I’ve been trying to manage my food waste better after my CSA was featured on the show on Food Network that investigated food waste in America. My CSA showed viewers their compost pile, where many minorly damaged veggies end up after members choose not to take them in favor of the most pristine of the group. While I don’t see why, if I’m paying for something, I shouldn’t choose the best quality item available to me, the overall show did make me think about my food waste. I’m not yet at the point where I’m saving scraps and turning them into something extravagant, but I am trying to stretch my food further by cooking it before it goes bad and using the same cooked veggies in a variety of dishes. This also benefits me by being time-efficient, as most of the prep and cooking is already done for subsequent meals.
This also means, for me, relying less on a recipe, as there are few, if any, that give you instructions on how to use the same components throughout your week. (The book I’m currently reading, An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler, comes close to doing this, but seems to rely heavily on you, the cook, to be familiar with basic techniques and have no fear of such things as gutting your own fish.)
And so I begin, though starting small, to rely on my intuition and trying to coax many meals out of a few humble ingredients. Here, I grilled zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms, and fresh red onions to eat alongside barbecue chicken. The next night, leftover veggies were chopped and heated in a garlicky olive oil, tossed with pasta and improved ever so slightly with a dusting of pecorino romano. Both simple meals, but good, nourishing meals, enjoyed with the right company, and somehow immensely satisfying.