Green Grocer: Whatever’s on hand


(2/20/2019)

by MELISSA GORDON

Going to work, shoveling, doing the laundry, shoveling, picking kids up from school, shoveling, paying bills, shoveling — it’s no wonder people don’t have time to cook anymore!

But do you know there are some people who come home, take a quick gander at the fridge and pantry, and then whip up a delicious meal? They call it “using whatever’s on hand,” and it’s kind of like magic. One of my goals in life is to become one of those people. To start, I’ve compiled three different recipes with three different strategies for making them “using whatever’s on hand.” In no time at all I’ll be conjuring up magic in the kitchen — and you can, too! Now if only we can hex our shovels into working on their own!

Curried Lamb Stew

From StrongerTogether.coop

Total Time: One hour, 15 minutes total; 15 minutes active

Servings: Four

Ingredients

The High Five (Four!)

• 1 pound lamb stew meat (cut in one-inch cubes)

• 1 large onion, chopped

• 2 large carrots, sliced

• 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes

Pantry and kitchen items

• 1 tablespoon canola oil

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 2 tablespoons curry powder

• 1 cup water or chicken stock

Preparation

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Salt the lamb and sprinkle the pieces of lamb over the bottom of the pan. Let cook for a couple minutes to sear, then stir and sear the other side for a minute.

Add onion and stir for a minute. Add carrot and curry powder and stir until fragrant. Add the canned tomatoes and water or stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let cook for about an hour. Stir occasionally, adding water or stock if the stew is getting dry or sticking to the pan.

When the lamb is tender and the stew is very thick, taste and adjust the seasonings by adding salt or spice, if needed.

Use whatever’s on hand

Any stew meat can be substituted here. You can also steam some basmati rice or serve the stew with some bread to make it an even heartier dinner. Chopped fresh cilantro, scallions or a dollop of plain yogurt quickly brighten up presentation and add contrast to the rich stew.

Thai Tofu Stir-Fry with Peanut Sauce

From StrongerTogether.coop

Total Time: 40 minutes

Servings: Four

Ingredients

The High Five

• 1 cup short-grain brown rice, uncooked

• 10 ounces extra-firm tofu, rinsed and patted dry

• 2 cups chopped cabbage

• 1 cup snap peas

• 1/4 cup prepared Thai peanut sauce

Pantry and kitchen items

• 1 tablespoon canola oil

Preparation

Cook the brown rice: put two cups water in a small pot and place over high heat. When the water boils, add the brown rice and return to a boil. Cover the pan and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed and the rice is tender.

While the rice cooks, slice the tofu into small cubes. Heat a large sauté pan or wok over high heat until hot, about one minute. Pour in the canola oil and swirl the pan to coat. Add the tofu and stir to coat with oil. Stir-fry the tofu until it is golden brown, about four minutes.

Add the cabbage and peas to the pan and keep stirring, tossing and moving the vegetables until the cabbage is softened and the peas are crisp-tender. Add the peanut sauce and stir to coat.

Serve stir-fry on top of a scoop of cooked brown rice.

Use whatever’s on hand

Try adding carrots, mushrooms, green beans or peas in place of the snap peas or in addition to them. Substitute chicken for the tofu. If you like a spicier sauce, add a pinch of red chili flakes when sautéing the vegetables or serve with a Sriracha-style hot sauce at the table.

Goddess Chickpea Salad with Kale

From StrongerTogether.coop

Total Time: 10 minutes

Servings: Two to four

Ingredients

The High Five

• 1 can chickpeas, drained

• 1 cup packed thinly-shredded kale

• 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

• 1/4 cup slivered red onions

• 1/4 cup green goddess salad dressing

Pantry and kitchen items

• Salt and pepper, to taste

Preparation

In a large bowl, combine the chickpeas, kale, cherry tomatoes and red onions. Pour the green goddess dressing over the mixture and toss to coat.

Grind fresh black pepper over it all and mix, then taste and add salt if desired. Serve immediately, or store, tightly covered for up to a week in the refrigerator.

Use whatever’s on hand

This salad is also delicious wrapped in a tortilla or stuffed in a whole-wheat pita. If you don’t have green goddess dressing on hand, substitute your favorite dressing.

 

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