My family and friends are cooking and using what they have, often in new ways. That's good. Food is love and what better way than to prepare foods that not only taste good, but nourish us and bring us comfort.
Collard and turnip greens, and red beans, to be served alongside rice and cornbread is what I’ve been cooking. Even made creole seasoning (thyme, marjoram, basil, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper, oregano and salt) using spices I already had. Thanks to my neighbor who generously gifted me with cornmeal, greens, potatoes, apples and carrots. I can share some of these gifts back as "porch meals" later.
My friend LaBena shared "I made Shrimp Parmesan over rice. I had not made Shrimp Parmesan before. I don't really measure so I can just share that I first made a simple marinara sauce and set it aside. I lightly floured peeled and deveined shrimp, dipped them in a beaten egg, and drenched them in a mixture of Italian seasoned breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese. I fried the shrimp in a couple tablespoons of olive oil, browning them lightly on both sides. I removed the shrimp from the skillet, added the marinara sauce to the skillet, incorporating the skillet drippings into the sauce. I then added the shrimp back to the skillet, stirring to cover the shrimp completely with the sauce. After a couple of minutes, I topped the shrimp with mozzarella cheese, covered the skillet, and turned off the heat...allowing the cheese to melt. I ladled the shrimp onto a bed of rice that I had cooked in chicken broth. It was absolutely delicious!"
Well, I'll have what she's having. :)
Another friend, Judi, shares "I'm eating what I have around already. Being sure to use the most perishable ingredients first. Doing a regular inventory of the fridge, pantry and freezer. Sprouting seeds for fresh veggies. One of the things I use to help me is the question - Need or Want? I have more than enough food in the house for me and for sharing with neighbors and friends. But I find myself sometimes concerned with what I want, over what I need. I don't NEED anything right now. Glad I canned all those tomatoes. lol”
A gem. Judi is quite an accomplished cook, gardener, baker, author, educator, canner and preserver of foods. Her blog www.TheCharmedKitchen.com is a veritable goldmine of beloved family recipes, helpful tips and tricks and just all around good content. She's also written a book by the same name which I keep in my favorite cookbook stack.
Then let's look at what my friend Linda does. "I have a freezer and it’s just me and is packed full. Not just one meal but every fall and early winter, I go to the German Baptist meat market to buy hormone free, grass fed beef and chicken. I go to the fresh seafood market and buy my favorite fish, walleye. I cut it up, put it in ziplock bags and freeze it. I go to the Yankee Street market every week for about 3 weeks and buy corn which I cut off the cob and fully cook, then freeze. I do the same thing with greens. I freeze loaves of flax seed bread and other foods I like. I can tomatoes, make hot pepper relish, chow chow and sometimes peach preserves and store them on a shelf in the laundry room. I eat well in the winter."
Linda learned like I did, that having an extra freezer is a good thing. By the way, Linda LOVES beautiful flowers—her Facebook feed is loaded with some of most gorgeous images and she also gardens.
Personal shoutout to my friend Cindy who wrote to me, "I bought a freezer for myself back when I had a big garden so I could freeze veggies and berries, buy and cook in bulk and freeze meals. I kept it when I downsized. I even store extra ice packs in it so when the power was out for a more than a day, I didn't lose anything in my fridge, thanks to ice packs.”
So there you have it. Friends who are making their way through this time (some are even fortunate to have extra freezer space) with some delicious outcomes and the ability to have a little bit extra to share.
As for me? I’m working my way through containers of last summers crop of tomatoes, berries and vegetables which I vacuum sealed and froze.
These blueberries, strawberries and black raspberries went into smoothies, pancakes and muffins. An excellent blueberry muffin recipe can be found at www.wellfloured.com/ritz-carlton-blueberry-muffins/
Let us know what you're cooking so we can share. Someone else might take inspiration from what you’re doing. ❤️