Saturday, November 12, 2005

Don't Waste Food

This meal was made entirely with food we already had in the house.
Well, that sounds weird. Of course it was. What I mean is, we hadn't planned on this recipe, but we just happened to have ingredients on hand that needed using.
You can call it minestrone if you want (and it's a fairly close approximation of the never-too-purist Italian recipe). Cranky likes to call it "Cream of Bottom of the Refrigerator Soup."
I started with a tub of frozen vegetable broth — and that was a don't-waste project, too; I had salvaged veg trimmings, herbs, bits of produce that were on the brink of less-than-fabulous, stewing it all in water with the addition of some lentils and dried shiitakes for depth, before straining and freezing. This particular tub was dated June 2005. I almost always have tubs of veggie broth in the freezer.
Then I sauteed some diced onion in oil in a Dutch oven, salting from the get-go. Dumped the frozen broth in to melt. Added (this is the good part; pay attention) some chopped ribs of collard leaves. The collards had been used in a previous greens dish, but the reserved (uncooked, as yet) sliced ribs have a fantastic flavor and texture of their own; think of them as celery on steroids. Along with the collard ribs, a handful of lentils. Some dried pasta (smallish, if you have it). A little later on, I added chopped carrots, potato and hacked green beans. (I would have thrown in that bit of cabbage out of the crisper drawer, but I'm saving it for a soup made with potatoes, cooked in leftover corned-beef-cooking water from St. Patrick's Day — March 17th! — in a couple of days, maybe with some of our leftover Kentucky ham.) Finished it off with some leftover homemade tomato sauce that still had shreds of cheese, from the pasta dish it was stolen from.
Taste for salt. Eat.


Jamie said...

Hm! I like your use of collard ribs. We grow a lot of greens, so I will try your soup sometime after Thanksgiving. (Until then, a certain avian resident is claiming all such pieces-parts).

I have always maintained that there is nothing wrong with the stems! They are yummy.

Also, have you read Jacques Pépin's autobiography? He, too, is very averse to wasting food. He rocks.

cookiecrumb said...

They are yummy. And they keep for a long time in the fridge, even after they've been liberated from the leaves.
Jamie, I loved Pépin's autobiography! I've lately been reading other chefs' bios and autobios (oy, Psaltis), but I still like Jacques best. I'm determined to make his mom's dish of fried deviled eggs. AND: If you haven't tried his homemade pork sausage -- so easy -- well, ask me how.
One more thing, then I'll quit. Have you noticed how we've been stepping on each other's feet? You and I blogged about cranberry sauce on the same day. Then we both wrote about wasting food (olives, in your case), on the same day.

b'gina said...

I love to do this! Makes me feel so efficient. Someone want to start a monthly food blogging event around this? I'm a newbie, or I'd do it.

Greg said...

Souper great idea. My eyes were bigger than my culinary energy after last weeks farmer's market.

Jamie said...

I thought we were subliminally inspiring each other. :-)

Now I want homemade pork sausage. (P.S. I tried Jacques's mother's tarte tatin crust and didn't like it, but it could have been my technique.)