Friday, December 31, 2010

A farewell to 2010, with mini quiches

It has been a good year for One Hot Stove. Here are a few highlights:

1. The summer of 2010 had me moving into a new kitchen and sharing a few pics of my new playground. Two new appliances found their way into my kitchen- an ice cream maker which kept us happy all summer (and my peeps decided that the peanut butter chocolate was their favorite flavor of all the ones I tried), and a rice cooker that I use on a daily basis, making me wonder why I lived without it for so long.

2. I discovered two brownie recipes that I absolutely love, fudgy cocoa brownies and cheesecake brownies, and I hereby declare that my brownie needs have been met (each of these recipes has been made multiple times this year) and I won't be chasing after new brownie recipes in 2011. Maybe.

3. In keeping with my goal of making basic staples at home whenever possible, I continued to make yogurt at home this year and got much better with practice. And I haven't posted it on the blog, but this year I started making ghee at home, inspired by the Back to Basics event. Taking a cue from PJ, I have been adding a curry leaf to my home-made ghee and the resulting ghee is the most wonderful thing.

4. We enjoyed local food tremendously this year, buying produce from local farmers through Summer and Fall and enjoying them in dishes such as this roasted tomato chutney with dosa.

5. I am thrilled that I finally started composting my kitchen scraps on a regular basis. I also resolved to minimize food waste, and I hope to further streamline my cooking life in 2011.

6. I had been missing the Monthly Blog Patrol event and so launched a similar event, Blog Bites in February- it has been fun (the next round will be in February- I'm taking Jan off from the event to spend some time updating the recipe index and other blog housekeeping). My favorite was this round where we used up items lurking in the pantry and fridge.

7. Thanks to the Of Chalks and Chopsticks event, I wrote two stories and have a new-found respect for fiction writers! It is fun to try something new even if you do risk making a fool of yourself in quite a public way.

8. On a whim, I live-blogged a few hours of my Thanksgiving cooking marathon and enjoyed the experience of a cozy day cooking at home while the first snow of the season silently cloaked the world outside.

9. I've said it before and I'll say it again- my favorite recipes come from other food bloggers, not from cookbooks or TV shows or any other sites. Here are just three of the recipes that I discovered this year that are part of my life now: Kanchan's soy kheema, Richa's Punjabi dal and Arundati's tomato saalan. I love you, all the wonderful bloggers out there, thank you for sharing and being my teachers.

10. Finally, I practiced the art of making pie crust at home and made this chocolate pecan pie twice this holiday season. It was probably our favorite dessert in a year of many great desserts.

Pie crust (although that time it was a store bought one) was the basis for our favorite appetizer of the year, samosa crostata, which took the familiar flavors of samosa and converted it into an easy no-fry crowd-pleaser of a recipe.

With my new-found confidence in pie crust, I made mini quiches for a lunch potluck with my knitting group last weekend. I often make crust-less quiches, but on this occasion, I wanted the works- the flaky buttery crust and the delicate savory filling.

We love caramelized onions in my home, and the recipe that inspired these quiches is here. This appetizer certainly is time-intensive and a labor of love, but the taste is terrific- the mini quiches disappeared in no time.

Caramelized Onion Mini Quiches

Step 1. I started by making the full recipe of pie crust (but only ended up using 3/4 of it, so cutting down on the amount of pie crust would be OK).

Step 2. While the pie crust was chilling in the fridge, I caramelized onions. Thinly slice 3 large red onions and saute them in 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil with a sprinkling of salt. Caramelize 30-40 minutes on medium-low heat. In the last minute of cooking, add 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar.

Step 3. Pre-bake the crusts. You need muffin pans for this recipe- I used 18 muffin cups in all (one large 12 cup pan and one 6-cup pan). Heat the oven to 350 F. Roll out pie crust, then use a cookie cutter (or a katori with an edge like I did) to cut out rounds. I then rolled each round some more into a thinner circle and eased each circle into a muffin cup. Prick the pastry all over with a fork and bake for 15-20 minutes until very slightly brown.

