One of the good things about buying too many vegetables at the market is that it forces us to find creative ways to use them up (and we thereby end up eating more vegetables). This past week, we had fresh cilantro, parsley, eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, and arugula that all needed using. So here’s how we did it:

– Tuesday night we made black beans and rice, with a homemade salsa (a hot salsa both in terms of temperature and spiciness, made with some of our excess tomatoes and with lots of fresh lime juice and fresh cilantro in it) with extra chopped cilantro sprinkled on top of everything. Danny made some chorizo meatballs to go with it, which turned out REALLY well (they had to be meatballs because we currently have neither a sausage stuffer nor sausage casings). For the chorizo we used an amalgam of two different recipes, this one and the “Spanish Chorizo” recipe on this page. We didn’t have aleppo pepper so we used cayenne, and we omitted the brown sugar and substituted some red wine for the white wine that’s called for, but otherwise we used all of the spices listed on both recipes. We also had to use a little bit of reserved bacon grease as we didn’t have any fatback (I know it’s not healthy, but come on, it’s homemade sausage!).

– Wednesday night we made a vegetable frittata. We grated up three zucchini and squeezed out as much water as we could, then combined that with some eggs, chopped parsley, chopped arugula, sauteed onions and sweet peppers and some blue cheese and baked it all up in our 10-inch cast iron skillet. I really liked grating the zucchini, as that way it didn’t take over the texture of the frittata but still added a bunch of fiber and nutrients. This was probably one of the best frittatas we’ve made in recent memory.

– Thursday night we were on a mission to use up the rest of the sweet peppers and our one lone eggplant, so Danny improvised a stuffed peppers recipe. We used this recipe as a guideline on seasonings, and made the stuffing out of ground beef, cooked brown rice, finely chopped eggplant, and fresh parsley. We poured homemade tomato sauce that we had prepared a few weeks ago with extra market tomatoes and frozen over the top of them and baked the peppers for a little over an hour. Okay, we baked them for 45 minutes, took out a few peppers and microwaved them because we were STARVING, and left the rest of them in to bake for another 30 or 45 minutes. We served them with green beans dressed with lemon oil, salt and pepper.

As you can probably guess from the number of times I’ve mentioned sort of using a recipe or two as a guide, we don’t really do much recipe planning or even really follow recipes all that closely most of the time. Although I love reading other peoples’ menu plans, I don’t know that I’m really able to plan that far in advance, so maybe doing this sort of recap of what we ended up cooking will work better than trying to predict what we’ll end up cooking!

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