Post-holiday indulgence

Admit it. A month after the big holiday binge and subsequent self-denying resolutions, it’s easy to feel deflated. Even if you neither binged nor made harsh resolutions, we’re still in the middle of a dreary season here in the northern hemisphere. So why not permit yourself a little un-seasonal indulgence? But please think it through, plan what you’re going to buy and make a menu. Just don’t spoil the treat by buying more than you can use, or forget to use what you buy. Someone in our circle recently did exactly that–made extravagant out-of-season purchases and then didn’t use them up before the ‘best by’ dates. Since they are a bit manic about those dates and I’m not, we were given this bounty:picture of unseasonal produce Included in the food parcel were unopened packages of imported asparagus, separated berry salad (an unneeded BOGOF), celery and baby spinach, as well as most of a bunch of fresh coriander (cilantro), half a punnet of small brown mushrooms, strawberries, chilli peppers and a shallot. The first thing I did was sort what really needed to be used right away from what didn’t, and jot down a possible menu based on this produce. Unsurprisingly, the most out-of-season items were in the most desperate state.

The berries needed to be picked over and washed, so I did that. After deciding to freeze the half-cup of blueberries for later use in pancakes, I prepared the strawberries and raspberries for dessert that evening.

Next, I decided to save the spinach for a soup later in the week, but to have the asparagus right away, since asparagus is always tastiest when eaten as soon as possible after harvest.

Then, I picked tired stems out of the bunch of cilantro and put the rest in a glass of water for easy reach. (It’s been two weeks, and I still have some left.) There was absolutely nothing wrong with the celery, mushrooms, shallot or chillies, so they all went into short-term storage for use as and when. Ultimately, the celery was used raw for lunch veggies through the week, the mushrooms went into a pasta dish and the shallot made a mild addition to a special bread that I made on the weekend. I have used some of the chillies, and still have half of them left.

So here’s the menu, spread out over a good week plus, based on our friend’s indulgent goody-bag:

Day one: Spaghetti with sesame asparagus; Berry salad with yogurt.

Day two: Fresh spinach soup served with crusty  bacon/onion rye bread.

Day three: Baked (jacket) potatoes with grated cheese and fresh salsa. (I had a few laggard cherry tomatoes left from our greenhouse crop which were perfect for this, together with a celery stick, the chillies and cilantro.)

Day four: Penne pasta bake with mushrooms.

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I'm an American living in the UK, combining rural Mid-west ideas about food with a suburban coastal British reality. It's fun!

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6 comments on “Post-holiday indulgence
  1. sfdickens says:

    This blog gives me hope, Julia! I’m glad there are other sane people in the world who care enough about food – and food waste – to come up with creative alternatives to our 21st century throwaway habits. Your menu sounds yummy! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Gale Wright says:

    This gets me thinking! I have some cherries and peaches that I froze this past summer and though they are in no danger of going bad, it’s nice to think of fruity, desserty, summery flavors just about now. Very cold here this winter!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. How about a cherry cobbler, then? Fruity and summery, yet warming.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. […] leaves, whether they are more mature leaves or simply from a sturdy variety of spinach, such as the baby leaves we were given and used here. But since spinach has a notoriously strong flavour, it’s a good idea to […]

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What’s Creative Economy in the Kitchen about?
Sharing a lifetime of experience of kitchen challenges. Respecting food and making the most of what's available. Read more on my About page.
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March 2015
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