This afternoon, I achieved a minor culinary success and had a great five hours of cooking. For a total grocery bill of seventy dollars and basic ingredients at home (flour, celery, butter, stock, seasoning, coconut), I cooked the following.
1. One large lasagna (4 meals); divided into meal-sized portions and frozen
2. Four hamburgers (ground with bacon); seasoned, formed, and frozen
3. Three dozen pierogies (potato, bacon, and cottage cheese); formed and frozen
4. Six quarts of chicken stock
5. Meat of one chicken; stewed and saved for the week’s lunches
6. One head of cabbage fermenting into sauerkraut
7. Two dozen carrot cookies with orange icing
8. Baked risotto with sausage (2 meals)
Here’s a loose outline of my procedure.
1. Stock: Put veggies & chicken into stockpot to soak for thirty minutes before cooking.
2. Lasagna: Sauté onion in Dutch oven.
3. Pierogies: Bring oven to 400 degrees and bake potatoes for 1 hr.
4. Lasagna & Burgers: Grind 2 lb. chuck roast. Remove ½ for lasagna and grind 4 slices of bacon into the other pound of beef.
5. Stock: Bring to a simmer.
6. Lasagna: Brown burger and ½ lb. Italian sausage. When browned, add tomatoes, wine, seasonings. Cook for 1 ½ hours.
7. Burgers: Season, form patties, freeze on cookie sheets.
8. Pierogies: Make dough.
9. Lasagna: Boil lasagna noodles, drain. Assemble lasagna.
10. Cookies: Steam carrots. Mash carrots and mix ingredients to a dough.
11. Pierogies: Remove potatoes from oven; cool briefly, skin.
12. Cookies: Bake cookies, cool on rack.
13. Lasagna: Bake lasagna.
14. Pierogies: Mix ingredients, roll dough, fill, freeze on cookie sheets.
15. Sauerkraut: Shred, “juice,” bottle.
16. Cookies: Make frosting; ice cookies.
17. Risotto: Make & bake.
18. Stock: Cool; pull chicken.
The point of all this is that I had a great time, and I felt pleasure in what I’d accomplished. And I made great progress in understanding timing in cooking and the thrift of overlapping ingredients and preparations—invaluable information in my purpose of establishing methods of SCRATCH cooking.
On another note, I started reading a super-interesting text called Cross Creek Cookery by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. The book was originally published in 1942, reprinted in 1996, and I picked it up this morning at a garage sale for $1.00—more about that later. For another dollar, I purchased In the Sweet Kitchen by Regan Daley; I look forward to trying her Poppy Seed Angel Food Cake with Grapefruit Curd. For my own book, I’ve been working on an angel food cake recipe, Saffron Angel Food Cake with Whipped Orange Water Mascarpone.