I read a blog post somewhere a while ago how people tend to stock up on food, and end up with tens if not hundreds of pounds worth of unused food in their house. And in the worst case, you end up stocking so much that the food goes bad before you have a chance (i.e. get organised enough) to eat it. This is one thing me and my significant other disagree very strongly on. He thinks a lot of food is still good to eat past it's due date. I think you should use up food before the due date, not necessarily because it would be dangerous to eat after that (just use your eyes and nose, that will guide you right) but because food loses it's flavour and nutritional value so you should use it up as soon as possible.
I have a really bad habit of hoarding food. I have no idea where this need comes from, it's not like I ever had to go hungry in my life. And I live less than a five minute walk from not one, not two, but five grocery stores and several restaurants, both fast and slow food. Because my kitchen is tiny, my hoarding instinct leads to bad storage problems. So I have decided I really need to decrease the amount of stored food I have hanging around. For some crazy reason I have even ended up with two gigantic containers of baking powder. No idea how I will be able to use them all up before they are out of date. What I really should do is go through all my stashes of food and make a list of what I have. But at least I'll start by trying to use up some things from my fridge which need using up really badly. Like spinach, asparagus and a large amount of tomatoes. Some leftover sundried tomatoes. A pack of feta cheese that has been hanging around for so long I started to consider it a permanent fixture. I even decided to use gluten free flour in the crust because in some crazy fit I bought some, but obviously have never gotten around to use them. Obviously regular flour would also work.
I always feel so guilty if I have to throw away food because it has gone bad. I used to be so good and plan all my meals and only shop what I needed. Lately I have been so busy (i.e. lazy) that I have eaten crap and any healthy food I have had lying around has gone bad. That will have to change. So I will set myself a challenge for the month of May. I am not allowed to buy anything from the grocery store apart from fruit, veg and lean meat. And try to use at least one or two ingredients from my pantry every time I cook. I had a good start the other day. I had a craving for cookies, so I used my newly found amazing oat cookie recipe and added some orange peel and candied ginger from my stash. Good for using up food, bad for trying to eat healthily. Especially since I ended up having four cookies that day. And another four the next.
I was in a bit of a bad mental state while cooking this, so I just mixed together some ingredients to make the crust. Therefore I don't have any measures, as I didn't use any. I just went by feel, until I got something that resembled a homogenous dough. You could either do the same and just go by feel, or alternatively use a pie crust you like. Or try my quinoa pie crust if you are looking for something a bit different and lower carb.
Leftover vegetarian pie:
For the base:
2 grated carrots
2 tbsp greek yoghurt
gluten free flour (maybe around 3/4 cup?)
oats (maybe around 1 cup?)
2 cups spinach
8-10 stalks asparagus
10-15 cherry tomatoes
5-10 sundried tomato halves
200 g feta
200 g mozzarella
2 cloves smoked garlic
3-4 tbsp milk
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp dried oregano
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. For the base, mix together all ingredients, adding flour and oats until you have a smooth dough. It's not the type of dough you can roll out using a rolling pin, I just dumped the whole lump of dough in my silicon pie mould, and tapped it out using my hand. Chop the asparagus an sundried tomatoes roughly, finely chop the smoked garlic. If you can't find smoked garlic (it's amazing stuff, I have found some in both ASDA and Morrison's but haven't seen any in Tesco) you can obviously use regular garlic instead. Add spinach onto the crust, and then add asparagus and both types of tomatoes. Crumble feta on top. Mix together the chopped garlic, milk, eggs and spices. Pour onto the pie. Slice the mozzarella and top the whole pie with mozzarella slices. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the mozzarella has turned golden.
This pie can easily be adapted to contain any leftover veg you have. I could imagine olives would be great in it, as would courgette or aubergine. Or add some beans if you have a can that need to be used up. Replace mozzarella with any other type of cheese you happen to have lying around. Use whatever flour you have for the crust, maybe something that has been around for a bit too long and won't be perfect for bread anymore. It will still be good for the pie crust.
I liked the flavour combination with the soft flavour of asparagus nicely coming through, but with the tomatoes and the salty feta bringing in a lot of flavour. I also like that the asparagus won't cook too much, but will still have a nice texture. The oregano and garlic go really well with the feta. The mozzarella is definitely a luxury, the pie would work perfectly well without it if you want to make a healthier option. I had an opened pack of mozzarella lying around, and since the crust is all nice and fat free, so I thought what the heck, lets just go for it. I don't think the pie tastes too healthy, and even the Culinary Consultant had some of it, despite the lack of anything animal in it.
Card of the day:
Today's card is a simple thank you card. I embossed the background with a swirly embossing folder, and sponged some Tim Holtz Chipped Sapphire distress ink onto the edges using Ranger Ink blending foam. I stamped a big flower from the Hero Arts Layered Flowers set using black HobbyCraft pigment ink. I used Tim Holtz distress inks to colour the flower using a watercolour brush, and sprayed Perfect Pearl mist onto the flower. I added a blue ribbon, and attached the whole thing on craft cardstock. I rounded all corners by using the corner of a distress ink pad as a template and cut using scissors. It's a small and simple card, but I think it turned out rather nice. Next time I will layer the flower a bit more by cutting the middle out of a second piece of card and attaching it with dimensionals to bring a bit more texture to the card.