Saturday, September 26, 2009

Failed Frugality

Original creations don't often come out of my kitchen. I can be creative, but my inventiveness relies heavily on existing recipes. I substitute, I adapt, I tailor ingredients, techniques and instructions to suit my mood and the components I have on hand. Recently I tried winging it with an original concoction. I think I'll stick to the recipe in the future.

It started with soup. I wanted to create a soup that my sister could prepare and would eat. I even researched a few recipes before I started. I had a plan. So far, so good.

The soup needed broth. I didn't have any in the house, so I decided to make my own veggie broth. Easy enough. I'd done that before with good results. I even used a recipe, sort of. (Who measures anyway?) The broth turned out fine.

Then I started to strain out the veggies. They were lovely even after lengthy cooking. It seemed wasteful to toss them out. Other than the peppercorns and the celery everything was local. Even the bay leaf was from a co-worker's bay laurel. I started to wonder what I could do with the cooked veggies.

I crushed the veggies with the back of my wooden spoon to squeeze out all the liquid. They smelled so good. I even salted and tasted a few carrots as I worked. Not bad.

At this point I should have stopped. The recipe I was (almost) following clearly instructed me to "discard all solids". I just couldn't do it. I was sure I could salvage them. As I mushed and smushed the veggies I started to think about hummus. Could I make the leftover veggies into a hummus-like dip? I was sure it would work. In fact, I was so confident that I went out and bought a fancy loaf of bread to serve with my creation. I even thought up clever names for my masterpiece, like "Fart-Free Hummus". Such inventiveness should have told me something about my creative abilities, but sometimes you just don't see the signs.

The veggies went into the food processor. Another sign of my confidence. I hate cleaning the food processor, and if I had any doubts about my creation I would have avoided it. Who wants the work of cleaning the equipment when you can't eat the results?

I figured I would add herbs and olive oil and salt to my veggies. I never got that far. One taste of the processed veggies was enough. It was like baby food but with less flavour. It wasn't worth saving. So much for my Fart-Free Hummus. How disappointing!

The resulting mess went into the composter, so my experiment wasn't a complete waste. I've heard chopping items for compost helps to speed the process. These veggies were certainly well chopped!

In spite of the dip disaster the broth turned out well. I had enough for my soup with plenty left over for freezing. And the soup...well the soup was wonderful. It was even better than I expected. It was easy to prepare and delicious. It went well with my fancy bread and there was enough left over for lunch the next day. Want to know more about it? Stay tuned for tomorrow's Soft, Moist Selection...


  1. If by chance you should ever try this again- might I recommend mixing in some flour, maybe a ground nut of choice, spreading out on some parchment paper and baking at 300 until dry and crispy... you know.. like a cracker. A vegetable thin if you will.

  2. Meghan, you are brilliant. Thanks for the suggestion. I'll be in a position to try it again soon, as my veggie broth is rapidly dwindling. I'll let you know how it turns out.


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