We all know what it’s like to have something go bad or stale. It’s no fun to waste food and the money that went towards buying it. When cooking on a budget, it’s important to use as much of the food you buy as possible. Wasted food is wasted money and nutrition.
Sometimes we have foods that can be stretched longer than the first use. For instance, rice can be used as the grain portion for one meal and then be turned into a rice salad with vegetables or even rice pudding. Bread is another example of a food that can be stretched beyond its first use. It can be used to accompany a meal and then turned into a wonderful bread salad with olives, tomatoes, basil, olive oil and garlic – yum yum yum. Other foods that can have a variety of uses are beans, frozen berries and canned vegetables.
Martha Shulman from the New York Times wrote an article on using stale bread and some accompanying recipes. Here’s one that sounds delicious:
Majorcan Bread & Vegetable Soup
This thick soup is traditionally made with day-old bread, which soaks up much of the broth. Add a poached egg if you want an even more substantial meal.
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 bunch scallions, white and light green parts only, chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced, plus 1 additional clove, cut in half
- 1 green pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons minced parsley
- 1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes with juice
- 3/4-pound green cabbage, coarsely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 5 cups water or vegetable stock
- 1/2-pound spinach or Swiss chard, stemmed, washed and coarsely chopped
- 12 slices country bread (about 1/2 pound), stale or lightly toasted
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat in a large ovenproof casserole.
- Add the scallions and onion. When they begin to soften, after about three minutes, stir in the minced garlic, green pepper and parsley. Stir together for a minute or two, then cover and turn heat to low. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the tomatoes, turn heat to medium-high and cook, stirring often, for five minutes.
- Add the cabbage, salt to taste and pepper. Cover, turn heat to low, and cook slowly for 15 minutes.
- Add the water or stock, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Stir in the spinach or chard and bring back to a simmer. Cover and simmer for five to 10 minutes until the greens are very tender and the broth is fragrant.
- Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Rub both sides of the bread with a cut clove of garlic.
- Place a layer of bread slices in a large earthenware casserole, and ladle soup over the layer to cover. Make another layer of bread, and ladle more soup to cover. Repeat with the remaining bread, and add the remaining soup.
- Drizzle with the remaining olive oil, transfer to the oven, and bake 10 minutes, uncovered.
- Serve hot or warm.
Yield: Serves six.
Advance preparation: The dish can be done through Step 1 three days before serving and kept in the refrigerator.
Nutritional information per serving:
- 216 calories
- 1 gram saturated fat
- 1 gram polyunsaturated fat
- 5 grams monounsaturated fat
- 0 milligrams cholesterol
- 32 grams carbohydrates
- 6 grams dietary fiber
- 371 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste)
- 5 grams protein