Recipe I made up

Recipe I made up last night while casting around for some sort of vegetable matter to serve with chicken without, and this is important, leaving the house to go get some.

Verdict: not bad, and needs bacon.

We were out of most fresh stuff due to A-Kon, so I had an extremely limited palette of ingredients. Also, I admit that Toby's and my styles of shopping and cooking differ in the extreme, and thus our current style is a wacky hybrid of the two that results in chronic oversupply of some things and chronic undersupply of others.

Me: certain basic staples that include POTATOES and ONIONS are always to be had--although not PASTA and PASTA SAUCE because your base cuisine is British and not Italian--and when you run out of one of them, you stock up the next time you go to the store. Your freezer is meant to be stuffed full of frozen components, and your refrigerator is stuffed full of other components and leftovers. You can cook or bake almost anything you have a mind to, which is good because you hate going out to the store.

Him: You figure out what you're going to cook, then go to the store and buy exactly the amount of exactly the ingredients you're going to use and never have any extra components cluttering the place up. Your freezer is made to store WAFFLES and PIZZA for the days you don't want to cook, and your pantry is made to store just enough PASTA and SAUCE for the next time you crave one pot of it. Your refrigerator is to store leftover pizza. Cooking and baking always require a trip to the store, which you don't mind doing because it gets you out of the house.

As a result, we currently have a terrible oversupply of potatoes (because Toby is indulging me DESPERATE NEED to have potatoes ALWAYS ON HAND ALWAYS even though we don't enough as many together as I did when by myself, and we buy more because we forget that we already have GINORMOUS STACK OF POTATOES in the pantry), and a terrible undersupply of onions, as in: none. We also have a freezer stuffed full of frozen vegetables, meat, and various leftovers we thought it would be a good idea to freeze and defrost later, something we never actually do and eventually throw them away. And we have an abundance of noodles of many a variety and a non-abundance of sauce.

I've also been on a soup kick, most particularly a thick soup kick, so decided that just warming up a bag of frozen vegetables was not going to happen. After thumbing through a few cookbooks and going through the pantry and freezer, I ended up putting together...

Brown Rice and Black-Eyed Pea Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
Tablespoon dried onion flakes in lieu of fresh onion
Some amount (teaspoon?)garlic powder, for much the same reason*
3/4ish teaspoon celery salt (just a hair too much)
About 1/4-1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (not sure, just ground over the pot)
1 teaspoon thyme
2 bay leaves
4 cups chicken stock (made from Better than Bouillon)
2 cups of nuked frozen brown rice from Trader Joe's
2 cups of frozen field peas and snaps (when did they stop calling them black-eyed peas?)

I heated the olive oil over medium until it was hot, then put in the onion flakes, garlic powder, and celery salt, and sautéed it a little bit. I then put in the thyme, bay leaves, and chicken stock, and brought it to a boil. Then I put in the rice and peas-and-snaps, brought it to a boil, then turned it down to low and simmered, partially covered, until the chicken was ready, which was about 30 minutes or so.

Surprisingly good. I had leftovers for lunch, and it stood up.

There was a bit too much salt, mostly from my unfamiliarity with celery salt. As we both hate celery for anything other than making soups with, I may have to see if I can get some dried celery flakes and keep that in the pantry for the occasional use we have for it. The pepper also intensified and had too much of a pepper bite for me (Toby loved it) and not enough flavor. I think instead of that, next time I"ll add in a little bit of one of our dried ground chilies, which should add a smoky, raisiny flavor in addition to the bite.

It also needed bacon. :) Just a little bit, but we think 2 strips, diced and fried first would add just enough meatiness to it to work out. I'd also, if I happened to have them, dice up a small onion and a couple of cloves of garlic instead of the dried stuff and sautée them in the bacon fat for a few minutes until the onion was soft (well, adding the garlic in at the end so it doesn't burn and go bitter).

* Well, okay, so we had some fresh garlic and OH GOD I DID NOT WANT TO HAVE TO CHOP, DICE, OR MINCE IT RIGHT THEN and the garlic powder was right there. It wasn't bad, just could have been better.

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