You know how when you go shopping at Costco (or your warehouse store of choice), you can end up eating the same thing for the next three weeks straight?
Costco is not for a single-person shopper. I remember the first time I bought an acre-sized cardboard tray with interlayered croissants and pastries. I thought, "This is a great deal, because I have an easy breakfast for this entire week!" Unfortunately, I painfully learned that it was not a good deal, and I learned it the hard way. I had to eat each and every one of those mo's by myself until I was blue in the face with disgust. ... Well, not every one, some of them grew a fuzzy shag carpet of green and black mold before I could finish the entire tray. That is why to this day, I can't look at croissants or pastries in good faith again.
I experience the "single-person Costco syndrome" after parties too. You never want to be the party hostess who doesn't prepare enough food. Unfortunately, overpreparation means "tons of leftovers for you to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the rest of the week." Additionally, my Mama taught me to "Want not, waste not" the Asian way, or "If you waste food, I will disown you and those of your lineage!"
Because of my tightwad upbringing, I've tried to make eating leftovers more exciting, by innovatively metamorphosizing the ingredients into new and different dishes.
After the April Fool's Feast Sunshine Fest at our apartment last week, we had one tremendous and unbearable stink emanating from the fridge.
It was the cheese.
Last week, we bought feta, gorgonzola, gouda, parmesan, romano, fontina, and of course, Kraft American singles. All of the odors combined with one another, and smelled like there was day-old roadkill marinating in our kitchen.
I heeded the orders of my roommates who said, "Get that crap outta our fridge, or get out of the house," by making a rustic rosemary and parmesan polenta and classic Greek salad with what I had left in the kitchen. These two dishes "sorta" went together, but they were quick to make and thus would be great for any Working Eater.
For the polenta, I started by bringing a large pot of salted water to a vigorous boil. I slowly sprinkled in handfuls of dry cornmeal, turned the heat to a medium-low, and briskly whisked the mixture until it was creamy and silky to taste. After about 10 minutes of cooking and whisking at low heat, I then added a pat of butter, a splash of whole milk, generous amounts of finely shredded parmesan and romano cheese, and finely chopped herbs. You can use whatever herbs are in your fridge, but I like to use rosemary the best. Continue to whisk the ingredients together, to get a wonderfully creamy and rich concoction.
For the Greek salad, I used fresh and juicy Roma tomatoes and vacuum-sealed English cucumbers, both diced and sliced into edible pieces. I added a drizzle of olive oil, dried oregano crushed between my fingers, black olives, and large crumbles of feta cheese. Finally, the entire salad was doused in red wine vinegar, and marinated for five minutes.
Easy and delicious! Don't use bottled salad dressing, when you can easily make your own. Plus, don't worry about not having all of the traditional ingredients to make a dish, but use your imagination to substitute flavors, or just use what you have. That is the key to being an efficient and effective working eater.
After hungrily wolfing down the polenta and Greek salad, I was inspired to share how easy it is to use what you have in the fridge to make a delicious meal for you and your family after a long work day.