Am I the only one who finds this seemingly newfound frugality fad mixed distrust of the food industry with a bit comical?
I mean...it just seems like a few years ago most people I knew were more interested in loading their shopping trolleys with loads of processed foods or simply just getting coffee, bottled water and snacky foods, leaving their meals up to office cafeterias, restaurants and fast fooderies. These were the same people who would mock me for baking my own bread, brownbagging my lunches, buying "family packs" of meat and *gasp* using the produce weigh scales when buying fresh fruits and veggies.
Today colleagues ask me how to make the breads and pastries they used to buy at the shops, the lunch hour microwave queues are longer (while caf lines are shorter), total strangers stop me and ask me about portioning with family packs and what on earth they can do with all those pork chops (do I have a forehead tattoo signalling a passing familiarity with cooking?) and I actually have to wait to use the scales.
Don't get me started on the food boors.
As someone raised on home-cooked foods by budget-conscious people, I think I've done well enough with sticker shock--I've always looked for bargains and bulk cooked to avoid the "there's nothing in the house to eat/make and eat quickly" as often as possible. I was also taught to figure out what to do with scraps. I'm not always the greatest at this, but every once in a while I'm quite pleased at the silk purse I've fashioned.
Take, as an example, my latest creation, born of the drawn salty-sweet peach juices from the peach chutney I last blogged about. I turned it into a satay-like peanut sauce. Unfortunately, I can't give you exact measurements--in my experience, silk purses rarely get them--but I mixed in some chunky peanut butter, sesame oil, powdered ginger, garlic and onion powder, chilli oil, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar and a pinch of brown sugar, put it in a jar and stored it in the fridge
I've used it a couple of times and it tastes great with shrimp or chicken. Of course, you don't have to make your own peanut sauce to make my peanutty shrimp and noodle dish--store bought will work just as well. Again, no quantities--just use as much as you have/want/need/suits your taste.
Peanutty shrimp and noodles
slivered bell pepper
cleaned and peeled uncooked shrimp
cooked rice noodles
Heat oil in a wok and tip in the onions, carrots and peppers and stir fry. When they are about half-way cooked, add in the garlic and stir for a out 30 seconds and then remove to a plate. Add more oil if necessary and add the shrimp. Cook for a few minutes, add the sauces and then the cooked noodles and stir until the shrimp is fully cooked. Return the veg to the wok and just toss everything together before serving.