Monday, August 20, 2012

A Little Great Depression Frugality

I have no tv, but I really love food shows. I read cookbooks cover to cover like novels, so this shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. I've been filling the TV void with youtube cooking shows like My Drunk Kitchen (hilarious, but understandably has little value as a cooking primer), Heavy Metal Vegan Cooking (also funny, but with actually useful recipes. I plan to try the "Seitan with Satan" recipe this week), and Cooking From the Great Depression.

That's my favorite. In these short videos, Clara tells little stories she recalls from the great depression while cooking very simple meals from the era. Some are horrible sounding - "cooked bread," for example, is old stale bread that you poor hot water over until it's soggy. But others are innovative and lovely, like this simple Italian Ice recipe that wards off the heat for pennies (see below). All inspire me to think about how I use stuff in my kitchen to best effect. Here's how I went for frugality yesterday.

"Seitan With Satan"

"Italian Ice"

Last week when I blanched the dozen ear of corn and put the cut kernels in the freezer, I didn't toss the corn cobs in the compost. Instead I stowed them in the freezer for corn chowder. And indeed, the start of this broth (6-8 corn cobs in a pot of water) is pretty sad looking. But if you let the pot simmer a while, and periodically scrape the ears with a fork, the corn remnants produce a milky, sweet broth when combined with onions, garlic, salt, and a few herbs.

Pauper's Soup
Depressing Carrots
To that I added all the saddest veg from the crisper, like these carrots that have been rolling around long enough to grow new albino greens at the top. Tops and tails of these don't get tossed though, they go into my veggie stock reserve bag in the freezer along with onion skins, sad little herb stumps, and really anything that isn't in the cabbage family. When the bread bag is full of these bits, I know it's time to make a pot of stock. Some people buy new, lovely carrots and onions for making stock, but you throw them out when you're done and it feels like a huge waste. I'd rather use a boullion cube at that point.

Stock bag stowed in the upstairs freezer

Once the veggies are tender, throw in one ear's worth of corn kernels, and it's a feast made for a king. Particularly when it's paired with homemade herb crackers (the recipe for which, I acquired from Straight from the Farm.) You can get it here, but note that I used whole wheat flour instead of white and they were mega-awesome.

La Gourmande!

No comments: