There are two types of people in this world: people who grocery shop on an empty stomach, and those who don't. To anyone in the latter category, I applaud you. You can find me in the former, like a kid in a candy shop, adding all the unnecessary items to my shopping cart during our weekly market run.
I inevitably wind up with produce that's past its prime, and I'm usually unwilling to throw it away. Throughout sheltering-in-place, I've had plenty of lunch breaks to try and salvage what's left of wilted greens, bruised stone fruit, or a bunch of herbs on their last life, and I've compiled the clear winners into formal recipes below:
I've been cooking up a big batch of plain oatmeal on Monday mornings and saving the leftovers for easy breakfasts and lunches throughout the week (highly recommend). Mixing and matching the toppings keeps it interesting (sometimes I'll add almond butter and raspberries; other times maple and brown sugar, and I've even experimented with savory and tried scallions and a fried egg!). This time, I wanted to step the base up a notch. I decided to blend some pitted, bruised stone fruit (that otherwise would have sat on the counter until its eventual demise in the trash can) with the milk the recipe calls for before combining it with steel cut oats over the stove, and wow. This upgrade will now be added to my current rotation (and I've also tried it with strawberries, cherries, and apples—all three are fantastic!).
1 cup milk of choice (I went with whole!)
1/2 cup diced stone fruit (I used half of a white nectarine and one full yellow peach, pitted, and saved any non-bruised pieces for my topping)
3 cups water
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 cup steel-cut oats
Pinch of salt
Splash of cream (optional)
Sliced (unbruised) stone fruit for toppings
1. Add milk and diced stone fruit to a blender and mix until mostly combined (15 to 20 seconds should suffice!). Combine "peach milk' and water in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer.
2. Meanwhile, melt coconut oil in a pan over medium-low heat, and add oats once the liquid starts to shimmer. Toast the oats for about two minutes (they should start to smell nutty when they're done!).
3. Stir the oats into the simmering peach milk/water and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Add salt and continue to simmer until it's at your preferred thickness (I usually go for about eight more minutes).
5. Remove from heat and let it continue to thicken (and cool) for five minutes. Scoop into a small bowl, top with unbruised stone fruit slices, add a splash of cream, and dig in! Recipe yields four servings.
(Adapted from the Cookie and Katie Steel-Cut Oatmeal recipe.)
One of my better quarantine investments has been a popsicle mold, mainly because I'm a child at heart, but also because the idea of a slightly sweet, sour, and icy treat around 3 PM always sounds appetizing. I made a big batch of lemonade Memorial Day weekend, froze half of it in the molds, and had six tasty afternoon pick-me-ups waiting for me in the fridge. When I purchased a carton of Gaviotas from Harry's Berries two weeks ago (the most expensive–and delicious–strawberries in LA) and couldn't get through the entire batch alone, the guilt began to sink in. But I'll be damned if I ever waste one of those $11-per-pack strawberries... so I made a purée out of them, mixed it with my original lemonade recipe, then took it a step further and infused my simple syrup with some mint that was on the cusp of being unusable. Game. Changer.
1 cup granulated sugar
Roughly 3 cups water, divided
Handful of mint leaves
1/2 cup of strawberries
1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 6 lemons)
1. Make the mint simple syrup. Combine sugar, one cup of water, and mint leaves in a pot over medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves and liquid boils. Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for at least a half an hour (the longer the mint seeps, the more intense the flavor will be!), then remove the leaves.
2. Blend strawberries with a few tablespoons of water.
3. Stir lemon juice, 1 1/2 cup of water, and strawberry purée together. Add mint simple syrup a bit at a time until it's at your desired sweetness (I like mine mildly sweet, and wound up using about 1/2 cup and refrigerated the rest) and use more water if it's too sour.
4. Pour into a popsicle mold and let freeze for a few hours. Enjoy! Recipe yields eight servings.
(Adapted from Tastes Better from Scratch's Easy Homemade Lemonade recipe.)
Hear me out! I'll admit that this recipe was a total experiment, and not something I'd ever tried before, but I wound up pleasantly surprised with the end result. I'd been watching a bag of curly kale and arugula slowly wilt in the fridge, and was inspired by Samin Nosrat's Kuku Sabzi (Persian herb and greens frittata) to make something similar. While most frittata recipes suggest sautéing the greens, I opted to just add them in to a blender raw with the eggs (you could also throw in lifeless herbs here, like thyme, dill, or parsley!). Initially, the eggy mixture didn't look appetizing, but once I incorporated some crispy leeks, sprinkled some crumbled goat cheese on top, and took it out of the oven, it was a whole other story. I saved two thirds of it for future breakfasts, and love that you can make it work with basically any greens you have on hand.
6 to 8 eggs
1 handful wilted kale
1 handful wilted arugula
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 leek, diced
Handful of crumbled goat cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Add eggs and wilted greens to a blender and mix.
2. Heat olive oil in a large, oven-proof, nonstick pan over medium heat. Add diced leek and cook until soft and slightly crispy.
3. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and lift the edges to ensure egg gets cooked for about two minutes. Sprinkle goat cheese on top, and place in the oven for seven minutes.
4. Let rest for a few minutes before you divide, serve, and season to taste. Recipe yields three servings.
(Adapted from Eating Well's Green Eggs & Ham Frittata.)