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Cooking away the CSA, week 12: Replenishing after vacation

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Massive, yummy tempeh sandwich from the Morning Glory Cafe in Eugene, Ore.

Massive, yummy tempeh sandwich from the Morning Glory Cafe in Eugene, Ore. by Sarah Henning

The week before last we achieved the foodie equivalent of Inbox Zero: Nada in the fridge.

I’m generally super horrible about this — buying and buying and buying until we have duplicates and triplicates and suddenly have to make massive batches of something just because I couldn’t say no to the kale at the store (true). Thus, my family works hard to keep up but are often tripped up by my nearly daily jaunts to the store and/or farmers market.

If I actually got through all my food in a reasonable fashion, I might seem a bit European, hitting up the market daily for fresh items to use that day. But as I’m an over-scheduled (by choice) American, I am, in reality, a food hoarder.

It’s a sickness, I tell you.

So what was different about the last week?

We went on vacation. (See above a pic of a beautiful lunch I had in Eugene, Ore.)

Therefore, we ate our way through the fridge with aplomb, trying to leave nothing exceptionally perishable behind. What we couldn’t eat (a few avocados, carrots, Brussels sprouts and items from the garden), we gave away to the good friend watching our dog.

Thus, we came back to a very empty fridge.

And, as you might imagine from my earlier description of my food-buying addiction, I love an empty fridge. Ooh, the things we can fill it with!

It’s tabula rasa as far as dinner is concerned.

How do I restock the fridge? It’s all about a list and what looks best. I should be more of a menu planner like my fellow columnist, Megan, but I we actually only get a chance to cook two or three meals per week, and thus I have a hard time staying on a schedule and menu (this is hard for me to admit). So, rather, I ran through the staples we didn’t have and mixed that list together with what looked amazing at the store.

A sample of what we ended up with:

From the Lawrence Farmers’ Market:

Cucumbers

Kale

Chard

Peppers (Italian)

Garlic

Onions

Goat cheese

From the store:

Almonds

Baby spinach

Mixed greens

Sweet peppers

Strawberries

Raspberries

Cantaloupe

Watermelon

Mangos (fresh and dried)

Celery

Carrots

Coffee

Avocados

Bread

Tortillas

Sweet potatoes

Eggs

Milk

Almond Milk

Yogurt

Kombucha

And, of course, I’m going to include the wonderful items we got from this week’s CSA:

Our CSA pickings this week, minus the cherry tomatoes: beets, basil, onions, potatoes, mushrooms and Swiss chard.

Our CSA pickings this week, minus the cherry tomatoes: beets, basil, onions, potatoes, mushrooms and Swiss chard. by Sarah Henning

Cherry tomatoes

Onions

Potatoes

Swiss chard

Mushrooms

Beets

Basil

Now, all these items mix with what we already have in our pantry and freezer. Don’t think this is all we eat as a family of three! Plus, I probably forgot something. I did go to the store three times before I wrote this.

Now, I must know: When you’re restocking the fridge, what is the one thing you can’t live without?

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