Monday, November 30, 2015

Leftovers #3: Oven Baked Omelet

The waste series reminded me that a facility with leftovers creates less waste. Part of creating less waste is having a few handy go to recipes in your kit to pull out and adapt. This can be trying if you have kids or picky eaters in the house.

My kids have a wide palate but often resort to not wanting something or not liking a category when they like individual dishes. A good example is red peppers; one kid loves them raw but says he does not like them any other way, except when they are roasted they are good in a sauce or mixed in mayo but not left whole on a pizza. Get where I am going with this?

I'm not a fan of hiding the ingredients and we have adopted a try it once and if you don't like it, that's fine. On those days, I make sure there is something else on the table but not a whole other meal. Remember, this is a post about waste. I haven't forgotten but it seems that getting your kid to eat their food is a step towards that.

Here is one way that works mostly. Turn it into a baked omelet or a fritatta.

So leftover butter chicken sauce is added to beaten eggs. You could use any leftover saucy bits. Leftover rice from Chinese take-out, mixed veggies, frozen peas, almost any tiddly fiddly bits. French Fries. Bits of chicken from a roast. You know, leftovers. 

Anyways, the point is to add something just a bit different that is healthy or going to waste anyways or even both. If they like the whole egg thing, then this will most likely work. 

For advanced food waste management, use leftover food grease. Bacon fat is amazing. Above, I added the fat from stock making. I suppose the official name would be schmaltz. It is the fat from chicken. The stock had some seasoning that remained in the fat. If you are not looking for bonus points, just use butter or oil. 

Normally, I start the eggs on the stove, add the bits and then once the bottom has set, put the whole pan into the oven until it cooks all the way through. Is this gourmet cooking or the Jacques Pepin way? No. Is it delicious and good enough for my kids? Is it quick and easy for any schlub getting home from work with no ideas left and a half hour from taking one kid out to swimming while the other is getting back from karate? Most definitely. 

In short, this is a recipe idea to keep in your back pocket for those type of nights where you have some small containers of almost nothing, a few eggs, and a deficit of time. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Waste Not, Want Not

Wow, I am lazy. I have a whole bunch of posts that I haven't done that kind of accentuate this topic. What spurred me to keyboard was receiving a text from my eldest son with a link to a survey around how much food waste your family wastes.

There was a huge amount of questions on how you know food is spoiled. I have posts on what to do with spoiled milk, leftover uses, and making things with traditional garbage stuff. I think I will try to focus on some of those posts in the next few weeks.

Also, I'm interested in keeping a waste diary. Maybe instagram the crap out of my food waste and see where it goes. I'm always a little skittish because there is the whole internet shaming thing. But I challenge anyone who wants to make a comment about what I ought to do, to keep a diary themselves.

There is another way of looking at this problem. I would guess, and I will fact check as we go along, that the food and restaurant industry has more waste than individuals. Where we intersect is at the supermarket and the restaurant. The pink sludge burger at McDonald's probably is less wasteful than a burger at Holy Chuck's for example. The desire for perfect produce places a part in this alliterative sentence and the waste in the industry. If we stop demanding certain things, it will stop being produced.

Conversely, I tend to hate packaged goods but buy baby cut carrots. Why? Because they are a traditional waste product that became a product unto themselves, and my kids will eat them for who knows what reason, I will often get them instead of other packaged carrots.

Now, if I can only find a way to stop wasting the food posts...

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Day of the Dead

A few years ago, the kids and I started something similar to the Day of the Dead. It wasn't the splashy make-up and candy holiday but rather a meal where we remembered who had passed. The meal is planned by taking into account what those members of our family would like.

Here are some photos from this year's meal.

These skull candies are the closest thing to keeping with a more Mexican theme. The one had black garlic and caramel while the other had dulce de leche. It turns out the garlic one was a hit amongst all of us.

A chocolate cake mix doctored with buttermilk and glazed with dollar store jam with a touch of orange blossom water to make it taste a little more like wild strawberries (a hint from Herve This). 

This is for my kids' grandmother. She was of French stock and her claim to fame was tourtiere. We knew she was getting ill when her pie started tasting off. I wrote a little bit more about the memory for Mother's Day.

Fish. My Dad's favourite. This was rainbow trout. Fishing was also his favourite thing to do and he drowned while ice fishing. 

And a Polish lager. The type of beer my Dad would drink. This day is about memories, good and bad and keeping interest in their lives, as they lived them. There is something about the continuation of a story well told. 

I like the idea of keeping memories alive through food. Food creates such strong memory and this gives us a little bit of time to reflect and recollect.