The Importance of a Well-Stocked Larder

I threw out dinner, tonight. It’s something I haven’t done in years, but it needed doing.

We cleaned out the last of the garden this morning. The stuff that was hanging on we looking pretty anemic. Lots of green tomatoes, but nothing ripening. The eggplants had just stopped doing anything but hanging there – same size as when we got back from vacation, and the peppers were gasping. It was time to say goodbye. We had a bumper crop of produce and learned a lot about what, where, and when to plant things. I already have seeds for next year from the Seed Savers Exchange and will draw out a plan before we plant anything. A little planning and organization will go a long way.

But I digress…

We brought in probably 20 pounds of green tomatoes and maybe 3 more pounds of peppers to add to the 3 pounds already picked. My thought was to can a bunch of chow chow or green tomato relish, but I thought I could simmer up some with some pork and some other veggies and mix in some fava beans I had soaked over night. Perfect time for a nice fall stew of sorts.

I had a green tomato recipe where everything is ground together, so I thought I’d grind some stuff and cook it all off in the oven, shred the pork back into it… Pretty basic stuff. I browned the pork pieces, simmered them in some red wine, added broth, and ground up green tomatoes, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, mushrooms, and 1 hot pepper. After a while, I added the cooked fava beans. The smells of the cooking pork and the drying rosemary in the kitchen were wonderful. The house smelled great!

10-15-16-rosemary

I pulled it out to taste and almost died. The one little pepper was screaming hot – and the favas – the favas totally sucked!  They were absolutely horrible. Gawd-awful-inedible-horrible. I think I could have handled the heat on its own, but having it coupled with the disgusting favas was too much. I don’t generally buy dried fava beans, but I saw these and thought they would just be perfect for fall and winter soups and stews. And I paid way too much money for them – or, at least, more than I should have for dried beans. And they sucked.

The entire pan went down the garbage disposal and I threw the second package of favas in the trash.

I nonchalantly mentioned to Victor that I had just tossed dinner and we’d be having pasta. With a dozen or so quarts of sauce downstairs and a half-dozen varieties of dried pasta at any given moment, pasta is always a possibility.

He laughed and said it must have really been bad for me to toss it. I can usually make do with just about anything. No big deal – ya win some ya lose some.

About 15 minutes later I’m in the office and new, wonderful smells start permeating the house. Victor decided to up the pasta with a little eggplant lasagne.

Be still my gastronomic heart!

10-15-16-eggplant-lasagne

We had 4 or 5 eggplants that also needed using up, so away he went, layering fried eggplant with ricotta and sauce and cheese… Having the right ingredients in the kitchen is key. It was just stellar.

My philosophy in the kitchen is the worst thing that can happen is you throw it all out and call for pizza. It tends to put everything in perspective. Really. The worst thing that can happen is you toss it out and have something else.

From dinner to disaster to fabulous dinner, we did it all, today.

And there’s a coconut cake for dessert… There’s a story behind that, too…