Refrigerator Diaries Day 7

breakfast day 7Not long after a breakfast of whole wheat toast, peanut butter, and banana, I start preparations for our dinner party tomorrow.

The sweet pie pastry for the Meyer lemon tart (a home-style version of the delectable lemon tart from nearby Tartine Bakery) throws off 3 egg whites. I microwave these in a small ramekin and split the whites with the dog. I eat mine in a  salad at lunch constructed with the remaining artichoke hearts, brown rice, remaining farmers’ cheese, and lettuce. Kit gets his plain.

The view extends to the back of at least one shelf.

The view extends to the back of at least one shelf.

While I work on the pastry, the answer of what to do with the remaining cooked figs finally occurs to me: sourdough fig and fennel bread. Figs and fennel make an amazing combination. Previously, I’ve made the bread with rehydrated dried figs so it will be somewhat of an experiment. I can serve the bread for Saturday’s dinner party. I was going to make a Meyer lemon-rosemary bread which would be better with the main course. Fig-fennel bread tastes great with a cheese course and we were not having one. But making it would save some labor; no lemon zesting or rosemary mincing. (And when I did serve the bread at dinner the next night, we all pounce on it. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an ideal match, just that it tastes great: hints of fennel and fig with a springy, chewy crumb tinted an appetizing brownish pink from the figs and a really crunchy crust. The sourdough flavor prevents the bread from tasting sweet; we slather on unsalted butter.)

But before Saturday’s dinner, there is Friday night supper. This is not our weekend for the kids, but, much to our delight, one shows up for dinner. We finish off the last of G’s clam chowder into which we toss the rest of the tofu skin. The leftover bacon from Monday’s breakfast goes into the salad with avocado. G never ate his sandwich so he grills and quarters it, and we eat it with our soup.

Finally, clear shelf space.

Finally, clear shelf space.

By the time we go to bed and our week of family meals from the refrigerator ends, there are just a few vegetables left: a leek, carrots, celery, a bunch of kale. I’ll make a “must-goes” soup (everything-in-the-refrigerator-must-go) with these plus onions, garlic, bay leaf, oregano, a can of white beans (drained and rinsed), and chicken stock, Magic Mineral Broth, a couple of thick Parmesan rinds, and several cubes of pesto, all from the freezer.

The remaining shiitake mushrooms we’ll saute and serve for Saturday dinner with porcini gnocchi. The eggs will go into the gnocchi and tart. (Do not count the number of egg yolks in the dinner party menu. I did, and I’m not telling.)

The lettuce in the spinner will be eaten at lunch. We’ll use the rest of the masa for quesadilla snacks during the coming week. And it is definitely time to do something with those preserved lemons lurking on the second shelf.

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Penni is incredibly knowledgeable about food and has a superb sense of organization and timing with respect to the culinary process. The fact that she is a great listener and a whole lot of fun to work with side by side is simply the icing on the cake.

-Gerald Hirigoyen, chef and cookbook author

About Penni

Over 30 years as a food and wine professional, writer, and editor.

Cookbook author including:
'The Tra Vigne Cookbook' for Michael Chiarello,
'The Basque Kitchen' for Gerald Hirigoyen
and 'BurgerBar' for Hubert Keller.

Contact Penni Wisner