Monday, October 15, 2012

Use It or Lose It!

Lots of stuff that needed using right away came home from the food bank today.  Happily, the Monday crew is as diligent at avoiding food waste as I am, so we all keep that in mind as we are processing stuff.  Anything that is good but that has a small cut or something (like a squash, a melon, peppers, etc) gets set aside and volunteers can take it home.  If there is stuff that is still good, but will not last for a few days longer in the food pantry or if it is really wilted or something, we either take it home or set it in the dining room.  And at the end of our shift we are welcome to take a loaf or two of bread from the shelf.  In the soup kitchen, once something has been placed in the individual serving bowls, ready to be handed out, it can't go back if there are leftovers.  So, for example, if the salad is still in the big stainless steel bowl and is undressed, it can go into the fridge for the next day (unless it's Friday).  If it's been dressed and placed in serving bowls, though, and doesn't get served, it either comes home with us or goes into the pig buckets.  Last Thursday I had several containers of dressed salad and only a couple of takers, so 4 of them came home with me.  I ate lots of salad for a couple of days, but it was good, so I didn't mind!  Oddly enough, I did not have any problem at all finding homes for the opened package of donuts or the pound cake!

Today I ended up with a a few bunches of basil, a bunch of mint, strawberries, blackberries, and several jalapenos, which are not popular in the food pantry.  And I got a nice loaf of artisan bread that came from a local bakery via the farmers' market.  The mint is drying--Heather really likes mint tea and I send some to work with Bill for one of his co-workers.  I made a big batch of pesto with the basil--half went into the freezer and half in the fridge.  Tonight for supper we will have eggs and strawberries and I made some broccoli and potatoes with pesto, too, which is good hot or cold.  I scrubbed and cubed a bunch of potatoes and boiled them.  Then I cooked some broccoli, a few of the jalapenos (with the seeds and ribs removed so they won't be hot), and a sweet onion in a little olive oil.  Then I tossed this mixture with the potatoes and some pesto.  There is pesto left in the fridge and I am thinking it would be great on some of that beautiful bread topped with a thin slice of extra sharp cheddar.  Sounds like lunch tomorrow!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Little of This and a Bit of That

The weekend is upon us.  For us that usually means we eat our "supper" for lunch, since Bill will be at work and has food there--peanut butter, almond butter, jelly, cereal, almond milk, yogurt, fruit, and bread in the freezer--he has some options!  I have discovered that I really like having something extremely simple and fast for myself on these weekend evenings.  I had decided to make some Mexican-style chicken this afternoon, so I cut up some boneless skinless chicken breasts and put them into my cast iron frying pan along with a chopped sweet onion, orange bell pepper, corn kernels scraped from 4 ears of corn (we had a big donation at MCHPP last week and they were giving some away), the last red tomato from the farm (it was green when we brought it home and I let it turn red in a paper bag) and a zucchini.  I put the burner on high and let it cook, stirring everything around frequently, as the pan was very full.  When stuff was cooked, I added garlic and chili powders, stirred this in and added some water.  I just let everything bubble away until some of the water was evaporated--an easy way to make a nice sauce. 

While that was bubbling, I started another pot with an onion, a bell pepper, a couple of hot peppers, some carrots, the last green tomato from the farm that refused to turn red, and some broccoli stalks (I set the florets aside to add later).  I stirred all this around in a bit of olive oil and when it was at the crisp-tender stage, I added some tofu, the florets, and some curry powder.  At MCHPP, we get leftovers from the Bowdoin College dining room and often there is tofu--it's crumbled and cooked with veggies and stuff, but it's always pretty bland--they don't seem to spice it up much.  Anyway, these Bowdoin leftovers are sometimes offered in the food pantry and sometimes in the soup kitchen available for people to take home--and there usually seems to be stuff there on Thursdays when I cook.  If diners don't take it, it goes into the pig bucket, so home it came!  I have one container in the freezer already, so I decided to doctor up the new stuff and have it for supper tonight and tomorrow and probably lunch for the next couple of days after that. 

So that's done.  Tomorrow's lunch is taken care of and so are my weekend suppers. Yay!