Making a plan to cut out dinnertime takeout


Making a plan to cut out dinnertime takeout

Snow fell last weekend - just enough to send me out with a bowl and scissors after dark to harvest what I imagined was the last of the Swiss chard. From last winter, I had forgotten the slight crackling of icy snow falling upon all surfaces, the quiet of universal insulation. I cut as much chard as the bowl would hold and brought it in to stir-fry in garlicky olive oil with a splash of lemon and salt for dinner, but there was too much. So rainbow ribbons keep company with six heads of stiff-neck garlic (Persian Star, German Brown, Chesnok Red) in the refrigerator, each awaiting time and a plan.

Time, but mostly planning are keys to cutting out the pricey and unsatisfying takeout habit at dinnertime, and to adding more inexpensive food, more cooking and more baking to everyday life. If I want garlic scapes in the spring, I must make a plan to slide each clove of garlic into the dirt of the long raised bed at the back of the garden now, before the ground freezes. If I want to make a chard tart tonight, I'll read the recipe now to make sure I have ingredients in the house, and that the butter pastry crust from Thanksgiving can be salvaged (doubtful). Further, I can make no cake without butter, sugar, flour, salt and possibly chocolate, nor bread without yeast and flour.

But the chard? It triumphed over the snow. I have too much for only one tart, and a hard freeze is coming. I need another plan.


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