Step 4. While the crusts are baking, finish making the filling. Stir the following into the caramelized onions and mix well:
  • 1/2 cup light cream/ heavy cream/ half and half
  • 3 eggs (I used 2 egg whites and 1 whole egg)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar (or other hard cheese)
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • Large handful minced cilantro/ parsley/ chives
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Step 5. Spoon the filling into the par-baked crusts. Bake 20-25 minutes at 350 F until the filling is puffy and golden brown.

Happy New Year- 2011, here we come!

I hope 2011 brings each of you a bustling kitchen filled with the aromas of home cooking, the comfort that only a warm and full stomach can bring and friends and family who share the joy of good food.

What was your favorite food moment of 2010? Do share- I'd love to know.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Blog Bites: The Holiday Buffets

Welcome to the Blog Bites: Holiday buffet edition. We have two spreads for you- one for brunch and the other for dinner, for a whole day of festive eats. Each of these wonderful dishes has been inspired by a post on another blog in a gesture of sharing and friendship across the globe.

A brunch buffet

Janet is the queen of decadent breakfast treats and you can get your day to a fabulous start with her protein-rich quinoa porridge with sauteed pears, baked pumpkin cranberry oatmeal breakfast pudding which showcases the best flavors of the season, or fluffy oatmeal pancakes served with juicy berries. If you prefer fruit embedded inside your pancake so you can taste some in every bite, try some strawberry pancakes brought over by Megha. Or perhaps you want some toast spread with fresh butternut squash butter made by the Radioactive Vegan.

If a savory breakfast is more your thing, PJ has made a couple of dosa options- Chettinad dosai which is spiked with a dozen fragrant spices and soybean dosa, a delicious way to use up legumes from the pantry. Dip the crisp dosas into some spicy lentil spice powder.

To round off the brunch, enjoy a cup of your favorite hot beverage- coffee, chai or cocoa- with a thick slice of Tahemeem's mocha banana cake or a handful of Usha's savory onion crackers.

Now that you have eaten your fill, you have a few hours to go off and read a book, do some shopping, go for a walk in the snow or catch your favorite movie on TV. By 6 PM, we're getting hungry again and the table is set for the festive evening holiday buffet.

Dinner buffet

Herb-cheese rolls form a Christmas tree; I made these for the holidays inspired by this post from Sweetnicks.

Many of us (I won't name names) could happily live on snacks alone and I dare you to resist the appetizer options we have here. Grab a mug of mulled cider and and munch on Veena's stuffed crescent rollshot pakodis from Masala Magic, deep fried eggplant balls (!) from the Radioactive Vegan, irresistible paneer tikka shared by Kanchan or Preeti's Kutchi dabeli.

If you really want to warm up from the inside out, you need a bowl of PJ's bonda soup,  with lentil dumplings soaking in spicy rasam.

On the other table is the main course, starting with plenty of fresh baked breads: Supriya's stuffed braided bread could be a meal in itself. Denny shows her love for garlic (I understand; I love garlic too!) with garlic rolls and garlic naan. Use the warm breads to sop up any or all of these curries and stews: Turkish cranberry beans from Taste SpacePJ's soybean kurma, Su's palak paneer or Krithi's paneer tawa masala.

If you like rice, you have a choice of Tahemeem's capsicum masala rice and Denny's sprouts bell pepper pulao, with a side of any of these wonderful vegetables: eggplant in tomato sauce by Miri, PJ's stir-fried yardlong beans, Tahemeem's bottle gourd pachadi and PJ's gobi kasuri.

Radhika showcases seasonal produce with her roasted butternut squash. For a special winter treat, dig into Aqua's casserole of baked vegetables in white sauce.

