All practical and stuff ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

02 March 2008

All practical and stuff

Being practical is an excellent idea, but takes some advance preparation.

One practical thing I've been doing: freezing cooked beans. I have some serious issues with buying canned beans, and almost never do it. I get dried beans instead. This makes sense up until the point where I decide I want black bean burritos/pasta fagioli/white bean and roasted squash salad/hummus RIGHT NOW. Then I suddenly have to wait a full day to make and eat them, which is totally infuriating and mildly depressing all at once. Great!

Solution: soak and boil beans whenever you feel like it. When they're cooked, drain off their broth, throw them in a jar or bag, and stick them in the freezer. You can put the broth in the freezer too; use it for stock. Now you have both beans And stock just waiting for your impulse to strike. This isn't a new idea--I remember reading about it on at least not martha and angry chicken--but it's clearly a good one.

Another practical thing: work snacks. I don't know about you, but I am starving all day every day. At work there are M&Ms and jellybeans, so I eat the M&Ms and jellybeans and more M&Ms and more jellybeans and maybe have a little terrible coffee if there's a pot around and I feel like it. Then I go to the drugstore and look at all the junk hungrily and maybe buy some nuts or goldfish crackers. Then I feel sick and cranky.

Solution: bring something else to work. I have been doing yogurt, which is fine as long as I don't accidentally get any with repulsive fruit on the bottom. I had soy yogurt for the first time today. It tasted like blueberry chalk. I like lots of soy products, but this is not one of them. Anyway. So yogurt is a good idea, but it's kind of expensive and there are only about three flavors Without fruit on the bottom.

Next plan: oatcakes. I went through my big binder of internet recipes and found this tiny, simple deal. It required practically nothing, which was fortunate since we don't have eggs or milk right now, and the results were excellent.

I have no idea where this recipe came from, so if you do, feel free to yell.

Oatcakes

1/2 cup butter
1 cup oats
1 cup whole wheat flour (or other flours, whatever)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
sprinkles of cold water

Mix the dry ingredients in a big bowl. Cut in the butter (cold butter; you can grate it in if it's frozen and you feel enterprising) until the mixture gets nice and pebbly. I ended up using my hands, just like for apple/etc crumble. Then add a spoonful or two of cold water and start stirring. The business should coagulate into thick dough that you can stick together into a ball. If this doesn't happen, add a little more water and try again.

The original recipe had you roll this stuff out and use biscuit cutters; I tore off bits and flattened them into cakes. It's much faster and requires less counter scrubbing. I got fifteen cakes about two inches in diameter from this amount of raw material.

Put the cakes on a cookie sheet and bake at 375F for 12 to 15 minutes. This time will depend on the thickness of your cakes. When they start to look golden and crispy, whip them out of the oven and let them cool as much as you can stand before stuffing the first one in your mouth.

The finished cakes are heavy and dense and pretty great. They dry out after a day or two, but that is ok; you can solve that with jams and etc. I ate nearly all of mine plain, but had one with lime curd. I would not recommend lime curd. Honey is what you want. Or honey butter: mix honey with butter until it becomes honey butter. Spread on things and eat them. Less citrusy jams like raspberry or apricot would work too.

For work consumption: put in bag and bring to work; eat whenever necessary. Have tea. Tea and cakes.

Third plan: VEGETABLES. Vegetables and hummus. Raw vegetables. Salad. Vegetables.

2 comments:

bethany said...

You clearly should make yogurt. Because that would be exciting. Somewhere around here I have the best recipe ever.

Also radishes.

eileen said...

that is an excellent plan which I must get around to doing. remember that gigantic kind of terrifying recipe for cottage cheese?

I agree with radishes.

this morning I had bread with hummus and mushrooms for breakfast.