Sunday, September 30, 2012

Raspberry Banana Bread

Extended Shelf Life for: Raspberries

Preheat your oven to 350 F and grease one 9x5x3 loaf pan.

 In a small bowl (cereal bowl is reasonable) sprinkle about 1 cup overripe, mushy Raspberries with your 1-2 TBSP. of your choice sweetener. Let set.

In a large bowl, combine 2 cups All-Purpose Flour , 1 1/2 Tsp. Baking Powder, 1/2 Tsp. Baking Soda, 1/4 Tsp. Salt. Set aside.

In a medium bowl mix together 2 Eggs, 1 1/2 cups Bananas, 1 cup Sugar, and 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil Add egg and banana mixture to flour mixture, stirring until just moistened. Give raspberries a quick stir, breaking down any bigger berries, before folding into the bread batter.

Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan and transfer to the oven where it'll work a bit of chemistry and magic over the course of 55-65 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Learn a little more and take part in some banana bread discussions here at Squidoo!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Preserving the Harvest: Pickled Peppers

Extended Shelf Life: Fresh Banana Peppers (?)
It's possible the man came home with a box full of small peppers and I may have got a bit excited at the possibilities since it was canning season and all... So, I went on a happy-go-lucky internet search and came across this recipe at My Man's Belly -- what happened next was spicy, tangy, delicious and perfect for sandwiches!


You need a lot of peppers...I just sliced and shoved peppers into jars until I ran out of peppers, which ultimately occurred way too soon ^^ Throw 12 garlic clove halves (that means you'll need 6 garlic cloves) into the jar with the peppers. In a small saucepan bring 1 1/2 cups Water,1 1/2 cups distilled White Vinegar and 4 tsp. Salt to a boil over medium high heat. Remove from heat and pour over your peppers until they are all fully submerged. Cover and let set overnight, refrigerate and enjoy for the next 2 weeks (or more if you're a slow-eater/non-expiration-date-worrying-type-person).

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pear Cobbler

Extended Shelf Life for: Pears
Frankly, I do not like pears. I like Asian pears, the big ole pears that look like apples and abound during the fall and winter in places like South Korea, but Bartlett pears...not so much.They're just too grainy.

Not to mention, when we dive pears, they just look a little rough and I have a hard time biting into them. But I have no problem skinning and slicing them and making a nice pear cobbler on a cool fall evening!

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Prepare cobbler topping by stirring together 1 cup Flour, 2 Tbsp. Sugar, 1 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder, 1/4 tsp. Salt and 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon. Cut in 1/4 cup butter with a pastry cutter, fork or two knives. 

In a large sauce pan stir 6 cups sliced and peeled Pears, 1/3-1/2 cup Sugar (to taste) and 1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice, bring to a boil. Stir occasionally once fruit begins to release it juices. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, about five minutes until fruit is tender. Combine 2 Tbsp. Cornstarch with 1 Tbsp. Water, stir into filling and cook until thickened.

In a small bowl, stir together 1 egg and 1/4 cup milk. Add to flour mixture and stir until just moistened.

Fill 2-quart baking dish with filling before spooning dough on top of filling. Bake 20-25 minutes or until top is golden brown. Let cool for about an hour. Serve with ice cream or at least enjoy with good friends you haven't seen in a long time!

Roasted Eggplant and Carmelized Onion Pasta

Extended Shelf Life for: Eggplant, Onions, Parsley and Basil
Living this semi-freegan/living-in-a-foreign-land-with-random-ingredient has taught me a few tricks, such as nearly anything can be made into a pasta dish ^^

When we ended up with a large supply of eggplants I worked some magic and made a variety of Eggplant dishes such as Eggplant M'saa'a, Chinese Style Eggplant and Potatoes, and a simple Eggplant Tomato Pasta dish. Being completely honest, out of the two pasta dishes (the one I'm about to share and that Eggplant Tomato dish you have a link to), the latter was my preference. Regardless, knowing how to make any random set of ingredients into dinner is a skill that cannot be replaced, so if you happen to have surplus onions and an eggplant lying around, this just might work for you!