From Asan Khana, we have a wonderful combination: Kerala egg curry with aloo palak paratha. For the pasta lovers among us, Su has a platter of kale mushroom spaghetti.

You'll be wishing that you saved plenty of room for dessert. If bite size desserts are your thing, choose from besan ladoos by Indosungod or another version of besan ladoos from SS, and Sonia's rava ladoos. PJ brought along a few simple sweets- banana nut cake, custard powder snack cake and maida burfi. SS also made Hello Dolly bars, a cute name for a tasty treat.

Monika made a beautiful marbled brownie cheesecake and Tanvi made red velvet cupcake with a rich frosting. Bong Mom made chocolate cupcakes that she says are better than anything, and I believe it. Bala brought two lovely mango desserts- mango ricotta cookies and white chocolate mango pie adorned with delicate snowflakes.

Sarah tried her hand (and succeeded!) at a classic Indian dessert, rasmalai. Soma made a show-stopper of a dessert with these gorgeous spiced poached pears with chocolate sauce. Finally, try a slice of my warm chocolate espresso pecan pie.

Pavani made a whole buffet of her own, with everything from granola as holiday gifts, mini-quiches and dip, a generations-old recipe of stuffed bitter melon and decadent desserts of tiramisu and fruit cake.

Thanks to all who carried beautiful platters of food to this potluck buffet- and here's hoping that in the new year we continue to see inspiring posts on our favorite food blogs, new recipes to bookmark, new techniques to learn and new ideas to share. Cheers, and thanks and hugs to my fellow food bloggers!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Butternut Squash Lentil Soup

We hosted a small dinner last night and the menu was an easy and satisfying one.

  • Soup- With sweet seasonal butternut squash and hearty lentils, with a touch of curry
  • Salad- Fresh greens with a choice of balsamic and ranch dressing
  • Bread- Cheesy bread straight out of the oven
  • Dessert- Warm brownies with coffee ice cream

The soup was something I made up on the fly, and even with the simple everyday ingredients, the taste was special enough to warrant a post here. This soup would be equally at home if it was served as a dal, with fresh rice and crunchy papads.

Kitchen King masala, that versatile spice mix, is what gives this soup an unexpected taste that has guests asking, "So what did you put in here"? If you don't have this masala, use your own favorite one.

Before starting with this recipe, you will need to cook butternut squash- either oven roasted (takes longer but is more flavorful) or cooked in the microwave.

Butternut Squash Lentil Soup

1. Rinse 1 cup brown lentils (whole masoor) and soak for a few hours if time permits.

2. In a large pot, heat 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil. Saute 1 medium chopped onion and 2-3 cloves minced garlic until translucent.

3. Add 3-4 cups cubed cooked butternut squash, soaked lentils, 2 tsp. paprika, 2 tsp. Kitchen King masala and 4 cups water or vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and simmer until the lentils are tender.

4. Taste for salt and seasoning. Add salt if required (you will if you used water in the previous step).

5. Garnish with fresh lemon juice and lots of minced herbs- either parsley or cilantro.

This cup of soup goes to Susan's My Legume Love Affair hosted this month by Priya at Mharo Rajasthan's Recipes.

To dunk into the soup, I wanted to make a pan of fresh bread and spotted the no knead garlic cheese flatbread in my bookmarks, from the Baker's Banter blog. I made the dough in my food processor and it came together in just a few minutes. Then I let it rise in the fridge for a few hours while I was at work, then transferred to an oiled pan and let it rise again for a bit while the oven preheated. The fresh bread was wonderful. Today I sliced up the leftovers and made crunchy breadsticks that you see in the picture.

The bread is going to Blog Bites: The Holiday Buffet.

It has been a while since I shared a knitting/crochet project on the blog. This is a little Christmas tree ornament I made for a swap partner, celebrating her first holiday as a knitter (she has been knitting for only a few months).

Finally, we got a plate of cookies artistically made by a little elementary-school-age friend. Isn't this reindeer cookie the cutest thing ever? I can't bear to eat him.

