Monday, September 7, 2009

Take Heart...

......out the freezer. Thaw, chop, add to a bunch of sauted garlic and onions and fresh tomatoes; makes a good "'red sauce". Throw in some penne pasta to soak up the juice...or, it would be good on spaghetti squash.

One of my goals for this time off work is to revamp my foodways, which have gone from bad to worse during my bus-driving years. So far I've identified several different "threads" to this project, in the spirit of "killing two birds with one stone".

Not going to the grocery store (until I run out of some essential like chocolate) is encouraging me to eat what's around the house, thereby rotating stock that has become a bit elderly on things like canned goods and things in the freezer. It's also saving a lot of money. And I'm eating less junk food.

Eating what's in the fridge first has gone a long way towards cleaning out the fridge...a project who's time came long before this "vacation". It also prompts creativity.

I'm bringing home leftovers from market, despite generous donations to my daughter's and helpers' families, and Just Foods which coordinates produce donations for the local food pantries. Can you believe I was selling tomatoes for weeks before I ever took the time to slice one for myself, and top with cottage cheese and homemade celery seed dressing? I'm trying to eat the leftovers more...which means I'm eating more fresh, local food than I have for a long time. The two-job routine invariably nudges me towards Burger King for quick meals on the go.

Then there are all the leftovers in the freezer. That comes next, after cleaning the fridge. I'm going to either eat them or throw them out, one by one. No need to tackle it all at once...just one meal at a time. I have a tendency when I do cook, to get bored with a dish after a few days, and freeze the rest of it. Sometimes the boredom exceeds the "best if used by" date. So if I let myself start cooking before I tackle the freezer, there won't be room for the new leftovers....

A long-time goal has been to learn how to cook organ meats from my lambs. Often customers don't want the heart, tongue, kidneys, etc. so they end up in my big freezer. I love the liver, but haven't figured out good recipes for the other items. That makes it hard to recommend them to my customers...and a vicious cycle ensues. Anyhow, I've commenced experimenting.

Hopefully, by the end of Sept. I'll have a clean fridge, space in the freezer, a wonderful repertoire of recipes for lamb variety meats, and will be eating almost entirely homegrown food.

Then the challenge will be to keep up with all that after I go back to the full-time off-farm job.

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