I thought I might actually lose some weight this week. Ha! Instead I’ve become hooked on peanut butter toast, those chewy-salty peanut granola bars, and Oreos with 2% milk. When your very best choices are the snacky things, you tend to go a bit overboard. Or I do, anyway.
Damn you, Mr. Christie. You make good cookies.
I’ve been running on fumes this week. (Literally-I haven’t managed a shower in two days.) I haven’t been keeping up with the conversation here or at the Week in Their Kitchen blog as much as I’d like to. Today I didn’t have much time to spend trying to figure out what to do. I thought it was going to be a can of soup night. But I pulled out the thickly sliced zucchini and mushrooms in tomato sauce I made earlier in the week, thinking I’d put it on pasta. But it was so nice and chunky… I warmed it in a little baking dish, made some wells with a spoon into which I cracked a few eggs, and baked it. The eggs are tiny – rolling around in their styrofoam egg container with the expiry date hand-written on it in marker. I wonder if they are from someone’s backyard chickens?
You guys. I can’t believe how good this was. It was brilliant. I am so adding this to my regular repertoire, and not even changing it when I have access to more ingredients.
I’ve made eggs in Pipérade before – with peppers, tomatoes and garlic – but I don’t recall it being quite this good. Perhaps it was the time the vegetables had to spend in the fridge.
It was simply a zucchini, package of mushrooms (and OK – an onion – only because it was on the countertop on Monday and Mike unknowingly chopped and tossed it in, thinking it was with the rest of the stuff) and a shake of dehydrated garlic (one of my three spice choices) sauteed in a skillet with some canola oil. I poured a can of the plainest tomato sauce overtop and let it simmer, then it spent a few days in the fridge. Once the eggs were cracked in, they took about 15 minutes to bake in a 400ºF oven. Wowzah.
We ate it on toast, which was part of the appeal – I’m a fan of bread dragged through thick tomato sauce – and this was almost sloppy-Joe-esque, only better. And what a great, cheap, meatless meal – like eggs on toast for grown-ups. So long as you have tomato sauce, it could be made from any number of wilting veggies.
Speaking of. I know the Calgary Food Bank has become a sort of dumping ground for produce that is unsellable and often on the verge of composting itself. Plenty of companies (generously?) donate what’s garbage to them to the food bank, much of which is on the verge of unusable or already slimy – I’ve seen staff and volunteers out back, sorting through heaps of compost, opening packages to dump out the contents and filter out the plastic packaging. They really don’t need to be spending time and resources sorting through garbage so that whatever is compostable makes it into compost instead of into landfill.
So while we’re collectively eye-rolling over plantains and mushrooms and expired coleslaw (which is dated May 25th, but I ate again tonight, and it was just fine) I’m glad that some of this is being used – clearly plenty of it is perfectly edible, despite its poor aesthetics. We consumers like our produce to be plump and fresh with nary a blemish.
Which brings me to the topic of food waste. It’s something I’ve wanted to address for awhile – I have plenty to say on the subject, but for now I want to toss it out there for you to comment on. Every month, residents of Toronto toss out 17.5 million kilograms of food. (I’m sure statistics for Calgary are similar.) About a third of food purchased in the UK is thrown out every year – that translates to about $19.5 billion in Canadian dollars. Part of the problem is best-before and use-by dates on packaging, which isn’t regulated by any governing body and so determined by the manufacturers, most of whom undoubtedly would like to see a faster turnover of their product. Part of the problem is planning, and ease of accessibility, and sheer volume of food we all keep in our kitchens. (Do you know exactly what’s lurking in your fridge?) And buying more instead of using what we have.