Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Split Pea Soup

It's cold and rainy today.  I have the flu and crave soup, but my sense of taste is dulled.  I decided to make split pea soup.  I have a lot of dried peas to get rid of.
I opted to go with a fairly simple recipe that I found in Epicurious.  Based on the reviews, it was pretty well-liked and was also pretty adaptable.  In agreement with the no-shopping experiment, I adjusted it according to what I had.  I omitted the ham hock and used about 8 oz of bacon instead.  I fried that up, then set it aside.  I drained off most of the fat and then sauteed the onion and celery in the remaining fat.  (I didn't have carrots so I skipped them and added two diced up potatoes instead.)  I added two cloves of minced garlic and sauteed it briefly, and then added the water, marjoram, two peeled and chopped up potatoes, the bacon and dried peas.  The mixture was then brought to a boil and allowed to simmer until the peas and potatoes fell apart (2 hours).  At that point it was pretty thick.   I added salt and pepper to taste, along with a bit of smoked paprika and a drop of liquid smoke to deepen the flavor.  I hope it doesn't taste horrible once  I get my sense of smell back.  I let it cool somewhat and then pureed the whole thing.
Anyway, it tastes pretty good, and will probably improve with age.  It's got that classic split pea soup flavor and the right consistency.  I'm looking forward to eating it with little bit of cheese on top and a slice of toast.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Musings on the no-shopping experiment

I bought a crazy amount of dairy, fruit, and vegetables recently.  This is normal for me.  My freezers and cupboards are too full not because I buy huge quantities of meat and starch, but because I tend to default to dairy, fruit and veggies and the other stuff ends up in the freezer or cupboard.  It remains to be see if I actually save any money during my experiment.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

No shopping experiment, exceptions

I'm making exceptions to the no-shopping experiment.
1.  Coffee is necessary and is exempt.
2.  I have a huge oversupply of tea.  So it's not exempt, even though it can easily be moved.
3.  Cat food is exempt, obviously.  However, the cats will surely benefit when I cook those turkeys.
4.  I've also declared a moratorium on buying bath stuff.  I have enough for several years.  Really. Certain stuff from Paula's Choice is necessary and exempt, however.
5. Chocolate is necessary and exempt.  It is unlikely that I will be left with an oversupply, of course.
6.  It will become necessary to buy some stuff to get rid of other stuff.  However I won't buy the Costco size packages.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Pork Chops with Spicy Citrus Chipotle Sauce

It's day one of the eating through the freezer experiment.  I pulled out some soup for lunch and defrosted two thick cut pork chops for dinner/leftovers for tomorrow.  I decided to brine the porkchops, and got out a cook book to find the brine proportions.  Right next to the recipe for the pork chops, there was a sauce recipe that used orange juice, lime juice and zest, and chipotle peppers.  I had all of those things.  Perfect!
The pork chops were browned for on both sides, and then put into a 450F oven for about 10 minutes.  Use a meat thermometer just to be on the safe side.  Puree the sauce ingredients in advance and then cook the sauce down while the porkchops are resting.

Here's the sauce recipe.  I modified it since I didn't have molasses. This makes enough for four pork chops.  (I made a half recipe)

1/2 cup molasses (I used a combination of brown sugar and corn syrup)
1 cup orange juice
zest and juice from 2 limes
4 adobo chilies in sauce (I had some in the freezer.  I just threw in the entire packet - it may've been a bit more)
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp butter.
salt and pepper to taste.
Puree all the sauce ingredients in the blender.

After the pork chops are done cooking, let them rest under fill.  Drain the fat from the pan and add the sauce.  Cook it down until it's thick and shiny.  Remove from heat and add the butter.  Serve with the pork chops.

The pork was done to perfection on the chop that I tested with the meat thermometer. The other one was a bit underdone so I saved it for tomorrow, when I'll be reheating it.   Rugrat was crying and begging while I was browning the chops, so I gave her some without sauce.  She liked it.  As for the sauce, well, it's good I'm on a spicy foods kick.  Even so, it was a bit much.  I'd back way off on the chipotle peppers next time.  It was tasty, though. It wasn't too sweet, and the citrus flavors came through.  I ate my pork chop with broccoli and homemade bread. (I have a lot of flour to use up too!) I am enjoying this experiment so far.

Net food cleared from storage
2 pork chops
3 limes that were staring to go bad
1 packet of chipotle chiles from the freezer
2 oranges that fell off the orange tree
some flour + brown sugar

The (almost) no-shopping experiment

I love to go grocery shopping, and I'm a total hoarder. As a result, my cabinets, freezer, etc, are filled to bursting.  Hell, I've got two turkeys in my freezer, four kinds of flour, and more weird legumes and grains than you can shake a stick at....
So now, I've got time on my hands, less income than usual, and the prospect of an impending cross-country move.  It's time to "eat through the freezer"*, and the cupboards, and the fridge, and the liquor cabinet, so I don't have to end up giving all of this food to my mom. 
So I'm starting an experiment.  As of now, I'm only going to buy cottage cheese, milk, coffee and eggs.  I'll buy produce on an as-needed basis, but will try to use up the frozen fruit and veggies. I may make exceptions for special occasions.
This will not keep me from food blogging, though.  Quite the opposite. I'll keep you updated on the experiment and will also write a lot of posts as I try new recipes to use up my larder of provisions.

*My ex-boyfriend was an even bigger food hoarder than me.  In fact, he was a bad influence on me. His particular predilection was to fill the freezer. Anyway, ever so often he'd go through phases where he'd "eat through the freezer".