Thursday, January 14, 2010

My kid the chef... and what I'm doing instead of composting

My daughter loves helping me in the kitchen. She also loves experimenting. Now, I liked experimenting in the kitchen, too, but I think I began doing so at age 8 or 9, not 4. (It may have something to do with being an only child. With no other playmates at home, she wants to do what the grownups are doing).

She's pretty good at it, too, having a good sense of what might taste good together. A couple of weeks ago, she mashed up two bananas, added a little flour, sugar and milk, and asked me to taste it. I did, and exclaimed, "Hey, this would make a great banana pie!" I made a crust, added her mixture to it, and baked it at 350 degrees for a half hour. Good stuff!

I may have mentioned the sauce she made for salmon, consisting of water, olive oil, rosemary, oregano, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt and lentils. We used only part of it the night we had fish, so I told her I'd store it and promised I'd try it the next time we had chicken. Well, last night I cut up and roasted a chicken and my marindade was the sauce she'd made.

I have a great minestrone soup that I make, originally based on a recipe from the Prevention Cookbook, but modified by me over time. I made it earlier this week and my daughter tasted a spoonful while it was still on the stove. "It needs something to make it smell really good and taste sweet, Mama," she said. (Back to Princess and the Frog: this reminds me a little of a scene early in the movie when the princess, as a small child, told her father his gumbo needed more Tobasco). I had saved some orange peels, so I handed them to her and showed her how to scrape the peel with a vegetable peeler. We added the shavings to the soup. The zest of orange gives the soup a really divine taste! Once more, my daughter is showing herself to be a tremendous budding chef.


And speaking of orange peels, I had saved them from an orange my husband ate, thinking that I might be able to use them for something or other. That brings me to my alternatives to composting. I wrote months ago about killing all my worms in my first compost bin. I kept meaning to buy some more worms and try again, but never got around to it. Yet the thought of sending all our food scraps to a landfill is something I didn't want to do. I started trying very hard not to waste food, but freezing leftovers and reusing them in new dishes later on, so food doesn't spoil. And for fruit and veggie scraps (and eggshells as well), I started burying them in the backyard.

I looked this up on the internet, and apparently, it's not a bad option. It's not as good as composting, since it doesn't produce something that can fertilize your garden, and you have to mix it with soil and bury it deep enough (at least eight inches) so critters don't dig it up. But it's working so far. I take only scraps (such as vegetable peeelings and fruit rinds), or fruits and veggies that have started to go bad, and nothing that has had any sauces, oils, spices, sugars or dressings added to them. I let them sit and rot for a while in a plastic container, and then I dig a hole, bury it, pat it down and cover the hole with dead leaves. This allows me to monitor whether anything has tried to dig it up, and so far, nothing has.

A potential downside (if you can call it that), is that some of these scraps may start to grow next spring. But it might be fun to see if that happens!

No comments:

Post a Comment