Monday, May 08, 2006

Re-purposed Foods

I am generally quite frugal, more for reasons of environmental guilt than monetary ones: I can't stand to put one more thing in the landfill. However, this is really a fancy way of saying 'Feldman packrat sickness'. My grandma, moving out of her house of 40 years, just had to move a huge garbage can full of disintegrating plastic bags, early 80s track lighting without the tracks, stacks of my grandpa's ancient Freudian books, etc, and lots of it ended up in my parents' basement.

In my recent move I held on to all sorts of junk I really shouldn't have. B. said: "It's like being at a rummage sale where everything is gross and you don't want to buy anything, but here we have to pack it up and move it." This goes doubly for kitchen things. It was only in desperation that I recycled all the accumulated tupperware and yogurt containers, rather than moving and using them, or taking them to the co-op to put in the re-use bin. I was really excited to hear the new egg vendor at the farmers' market will accept egg crates. And when I bought four pyrex pie dishes at a garage sale this weekend to replace one broken in the move, I felt I was saving those pie dishes from a sad and lonely life.

So, this packrat/recycling mania translates to food. If vegetables are spoiled, I have no qualms about throwing them in the compost, but other foods get the Depression-era treatment. Here are two recent food recycling incidents.


My housemate dumpstered lots of nice ciabatta from the local bakery, intending on French toast, but we didn't use it in time and it got extremely stale. One might think that since the bread came from the garbage I would throw it right back, but instead I made croutons.

Soften the bread by dribbling it with water and throwing it in the microwave for 45 seconds.

Then cut bread into crouton-sized pieces with a breadknife or other serrated knife.

Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, minced garlic, and other spices to taste

Bake in a 350 oven for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Stir and turn occassionally so the croutons don't burn.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

This is a normal sort of recipe, but instead of buying sour cream, I used sweet cream that had gone off. I adapted the recipe from the Joy.

Beat together:

1 C sour cream
2 eggs
2 t vanilla

Mix dry ingredients:
1 1/4 C flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 C or less sugar
pinch of salt
cinnamon, nutmeg to taste
orange zest

Mix dry into wet. Turn into a greased 8 x 10 pan and bake at 350 until a toothpick comes out clean, about 25 minutes.


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