garbage dinner

About once every couple of weeks, usually when it’s just me and hill and it has been a long day and perhaps it’s raining out, I make garbage dinner.  Open up the fridge and see what’s in there.  Then, rather than waiting a few more days and throwing the stuff out, just find some way to cook it up.  Iron Chef, where the ingredient of the day is whatever you happen to find.  All the usual salt and pepper rules apply.

Last night it was wild boar sausage (from the freezer..  from the farmer’s market.. a bit of a ringer), oven fries (with leftover horseradish aioli from a few nights ago), crimini mushrooms browned with a little parsley and white wine, and cabbage braised in beer.  A strange mix of hearty remaindered items, but perfectly lovely.

When we’re up in Nova Scotia, going to the super market takes about half the day.  It involves boats, and cars, and Canadian currency.  We try to do it as little as possible.  Once a week maybe.  Since it is my habit here in NYC, the land of good food shopping, to shop every day for precisely the thing we want for dinner, I am not very good at planning lots of meals in advance.  Maybe three.  That’s about my limit.  After that, I’m just buying ingredients that I think might be useful.  When day four rolls around, it’s all Iron Chef all the time!  It’s when we have some of our best meals.  Being challenged to work with what you have sometimes brings out the best in you, I think. It takes you out of auto pilot and makes you pay attention.  (this is not a new idea).

It has the wonderful fringe benefit of making you feel virtuous for cleaning out the fridge.

Salt and pepper, don’t fuck it up..  pay attention..  clean out the fridge.

Over and out.

A couple of questions about the cabbage!

Cut the cabbage in quarters.. (leave the rooty section intact enough to hold it all together).

Brown the flat faces in a butter/oil mix over medium heat.

Pour in some beer.

Cover and turn down the heat until they seem done!

A nice thing to do with corned beef and potatoes for St. Patrick’s, instead of just throwing all three in water and boiling them into submission!

10 Responses to “garbage dinner”

  1. Alvaro

    Iron Chef rules. Nice one Ez!

  2. megan

    hell yes on garbage dinner. sometimes we gather up all the leftover containers, some onion and garlic, throw it in the pan and enjoy.
    and it’s nice to see you here.

  3. kris

    “Being challenged to work with what you have sometimes brings out the best in you, I think. It takes you out of auto pilot and makes you pay attention.”…what an incredible statement on so many levels.

    Nice to hear from you Ezra…it’s been a long time!

  4. Holly Thomas

    You totally pre-empted a wondering I had a few nights ago. I threw together a garbage dinner and made a smoked mackerel and goats cheese omelette with lashings of tabasco. It was a weird combo but it totally worked on the plate. The eggs were heading past their date, as was the cheese and fish. SOOOO GOOOOODDDDDD!!!! I am a big believer in the fish and cheese thing…although I know waiters that have darts for eyes if you ask for parmesan for your seafood marinara linguine. Whatevs! I hate waste and make a point of never throwing anything away.

  5. paula

    This looks so tasty. Did you sear the cabbage before braising them? It’s so nicely browned. Cooking them in beer must neutralize some of that cabbage “funk”, I’ll have to try that! Thanks for this post. Making-do is my favorite way to live life, in general. Your outlook on life is really cool.

  6. km

    That’s the essence of a creative life isn’t it? Making something beautiful with the materials you have. So true in Life as well. Making something wonderful out of what is. Thanks for sharing, Ez.

  7. lauren

    You’re back, and now I’m satisfied… That looks like a wonderful piece of garbage – I spoke to your lovely wife a few days ago, and I’m hoping to come see you two this spring. Have a wonderful holiday Ez.. Love to you over there from over here.

  8. Jenny

    Ezra! I must say, I really missed you!

    We have garbage dinner quite a lot – we being those with the greatest of intentions but the most crap organisational skills (so food often starts to turn before it’s had its chance to shine!) It’s rarely as imaginitive though.

    I hope Putney and Hill are both well?

  9. Dea

    Could you tell me how you braised the cabbage? looks delish! thanks!

  10. Valancy Jane

    Hey, if I give you a list of what’s in my fridge, will you tell me what to do with it?

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