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Prick your eggplant with a fork (to prevent explosions) and place on the oven rack for about 30 minutes until it's tender. Scoop out eggplant pulp and mash with a work, season with olive oil, salt and pepper. While eggplant is roasting, slice one large onion and saute in 2-3 Tbsp. of melted butter. Stir frequently for 15-20 minutes until onions are golden and delicious. Meanwhile, bring water to boil for choice of pasta, I used penne pasta for my dish. Mix onions and eggplant together season with fresh parsley and basil, mix in pasta, serve as is or top with shredded Italian cheeses and bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 until cheese is melty and browned.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Potato Chicken and Chard Soup

Extended Shelf Life for: Swiss Chard, Potatoes
When winter rolls around my heart skips a beat and my taste buds beg for soups, stews and chili. I realize not everyone enjoys the biting cold of winter, especially a Laramie/Wyoming winter, but I absolutely love it! I love being in flannel pjs and slippers with a large mug of hot tea, a book and a blanket curled up on the sofa - of course that moment follows making a hearty, delicious soup.

 I love soup.

Can't get enough! And in my adult years/dumpster diving years, I've discovered that hearty greens in a soup are an absolute win! Sasuage, Kale and Potato soup is one of my favorites and a frequent 'go-to' recipe during the late fall and long winter months.

This is essentially a variation of Sausage, Kale and Potato Soup and equally delicious and hearty and for those who might care: a bit more healthy.


Toss 2-3 diced Medium Potatoes and 1 diced Onion in a touch of Olive Oil. Season as desired (salt, pepper, rosemary, etc.) Roast at 375 for 45 minutes. In a large stock pot heat a touch of Olive Oil and fry up 2-3 Chicken Breasts or Chicken Thighs (thighs are dark meat, so not as lean, but possibly cheaper and still delicious, so go for it!). Remove and cut or dice cooked chicken into bite size pieces. Pour in 4-6 cups Chicken Broth/Water into stock pot and incorporate chicken bits into the broth for added flavor. When potatoes are nearly done or completely finished, throw into the broth and bring to a boil. Using an immersion blender, blend a bit of the soup to create a semi-creamy texture. Add chicken pieces. Wash and tear into bite size pieces 1 bunch of Swiss Chard, throw into soup, let wilt. Season with sour cream, milk, half-and-half or plain yogurt. Serve with crusty bread and a nice brew, enjoy!

Things you DON'T have to do:
  • Roast the Potatoes: I simply did this for added flavor, but it's definitely not necessary.
  • Blend the Soup: This was more a texture and appearance adjustment, but isn't necessary by any means.
  • Use Chicken: Sausage or Bacon would be nice as well.
  • Use Swiss Chard: Kale or another hearty green, perhaps even spinach at the very last minute, would work out just as well.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Chinese Style Eggplant and Potatoes

Extended Shelf Life: Eggplant, Potato, Bell Pepper, Onion, Jalapeno
While living in South Korea we discovered two things: a) Every nation has a different take on Chinese food and b) Authentic Chinese food, when discovered, is absolutely, friggin' fantastic! While living in Daejeon, we discovered a fantastic little Chinese restaurant which our British friend described as being 'Proper". Within minutes of having our plates set before us we realized that 'Proper Chinese' was the best Chinese. 

So, when a wealth of eggplants landed in my sink, I was quick to remember a tasty eggplant and potato dish and went to searching for a recipe which would bless our taste buds and remind us of a meal, and people, we dearly loved.

Original Recipe and inspiration from MiJoRecipes

Heat oil (enough to nearly cover potatoes and eggplants when being fried, you'll definitely need to be adding more throughout the process) over medium heat. When oil is ready (sizzles when sprinkled with water) deep fry the potato until golden and crispy. Next, fry the eggplant until beautifully browned. In a wok, heat 1 Tbsp. Oil, saute the bell pepper and 1 diced Jalapeno until tender. Add the previously fried potatoes and eggplant. In a small dish, mix together 1 1/2 Tbsp. Soy Sauce, 1/2 Tbsp. Sugar, and 2 cloves minced Garlic. Pour over vegetables and heat through until aromatic. Serve over rice and bust out the chopsticks!
For more on Eggplants and other recipe inspiration check out my more detailed and interactive Squidoo Lens: The Art of Salvaging {Eggplant}

Friday, September 21, 2012

Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

Extended Shelf Life for: Strawberries

Truth be told, I get pretty excited when a batch of dumpster strawberries make their way into 519 Kitchen. A second truth to share is that I really missed cream cheese while living in South Korea so I'm definitely incorporating it into as many meals, post-meals, etc. as I possibly can. That being said, when dumpster strawberries arrived and I realized cream cheese was just waiting to be used, I cracked open a cook book and went to work tweaking and adjusting until these flaky little morsels came hot out of the oven.


