Vegetables were not the only things orphaned in the refrigerator while I cooked from the Cleanse menu. Potatoes and most dairy products were off for two weeks, as well as the ham steak I had to move to the freezer so it wouldn’t spoil. Ham, potatoes, and dairy products can only mean one thing.
I made a bechamel sauce, added four different kinds of cheese I had kicking around in the cheese drawer, poured it over par-boiled, sliced potatoes and chunks of ham, and baked it in the oven until it was, well, fabulous. Say hello, Scalloped Potatoes and Ham.
I almost forgot, there’s a handful of minced fresh sage (great complement to the cheese sauce) in the potatoes too, because one of the other unfortunate consequences from the Cleanse menu is a produce drawer FULL of fresh herbs. I don’t like throwing any food out, but tossing limp, slimy, formerly fresh herbs into the compost makes me a special kind of crazy. So, when I buy them, I line up several dishes for the week that use the same herbs, and use them up. The Cleanse menu did not manage herbs well, so I had a large amount of cilantro and parsley left over (other herbs too, but I’m still working on using them). Cilantro and parsley that need to be used up can only mean one thing.
Chimichurri. I also pulled the chicken thighs from the freezer-you remember, the ones the shopping list told me I needed, but actually didn’t. (o_0) I went sort of Southwestern on them, and made Chicken and Spanish Rice with Chimichurri.
The chimichurri, for those who are unfamiliar, is the beautiful green sauce under the chicken, and it is herby and bracing, with lots of cilantro, parsley, garlic, oil, and vinegar.
After I browned the chicken thighs, I removed the skin, and sautéed onions, garlic, and rice in the drippings, adding in cumin, oregano, and paprika for the Southwestern flavors I was after. Two cans of fire-roasted diced tomatoes and the chicken went into the pot, and everything cooked together.
I stirred in a handful each of frozen peas and corn at the end, and they warmed through in the very hot pot.
Most of the leftovers and left-behinds have finally been shown lots of love. There’s still plenty of kimchi and gochujang in the fridge, but those will keep for a while, and I know I can put them to good use. Time to move on to the next thing, which has been on the back burner for a bit. Mardi Gras is just around the corner, so it’s the perfect time to take a look at the origins of the Creole cuisine of New Orleans. My kitchen adventures continue.