March 2, 2009

Kookah Adobo Madoobo

No, I'm not learning a new language. But all will be revealed in due time, regarding an explanation for the title of this post...

Inspired by Jonathan Bloom and his Wasted Food blog, we've been trying to throw away as little food as possible, preferably none. The items we usually end up throwing away are rotten produce and leftovers. We've been doing a lot better recently, because I'm trying to buy only as much produce as we actually eat instead of the amount I wish we'd eat. Since my husband and I don't have kids, we don't need to plan every meal. There are always times we get invited over to someone's house or just grab a Trader Joe's snack, so we never actually eat seven dinners at home.

We love leftovers and usually eat them, unless they get shoved to the back of the refrigerator and forgotten. So in addition to buying less food, I've also started labeling the containers I put leftovers in. Which brings me to the title of this post. Last week when I made chili, I had half the jar of adobo sauce left over. As long as it's refrigerated, I can use it again weeks later for another batch of chili. But usually I forget about it and it eventually gets thrown out. This time I put it in tupperware and labeled it on top with a sharpie in large block letters "adobo." The next morning when I opened the refrigerator, my husband had added a little something to the label for my amusement. It now read "Kookah Adobo Madoobo." Laughing out loud before you've even had your morning tea or coffee is a great way to start the day. Who says this stuff can't be fun?

Please share your thoughts about wasted food and any secrets you have for keeping it to a minimum.

Free stuff alert: If you live in Los Angeles, the George C. Page museum, home of the famous La Brea tarpits, offers free admission the first Tuesday of the month, which is tomorrow, March 3rd. It's not just for kids! Read about their exciting recent find of a huge cache of ice age fossils including a nearly intact skeleton of a wooly mammoth.


Jonathan Bloom said...

So...have you used the "Kookah Adobo Madoobo?"
Keep up the good work; I love the spirit of this post!

Angela said...

Thanks for reading. Yes- I made another batch of chili last week!

Anonymous said...

If anyone still bakes their own bread: You can mix your leftover cereals, pasta, rice, and vegetables into the dough. REALLY. It makes the bread more nutritious and less boring. And if its kneaded in thoroughly, no one can tell. I did this when I baked bread by hand (back in the 1980s), so I don't know how it would work with a bread machine, but I think it works.

Angela said...

I'm going to try baking my own bread. It's been a long time...

Colleen said...

I'm terrible about using up our food. So I can't offer you any good advice. I did want to mention that I heard a thing on NPR the other day (or maybe I read it somewhere?) about the "Food Stamp Challenge" where you try to stick to a food stamp budget for your food. In 2007 when the challenge began the average was $21 per week per person. Crazy, huh? By the way, I'm thinking of joining a North East L.A. food co-op that some people in our homeschool group belong to. Interested?

WilliamB said...

I rarely waste food. Here are some of my methods:

1. Label, label, label! Food, date, reheating instructions if necessary. I use rewritable ones from The Container Store: they last years, including frequent dishwashing.

2. Keep a list of what's in the freezer. Easiest way for most is to tape a piece of paper on fridge; write when you put something in, cross off when you take something out.

3. Keep your fridge half-empty. This way you don't lose sight of what you have.

4. Check the contents of your fridge every day or two, including the drawers. Touch each item if necessary, to make sure you pay attention to it.

5. Store food properly. Food that is stored properly lasts longer. Scallions, herbs, asparagus get treated like flowers: in a tall glass of water. Eggs go on the upper shelf and not in the door. Leafy greens go into those special veggies bags, which really are that much better. Tomatoes, apples, oranges, and bananas go on the counter. Ideally you don't clean and cut the food until you're ready to eat it because it lasts longer that way, but that doesn't work for everyone (myself included).

6. Learn to cook, if you can't already.

7. Learn to make stir fry, soup, and frittatas; all of which are great for using leftover veggies and other stuff.

They key to a good frittata is to have the addotoves cooked and cold - otherwise they weep liquid into the eggs and you get slop. So if you have mushrooms and celery that are reading the end of their lives, saute them now and put them back in the fridge. Now you have it ready for dinner tomorrow. Tomorrow, scramble some eggs in a bowl, season them, put them in a hot nonstick pan over low heat. After a couple minutes, add the mushrooms and celery, stir a couple of times to mix in thoroughly. Continue cooking on how heat till mostly done. Flip them over somehow (I either break it into pieces and flip each piece; or put a plate on top of the pan, flip the pan over, slide eggs from plate back into pan. Finish cooking. Assuming you have additives in the fridge, you can have dinner on the table in 15 minutes.

bugbear said...

My main tip is to look through the entire fridge once a week. I usually do it on Friday or Saturday. Pull *everything* out and get a good look at it all. Then pull anything that needs to be eaten to the front.

It's those things in the back that seem to always go bad (out of sight, out of mind) so this procedure really helps me a lot.