Category Archives: Culling

Cooking Ahead & My Insane Day

Well, I started that marinara before anything else. Added onion and basil to it while sipping my first coffee. I need to add some garlic, but mostly it just needs to cook.

Start marinara cooking. 7:30 a.m.

A shower.

Prep a batch of stewed tomatoes, set aside to cool. Prep batches of herb mix, using up the basil.

Clean up.

About then, things should be opening, and off I go.

Post office:mail book to customer.

Chocolate shop: hopefully sell a tray of books. (opens at 9)

Antique store:drop/pull stock. (opens at 10)

Staples:  shredding, pick up clam shell and 1’ square boxes, tape, and cards.

Market 1: for eggs, amongst other things.

Market 2: for ice cream, bread, and coffee.

Home! (Somewhere in here: run dishwasher when it gets full. Unpack dishwasher. Start reloading when making casserole, as needed.)

Put away groceries.

Start eggs boiling for casserole.

Print file for day job.

Prep potatoes, tomatoes, onion, etc. for casserole.

Put casserole in oven.

Edit printout. Write email.

Put now finished/cooled marinara and stewed tomatoes in freezer.

Make salad, etc. as needed for dinner.

Eat dinner.

Clean up.

And it got more insane and less productive. I left my wallet/phone at home, so had to return to the house. The 2nd thing I needed to do was buy gas, because I was on reserve about 2 miles from home. I got here, but the car “burped” on the hill home…

I’m waiting for DH’s zoom meeting to end, so I can ask him if the gas in the gas can can be used in my car? It did.

Italian Potato Cheese Casserole from The Vegetarian Epicure, book 2

2 lb potatoes, 6t butter, 1/2t salt and more to taste, 1.5 lb ripe tomatoes, pepper to taste, 1.5t basil/crushed, 2/3 lb mozzarella, 6 eggs/hard boiled, 2/3C parsley/chopped, 2/3C Parmesan/grated.

Boil potatoes til just tender, drain, peel, and cut into fairly thick slices. Melt butter, pour 2T into bottom of large shallow casserole. Arrange potato slices on bottom of pan in one layer and salt them. Slice tomatoes, arrange on top of potatoes. Sprinkle with salt & pepper and the crushed basil. Slice mozzarella in strips. Arrange strips on top of the tomatoes. Peel/coarsely chop eggs. Combine in a bowl with remaining butter, chopped parsley, salt and pepper. Mix throughly. Spread evenly over cheese. Sprinkle Parmesan on top and bake in preheated 350 degree oven, 25-30 minutes.

I’ve been making this so long I have all sorts of notes all over the page. The recipe specifies russet potatoes, I use whatever I have. I don’t always peel them. I don’t use as much butter. I use a butter wrapper to grease the bottom of the casserole and then melt 4T butter to go with the eggs. I only used 4 eggs this time. I made multiple layers because I was using up small potatoes. I don’t always use the parsley.

ORDER TO SAVE MONEY/TIME: Boil the eggs first, then the potatoes. I use filtered water, which I normally wouldn’t for eggs, but would for the potatoes. I do the eggs first…

This is a fall standard here. It’s economical when tomatoes are in season. I also make a potato-tomato soup and I’m interested in possibly making both up at the same time and then freezing them.

If I freeze this, I won’t include the eggs.

Retirement Planning: Summer Food Processing/Storage

Our favorite corn casserole is this one. I have a note on my copy of the recipe in my house notebook that tells me how many ears of corn to use instead of the canned corn (not the creamed corn).

My favorite corn soup recipe requires fresh, new corn. It’s from one of the 1-2-3 cookbooks. It’s corn, water, butter, salt and pepper.

Yesterday, I processed corn. I got 10 extra ears of corn from the farm the other day. It isn’t today’s corn, so it’s what I call “soup corn”. I will freeze the cut corn (and sometimes a broth made from boiling the corn briefly) and then use the corn in casseroles, soups and stews.:

  • I made creamed corn for the first time in my life. I always thought it was corn with cream added, nope. It’s corn with a knife or something (I used a fork) run over the kernels to make it mushy, then the soft stuff cut off the cobs.
  • I put aside the tips of the corn for soups/stews.
  • I froze most of it.
  • I made corn broth, also in the freezer.
  • We had corn, fresh sliced tomatoes and an omelette for dinner. Definitely SUMMER!

Today I’ve culled more of last year’s food from the freezer. Found one package of stewed tomatoes from last year (it needed a tomato added)  — we’ll have that as a side at dinner with pasta.

I’ve just made  more garlic salt. I use this recipe.

I need to make a batch of salsa verde. I use my own recipe: I chop tomatillos, then add onion, cilantro and hot peppers, to taste. Then I freeze it. Some of it I freeze in cubes, some in blocks. The cubes are used for sauce on tacos, etc. The blocks are used in recipes.

Tonight’s dinner will be: corn fry, spaghetti/tomato sauce, salad. Definitely a summer menu, again.

I don’t know where I got the corn fry recipe. It’s corn, chives, onion, milk and cheese. The corn, milk, onion and chives are cooked on the stove for a few minutes. Then grated cheddar is added and cooked til it melts. Basically seasoned hash browned potatoes, only with corn instead of potatoes.

I decided how to organize the big freezer this year. Last year, I had a shelves of “soup bases” and unfinished casseroles and such. This year I’ll have each shelf different: ingredients, part prefab, instant dinner, other. So the frozen chilis and corn will go on the top shelf, but the salsa verde and stewed tomatoes will go on the 2nd…etc. This will help me track of what I have! I may color code it, but I haven’t decided. I’ll only go to the trouble if I have too much for one shelf and not enough for another… My goal this year is to have the thing empty by Valentine’s Day, at the latest. Last year I put a lot of food away and we didn’t eat it. No matter how careful I am, that’s just food waste, and I hate that!

Which reminds me, the fridge has gotten into terrible disarray. I need to do a major cleanout/purge/reorganization of it too.


Right now, it’s six pint containers of foods from last year. In the past week, I’ve probably pitched about 10 more. Makes me mad! I’m still not done. My idea for last year, about putting food aside as it was in season, then making up casseroles and soups in winter did NOT work! It was a logisitical nightmare. (Do I have the parsnips I need for this dish? Tomatoes? If so, where are they?) As a result, I never touched any of it, and it’s all going into the compost.