i’ve tried to meal plan time and time again, but it just doesn’t work. i don’t remember to compile meals until i’m en route to the market and then i just can’t think of a damn thing. i do best when i have a solid a variety of staples. the list has been expanded and refined over the past few years, and includes items that are equal parts healthy and cheap(ish) and delicious. starchy foods for their filling nature, quality protein, fresh vegetables, butter and olive oil (and a little acidity) come together to create something special every time.
a typical shopping yield looks something like this:
grains and starchy vegetables|white rice, millet, yellow potatoes (my favorite), oatmeal
vegetables|whatever is in the CSA (including herbs), green lettuce, Jersey tomatoes, onions, garlic
fruit|CSA, whatever is on-sale (currently Jersey peaches)
protein source|ground lamb, grass-fed beef, organic chicken, wild-caught fish, dry beans and/or legumes
fats and acidic ingredients|butter, olive oil, nuts, white wine, vinegar, olives
on a good day, our fridge and pantry are stocked with these items and i’m able to pull something together without braving the elements. philadelphia has been experiencing the beginnings of the apocalypse as of late, and this little stew was created while the lightning cracked and the rain slapped against the house.
i’ve mentioned otolith seafood before and i will again-simply, it’s the best. in addition to selling it at the headhouse farmer’s market in philadelphia and through their website, they bring their products to retailers around the city, including my favorite health food store. when i arrived the other night, they were out of all but rockfish. i consulted a couple of websites but not surprisingly, otolith gave me all the encouragement i needed.
a few days later, with a bouillabaisse in mind, i looked to my pantry and fridge for everything i could use up- from the csa came the sorrel (that lemony bite!), a big ‘ol onion and garlic. tomatoes and tomato paste from the market, along with that pretty piece of rockfish. just a little inspiration for you, as it’s absolutely meant to be made to suit your own taste and available ingredients.
a sort of recipe for rockfish and sorrel stew
butter, a tablespoon or two
1 big onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 big Jersey tomato, chopped
1 tablespoon of concentrated tomato paste
1 large rockfish fillet (~1 pound), cut into bite-sized pieces
a few handfuls of sorrel
salt and pepper
i heated the butter in a big dutch oven and added the onion and garlic all at once. After they softened up and became fragrant, in went the tomato and tomato paste. after a minute or so i added water and mixed it all up into a nice little base. to it i added a little bit of wine (what was leftover in my glass, you know) and brought it to a nice simmer. i brought it down a bit and added in the fish carefully, making sure all pieces were covered by the broth. i reduced covered the pan and let it bubble for 15 minutes or so, adding the sorrel at the very end and,letting it wilt and serving it over some basmati rice.
a more proper seafood stew from bourdain
making your CSA work