Cleaning Out the Fridge Day 1: Taking Inspiration from Professionals

While our refrigerator may be nearing on empty, we still have plenty of food in cans, in the freezer and some dehydrated stuff.  There are some sweet potatoes kicking around, lots of onions, winter squash and more grain than you can shake a stick at.  It’s just the act of bringing to it all together that presents the challenge.

So, last night, I made a total riff on Journeyman Restaurant‘s wheat berry risotto, one course of many delightful courses.  It needed to be filled out to make it a whole meal, instead of one dish as a part of a whole dinner.  Two beets, two carrots, two onions, two ounces of blue cheese, one cup of spelt berries and one sad, aged kohlrabi later, we had a splendid dinner.


Purple and Orange Carrots and Beets


The beets and carrots were roasted, specifically piled high on each other, so that they stayed soft and steamed themselves a bit.  At the end, I broiled them for a few moments to give them a crispy finish.  Straight out of the oven, a tablespoon or so of mustard was mixed in, just enough to lightly coat and flavor the veggies.  Nothing too strong, just a pleasant vinegar bite.

The spelt was cooked with broth until very soft.  Right before serving, the blue cheese and chopped kohlrabi were mixed in.  The blue cheese melted right in, coating the spelt with a lovely, thick sauce.  Meanwhile, onions gently carmelized until they were soft and sweet like candy.  Plated together, it was very pretty.

Plated dinner: roasted root vegetables, blue cheese and kohlrabi spelt risotto and carmelized onions.

The flavors and textures worked pretty well together.  I think the mustard and blue cheese were both strong flavors, and were competing for taste-space.  Maybe next time, a delicate fruit or wine vinegar splashed on the veggies when they are piping hot would be better.  We have a spectacular currant vinegar from Bug Hill Farm that could work.  The onions and spelt were divine together.  The blue cheese really used the sweet onions as a platform for taste presentation.  The kohlrabi was a great textural addition, though fresher might be better.

In other words, it was pretty darn good.  Especially for a meal I came up with on the fly while driving home.  Luckily, we did actually have everything I thought we did, and the meal came together nicely.  I give my thanks to Journeyman’s for the excellent inspiration.

Dessert was simple and numbly.  We found a jar of Herrell’s Chocolate Sauce lurking in our pantry (!), and we have been loving it on fruit.

Almonds, raspberries and a chocolate turd!

Last night was raspberries, dug from the depths of our chest freezer.  We have yet to reach the bottom in any capacity on that thing, but we can now shift stuff around enough to dig for buried goodies!  There is nothing quite like sweet-tart raspberries with chocolate on a damp night.

So, more snow for today, but only a few inches, nothing earth shattering.  It does bring our snow totals well over 70 inches for the season.  The melt has begun, and you can almost smell the slight seasonal shift in the air.  Pretty soon, we will be seeing crocuses and snow drops!

Local Sources:


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