No Fridge? No Problem!

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This week has been an interesting life experience.  Between camping in the woods for 4 full days at a festival, and moving into my new house, I have been 100% without refrigeration for nearly a full week now.  Which means, I spent $0 on groceries this week.  And seriously, all things considered, not even that much on going out.

If you’ll recall, I had a pretty serious food agenda planned for this festival, and we managed to pull it off with flying colors.  Aside from a $6 boat of fresh pesto garlic fries on Sunday afternoon, we didn’t buy any food from vending and subsisted entirely on the food we had prepared, and that we were sharing with friends.

Monday morning, I got up and ate a hearty breakfast of eggs, cheese, and toast, left over from our weekend’s camping groceries — so satisfying that I didn’t eat again until later that night when I got to try out the new Bollywood Theater up on Alberta with two of my best friends from out of town (one of whom has now been officially promoted to in-town, as of last night) — a delicious and creative array of Indian food in a super cute atmosphere, for just under $20, including a Pimm’s Cup!

Tuesday morning I was cooked a generous breakfast of eggs, veggies, and avocado before these friends and I headed out for a full day of errands:

Fridge shopping for my new house!

Bike shopping for Hollis!

Aardvark shopping for Jamie, where I also scored 6 gigantic banana boxes to finish packing up my kitchen.

Secret Aardvark

Food total for the day?  $18.50, including an afternoon snack at A La Carts of a Vietnamese papaya salad with steak, iced coffee, and the Veggies Gone Wild bowl at Laughing Planet with a local IPA as a final meal together before Jamie headed back off to Brooklyn early this morning.

And today?  I’m hoping this is my final meal of non-cookery.  I stopped at the food carts again on the way to work this morning to purchase the largest breakfast burrito I’ve ever seen (for $5!).

breakfast burrito

And an iced coffee from Stumptown that was nearly the same price and offset my excitement.  Lame.  As soon as I close up shop today I’m heading straight to the Standard TV & Appliance Outlet to pull the trigger and buy a brand new fridge.  I cannot wait.  Do you know what it feels like to have a brand new kitchen and not be able to cook in it?!

This Week’s Groceries

TOTAL: $0!!



It’s been a big week.

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Truth be told, this past week was not a big cooking week for me.  In the last seven days, I:

Closed on my house.

Was visited by one of my oldest friends.

Had a 24-hour debrief summit with my colleague from UCU to go over feedback and ideas from last weekend’s show.

Had the most ridiculously indulgent weekend of eating out that I could ever imagine.

Saturday night dinner at Screen Door, Sunday morning brunch at Arleta Library Cafe, Sunday dinner at Pok Pok, and Monday brunch at Tasty & Sons.  I wasn’t hungry again for almost 12 hours after that, when I ended up eating Jesse’s homemade Zuppa Toscana in bed while we watched Dexter.  I feel okay about this, because, a) now that UCU is over, I finally have some money again to spend on going out, and b) half of these meals were business expenses!

Oh, and now, I’m prepping the shop for our first summer vacation that we’ve ever had, and prepping four days’ worth of meals to bring with us this weekend to the String Cheese festival at Horning’s.

Overly ambitious?  Ask me again tomorrow when my phone is off and I am on vacation for the first time all summer, wearing my hippie skirts and sipping cocktails with friends in the woods while I listen to fantastic music, and knowing that all my delicious, healthy, hearty food for the weekend is totally pre-made and organized in our cooler, come what may.

This Week’s Groceries

Fred Meyer 7/17

  • ingredients for festival pre-cooking — sadly lost the detailed list but it’s pretty much everything shown on the list above.

TOTAL: $54.00 ($108 split with Jesse)

REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $6.65 — this sounds drastic, but keep in mind that this is my last week with a fridge for a good long while.  I’m moving next Monday and probably won’t be for-reals cooking again until the end of the month.

Poached Salmon with Ginger Honey Cinnamon Glaze, Coconut Collard Greens, and Red Rice

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I love when I can make a delicious dinner entirely out of what’s already in my kitchen, and all that is required is stopping on my bike ride home to pick up some fish and a head of collard greens.

I can’t even believe how busy this week is, and relish in the fact that with all that’s going on, I still take the time to cook myself a delicious meal on a Wednesday night.  Really, at a time like this, I should be eating take-out or leftover pizza from UCU last weekend.  I mean, seriously.  After driving back down to Portland on Sunday night, I spent all day Monday unpacking from the show and reorganizing the shop, prepping for the coming work week, especially because my wonderful employee is on vacation and I’m flying solo for the next 2 weeks.  Awesome timing.

Then on Tuesday morning, I signed about 1,000 pieces of paper, and agreed to a bill whose final payment is due in 2042.  Yep, I bought a house.  NBD.

Then, I’m working all week, getting the keys to the house, spending the evening with my best friend who just got back from 3 weeks in Hawaii, hosting old high school friends from out of town Saturday night, and then quickly washing the sheets so I can host my business partner for a 24 hour debrief of last weekend’s show.  And we’ll treat ourselves to a fancy dinner in there somewhere.

Oh, and then Monday I had to buy a fridge.  And a bed.

And then Tuesday I move.  Into my new house.

And then Wednesday I will go to work and spend the whole rest of the evening prepping 4 days worth of food to bring with us to String Cheese at Horning’s, the festival we’ll be at the whole following weekend.

And yet, last night I came home and still felt compelled to cook this.

