Wow…an empty fridge. Today has been too crazy to consider making dinner from scratch, but what option do I have? Ran 5 tanks of gas through my husband's huge chainsaw because mine was giving me fits. Got a couple truckloads of firewood bucked up. Its snowing. I'm cold and my body is starting to tighten up. I haven't eaten since breakfast, and things are looking a little desperate.
Okay, don't just stare blankly, Sarah...move some things around in there. Maybe there’s a hidden gem in here that can be eaten, I just need to find it! Ah, a package of ground beef that my husband decided not to use the other night at his buddy's house; that’s a good stop. What about that kale gratin that Wendy dropped off a week ago, that has to be eaten for sure. Some wilty greens in the drawer and a limp half-bunch of green onions from a harvest 2 weeks ago will do nicely. And then there are the frozen peppers from summer in the freezer–those always save me! A box of lard, yes, I will definitely be needing that. With the exception of pickle juice, I guess that's all I've got without a trip to the cellar.
This can work, I can make dinner with that. I throw the gratin in the oven and toss some lard in the cast iron. After the green onions cook for a bit with the lid on, I can barely notice that they were once wilted. I add in the ground beef, crumpling it between my fingers to help it break up. I start to wonder what I'm going to do for a starch, a component that will not only be filling but it’ll also tie the other ingredients together. Thank goodness I've got some organic pasta shells in the cupboard! I don't allow myself to use them often, but they’re perfect for night's like these.
Before I know it, the dish has come together. I add my frozen peppers to the mostly cooked beef, along with some salt, pepper, and garlic powder. In goes the warmed gratin and a few kale ribbons because, why not. In just a few minutes the noodles are ready to add to the pan. Dinner!
Does this sound familiar to you? Maybe not the day I had, but the way I made dinner? If you’re not cooking this way, you absolutely should be! It was so incredibly rewarding to eat a meal that literally materialized as I toss things into the pan. THAT, my friends, is bricolage!
What’s your favorite way to bricolage your way to dinner? Lunch? Breakfast?