Quarantine Meals #4

March 16th. Our first Monday out of routine.

I’d purchased a beef brisket the previous week, with the intention of making my own corned beef. Normally, I take the easy route and buy corned beef at Shop Rite, but I did not want to brave the madness as everyone shopped for lockdown. I’d always wanted to do my own corning, but – you’ll notice this as a theme, I think – I never had the time.

Well, once again, even on lockdown, I didn’t allow myself enough time. Whoops. Turns out I really needed 5 days to do it right, and I only took the beef out of the freezer 2 days ahead. So, rather than stress, I looked up good ways to make a regular beef brisket. I went with a slow cooker recipe that can be found here.

IT WAS DELICIOUS. 100% would make it again. We’re not generally a beef-eating household, and everyone DEVOURED this. So good. It was also pretty easy. I used to balk at slow cooker recipes that were anything more than “dump a bunch of stuff into the crock and hit go,” but the cooking onions and sauce make the house smell divine  as you set this up. If you don’t have beef broth in the house, by the way, this works fine with vegetable broth. (I make my own, so I usually have chicken or vegetable available, but not beef.)

Comfort food has been the name of the game for the most part, as you’ll see in our next installment.

Easter Leftovers II – Fried Rice

This one is a recipe we just used fresh in our house – the only leftovers went with my husband to work the next day!

I used the basic fried rice recipe found here.

I actually didn’t change anything, except that I had a bag of “mixed vegetables” in my freezer, rather than just peas and carrots.  I also added scallion microgreens, in addition to the fully-grown scallions that the recipe calls for. It was delicious.

The Season is Over (No, Really Now.)

Yesterday was the “Stock up share” pickup for CSA. This is the true end to the season – one last push  through a mountain of veggies. I made the slightly ambitious decision to plow forward and get a second share this year – several people had expressed interest to me but were worried that it was going to be too much produce for them. So, I divided up the second share and will be playing vegetable Santa over the next 24 hours or so. That still leaves me with 1 full share and odds and ends from the second. I also got 2 boxes of mixed apples from the orchard that supplies our fruit share.

This is what my kitchen looked like at about 5 pm yesterday:

I tweeted the photo with the caption, “I have a self-control problem.”

Today was the preschool bake sale (I made gingerbread cookies with Owen), and I’m hosting Thanksgiving on Thursday… and Friendsgiving on Sunday… so my days have been full of prep tasks. With all of this in mind, dinner needed to be fast, simple, and filling last night. I wasn’t in the mood to do a lot of scrubbing last night, so instead of using fresh carrots, I used some I’d blanched and frozen a few weeks ago. That, along with broccoli, corn, napa cabbage (from the share last night), and tempeh marinated in garlic ginger maple syrup all went into the wok together for a stir-fry.

Rainbow Carrots are so pretty, aren’t they?

Even better, I had leftover rice from making Leek Rice Cakes the other night. (More on THAT later. Yum.)

Better STILL, my husband and I (Owen was not as adventurous) decided to top our stir-fry with the pickled daikon radishes I made the other night. (Again, more on that later!)

Fast, filling, interesting, accidentally vegan… and drastically different from the way we’ll be eating at the end of the week. Success.

Vegetable Soup Base

You know how people talk about “life hacks?”

Yeah, it kind of makes my skin crawl, too. But if there were a CSA-equivalent of a life-hack this time of year, it’d be the vegetable soup base.

This week, we had carrots, celery, peppers, and onions. I had garlic in the house, and I had weeks worth of potatoes backed up… time to make some soup base.

I made some vegetable stock with some scraps that were sitting in the fridge while I prepped other parts of the share, and then I began sauteing the vegetables for the soup…

Pretty simple – I combined this melange with the vegetable stock, salt, and pepper, and let it simmer for a while before packaging it up and sticking it in the freezer. Over the winter, it will pair well with any combination of: egg noodles, orzo, meatballs, sausage, turkey, or chicken. Every year, prepping this base has been useful… and on a week where I’ve already got meals covered, it’s a relief to have a purpose for this much of the share.

Happy prepping!