A Plethora of Plenty!

Farmers’ Markets, CSA weekly deliveries, our own gardens gone berserk! Even Costco has monster-sized produce.  It is so easy to throw away food without even thinking.  I am as guilty as the next person. Here are some ideas to capture the goodness so you can savor it for later!

When cooking your wonderful humanely raised organic bacon, don’t throw out the fat! I have started pouring it into a small Pyrex dish, freezing it and then popping it out and putting the discs into a plastic sandwich bag in the freezer. What do I use this lovely aromatic pig fat for? FLAVOR! The other night I broke off a roughly a teaspoon and threw it into the green beans that were boiling for dinner. Yum! Use it to flavor meats or veggies that are going into stews, sauteing eggs, adding another layer of flavor to bean soup. Wherever you want/need another savory layer of flavor in a recipe, toss in a small chunk! Yes, I know it’s saturated fat, but it beats trans-fats with a stick and it tastes waaaaaay better than “buttery spread.”

I love Costco but the sometimes the sizes are overwhelming….and WHO can eat that much veg before it goes bad, unless you are running an orphanage or feeding a football team, that is! I recently came home with a very large bag of small sweet peppers. Solution? Roasting! I simply cleaned out the insides, rolled them around in a good quality olive oil, and baked in a 350 degree oven for 20 – 30 minutes. If you do this, be sure to watch them so they don’t burn!) After they cooled I simply scooped them into plastic sandwich bags and threw them into the freezer. Why didn’t I just throw them in the freezer immediately? Great question! 1. All  veggies continue to “age” even in the freezer unless the enzymes are destroyed by cooking. That’s why canning work and that is why directions for freezing veggies always say to blanch them before freezing. 2. Roasting the veggies caramelize the sugars in the plant and adds another layer of flavor. Yum! Now, what am I going to do with these peppers? Chop them up and throw them into pasta sauce (I like my pasta sauce chunky!); use them in casseroles, stews, and soups; add them as a layer in sandwiches (see photos below!).

Bathed in olive oilPost Roast!Roasted pepper, hummus, tomato & avocado sandwich- yum!

What are YOUR nifty tricks in the kitchen? Please share!  I’ll have more to come but I want to run to Natural Grocers and pick up a few things. Have a great day everybody!

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