than back to the closet until one day I looked at it and... Evrika!, decided to plant my greens in it. I made a few holes in the box, filled it with a good soil (I don't have a garden, but I do have my worms, that eat our food scraps and make a perfect compost and tea for my plants), planted seeds, and in two weeks I had my first harvest of the most nutrient and ecofriendly greens.
While I was making my pastry, beets were roasted at 400F for 90 minutes. Then I peeled it, sliced it, and mixed it with a sliced green onion. I seasoned it with a freshly grind black pepper and a good quality sea salt (I had Alaea Hawaiian sea salt), and served with a handful of micro greens (arugula, dill and lettuce), then drizzled a little olive oil on the top.
The Husband loved the salad, teenager however gave the greens a look and tried to push it to the side of the plate. I gave him my look (we have a long negotiated agreement that he finishes his salad before he eats any meat), and he asked me what was it. I told him it's lettuce, but a very small one. He scoffed but made a first bite. Then he quickly finished his salad and moved a bowl with meat filled pastry closer, giving it a soft hug. Kids... :)
|One day before payday: Polenta with shallots and porcini mushrooms|
On the morning of the third day I was inspired by Ottolenghi's recipe from his book Plenty, and had all available in my kitchen ingredients (polenta and dried porcini mushrooms) set on the kitchen counter to make polenta pizza for dinner. I don't have a book, hence I know only that this polenta pizza has mushroom topping.
I prepared the mushroom with shallots and white wine, and all was left is to make the pizza crust from polenta. I was in the middle of making polenta when the husband came home with question that sounded more like a statement: "when's the dinner?" He rushed himself into the kitchen, looking for something to warm up. "Oh, polenta! Let me wash my hands!"
I quickly changed my plans from pizza to simple polenta with porcini mushrooms: an always welcomed dinner in this house!
|Peach and berry pie|
That was an interesting experiment that proves no extra shopping necessary to make a good dinner. We often tend to over-complicate our food, forgetting that simple food tastes just as good.
Oh, yes, we also had some pie! All before payday.
wow creative and wonderful mealsReplyDelete
Another delightful post, Marina! Delicious meals from simple ingredients.ReplyDelete
Thanks Sheila! Complicated recipes are intimidating... so I love simple. :)Delete
how to make delicious food with what is leftover in your fridge: brilliant! I sometimes do the same, but only because I feel GUILTY to waste food so when it is getting old I prepare the 'clean the fridge dinner'... I love the polenta idea.ReplyDelete
Hi Rita, the guilt is a powerful force indeed. I feel guilty to waste food no matter how much or little I have. Thanks for your comment!Delete
Well done Marina! And everything looks great-not what you'd usually think was served three days before pay day. I love clearing the fridge and pantry of things! :DReplyDelete
Thank you Lorraine, that's what my husband said too.Delete
I so do the same these days. And guess what? Some of my improvised recipes are really really good! And my wallet feels so good. Everything you photographed looks really good!ReplyDelete
Thank you Kim. Oh yes, when wallet feels good everyone feels good! :)Delete
O my.., Marina, very impressive! I love your greens from the shoe box, cool idea-) "Empty fridge" is my favorite time. I love to improvise, always wonder how many delicious dishes I can cook from almost empty fridge-)) Very creative, Marina!ReplyDelete
Someone very smart said: Gol' na vydumki hitra!" Thanks for your comment!Delete
Great post Marina. Sometimes I have the feeling that my fridge is empty and if I don't buy something I will starve to death which is obvioously not true, because if you think creatively you can always cook something almost out of nothing. Your post is a great reminder in times of economic crisis that it is important to use everything up and to cook creatively. And the kale and potatoe soup will likely become my favourite :-)ReplyDelete
Oh, how well do I understand you! My husband says that I am having panic attack when I don't have food supplies to feed us for two months! But refrigerator doesn't fell in that category, so I am fine with cleaning it up every month. :)Delete
Kale and potato soup is my favorite too, simplifying the recipe didn't take away the flavor.
