Getting Creative with Abundance

IMG_0064 (427x640)The interns just started their fourth week here at Polyface. Which means, I have just started my fourth week of cooking for them! I love this time of year.

It’s quite the adjustment, however, to go from cooking for myself to cooking for over twenty each night!

I tend to err on the side of “too much,” which makes for a very full table come Friday night, when we eat leftovers and make space in the fridge for the following week.

Participating in real food means sometimes you have to get creative. Creative with uncommon cuts of meat … creative with a plethora of squash … creative with preserving the bounty.

Since we are in a season of particular abundance, when everything is growing and coming in at similar times, what are your favorite ways to get creative with this abundance? Any tips or tricks you want to share with the Hen House community?

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About Brie Aronson

Brie Aronson came to Polyface from southern California. During college, she was diagnosed with food allergies and had to begin asking about the source of every single thing she put in her mouth. This led to an interest in all things food and she sought out a way to learn how it can be produced ethically and sustainably. Her desire is to help people shift their focus from counting calories, being intimidated by their kitchens, and being disconnected from the land to one that experiences the life-giving enjoyment of food. Having completed the internship in summer 2010, she now assists with the buying clubs and sales building, leads school tours of the farm, and will be the summer 2012 farm cook.

8 Responses to Getting Creative with Abundance

  1. Alicia says:

    Thanks for the post! Yes, the creativity required with an abundant harvest or even just seasonal eating in general is so crucial…and fun! My favorite resources for learning about how to be creative with abundance in cooking are “Tender”, by Nigel Slater, who gives a profile on each of a long list of veggies and describes what ingredients go well with them so you can easily throw something creative together and create variety despite the abundance of an individual vegetable. Also, I love Tamar Adler’s book “An Everlasting Meal” which is a “cookbook” written so creatively that you just have to read every page! In its pages she basically teaches how to think about food and how things go together rather than sharing recipes (although she does share a few). Good luck!

  2. Tammy says:

    By the end of season I am throwing squash in just about everything…tacos, pasta sauce, breads, you name it. I also freeze a lot of shredded squash to do the same thing with it all winter. I have also learned that you can pickle just about every veggie! Last year I found a recipe for a roasted cherry tomato sauce. All you do is throw a bunch of cherry tomatoes in a dutch oven with stock/wine, garlic, and basil and roast it in your oven. Toss with whatever noodle you like. We end up having this about once a week when those tomatoes really start producing

  3. cyndi lewis says:

    Our first and current abundance is strawberries. We are strawberried out. No one wants to eat any more at this point. So now we freeze them, jam them and I think this year I will try a batch of syrup. We also have an abundance of kale, lettuce and other greens right now. We eat a lot of salads, steamed or sautéed greens and I love drying kale into kale chips. I need to research ways to preserve kale- blanching and freezing? – because I love kale in soups but summer is not hot soup weather.

    • sha says:

      please please please enjoy your abundance! all of the saturating rains in the northeast this year rotted our entire strawberry patch. we got 2 early season harvests of a small basket each time and then they were gone. i typically get at least 40 jars of jam and 5-10 gallon sized bags into my deep freeze. this year we had enough for a couple smoothies. enjoy what you can when you can….though i know when the zucchini comes in i will be saying the same thing. lol

  4. Eric says:

    One thing that I am trying this year for my abundant basil is to blanch it prior to freezing. As we all know, dried basil is sub-par compared to fresh. I’ve added this as a supplement to pestos which work for all leafy fresh herbs and give great flavor punch in the dead of winter. The uses for blanched basil can be the same as fresh, just be sure to air dry after blanching and then freeze the leaves in a single layer.

  5. To get the most out of this class, I encourage you to watch the pre-recorded instructions that I’ll share in video form each week. You’ll have all the handouts, worksheets, and examples that you need for each week to be set up for success – but the key is taking all of these resources and turning them into action. During Week 1, you’ll have to get out of the house and explore all of your local vendors to know what ingredients you have at the ready! During Week 2, you’ll be cooking up a storm – expect to make a few mistakes at first 🙂 I’ll be available for informal Q&A each week, so don’t worry if you get stuck.