A few years ago my son attended our four week Dr. Sears Prime Time Health class, and afterwards asked a great question: “Can you give me a list of key ingredients with which to stock my kitchen?”
It’s a great question. And not surprising that it came from an engineer. In diet, as in construction, once you have the right building blocks, the rest of the process goes much smoother. Towards that end, my wife and I have helped people with “pantry and fridge makeovers” – how to purge and stock my pantry/fridge in order to eat real food.
My mom had a phrase she often used – “catch as catch can,” which means: using whatever means or materials are available. It’s actually how I made my meals growing up: looking in the fridge, seeing what’s there, and combining them in a skillet, usually with some eggs. What has been a culinary surprise for us in the past few years, is how often we trip across amazing meals doing exactly that.
Recently we took a three week extended camping/Air B&B trip. As usual, Yvonne packed a bin and cooler of food before we left. About a week into our trip I took the attached video. It captures the building blocks we had on hand. I took that video a few days after Yvonne made a catch-as-catch-can meal which we were so pleased with we wrote down the recipe.f
Recipe 1: Catch-As-Catch-Can Surprise (1/29/21)
Sauté in Avocado Oil 1/3 Red Onion, 1/2 Orange Pepper, 3-4 Swiss Chard leaves and 2 cloves Garlic. Grill and dice two Organic Sweet Italian Sausages. Add a 6 oz.. can of Organic Diced Tomatoes and heat. Stir in the sautéed vegetables along with a cup of cooked Quinoa. Salt and pepper.
We thought it outstanding!
In going through our Fodor’s Travel book for the area, I was drawn to one of the Fodor starred (*) restaurants: Casa Tina. It caught my interest, and hoping to go, I reviewed the menu online. But with COVID, inclement weather and potential indoor crowds, we decided against it. However, the idea had been planted in my mind, or at least, in my desires. So that led us to…
Recipe 2: Casa Tina Air B&B! (1/31/21)
Yvonne made refried beans by sautéing in olive oil chopped red onion, a PBA-free can of organic pinto beans (Yvonne said to mention the PBA-free lining), and some garlic. I scrambled up a four organic free range eggs and 1/2 cup of Three Year Cheddar and Parmesan Cheeses (ideally organic, or grass fed). All we needed now was some wraps and topping. We had some low carb flour tortillas from La Tortilla Factory, added Organic Sour Cream, Kirkland Organic Salsa (a favorite) and some cilantro from my tower garden at home. It was outstanding!
This is how we roll most days. Meals seldom take longer than 15 minutes. The food is preferably fresh. And we try to know where our food comes from: how it’s grown and processed. Natural flavor so trumps artificial! The few times we end up at a restaurant, we are usually disappointed. If not with the taste, then from the bad gut feelings. It’s just not as good as what we make everyday.
That’s why Chad’s question was so good. When you have the right building blocks on hand, a little creative imagination and trial often results in meals you would set before guests. They don’t have to know it’s catch-as-catch-can.