You're so clever and creative! We went an extra week without food shopping this last time and my dishes were not wonderfully received! It is a nice feeling to use everything up and have less waste!ReplyDelete
Hi Jess, it takes time and a bit practice to train your family to eat what we have. Wasting a food was prohibited in my family when I was growing up. I think it is in my genes now forever, and hope my kids inherited it too. :)Delete
YUM!! What a great series of dishes you have created from just what was "at hand" well done... I really should do this from time to time to use up some of our excesses :0!ReplyDelete
Thank you! I like to improvise in the kitchen using just a few ingredients. Most of the times it works. :)Delete
I need to do more of this - cooking with what I have rather than shopping for more - perhaps then I would finally finish some of those packets of things that are lurking in the back of my cupboards.ReplyDelete
Hi Liz, oh I know. I've forced myself to do a rotation of my cupboard from time to time, but not less than 3 times a year. It was hard when I started, but now I got into the habit. Saves a lot of money and time (I hate shopping!).Delete
Very creative indeed!!!!! Beautiful microgreens. Glad you have a little "kitchen garden". Feels great to be harvesting, doesn't it?ReplyDelete
Hi Norma, Oh yes, it feels really good to have a little garden and harvest something from time to time. :)Delete
I am sure if I started using whatever I have in my pantries, they would feed us for minimum 15 days! Very creative meals and beautiful pics Marina!ReplyDelete
Thank you Katerina! As my husband says, I have panic attacks if I don't have enough food supplies to feed my family for two months! :)Delete
Nice job Marina, we are doing the same thing this weekend - using what we have! I would love to hear about your compost worms and compost tea sometime if you ever want to post about it ... We compost just about everything, but I must admit compost worms do scare me ....ReplyDelete
Hi Jane! Thanks for the idea about the worms. I'll post it when it's a little warmer outside so I can take a few photos. :)Delete
What a terrific post, Marina. You have shown that with imagination you can create wonderful meals with what you have in your pantry and refrigerator. Everything sounds delicious.ReplyDelete
Thank you Karen! Pheasant food is a new gourmet. :)Delete
Everything is gorgeous but your polenta, shallots and mushrooms looks like something my body is craving. How delicious! Take Care, BAMReplyDelete
Thank you BAM. Polenta is a common food in this house. When I don't know what to make or don't have bread, polenta is my meal of choice. :)Delete
How's that for a sense of accomplishment! Occasionally, I'll see that my freezer is bulging so I'll stop going to the grocery for anything but necessities. It's amazing how many meals I can create. Your conclusion, that we over-complicate our food, is right on the money. And I agree with BAM. That polenta dish is right up my alley, Marina. It looks so very good!ReplyDelete
Hi John, I stopped going to the store for anything for 10 days actually to see what can be done. A lot, I can tell you. We had pasta, we had ravioli, we had all kind of delicious meals, all without leaving the house! We often think of convenience, and forget of how good can taste a very simple food like polenta and mushrooms. Thanks for your comment! :)Delete
Your imagination is brilliant my friend, how you can create such wonderful recipes is awesome :DReplyDelete
Thank you! :)Delete
It's amazing how creative we get ;-) I like what you came up with, brilliant ;-) You've now inspired me and I've made it my plan for the week...I have too many things waiting to be used ;-)ReplyDelete
Hi Stephanie, thank you for your comment and for following my blog. I am glad you like it! :)Delete
What a fun experiment! I probably have enough in the pantry for a week's worth of meals, if I put my mind to it (plus things like carrots and celery in the refrigerator). You made some nice dishes, but the polenta would have been my favorite. I should grow some microgreens on my kitchen windowsill - they could join my herb collection! Fun post - thanks.ReplyDelete
Hi John, I put polenta there just as example. It is so easy to make that almost embarrassed me in it's simplicity. :) But I guess good food is a simple food. :)Delete
This post shows that you are a really good cook. Not just being creative but you know how to use up all the ingredients without wasting and still able to create delicious meals. Very, very impressive! I love empty fridge so that I can restock new food. :)ReplyDelete
Thank you Nami for your nice compliment. I can cook in my comfort zone any dishes, but when I step out sometimes it's a mess. I guess I need more practice in that areas... :)Delete
Marina, please check out your email and come back to me!ReplyDelete
That's fantastic and it shows what we can do if we use a little thought. It all looks so good!ReplyDelete
Thank you Maureen. I am glad to see you here. I've been thinking of you, wandering what are you up to. Glad you are back to blogging. :)Delete
Good job, Marina! Very creative and it all sounds delicious! I definitely will be taking your advice!ReplyDelete
Thank you Pam! :)Delete
Marina, I'll take it all...before payday, during payday, and after payday! A glorious selection of delicious meals...fit for 'royalty'. Love the polenta with the porcini mushrooms, and just drooling over the beautiful and yummy pie!ReplyDelete
Lol, Elisabeth! I am amazed how time changes our relationships with the food: once pheasant's food became a gourmet treat! Remember, bouillabaisse? Once it was a poor fishermen's food, made of what was pooled off the nets after the most expensive fish was sold. And now it is one of the priciest items on any restaurant menu. Same goes to polenta. Thanks for your comment!Delete
Wow, you sure were able to make a lot! I love microgreens.ReplyDelete
Thank you Ilan. I love microgreens too! :)Delete
Marina, I love your dishes...they all are very creative and I would not be able to tell that you were missing ingredients.ReplyDelete
Hope you are having a wonderful week :)
Thank you Juliana. Missing ingredients is never a problem for me, unless it's baking, which I don't do a lot. :)Delete
drooling over the pie. pretty much drooling over everything. i haven't ever used polenta. must give it a good goReplyDelete
Polenta is such an easy meal to make, and inexpensive too. :)Delete