Monday, April 16

Black Box Cooking

I usually cook via the "black box" cooking method. This is what I mean: I look in the fridge and make something up using the ingredients I have.

Sometimes when I'm at the grocery store I buy specific ingredients to make a particular dish (like when I had a hankering for potstickers, I had to buy the wrappers). Usually though, I just buy what's in season, which also happens the cheapest items! Then, using my well-stocked pantry and freezer I make something up.

We are travelling later this week, so it was time to take this black box thing to the extreme. We had lots left in our fridge and, being of a frugal nature, I can't let anything go to waste. On Sunday, I took out all the fresh veg and leftovers, put them on the counter and proceeded to plan. Here's what I had:

Carrots, parsnips, mushrooms, green onion, eggplant, rice, rosemary, horseradish, zucchini, cucumber, leeks, celery, cilantro and napa cabbage. Also, I had loads of onions and potatos, some eggs, cheese, left-over wonton wrappers, tofu and tomatos.

Here's what I've made so far: lentil, potato and ham stew, more vegetarian potstickers, two leek pies, and wonton crisps when I ran out of filling for the potstickers. Most of this can be frozen.

I'm still going to make an eggplant and potato curry, and then I have to think of something else for all the remaining leftovers. I'm pretty upset that our oven is broken since I wanted to make carrot cake and carrot/parsnip muffins for freezing - this would have used up a lot of food. I'll have to think of something else now. Any ideas?

Tonight we ate some of the lentil stew with garlic bread.


  1. Do you guys have BBQ. You could make your muffins and try baking them in there. I've done pizza, french fries (awesome basted with bbq sauce), and buns before. Unless you have a temperature gauge, you will need to experiment a bit and watch the first batch closely.

  2. Oops, the second one uses an oven. Grr. Sorry

  3. Just thought one more post would make it an even 4!

  4. No BBQ here :(

    Thanks for the links - I'm going to try the carrot/parsnip soup tomorrow night. I'll let you know how it turns out.

  5. That Carrot/Parsnip Soup sounds yummy!

    I was going to suggest making the dough for the carrot cake/muffins and freezing that - I've frozen pizza dough before (I know, not quite the same thing), but it keeps for quite a while and by then hopefully you'd have your oven fixed.

    But the soup idea sounds lots better.

  6. You're crazy. I wish I could do that... but I really need an algorithm when I'm in the kitchen. If I try to experiment... it ends up poorly at least 50% of the time.

    Okay, 100%.

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