Make the full transition ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

03 July 2010

Make the full transition

So I've been having a hard time getting back into the rhythm of cooking since we moved. That's probably pretty clear. Much of the problem stems from our location, or maybe I should say our location plus sun. There are a few small groceries in easy distance, but they're inconsistent. The real stores are a short bike ride away, but I have yet to establish a particular behavior pattern so as to make that ride a normal occurrence. This means our supplies are always low. Clearly, establishing better shopping habits is the best strategy; once we have good, consistent supplies, things will be way easier.

In the meantime, I've been going to the farmer's market (which I will clearly continue to do) and getting...just fruit and vegetables. No eggs, no meat, no milk, no cheese. We have and make lots of beans and grains, so that's good. I get bread, but since it comes from an actual bakery, said bread is not long for the world. So I've mostly been trying to live on...vegetables. It's like the terrible strategy everyone's great-aunt Edna adopts when their vegetarian or vegan grandnieces and nephews come to visit. "I know you really like vegetables." That. Of course I like vegetables, but they aren't an actual full dinner. I know better than this; what am I doing?

Right! So this has to stop.

1. Establish regular biking to store/food shopping routine.
2. Brainstorm delicious food not made solely from vegetables.
3. Brainstorm delicious food based around something other than beans. I love bean-based soups and pastas, but it's JULY. I love black bean quesadillas, but there have been a damn sight too many around lately, and on crap tortillas besides.
3a. Establish decent tortilla source.
4. Establish good backlog of staples of all kinds, not just beans and grains. Flour would be good, for instance.
5. Establish good backlog of food that's easy to just throw in a pan for five minutes and then eat instantly.

Key items to make, freeze, and keep for easy consumption:

- Burritos. I've had a terrible and fairly gross craving for those huge orange bags of frozen burritos, but it would clearly be better to make a huge and awesome batch of refried beans, a batch of rice/barley/quinoa, and some sort of exciting salsa featuring many farmer's market tomatoes, peppers, and onions. Then I would play "how many tortillas can I stuff and freeze without eating them?" until I ran out of supplies.

- Pizza. Though this would clearly be best with homemade sourdough-starter crust, I 1. do not currently have a starter (though now is the best time to start one since it's hot!) and 2. am not entirely sure how an unbaked/partially baked sourdough crust would hold up in the freezer anyway. Hmm. So, with that in mind, I want to make a batch of dough of some kind, roll it into smallish and individual pizzas, and cover each of them with everything in the world. I would totally do the potato-rosemary-garlic pizza, the massive amounts of black olives-artichoke hearts-red pepper pizza, the easy and awesome margherita pizza, the straight up onion-green pepper pizza. I would even make some plain ones with just sauce and cheese. We love pizza and yet have just moved from NYC to California. This is a required project.

- Black bean and/or lentil burgers. These can go any which way depending on what we have in the house, but they're essentially cooked beans or legumes mixed with a cooked grain of some type and some chopped onion/garlic/hot pepper. I totally wing the proportions, which is not exactly the best way to go for consistency of texture/etc, but whatever. Prebaked and frozen, they are exactly what you want to eat with mustard and barbecue sauce and a hunk of lettuce on a big chunk of decent bread. On a similar note, I should also make lentil kibbeh: more or less the same deal, only differently shaped and with more added spices for random snacking with yogurt or baba.

- Soup. It's too hot for this now, but the big pot of chili in the freezer has consistently been the best idea ever, and will continue as such in the future.


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