TAKING STOCK OF THE EMPTY NEST

Old olive oil factory

 In times of great change, we’re told to take stock of our lives.  It is a task that can be both daunting and difficult.  Which path to take?  What fills the empty spaces?  How much longer will they still call this home? Will they find their way to a happy life?  Will we?  Why are there still brown paper bags in the pantry, if there are no more school lunches to make?

Today instead of taking stock of our lives, we took stock of our kitchens.  In doing so, we realized it’s the same thing.

THINGS VANISHED FROM OUR KITCHENS

  • salad dressings
  • store bought bread
  • store bought eggs
  • Morton salt
  • Smuckers
  • cake mixes
  • packaged bacon, packaged meats and packaged poultry
  • canned soups
  • iceberg lettuce

THINGS APPEARING IN OUR KITCHENS

  • olive oils & vinegars to create our own salad dressing
  • home made breads
  • farm bought eggs
  • sea salts, kosher salt and flaked salts
  • homemade jams and marmalades
  • butcher bacon, butcher meats, butcher poultry
  • organic sugars
  • yeast (when we can find it under all the flour)
  • vegetables from the farmers market-kale, kholrabi, chard, fennel, arugula
  • fruits we pick ourselves
  • parchment paper (who knew?)
  • bread flours
  • Normandy butter

THINGS WE NEVER THOUGHT WE’D HEAR OURSELVES SAY

  • I’ll drop two packets of yeast at your house on my way home
  • Can I borrow the clay bread baker
  • Can I use the mandoline (not the stringed instrument)
  • “Oh my god, its crusty bread” shouted with delight while hugging and dancing
  • “I found this recipe we can try this weekend”
  • Two hours? That’s not too far to drive for fresh eggs.
  • We found a butcher.  How far away? Who cares?  Its a butcher.
  • There may be eggs in Suffolk.  Its only an hour away.
  • I’ll get the tarragon.  You get the rosemary. We can split it up when we get home.
  • Ten bags of manure should do it
  • We have a canner.

THE MENU:  CIOPPINO, HOMEMADE ITALIAN BREAD, KEY LIME PIE

CIOPPINO

  • One pound each-shrimp, mussels, littleneck clams, rinsed in cold water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 small Vidalia or other sweet onion, minced
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 small bottle clam juice
  • 1 can good quality tomatoes (fresh & chopped if its summer)
  • 3 cups arugula and spinach
  • in  bottom of  a large, heavy pot, saute onions and garlic in olive oil until translucent
  • add clam juice, wine, tomatoes, thyme, basil, salt, sugar and hot pepper flakes
  • bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes
  • add clams, shrimp and mussels
  • bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes
  • add spinach and arugula, simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until shrimp are pink and cooked through.
  • discard any unopened shellfish
  • pour into bowls and serve with fresh bread for sopping up the sauce
cioppino

cioppino (Photo credit: ~malkin~)


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2 Responses to TAKING STOCK OF THE EMPTY NEST

  1. I love this post and your list. We, too, have been buying more olive oil and vinegars and I’m trying to get the store bought bottles out of our refrigerator. There’s a lot of ways to empty one’s nest and getting rid of old food habits is a good start!

    • thanks jenny – its been fun. no one can believe our conversations are about spices, and oils, and vinegars-funny how it doesn’t just make a difference in how your kitchen looks but how you feel too.

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