Friday, January 08, 2010

Independence Days #33

Winter is coming on with a vengeance. We've had off and on snow of late, and it continues to pile up with this recent system moving through. The snow is beautiful to watch as it drifts down steadily, and I'd love to go out and play in it, but walking anywhere in particular? No thanks, I'd rather stay home.

Of course, I haven't been able to stay home, but I've definitely scaled back some of my outings. For example, it's January 8th, and I have yet to go to the store this year for groceries. (The only food item I've bought for at home has been two bags of locally roasted coffee beans, mainly because One Happy Guy said he'd roasted some decaf and did I want it? Well, duh...)

This wintry weather has given me a good opportunity to start testing how well I've put up food for the off-season. The results are encouraging, especially since I've barely begun to cook -- I've relied on basics like pizza and soup, potatoes and grits and omelets, and homemade baked goods. This next week I'll try to do more cooking out of the pantry and see how varied the meals can be.

It's a good time, in short, to focus on some homegrown Independence:

1. Plant something: Started sunflower sprouts.

2. Harvest something: Harvested broccoli sprouts.

3. Preserve something: Nothing.

4. Reduce waste (Waste not): Cleaned out plenty of old produce from the fridge for a stir-fry dinner; started using up squash and sweet potatoes, cutting off bad parts.

5. Preparation and storage (Want not): Milled whole wheat and spelt for baking; took stock of other baking ingredient needs; stored lots of water before snowstorm moved in (and then disappointed us).

6. Build local food systems: Finished January Local Roots newsletter (whew!); wrote other items for Local Roots; shared baking with The Photographer.

7. Eat the food: The last of the leftover parsnip gratin; the last of the rutabaga soufflé; fresh cornbread; grilled cheese; pizza with lime-green broccoli; fridge cleanup stir-fry with fresh sprouts; cheese omelet.

I've got the oven heating up so I can bake pain aux noix tonight for myself and for The Photographer, and I'll start soaking some dried beans tonight for some slow-cooked dish this weekend. I've pulled breaded eggplant slices from the freezer as well as the last jar of vegetable stock, so I think I'm off to a promising start for making more good pantry food this weekend.

I wonder how long I can go without buying food (aside from milk)? Hmmmm...

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