She also wrote me a very sweet card thanking me for the goodies and saying she "epeshely liked the hevanly rugula" awww- the baking was so worth it.

See you on Sunday evening with the Blog Bites Holiday Buffet. Sunday early morning is the deadline so if you have any last minute entries, please rush them to me. Enjoy this holiday weekend, everyone!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Season's Eatings

I spent a snowy Sunday baking up treats for the holidays. It is utter luxury to take a day off from weekend chores and social events and instead to chop chocolate, whip eggs, sprinkle spices, roll dough and fill the kitchen with the aroma of home baking. All while basking in the soft glow of a warm home while snow piles up outside the windows. 

This is the resulting gift box of festive eats, and the photo is my submission to No Croutons Required: The Festive Photos Edition. On the right is rugelach, a filled pastry, in the middle are little cups of sweet-spicy roasted nuts, and on the left are Dorie Greenspan's famous world peace cookies

I've written a post about the world peace cookies before, here. My baking skills have improved a tad in the 3 years since I wrote that post, because I was a little better this time around at chopping chocolate, getting the dough together and baking nicer looking cookies. This is one delicious cookie, with a touch of salt highlighting the chocolate flavor.  They are eggless, short-bread like and simply melt in the mouth. 

If you want to make cookie dough in advance and keep it on hand for last-minute baking, this recipe is perfect. I kept one roll of dough in the freezer and it came in very handy this week when I wanted to take cookies to a friend whose baby was in the hospital- we love you, baby Henry!

The second cookie was rugelach, a traditional Jewish cookie that I have wanted to make for a long time. The question is- which recipe to use? Dorie Greenspan has a recipe for rugelach with a chocolate filling but I wanted a more traditional nuts and cinnamon filling instead. The King Arthur blog wrote a very tempting post on rugelach last month and I decided to try that recipe instead. But baking day dawned and I had no sour cream on hand, so in the end I went with Ina Garten's recipe

The recipe is well-written and was a joy to make. The cream cheese dough rolls out beautifully. I used orange marmalade instead of the apricot preserves, and there is simply no need to puree this in the food processor as the recipe suggests. Instead you can nuke it for a few seconds if needed to make the jam easier to spread. I skipped the sugar-cinnamon topping after the egg wash but otherwise followed the recipe closely. 

Here are the rugelach- not bad for a first attempt. They taste fantastic- a rich flaky dough encasing a sweet nutty filling, and they are small enough that one or two make a satisfying accompaniment to a cup of tea.

You have to be careful to tuck in the ends securely when you roll the pastries; I had a couple of them open up while baking and it resulted in these little pizza slice-like cookies. 

I sent some of the rugelach over for V to share with his colleagues. One of them is a Jewish lady from Russia (which means rugelach are part of her tradition) and she wrote me a sweet e-mail telling me she loved them and could she have the recipe. An Indian woman living in St. Louis making rugelach for an Eastern European friend- I got a kick out of that.

Finally, the glazed roasted nuts- I participate in swaps on Ravelry where knitters send gifts to each other, and in one of these wonderful packages, a knitter named Linda sent me a bag of these nuts along with a recipe card. They are addictive little snacks and we enjoyed them, so I made a mental note to try the recipes around the holidays. The recipe calls for pecans but I used equal parts pecans and walnuts.

Spicy-Sweet Pecans & Walnuts
(adapted from a recipe by Linda on Ravelry)
1. Preheat oven to 300 F.

2. Line a large (11 x 17 inch) rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

3. In a small bowl, mix together

  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. cayenne pepper (or more or less to taste)
  • 1 tbsp. paprika
  • 1/3 cup sugar
4. In a bowl, whip 2 large egg whites until foamy. I did this by hand with a whisk.

5. Gently stir in the spices and 5 cups total of raw pecan and walnut halves. Be careful that the egg whites stay as foamy as possible while mixing. 

