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Recover the American kitchen.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Chef Nick on a soapbox.

Beloved friends. It's been nearly 3 years now and the American economy is still in tragic shape.
 We can get through this. Yes we can. Somewhere nearby is a patch of dirt. Turn it over and start planting. We are a nation of pioneers. 

  I know they told you that stopping at the local fast-food drive-thru saves you time. It isn't true.
  Yes. Ronald, the King and Jack lied to you. Here's the truth. 
 You spent about 5 minutes waiting in your car deciding what to order and then shoved it  down your babies food-holes. The bag you gave them has almost no real nutrition in it. Let's compare. 
 You could have cooked at home. By cooking I mean really cooking, not opening a can, tear open a micro-waved trough of garbage. Cooking. Your Grandma would know what that is. Cooking at home saves you money, time and your health. 
Money = time. Health problems = money. Therefore, health problems=money+time. 
 Once not long ago our Mom's and Grandma's knew this. They had lived through the Great Depression. 

Waste then meant you starved. Not "wahhh Mommy I'm starving I want McDonalds whaaaahh." 

Starved, dead.  

Don't be afraid. We still have all the power. You have a patch of dirt nearby, plant it. You have neighbors, let them borrow from your garden, ask to borrow from theirs. 

 Friends. My list of what to always keep in your kitchen. Have you been paying attention? 

First off, plant an herb garden. why pay money for what anyone can grow? Rosemary, basil, thyme, parsley, oregano, all grow well anywhere. 

basil parley oregano tarragon 

 Pay a premium at any grocery store for what you can grow yourself for pennies? No, never.  

Rice and beans. Get your grub on with any combination of these. Two complex carbs equals a complete protein. Jambalaya. Paella. Texas Chili. Stupid easy. Lentils, black, pinto are my favorites. 

ALWAYS keep a bag of IQF fruit in your freezer. you'd be surprised how often I pull out a hand-full to make a desert sauce or add to a BBQ sauce. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries. Puree and add sugar, strain. Done. 

A well stocked spice collection. You can cure a world full of ills with enough nutmeg. Spices are ground seeds and barks and what-not from rare and tropical plants. Dried herbs are a waste of money, except Oregano. Essentials are cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, curry powder, turmeric, cardamom. 

AP flour. Yeast. Salt. Sugar. Learn to bake your own bread. They can't take this away from us. It's called the STAFF OF LIFE for a reason. The ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks knew this. How did we forget? If you need an easy formula for bread, message me. 

 Baking Soda. Baking Powder. Corn Starch. 

Kosher salt. Fresh ground black pepper. Kosher works best, not as obnoxiously salty as the stuff in the blue round container and easier to grab by the finger pinch. Fresh ground pepper is easy. Buy whole cloves and crush under a heavy pot. I keep both in a small dish by the stove, ready to go anytime. 

Keep a bottle of red and or white wine around. 

Chicken and beef stock. OK look, yes making this yourself will make me proud but if you really don't have time for gosh-sakes don't get that crap in a can. If you want to learn how to make your own, call me. 

Olive oil. Pick one. 

Plant more, save more. 
garlic harvest
In your fridge. Onions, Carrots, Celery, Garlic. These are the basis for everything. 

Pasta. Yes my family is Italian so perhaps I'm prejudiced but I can always find a reason to add a handful to just about anything. I always keep some ribbon (like linguini) and some small (like ruote) on hand. 

Dried are just fine

Save all your kitchen scraps and start a compost heap. Add it to your garden to replenish the soil. 
we call this our "thanks for coming" pile
Save all chicken and beef bones. Use to make stock.

DO NOT throw away sour milk. Make BISCUITS or SODA BREAD or PANCAKES. 

Just for fun I always keep a package of puff-pastry in the freezer. Makes a quick crust for pot-pies or a quick Palmiers for desert. 

Above all. You can feed yourselves despite what they tell you. 
We are cooking poor, eating rich. 
Get your grub on, CIAO

my tomatoes plus flowers