Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Use it up!

Cheesy Potato Bake

The potatoes are local, the ones I bought at the Farmer's Market a week ago Sunday last. This dish was inspired by a friend's Mom's Broccoli Cheese Potato Bake. It was made with sliced potatoes and sliced onions, layered with an undiluted can of Campbell's Broccoli Cheese Soup on top and baked. It's been a LONG time since I've seen that Broccoli Cheese Soup anywhere. Since I had a few steamed broccoli spears and asparagus spears left over, I thought I'd improvise. So I peeled and sliced the local potatoes, mixed it up with the leftover vegetables which I chopped into chunks, and sprinkled on a plastic box of diced onion and celery I had in the refrigerator. I had a can of Campbell's Cheddar Cheese Soup. This mixture I cooked about an hour in a 350F oven until the potatoes were tender.

I've been reading a lot of stories about the Great Depression lately (funny how a downturn will turn these up everywhere) and having been a late baby of a couple who lived through that era, I internalized a few things. Such as not wasting things. So although I missed on being completely local, this dish did nicely use up things that needed to be used. I think part of the lesson of the challenge is seeing that eating choices need to be integrated in the pattern of your life. If I had been eating consistently local previous to this special challenge, it would not be such a challenge to have a much higher percentage of the food be truly local. Actually, weaving going to the Farmer's Markets and finding local sources of more exotic ingredients is something that can be a kind of meditation and appreciation experienced with all the four senses. A very positive side benefit!

I think that the frugalities learned through the Depression were in many ways a forerunner of being green -- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle has a lot of similarity to a little ditty my mother used to repeat:

Use it Up
Wear it Out
Make it Do
Or do Without

And the improvised bake tasted quite good!


cookiecrumb said...

I think you're getting it. The point of the challenge is to educate yourself, to think about what you're eating.

I love your mother's ditty.

Rev. Biggles said...

Oh man, I'm so hungry. Been home alone sick and the sight of those taters just tossed my from my chair (not too terribly tough). I absolutely adore potatoes and "sauce"!

I'll bet some rendered bacon would have been really good in there, just a hunch.


Anna Haight said...

Cookiecrumb: Thanks, I'm certainly thinking a lot about it. I thought about it before, but not with every bite!

Rev. Biggles: So sorry to hear you are under the weather. I agree, potatoes with rendered bacon would be over the top. This dish would certainly compliment your fantastic meat artistry!

namastenancy said...

That recipe sounds totally delicious and just the kind of comfort food that my grandmother would make on cold, wet Oregon weekends. Although I am afraid of what our Wall Street meltdown will mean for the average person, it's not a bad thing for us to be a lot more frugal. I think that the US uses a huge portion of the world's resources and if we cut back - by having more broccoli, potato and cheese soup - that will be a Good Thing.