Keep Calm and…Eat.

IMG_3945IMG_3946Deep into the third week of our kitchen renovation, we are only about halfway through. There have been challenges and setbacks and delays. There will be more challenges and setbacks and delays. This realization has me scrambling for new food ideas.

The second week’s meals did include a call to the pizza place for a couple of pizzas and a box of wings, but we also ate some serious comfort food from the freezer.

IMG_3900This colorful meal is lamb sausage, chickpea kale puree, and stewed summer vegetables. It provided a much-needed emotional boost, with bright, hearty flavors to match its vibrant colors. I should have frozen more of all of this; it just felt good to eat it.

IMG_3940Another excellent pull from the freezer was this shredded turkey breast in gravy, served over buttermilk biscuits. Turkey. Gravy. Buttermilk Biscuits. Yum x3. Yes, canned green beans are somewhat ubiquitous around here in the vegetable off-season. They’re tasty and easy, and can be warmed in the microwave.

This brings me to a quick PSA; we are not using plastic to reheat our meals in the microwave. Plastics have been shown to transfer chemicals to food microwaved in them, so we are using glass dishes to reheat everything from the freezer. Some frozen foods are packaged in plastic and not intended to be removed from it before microwaving, but we rarely eat those, so I am not going to worry about them. Once I have a working kitchen, we won’t eat them at all. The longer this stretches on, the more I will be relying on foods from the grocery store freezer. Take out is too expensive to eat more than once every week or two, but there are good foods to be had for reasonable cost in the freezer case.

One concern I had to address this week was the lifespan of my “root cellar” vegetables. I have plenty of winter squashes and pumpkins in my basement, and lots of beets, carrots, kohlrabi, and cabbages in the basement refrigerator drawers, but there is a limit to how long they will keep. One spaghetti squash hit that limit some time ago; it went straight to the compost pile. There were two cabbages that looked quite grim, too; but I know a secret about cabbages. Root-cellared cabbages’ outer leaves can get pretty bad, but strip them away, and the cabbage underneath is whole, clean, and safe to eat. There are two cabbages upstairs in the crisper drawer now, and they will become slaw this week. I didn’t photograph any of the carnage; you’re welcome. The rest of the vegetables look and smell gorgeous; I was glad to see this, because it’s going to be a while longer before I can give them the loving care they deserve. I am going to start dreaming of Ottolenghi’s beet salad pretty soon. I might have to see if I can make it with microwaved beets.

There is light at the end of the kitchen redo tunnel; I’m really hoping it’s not an oncoming renovation train. It already looks like a train wreck in there, and I feel a little frazzled by it all. The only thing to do, according to the very calm Winston Churchill, is keep going.

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