Clearing out the Fridge

Lately, I’ve been grooving on creating dishes by emptying out the fridge. It’s alarmingly easy to lose track of what’s inside that big, white petri dish, not to mention the cupboards, so I try to take inventory on the weekend before more groceries arrive. I’m rarely successful, but this past weekend I (mostly) was.

For this recipe, I had cooked chicken on hand. I’m positive cubed tofu, seasoned with salt and pepper, would be equally yummy. (I’ll let you know – right now, I have chicken but no tofu.)

Chilled Rice and Chicken Salad
2 cups cooked rice, cooled
1 cup cooked chicken breast, cooled and cubed; or 1 cup cubed firm tofu
A couple handful s of fresh spinach, steamed (I threw it in the steamer on top of the rice)
¼ of a Granny Smith apple, cubed (or whatever apple you have on hand)
½ cup cucumber, diced
¼ cup green pepper, diced
¼ cup craisins
¼ cup sliced black olives (I’ve been adding them to almost everything – I’m on a kick)
3 tbsp of your favourite creamy salad dressing (I used artichoke and asiago yogurt dressing because that’s what I had)

Mix well. Chill before serving. Makes 2 hearty lunches or 4 sides.

If you’ve checked out my other recipes, you may have noticed that we eat a lot of meat in my house. We just do. We go organic when we can. I eat tofu at every opportunity. But I also spend Sunday mornings putting the week’s fresh (or thawed) meat through the pressure cooker and cleaning up one disaster a week instead of doing it daily.

The result is that we eat less meat. My man, who is meat-addicted, seems not to have noticed (please don’t say anything) and my boy is quite satisfied – he has his favourites, but he’s not a huge fan of meat and I see no reason to insist. Myself? I absolutely love meat. I have little desire to give it up for good, but I don’t need it with every meal I consume.

My New Favourite Sandwich

I was up late writing the other night after the boys went to bed. I got peckish and went to the fridge to see what I could throw together for a snack. The result was one of the yummiest sandwiches I have eaten in a long time. So simple, I had to share.

Cold Roast Pork Wrap

1/2 cup chopped roast pork
1 cup thinly sliced iceberg lettuce
2 tbsp apple sauce
salt and pepper to taste (don’t be shy)
1 large flour tortilla

Mix well. Heap onto tortilla and roll up.

Traditional Ways

I am attracted to the old way of doing things. This fascination can make me come across as very house-wifey, but I promise you I’m not. I just think it`s important to know how to do these things because you never know, right?

That said, I know how to make a decent chicken broth from scratch, but that doesn’t mean I do it on a regular basis. I also know how to alter clothing, but I hate doing do it. I’d much rather build a whole new outfit from scratch. I know how to knit by hand, but my machine is so much faster. The way I see it is that if you know the hard way to do things, then you’ll have more appreciation for the easy way. And it’s always good to have options.

Old techniques are a bit of a hobby for me – I don’t seriously think we’ll ever be completely off the grid, but every little bit helps. Awhile back, I picked up a book about preserving food without freezing. I was already familiar with a large portion of the book: canning and dehydration. However, I don’t have a root cellar (yet) and I’d never tried to ferment anything. The book had a recipe for fermented lettuce that promised to be a lovely garnish for salads and soups. I happened to have a massive crop of lettuce. So away I went, picking, cleaning and chopping piles of lettuce. Then I salted and packed it into two litre-sized mason jars. Within a week, it had reduced to about half the volume of each jar. Within another week, a white scummy layer had formed. A year later, I finally threw them out without ever having tried it.

My experiments don’t always work. But you have to keep trying because the successes make up for the failures. Like this one:

Beef Jerky

Medium-sized roast, sliced 1/8” thick and 1” wide (or use several marinating steaks), fat trimmed off
½ cup red wine
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp. Montreal steak spice
3 cloves garlic, minced

Slice the meat across the grain into strips 1/8” thick and 1” wide. Make sure to trim off all the fat so the jerky keeps longer. Mix together the red wine, Worcestershire sauce, steak spice and garlic. Pour over beef slices and marinate in the fridge up to 3 days, stirring occasionally. Arrange strips in a single layer on dehydrator trays and dehydrate for 8-12 hours. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.