Sunday, January 22, 2012

Using Up, Hiding Out...and Baking

Thanks to holding back some on the grocery shopping lately (see -- I do follow my own advice), I've been clearing out some shelves. The refrigerator is actually starting to look like one again, instead of The Place Half-Full Jars Go To Die.
     What does this mean to the Brick? He gets more stews and soups...because they're perfect places to hide things. Tonight's beef stew used up a small piece of flank steak, 8 baby carrots, half a can of leftover mushroom soup, the leftovers from a can of tomatoes with green chilis, and four potatoes that were starting to sprout. (Chop, mix all but the potatoes in a crockpot on low, along with a few cups of water. Cook for 5-7 hours, add chopped potatoes for at least one more hour. Salt and pepper, with maybe a spoonful of sour cream stirred in at the end. Delicious.)
     Tomorrow's scalloped potatoes will include thin slices of the remaining pattypan squash from the plants that tried to incorporate. (They didn't succeed only because they were feuding with the mint.) The squash in the frig turned purple and rotted; the ones on the counter, however, have held up surprisingly well.
     Baking helps you hide even more good stuff whose time has come. Banana nut cake was on the weekend's docket. (Tip: use red bananas, if you can find them. They're not as sweet, don't get as mushy, and seem to have a more penetrating flavor.) Tomorrow's supper will feature apple crisp, from the last apples in the crisper. I guess that means I scrub it out. (The crisper, not the apples.)


5 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 cup brown or white sugar
3-5 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 cup flour
1 cup oatmeal
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Strew the apples in a piepan or 9" square cake pan. (Don't worry about greasing it.) Mix everything else together, and spread on top. (If you've got any extra bits of fruit or nuts hanging around, throw them in, too.) Bake at 350 degrees for 30 min., until brown and bubbling.  Makes 4 servings; serve with ice cream and a certain amount of smugness.

If your fruit or veggies are short, and you still want a treat, try this pretzel version of pecan pie. It's a special bonus for the many people who struggle with nut allergies, nowadays. (Thank you, Southern Plate!)

And on these chilly days, that lovely warmth and delicious smell coming from the oven will be an added bonus. 

Colorado's mountains are getting plenty of this right now. Down on the flatlands, though, we're dry with a scraping of snow.

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