We lie to ourselves every day. I’m buying this ice cream for the grandchildren. It’s wise get it the discount broccoli - two for seven $7.00 instead of one for $3.75 – because I’ll just eat extra broccoli this week. Win-win. Save money and eat healthy. I’ll just wrap these leftovers up. They’ll make a nice small meal someday soon when I’m on my own. I won’t bother to vacuum pack or label because it’s just a bit and I’ll remember. I don’t have time to find a recipe, or to make mayonnaise, or pasta, or soup from scratch, or pizza dough. Tomorrow I’ll figure out how that Instant Pot works, or what it is that people do with lentils, or go to the gym.
The upshot of this accumulated self-deception is that we have littered our paths with all the cans we’ve kicked down the road and we have wasted good money to boot.
We ate the ice cream, the spare broccoli is going through stages of desiccation at the back of the fridge while we conjure more lies about how we’ll “get to that tomorrow – for sure!”. The leftovers are frozen in anonymity with untold numbers of their ilk, while we spin through the drive through that day when we’re on our own, tucking the evidence deep in the garbage can so we can lie to ourselves further about ever having fallen short of our determination to eat more broccoli.
The Instant Pot remains, virginal, in its unopened box and the bag of dried lentils has been given to the Community Food Share in the hopes that they’ll know what to do with it.
Yes. True. We haven’t budgeted for a vacuum packer. Instant Pots do look scary. We are busy. Kids universally eschew anything green, and we are supporting local business when we order out for pizza. And yes. Tomorrow is another day.
But on that inevitable day we will have to bring out the yellowed broccoli and slimy onions from the purgatory of the veg bin, toss numerous bundles of loosely packed good intentions from the overstuffed freezer, and decide whether to blame the high cost of food for our self-deception or take ourselves in hand and plan.
A vacuum packer and label maker will pay for themselves in no time. If you pop for a sous vide stick, those vacuum packed frozen bits will be revivified and not overcooked by the time you’ve wound down from your busy day with a refreshing beverage. Give that Instant Pot a chance and it will become indispensable. Sometimes you have to invest in some machinery to get your food management practices humming along nicely. Though pizza dough can be made with a bowl and a fork and be ready to roll in two hours or kept in the fridge for up to a week should the need present itself.
One of the great tricks in the Instant Pot is to put a cup of water in the pot. Add that metal vegetable steamer basket that you bought ages ago and never use, add broccoli sans the woody stems, cook on high pressure with the timer set to zero minutes. Quick release pressure when it’s done. Perfect. Every time.
Healthified. Broccoli Soup from FoodNetwork.com:
1 bunch broccoli
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 medium red-skinned potato, diced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup grated extra-sharp Cheddar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
One 12-ounce can fat-free evaporated milk
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Separate the stems and the florets from the broccoli. Trim and discard the bottom of the broccoli stems and peel the tough outer layers. Finely chop the stems and coarsely chop the florets and set aside separately.
Mist a large pot with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add the broccoli stems, onions and potatoes and cook, stirring, until softened, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Stir in the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and the vegetables are tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the reserved florets and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover and continue to steam until the florets are bright green and crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add the entire contents of the pot with the florets to the soup along with the nutmeg. Stir to combine and remove from the heat. Stir in the Cheddar, Worcestershire and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with the scallions. Ok. You’ll probably skip the scallions. Optional.
Pizza Dough from Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day:
1.5 cups lukewarm water
1 teaspoon yeast any kind
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
Stir thoroughly. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for two hours.
Remove from the bowl. Form into a ball. Dust with a bit of flour to keep it from sticking. Roll out either round or square on a piece of parchment paper if you have a pizza stone in your oven or an oiled cookie sheet if you don’t. Top with whatever you like and pop into a preheated, very hot oven until it looks amazing. This recipe also makes a lovely focaccia style flat bread with whatever toppings you like. Google.
Yes. Food is expensive. Especially in Canada in the winter. But not as expensive as you’ve been telling yourself and others. If we’re honest.