Poverty Is Not an Accident

Poverty Is Not an Accident
Nelson Mandela

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Kill self pity with "Almond Joyfuls" & Asian pork

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Ok, so Janice took a notion for Chinese and asked people on facebook to join her today for lunch. Well, I'm fifty miles away. It's too cold for me to wash my hair; there will be no hitch hiking with wind blowing and snow expected. I was feeling pretty sorry for myself.

Fortunately, during yesterday's preparations for the storm, I took out one of my little pork roasts and put it in the fridge to thaw.

First, let me tell you what I made this morning. I have some marked-down Danish butter cookies in tins. I used to love them as a kid; some had cherries, some currants, some chocolate chips, some coconut . . . not anymore. Now, they're just plain butter cookies, but still in the traditional shapes. They even cut down on the sugar on top! And it's not table sugar; it's big crystals that crunch satisfyingly. But there's not much on some, and none on others. So, the cookies, which have probably been around six months or more, now that it's February, were a bit depressing to consider.

I also have some semi-sweet kisses a friend sent me. I don't like semi-sweet chocolate by itself; it tastes burnt to me. I do like to cook with it.

I also have close to a dozen bags of sweetened, shaved coconut I got for a quarter each, after xmas, that are safe in my freezer.

And yesterday, I fried some raw almonds in some sesame oil, just for a treat, and had some left over. I don't have but 2 teeth left to chew with; cooked nuts hurt less. I got the almonds, and whole walnut meats, marked down last summer at a grocery store. I bought all they had and froze them. They only cost me about a dollar per pound that way.

"Almond Joyful" cookies
So: spread butter cookies on a cookie sheet, greased with sesame oil.
cover in shredded, sweetened coconut.
place one kiss per cookie
bake on low
when kisses start to melt, smash each in the center with toasted almond
 when kisses are melted, sprinkle with more coconut and smash
this lets the chocolate "glue" the coconut and almond to the cookie
Allow to cool, if you can stand it.

So, I had a bit of coconut left. I also have most of a case of canned pineapple I bought last summer on  sale. 

Sliced pork into "chops," sprinkled with soy sauce, covered in juice from canned pineapple.
Sprinkle with ginger powder, sesame seeds, fresh-ground black pepper, dried onions, garlic powder, cayenne pepper flakes and pineapple. i also threw in a hand full of toffee coated peanuts i had in the freezer. Since the canned vegetables have no flavor or texture, but might have a vitamin or mineral somewhere left, I add peanuts that have soaked in that pineapple juice and cooked tender to add not only a slightly Thai flavor, but a "mouth feel" rather like fresh vegetables: tender but crunchy.
Cook thoroughly on both sides.
Add 2 cans of horrible, food pantry/commodity mixed vegetables that have been drained and rinsed.
Add 1 can mushrooms. Cook until warm.

I also have some food pantry rice a neighbor brought me. She thinks it doesn't taste good, but the problem is not the rice, but how she stores it. She just throws the plastic bag, unprotected, into the freezer, where it absorbs odors and tastes stale. She'd be better off decanting the rice into clean soda bottles, tightly capped, before freezing. But she gives it to me, smelly.

I rinse it off before I cook it. It will still have a very, very mild odor to it. I would never eat it plain; that would be too depressing. But it's good mixed with stuff. For instance, I ate some last night with butter, shredded Cheddar cheese and just a dash of Parmesan cheese and a hint of garlic. It was very good. Also, it's good breakfast rice with butter, milk, sugar and cinnamon.

Well, I have enough rice left that, once the vegetables and mushrooms are hot, I can use the sauce from my pork to pour over the rice, spoon on vegetables, and cut up some pork.

It will taste absolutely awesome and i won't feel deprived or forced to eat crap, just because I'm poor.

Total cost for a dish that will probably feed me 10 meals or more:
Rice                      free
1 lb pork roast     $2.00
coconut               $0.25
vegetables            free
mushrooms          $0.50
pineapple              $0.75
seasonings, sesame seeds, sesame oil
cookies                 $2.00
chocolate              free
almonds               $0.25
peanuts                $0.25

I hope they had fun at the Chinese restaurant. I had a BLAST doing this!


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