As soon as I walked in the door and poured myself some iced tea, I got a pot of red and brown rice started on the stove.

A lot of times when I make a teriyaki-esque type of sauce, it involves stir frying veggies or noodles or meat first, then incorporating an Asian sauce concoction into it.  But for some reason this time, I just wanted a nice thick, bubbly sauce, so I started with that.  Pus, I have about 9 half-used bottles of red wine that I’d really love to not transport with me to my next residence, so this seemed like a good way to tap into that.

First, some minced ginger.

This went into the big skillet on medium-high heat with some honey, soy sauce, chopped garlic, and a hefty amount of red wine.  It smelled disgusting at first, but once the sauce bubbled together and reduced and the alcohol cooked off, it became deliciously sweet and dark and syrupy.

I put the salmon directly into the skillet, still frozen, and let it thaw and start to cook from the steam as the sauce continued to reduce and the water evaporated off the fish.

When it was about half cooked, I was able to remove the fish and peel off the skin with my fingers, removed the sauce from the heat and let it all sit there while I worked on the greens.

Have you ever had to deal with collard greens before?  There are few veggies out there that I won’t use in their entirety, but collard and chard stems are one of them.  I mean, if I’m making a soup the next day then sure, I’ll toss them in, but really other than that, I don’t force it.  I compost now so it’s all good.

What I like to do here is take each leaf, and quickly slice out the stem, making diagonal cuts right along each side of the rib and plucking the stem from the middle.

After doing this to each leaf, I stack them all on top of each other, roll them up like I’m chiffonading basil, make a slice lengthwise down the middle, and then again perpendicularly into strips — this makes perfect little rectangles for sauteeing.

Sliced up half an onion…

Then, in a separate pan, I heated up some coconut oil, and let the onion caramelize with some salt for a few minutes.

In went all the greens, and as they cooked down to the size of the pan, I added some jerk seasoning, a splash of cider vinegar, and some black pepper.

I wanted to add just a bit of chicken broth, but I’ll let you in on a secret.  You know those recipes that tell you to add like half a cup of chicken broth?  It’s like, who has that?  Any commercial liquid broth that’s open in the fridge will go back long before I get a chance to use half a cup of it, and any bullion requires a separate pot to make the broth in…for half a cup?  Here’s what I do: I make my own chicken stock each time I roast a chicken — about once a month — and keep the stock in serving-size containers in the freezer, usually cottage cheese-sized.

Then I use these the same way you’d use a stick of butter to grease a cooking pan: take out the fist-sized ice cube, and place it in the pan of whatever needs a little extra richness.

Not for too long — maybe 3 minutes, until just a few layers (or about half a cup!) melt off.  Then, put the broth cube back in the cottage cheese container and replace in the freezer.  No harm done, no broth wasted, no extra pot to clean.

Did I mention that I don’t have a sink in my kitchen?

Yep, 4 years and approximately 3,800 meals cooked…without a kitchen sink.  Just one of the many things I’m really, really excited about in my new house.

So anyway, I took the greens off the heat and let them absorb the rest of that broth while they cooled, and returned the salmon-and-sauce pan back to medium-high heat for another five minutes or so until the salmon had finished cooking and was wonderfully warm and caramelized.


This Week’s Groceries

Trader Joe’s 7/9

  • Sockeye salmon fillets: $6.69
  • Cod fillets: $4.39
  • Roasted plantain chips: $1.69 — for the bike ride home.  
  • 2 cans tuna: $3.38

TOTAL: $16.15



QFC 7/11

  • Roma tomatoes: $1.00
  • Green pepper: $0.94
  • Half & half: $2.29
  • Cottage cheese: $2.99
  • Red onion: $0.55
  • Cucumber: $1.79

TOTAL: $9.56



New Seasons 7/11

  • Collard Greens: $2.49

TOTAL: $2.49


Kenny & Zuke’s

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Like I said, this week’s a busy one.  Instead of cooking I’ve been busy packing up half my shop to bring to Seattle for my booth setup, organizing all the last-minute stuff that goes into putting on a gargantuan production like the Urban Craft Uprising, and packing my house to move.

It’s not quite time to pack the kitchen yet — that comes absolutely last — but needless to say, this has been a week of grilled chicken on green salad, leftover calzones, and having other people cook for me.

Like Kenny and Zuke!

Sunday night, Jesse and I hopped on our bikes and took a gorgeous summer evening bike ride downtown (a rarity for me, crossing the river) to have dinner at Kenny & Zuke’s, and then up the hill to take me on a tour of the incredible house of his favorite client, that he’s been working on all week.  It’s such an old house that it’s actually an official historical landmark, and one of the most awesome houses I’ve ever seen.

Fortunately, in addition to breathtakingly large smoked meat sandwiches, we had also shared a plate of pastrami cheese fries, which pretty much made our bike right straight up the northwest hills a wash.

I’m okay with that.

Come say hi if you’ll be at the Urban Craft Uprising this weekend!  I’ll be holding down the fort at the Yarnia booth.

This Week’s Groceries

Fred Meyer 7/2

  • Yogurt: $3.39
  • Cottage cheese: $2.49
  • Milk: $2.99
  • Coffee: $7.13
  • Orange juice: $3.00
  • Strawberries: $1.67
  • Roma tomatoes: $0.98
  • Bunch radishes: $0.50
  • Avocado: $0.88
  • Cucumber: $1.49

TOTAL: $24.52

REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $88.85 — Back on track!