I love using leftovers and items culled from the depths of the crisper bins in the refrigerator. I hate food waste. I've just discovered Wasted Food and, unfortunately, I'm not surprised. Dismayed, disappointed, saddened, but not surprised. The food waste in this country seems to mirror the consumer-driven, disposable culture that reigns. It's a shame. Plenty of people in this country need food.
In an effort to walk the talk, I always consider the potential leftovers when planning meals for the week. Not only do I plan to have enough for lunches the next day but I've always got ideas floating in my head in case lunch the next day gets postponed or we simply have too much. But I don't mind at all because I enjoy coming up with creative and tasty dishes.
Cilantro is an herb that seems to pass its prime within minutes and can easily become food waste. Often, you buy a whole bunch to make one specific dish that only calls for a small amount. Then you have the rest just sitting there. Not usually a problem for me because I love cilantro and can find all sorts of places to include it. But this week I found myself with a quickly wilting bunch. That, and a big jalapeno pepper that looked like it could use a good moisturizer. No problem - spicy cilantro-garlic paste.
This is really easy. I peeled and coarsely chopped a whole head of garlic with good-sized bulbs. I seeded and de-veined the chile because most often my eating companion(s) like(s) milder fare than I and it's easy for me to add heat later to my own dish. In about three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil I sauteed the garlic and pepper slowly until softened but not colored. This then went into the food processor with the bunch of cilantro and I blended until combined. Scrape down the sides if needed. No salt or pepper at this stage. Later, when you effortlessly toss some homemade cilantro-garlic paste into a fabulous dish, you can season at will.
You can either freeze this mixture in an ice cube tray and store the cubes in a zipper freezer bag or as one whole slab in a zipper freezer bag. This time I chose the slab version. I can just break off chunks as needed for stir-fry, soup, rice, just about anything. I've not created any food waste and I've created a homemade convenience item.
What are some ways that you cut down on food waste in your house?