Combine 1 cup Flour and 1/3 cup Brown Sugar in a medium bowl. Cut in 6 Tbsp. Cold Butter until you have a mixture of fine crumbs. Set aside 1/2 cup of this mixture for topping while pressing the remaining crumbs into an non-greased square baking dish. Bake crust at 350 for about 15 minutes.

While crust is baking, dice a handful (depending on your 'harvest') or two of strawberries and sprinkle with sugar, to taste (2-4 Tbsp.). In a small bowl, beat 1 package Cream Cheese for 30 seconds on medium speed. Add 1/4 cup Sugar and beat until fluffy. Add 1 Egg, 2 Tbsp. Milk, and 1/2 tsp. Vanilla and beat until well mixed. Fold in syrupy, sweetened, deliciously salvaged strawberries.

Spread cream cheese mixture onto crust, sprinkle with reserved topping. Bake 20-25 additional minutes until done. Cool in pan, store in the refrigerator (if they last that long).

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Eggplant Tomato Pasta

Extended Shelf Life for: Eggplant, Basil, Onion and Tomatoes
I absolutely LOVE salvaging eggplants, they have quickly become one of my favorite vegetables to experiment with and discover, this dish came together quickly and easily and left both Mike and I feeling quite content and satisfied!

In a large skillet, heat about 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil over medium-high heat, add 2 Eggplants worth of cubes, saute about 10 minutes until tender. If needed, add additional olive oil. Saute 1/2 of a chopped Onion with eggplant for about 5 minutes, add 2-4 cloves, minced garlic, saute another 2-3 minutes. Add 6 diced Roma Tomatoes to the skillet, reduce heat and cook until tomatoes are tender and break down slightly. Mix the eggplant sauce with the pasta seasoning with salt and pepper and additional olive oil if needed. Tear fresh Basil and sprinkle over pasta mix, top with your choice of Italian cheese, enjoy!

For more on Eggplants and other recipe inspiration check out my more detailed and interactive Squidoo Lens: The Art of Salvaging {Eggplant}

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Egyptian M'saa'a

Extended Shelf Life: Eggplant, Pepper, Tomatoes

My first experiences with eggplants came by way of salvaged eggplants. Since those first moments with the spongy, purple veg I've come to love experimenting and playing with eggplant. Searching through my Kindle brought to the surface this delicious eggplant casserole, it is absolutely fantastic and highly recommended!

Inspired by: Nile Style: Egyptian Style Cuisine and Culture by Amy Riolo

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

 Heat 1 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute 1 small Onion until translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add 1 diced Anaheim Pepper and 6 cloves minced Garlic and cook until golden and aromatic. Add 3 cups Tomatoes, 1 tsp. ground Coriander, 1 tsp. ground Cumin and salt and pepper to taste. Bring tomato mixture to a boil, cover and reduce heat, simmer for 20 minutes or until thickened.

While the tomato sauce thickens, prepare the eggplant in a large wide skillet with one inch of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. When oil is hot (a drop of water sizzles when flicked into the oil is one way to test the readiness), add the eggplant slices and fry on both sides, about five minutes, until golden and soft. Drain cooked eggplants on a wire rack or plate covered with paper towels.

Once all pieces are ready, it's time to assemble the Ma'saa'a/Lasagna/Casserole. In a 9 inch cake pan, oval casserole dish or square casserole dish simply layer ingredients starting with eggplant, followed by sauce and cheese until all the ingredients are used and the dish is full. Bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes until cheese and sauce bubbles and a crust begins to form around the edges.

Enjoy with rice or crusty bread!

For more on Eggplants and other recipe inspiration check out my more detailed and interactive Squidoo Lens: The Art of Salvaging {Eggplant}

Monday, September 17, 2012

Thai Chicken Pasta

We returned to our original 519 Kitchen with the added benefit of random condiments remaining in the refrigerator. Ones such condiment was a Thai Marinade from a local Pizzeria. Remembering this very pizzeria's infamous Thail Chicken Pizza, I decided to do something similar replacing the pizza crush with some pasta, marinating some chicken, chopping some green onions and tossing in some mozzarella cheese. A fabulously quick, simple and light meal for the early fall months (or days if you happen to live in Laramie, WY).

Friday, September 14, 2012

Preserving the Harvest: Raisin Making

Extended Shelf Life: Grapes
One of the greatest joys of returning to our dumpster-diving Laramie life is the promise of home-dried raisins. When we discover grapes in abundance, our favorite thing to do is to wash and prepare them for the dehydrator and letting them go for 3-4 days until they are perfectly dried, juicy and fantastically delicious.