6. Spread the nuts in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

7. Turn the oven down to 250 F. Rotate the sheet and continue baking for 15 more minutes. 

8. Let the nuts cool completely. Store in an airtight container. 

Here is the box of festive cheer, ready to be delivered.

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it. Wishing everyone Happy Holidays during this last fortnight of 2010.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The Leaning Tower of Stickiness

V's birthday cake is something of a tradition in our home because this guy loves his sweets. As opposed to me. You could pour potato chips into a bowl and stick a candle in it and I'd be quite giddy with happiness.

Anyway, I spent the last month poring over blogs to look for this year's birthday cake for V. One baking book was mentioned a lot- Sky High irresistible triple-layer cakes by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne (a niece and uncle team). I requested the book from the library and suddenly had so many options for the birthday boy to choose from.

Flipping through the book, I was eyeing a chocolate-hazelnut beauty and a dulce de leche cake but instantly knew THE one: triple-decker Boston cream pie. In our years in NYC, V has enjoyed many (and I really don't want to make an estimate here) Boston cream doughnuts from Dunkin Donuts. He loved that rich vanilla pastry cream encased in crisp fried dough. This doughnut is a take on a classic American dessert called Boston Cream Pie.

Boston Cream Pie contains no cream whatsoever and is not a pie. It does have a connection to Boston, having been invented by a pastry chef there. It is an airy vanilla cake filled with a rich vanilla filling and topped with a bittersweet chocolate glaze- full of simple and classic flavors.

I won't post the triple decker Boston Cream Pie recipe here because the recipe from the book has been posted in its entirety on two blogs, one for a 60th birthday celebration, and another for a 14th birthday party. It looks like people of all ages enjoy this flavor! Get the recipe from this blog if you'd like to try it.

The authors explain that cakes come in different varieties (I definitely learned something new here): butter cakes are the most familiar kind with butter and sugar creamed together and baking powder or baking soda to help them rise. Then there are the foam cakes like sponge cakes and angel food cakes where whipped egg whites give the rising action. Finally, chiffon cakes are a combination, containing both eggs and baking powder, plus some fat, usually oil instead of butter.

Their Boston cream pie is a chiffon cake, it uses 8 eggs- separated- where the whites are beaten to frothy ribbons with sugar before folding in yolks and oil and flour and baking powder. The batter is unbelievably light and airy and bakes into spongy golden cakes.

Meanwhile, I made the rich vanilla custard with egg yolks and some cornstarch and milk. Their directions were so detailed and precise that making the custard was a gratifying experience. In making this cake, it really helps to have two people working together because there's lots of whisking and stirring involved.

My only problem was that I used 8 inch cake pans instead of 9 inch ones as the book called for, resulting in taller cakes. Add to that the thick custard and sticky glaze and the result was an unsteady tower that did not look anything close to picture perfect. Next time, I will bake this in a sheet pan. Never mind sky high!

Here's the finished cake in its utterly sloppy but delectable glory-

The important thing is, the cake tasted fantastic. Even with 14 eggs (!!!) there was not a hint of eggy smell, just the glorious taste of vanilla and chocolate and a light and tender crumb soaking in the custard. Here's to another wonderful year for my wonderful guy!

Thanks for everyone who left thoughtful and inspiring comments on my last post; I've added some of your tips at the end of that post for all to read.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

12 Tips to Minimize Food Waste

I've been reading the blog Wasted Food for several months. When the blog author, Jonathan Bloom, wrote a book about food waste in the US, I checked it out of the library and have been reading it over the past week.

