S and I have recently come into a new financial situation. One that requires us to be a bit more... creative with our resources.
After talking about it, we realized that the area where we spend a significant amount of our disposable income is in going out to eat. As much as I love to cook, it's only really because I love to eat. And as I've previously stated, I can be pretty lazy. This makes going out to eat one of my favorite things to do. Alas, it's not exactly practical at the moment.
So, we decided that we need to cook at home more and go out to eat less. I got up this morning on a mission - I was going to find recipes for the entire week and head out to the grocery store to stock up. It was going to be awesome - a perfectly planned menu for every day, full of saving money and patting myself on the back. As I started to write things down, I realized I had no idea what we already had. To remedy this, we decided to take inventory of the refrigerator before I made my list.
Ummm... holy shit. This put the back-patting on hold, indefinitely.
I am an awful, wasteful, privileged American who has no concept of food.
This is as far as my list got:
Impressive, eh? Once we decided to figure out what we had, we started pulling things out of the fridge...
And it snowballed into pulling out more things...
Until eventually the kitchen was covered in crap. Not literal crap, but crap like 3 half-used jars of marinara sauce.
Or the 4 different jars of applesauce, each used approximately once.
Or the butter. 3 kinds. 3 kinds of butter, a product which we almost never use.
It was at this point that I declared us totally and utterly f-ing ridiculous.
I read an interesting blog the other day called Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, Do without. This woman has decided not to buy anything new for a whole year until she uses up what she has. It's a little extreme as a whole way of life - but after looking at the contents of our refrigerator, I have decided to give myself my own dose of "make it do."
After realizing what we had in the refrigerator ALONE, I decided I am not allowed to go to the grocery store until we use some shit up. And as a result of this self-imposed ban, I made what had to be one of the best soups I've ever made. All from deciding to be less of an asshole about food. It's amazing what a little self-reflection can produce.
A clean refrigerator:
and some bad-ass soup:
Squash and Parsnip Soup with Roasted Red Pepper
- olive oil
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 1/2 a kabocha or buttercup squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
- 1 parsnip, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
- 2 c of good vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp white wine
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (regular will also work)
- a pinch of crushed red pepper
- salt, to taste
- 1 red pepper, roasted (see below) or the prepared equivalent
- 1/2 c fat-free half and half
- a blender (countertop or immersion)
Start by roasting your red pepper. I did exactly the same thing I did when I roasted a jalapeno - turn your gas stove on medium heat and place the pepper directly over the open flame. Rotate it occasionally until you've blackened as much of the skin as you can. Once it's blackened, place it on a plate and turn a bowl overtop of it for at least 10 minutes to steam it and loosen the skin. Then peel the blackened skin off and discard it.
And clean and cut the pepper into chunks.
Heat large saucepan over medium-low heat. Once hot, add a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the shallot and cook until translucent.
Add the vegetable broth, white wine, squash, and parsnip. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook until vegetables are almost tender, about 15 minutes.
Add the roasted red pepper, paprika, crushed red pepper flakes, and salt. Simmer an addtional 5 minutes.
Add the half and half and transfer the whole she-bang to a countertop blender or use an immersion blender. I don't like my soup to be completely without some textural variation, so I blended it until almost smooth, but not quite. I would say "serve hot," but I really hope you figured that part out on your own.
Makes 2 servings.
Fridge-free version here.