Let’s Move That Food

 My mother used to say, “We have to move this food!” when the vegetables in the fridge were starting to wilt and the leftovers would be sketchy within the next 24 hours.  Well it’s the night before the farmer’s market, which means it’s time to clean out the crispers.  Tomorrow, I’ll have a bag full of produce to fill them up again.

I reserve Tuesday nights for curry or stir-fry because they great for using up random vegetables and leftover meat you have in the fridge. Curry can take almost anything: old veggies, apples, leftover meat, greens, cabbage, leftover wine, garlic, onion, ginger, leftover broth—you name it.  Sometimes it comes out an ugly brown soup if all you have is mushrooms, but usually we’re lucky enough to have a little colored bell pepper on hand.  Carrots add color too, but I would rather eat ugly food than carrots.

I always keep Tofu and curry paste in the fridge (they keep a really long time) and coconut milk is pantry staple.  If you keep these three ingredients on hand, you’re always ready to make a curry.  Try to find extra firm tofu and get your curry paste (green and red) at your local Asian market.  Coconut milk is a little more complicated.  I use full-fat coconut milk because it tastes better.  Light coconut milk just has added water, so if you want light, it’s more economical to buy the full fat and add water yourself.  Native Forest and Aroy D are the only brands I know of that makes full fat coconut milk in BPA free cans.  Naturally, they’re hard to find.  I get Aroy D at Lee Lee market in Glendale for $1.50 a can.  You can also make your own.

So, every Tuesday night we have curry or stir-fry.  Do we get tired of it?  Maybe a little, but variety is over-rated.  I think it makes you fat.  If I have the same thing for breakfast every morning, I never eat very much.  I don’t have to think—I just get it done.  Variety is too exciting and makes me want to eat a lot.  Also, kids aren’t big fans of variety.  If we all know curry or stir fry is on Tuesday night, we can learn to live with it.

I like having the crisper empty and ready when I come home from Wednesday’s farmers’ market.  In the old days, I would go through the crisper and have to throw a few things out.  That doesn’t happen anymore.  I had to confront our wastefulness when I quit my job and we had to feed a family of five on 150 bucks a week.  It’s been good for us—I felt guilty throwing away food.  Often, it was because we got tired during the week and abandoned our cooking plans in favor of take out.  Now,  I have to cook every night.  I have menus planned out two weeks in advance and I make sure I’m going to use everything.  Every now and then a piece of ginger gets tossed, but that’s about it.  I barely have enough produce left over for our ravenous rabbit, Senior Pepe.  But I feel weird talking about Pepe in a blog about curry—he might get nervous if he knew.

Don’t worry Pepe, you’ll never be for dinner.

So, there you have it—my version of “moving that food.”  Tonight is lamb curry (I got a great deal on lamb at Safeway) and Israeli couscous.

Basic Thai Red Curry

If you don’t want to use coconut milk, Cooking Light has some great recipes:

basic curry recipes

Stir fry tips and recipes

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