We all know about the fact that there is a lot of food being wasted and we all agree that it is a bad thing. But the book has some stunning facts and statistics that got me thinking. In chapter one, the author talks about food waste at every stage from the time the food is produced until it end up in the kitchen- the farm, factories, transport, supermarkets. Chapter two is about why food waste matters- the economic impact, the environmental impact and the ethics. The third chapter describes the irony of food waste when there is so much hunger in the US and around the world; chapter four discusses how food waste mirrors a society that is driven by consumerism and mindless consumption. Chapter five talks about how our insistence on polished perfection in fruits and vegetables leads to so much waste of perfectly nutritious, edible food. Chapter six focuses on restaurant waste.

I am looking forward to reading the rest of the chapters about food waste at home and abut ways to tackle the problem. This book is a must-read for everyone who loves food and hates to see it wasted in such colossal amounts. If you are in the US, your local library probably has a copy.

If we expect any changes in policy on a national and global level, the mindset and action must start at home. Cutting out food waste completely (or as close to 100% as possible) remains a goal for me; I am not there yet.

These are my 12 mantras for cutting down food waste- that I keep chanting to myself. Reading this book made me want to share them with you. 

1. Keep the fridge clean and clutter free. Out of sight really is out of mind (and mouth). By knowing where everything is, food is not hidden or forgotten. I have zones in the fridge for prepared food (ready to eat, such as leftovers), dairy and eggs, fruits and vegetables, and for ingredient that need to be used up (half used cans of coconut milk or tomato, or a  partial block of cheese, say). Seeing these grouped together triggers the reminder to eat them up.

2. Plan meals. As my tea brews in the morning, I spend 30 seconds glancing at the food I have on hand in the fridge and pantry (and that needs to be used up quickly) and fashioning a menu for the day's dinner. I cannot expect to be too creative during the evening rush when we are already tired and hungry. As a bonus, the morning menu planning makes our evenings run very smoothly because deciding on the menu is half the battle. Instead of saying, "What do you feel like eating?" repeatedly to each other, V and I simply team up and cook dinner in 30 minutes while chatting about our day, with leftovers for lunch the next day.

3. Keep some fridge (and pantry and freezer)- cleaning recipes handy. Soup and stew is a good vehicle for all sorts of ingredients you may want to use up. I also like making mixed-vegetable subzis; they taste unique every time even with the same spices. And just about any leftover bits and bobs can be stuffed into a tortilla with cheese and cooked on a griddle with tasty results. In fact, my made-up meals are the ones that we seem to enjoy the most.

4. Be careful while trying "risky" recipes. This is a tough one for someone like me who gets tremendous joy from trying new things. But it is incredibly wasteful to try a new recipe and throw out the whole thing either because you messed up while making it or because it tasted awful. I try to choose recipes where I can predict that we will like them (and that I can make them properly) but it still happens about once a year. Last month, I tried making a burfi recipe for Diwali and it burned and was awful and had to be trashed :(  

5. Consolidate ingredients. The more ingredients you stuff into your kitchen, the higher the likelihood that they will expire or spoil before they are used up, or you will move from that home and trash the lot. After using recipes that called for diced tomatoes, pureed tomatoes, tomato paste and tomato sauce, I now buy only one tomato product- whole canned tomatoes and substitute it for all the other versions. Similarly, buttermilk powder keeps forever in the fridge instead of fresh buttermilk for baked goods and pancakes. If you like cooking from different cuisines, the varieties of oils and rices and spices seem to add up but I try to keep them in check so everything can be used up in a reasonable amount of time.  

6. You can always take seconds. Much is said about the "clean plate club" but I would never ever advocate leaving food on a plate in order to watch what one eats. Why not take smaller servings, eat every last bite and serve yourself some more if you are still hungry? 

7. Don't overeat. This is another waste of food at the most fundamental level, isn't it? 

8. Pause while shopping. The potential for food waste begins the second we buy the food. It is easy to lose control when you are in a food store with its enticing displays, when the word "sale" appears, when food is sold in gigantic bulk quantities that convince you that it is a bargain. But it makes sense to pause right there at the store and really ask- do I need this? Will I use it?  

