Saturday, January 19, 2013

Eating Omily: Extreme Makeover Food Edition

It's been a veritable free-for-all at the Farmer's Market for the past two weeks as I restock our fridge after our holiday trip.  I finally feel like we're pretty well set: apples, a butternut squash, a couple kinds of cheese, eggs, yogurt, apple cider...I got a cabbage last week, which we've eaten completely of course.  We're starting to really dip into our frozen stores: frozen berries in our pancakes this morning, tart cherry preserves in my yogurt and oatmeal, frozen green beans alongside fish sticks for a late night dinner.  I'm dreaming of a strawberry-rhubarb tart, made with the frozen pie crust left over from Thanksgiving, frozen strawberries from Summer, and a jar of rhubarb preserves coasting past their best-by date.

I had a wonderful omelet for lunch yesterday, along with some left-over cabbage salad.  I put Farmers' Market fresh mozzarella, and prosciutto in it.
 We've spent the last two weeks re-making left-overs to inject new flavor into old foods.  I'm all about reheated left overs for lunch, but I can't stand eating the same thing for dinner twice.  It just feels like an injustice.  On the day we got home, I pulled a bag of turkey meat out of the freezer for sandwiches, but even though it was still moist and flavorful, it was just...a little boring.  So, I mixed it up with yogurt, shredded carrots, dried cranberries, salt, and lots of curry powder for a crave-worth dinner and lunch option that lasted us most of the week!  Curry-chicken (or turkey) salad is definitely up there among my favourite foods, and a curry-pasture-raised, Farmers' Market, brined, then roasted turkey salad?  Please.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again: when you start with high quality ingredients, the results can only be drool-worthy.
 In the same vein, I realized last night that we still had a lot of beans left over from slow-cooker bean night last week.  The husband was tired of eating them for lunch, and stuffing them in quesadillas didn't get through them fast enough.  To make them new again, I cooked a slice of Farmers' Market bacon (rendering lots of yummy, fragrant fat), and refried them in that.  I had never tried to make refried beans before, but I've always loved them, and the last batch I tried in a restaurant had the unmistakable flavor of bacon, and were irresistible, so I knew that was the way to go.  I didn't bother with a recipe; I was pretty confident I could figure it out.  It's just fry, and mash, right?  Thank goodness, right!  Releasing all the starch inside the beans thickens up the cooking liquid that comes along with left over beans, and the results were smooth, creamy, smoky, meaty, and amazing, especially when served with guac and salsa!  Another couple days and those beans would have landed in the trash, but instead they were a fast and delicious dinner!  I didn't get any pictures of our refried beans, but honestly, they're not all that pretty to look at, anyway.

Speaking of beans, at my last Farmers' Market foray, I found a vender selling black beans for five dollars a pound!  I bought a pound of course, and am looking forward to making them for slow cooker bean night this week.   For a while I could count on buying beans and grains at the Farmers' Market from Cuyahoga Pure Organics, but I haven't seen them in months.  They may only be showing up on Saturdays, or they may be taking a break while they grow, and mill the season's harvest.  I'll keep my eyes out for them.  They were one of my favourite venders!

How do you feel about left overs?  Did this post inspire you to give them another chance?  Everybody likes a makeover, right?  What masterful leftover makeovers have you accomplished?

~em


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