If you have an abundance of grapes and a dehydrator, you will not regret home-drying your own raisins.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Peach and Plum Cobbler

Extended Shelf Life: Peaches and Plums
I've been happy to return home and enjoy the fruits of my neighbor's CSA, the only agreement I've been required to make is to share anything made with their CSA share with them ^^ We thoroughly enjoyed sharing this cobbler of mixed peaches and plums.


Preheat oven to 400 F.

Toss 6 cups chopped peaches and plums with 1 Tbsp. Cornstarch, 1/4 cup Brown Sugar, and a dash of Cinnamon. Tumble into a prepared square baking dish.

For topping, mix together 1 cup Flour, 2 Tbsp. Sugar, 1 1/2 Tsp. Baking Powder, and 1/4 tsp. Salt. Cut in 1/4 cup butter. Separately, mix together 1 Egg and 1/2 cup Milk. Add to the flour mixture, stirring until just moistened. Spoon on top of the filling. Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown, cool for about an hour before serving.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Curry Spinach and Potato Soup

Extended Shelf Life: Carrots, Potatoes, Tomatoes
The great thing about crockpots is it's quite easy to simply throw things in and let it go to work for the day. The unfortunate thing is...when you're more than a month behind on updating the good ole blog, it's a bit difficult to remember the exact process used.



Wash and quarter a significant number of fingerling potatoes. Also chop 1-2 carrots, and some tomatoes. Throw into the crock pot. Season with curry powder, turmeric, coriander, salt, pepper, etc. For broth, use chicken broth and coconut milk until vegetables are submerged. Cook on low 6-8 hours or high 3-5 hours. During the last 30 minutes, add washed and chopped spinach until wilted. Serve over rice or with naan or simply as soup and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Beer Cheese Soup

Extended Shelf Life: Onions and Carrots
That's Right! Extended Shelf Life!

That can only mean one thing!?!?!

We're back in the land of abundance and waste and we're hitting up the grocers dumpsters and proving that expiration dates and scarred food don't make food inedible...just in need of some immediate tender loving care.

So when our good friend Harris, who heard about our dumpster diving ways while we all lived and taught in South Korea made his way out west, it seemed only fitting that he a) go for a dive and b) eat the fruits of his labor.

And since we were all so fresh to the homeland, it seemed most fitting that this inauguration meal incorporate a tasty micro brew and creamy delicious cheese.


In a large saucepan over medium heat, stir together 1 1/2 cups chopped Carrots, 1 1/2 cups chopped Onions and 2 minced cloves of Garlic. Add 1 Tbsp. Hot Pepper sauce, 1/8 tsp. Cayenne Pepper and salt and pepper to taste.

Add 3 cups of Broth and 2 cups of flat Beer, simmer til veggies are tender. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, heat 1/3 cup Butter in large soup pot over medium high heat. Stir in 1/3 cup flour with a whisk until flour is light brown. Gradually stir in 4 cups of Milk. Maintaining your whisking action, gradually add in 6 cups of shredded Cheddar Cheese, letting it melt and incorporate with each addition.

Stir the beer and veggie mixture into the cheese mixture. Season with 1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard, 2 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce and 1 tsp. Dry Mustard. Add additional Hot Pepper Sauce if desired, simmer 10 minutes and serve up on a chilly fall night with a set of good friends and perhaps some football on the tele if you're so inclined.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Sausage and Kale Soup

Upon returning to Laramie and even to our old abode, I was not disappointed when our good friends and upstairs neighbors/home-owners offered me the opportunity to do some food prep with their CSA veggies, so long as everyone in the house could have some food to chow-down on.

When I saw the fridge filled with Kale and realized that Italian Sausage was just a few blocks away at the local grocers, I remembered this Sausage and Kale soup from a couple years ago and knew exactly what to do!


4 cups Potatoes, peeled and diced
1 lb. Italian Sausage
1 lg. Onion, diced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 bunch Kale, green or purple, chopped
3 qts. Broth or Cold Chaser Tea
1 cup Heavy Cream (can also substitute yogurt, sour cream and/or milk)
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Frank's Red Hot Sauce, to taste


Boil potatoes until tender. Meanwhile, in a seperate pot, cook Italian sausage. Remove sausage from pan, drain some drippings if there are a lot or just use them to saute onion and garlic. Stir in Kale, cook about 2 minutes, then add broth. Drain potatoes, add potatoes and sausage, salt and pepper, cook until heated through. Before serving, add Heavy Cream, heat through.
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