9. ShareWhen we have friends over for dinner, I hand them empty food containers at the end of the meal and invite them to make themselves a lunch box for the next day. Far from being offended about being offered leftovers, everyone seems to be delighted at taking home extra food and that way it all gets eaten. When we visit friends, they similarly are happy to share leftover food with us. V's colleagues always seem to like it when I send over extra food and baked goods for them.

10. Less than perfect food is still 100% OK to use. You can stir-fry wilted greens and they still taste fine. You can cut the rotting spot off a tomato and still cook the rest. Dried out rice can be revived with a splash of water and a few minutes in a microwave oven or steamer. One has to use common sense and have a working understanding of food safety, but even ingredients that are not shiny and polished like what TV chefs use will result in good eats. 

11. Compost as much as possible. If you cook on a regular basis, a large portion of the trash you generate will be in the form of peels and scrapings of fruits and vegetables- and it is tragic if they end up in a landfill instead of returning to the soil as fertilizer by way of composting. I've had mixed success with this one.

I tried the Bokashi method (anaerobic fermentation) and it was a miserable failure (I can't bring myself to talk about it, it was that wretched, let's just say a lot of maggots were involved)
, most likely because the container I used was not airtight.

However, we have a wonderful community garden nearby and my neighbor happens to be the composting czar there. He has set up large vermicomposting bins there for the community to use (see a pic below). So I collect my kitchen scraps- vegetable peels, stalks, egg shells, tea leaves- in a box in the fridge and go over and dump them in the compost bin every 3-4 days. It has reduced our trash production very significantly. I will never go back to throwing kitchen waste in the garbage destined for the landfill.

12. Be a good role model. I was raised in a home where wasting food was just not the done thing. This had to do with principles and morals, not with any lack of food. All my life, I will rinse out cans of tomato to add to the curry and scrape out the last smidgen of jam with a piece of bread- because it is ingrained into me that this is the right thing to do. Whether we realize it or not, others (especially kids) are watching us and copying our behavior, good or bad.

Do you agree with this list? What would you add to it? What is your own attitude towards food waste?

Edit: Thanks to everyone who wrote thoughtful comments on this post. Here are some of the tips you all shared-

  1. PleaseDoNotFeedTheAnimals: Make a weekly meal planner the day before you go food shopping. 
  2. Amruta: Shop 2-3 times a week.
  3. Namita: If you've cooked too much food, freeze the excess.
  4. Niranjana: Quit the warehouse shopping habit. 
  5. Harini-Jaya: Recycle leftovers into new dishes, like making vegetable cutlets with them. 
  6. Johanna: Get to know the flavors you love so you can focus on them in the kitchen.
  7. Desiknitter: Add stems and stalks (eg. from spinach and cauliflower) to dal instead of discarding them.
  8. Sue: Feed veggie scraps to your free range chickens and meat scraps to your dogs!
  9. Mina: Be grateful for leftovers- it means you have food for a day that has not even dawned yet.
  10. Miri: Plan meals so you can use up the most perishable vegetables (eg. greens) very quickly after buying them.
  11. Anusha: Those little packets of ketchup and sugar in restaurants- use them at home or return them as soon as you are seated so they are not wasted.
  12. Raaga: To keep vegetables from rotting in the crisper, chop them and freeze them while they are still fresh.
  13. Amruta: Check out Shelf Life Advice to maximize usage while minimizing waste.
  14. Angela: Have a "Smörgåsbord" night and enjoy a dinner of leftovers where everyone gets a little bit of everything until the fridge is empty.
  15. Lakshmi: "When we are aware of what we eat, how we cook, and how the food nourishes our body and our soul, we truly respect food and treat it well."
  16. Caffettiera: Prepare a big pantry-cleaning buffet and invite all your friends!
  17. Diane: The 5 minute rule to control impulse buying- When something new and exciting catches your eye while shopping for food, put it down and come back to it after finishing your shopping.