Who else has heard about this rude richsplaining of why avocado toast is the reason millennials can’t afford down payments on houses?
While that is patently ridiculous, at the core of this terribly, terribly expressed thought is at least one grain of truth: food can be expensive. Not necessarily avocados… or toast… (Seriously, why?) But once any food gains enough momentum to be considered “trending” there’s this unspoken expectation that begins to come with it. If you rushed to get a Unicorn Frap before Starbucks took it off the menu, that’s the kind of thing I mean — and that’s just at the novelty end of the spectrum.
This post by Nimue Brown goes more into the economics of affording (or not) all the organic, non-GMO foods on the market these days, or even just the wares at your local farmers market. Essentially, not everyone can afford it. Not even just the food itself, but the gas to go the extra miles to the nearest Whole Foods. Nimue also raises points about the relative greenness of driving to buy organic produce vs. biking to buy non-organic.
Side note, I feel like there’s at least one country out there where it’s actually illegal for a car commercial to imply that just because a car is a hybrid, it’s “good” for the environment, because it’s not. It’s better, but it’s not good. American commercials tend to gloss over the part where it still produces pollutants, just arguably fewer. If anyone reading this lives in a place where there are laws on the books about this, please comment on driving vs biking to get groceries and if there’s any difference in attitudes towards that.
So there’s all that.
And here’s what I actually wanted to write a post about, before I got carried away: food can be expensive, so don’t let it go to waste. Actual statistics on food waste can be found here, but to be honest I only skimmed it before linking. I’m talking about letting your leftovers, or even unopened products or unused ingredients quietly going bad in a corner somewhere in your kitchen.
My reasons for caring are, admittedly, kind of small and petty. I spend money and time on food, I was looking forward to it, and suddenly I (a) don’t get to eat it, (b) have to worry about how much of the trash has to wait until next week to go out, and (c) if it’s fruit then there are going to be fruit flies. These small and petty reasons are my motivations for doing something about food waste in my own home, or even think about the larger problems of food waste by association, so don’t knock ’em.
Because I enjoy baking, I’ve recently started experimenting with using my leftovers and miscellaneous extras to test out recipes I’ve found online. (Following, among other things, this inspiring example.) Usually I have to do some scaling down or substitutions based on the ingredients I have on hand. The rule, I believe, is that if you change at least three of the ingredients and/or proportions then it’s no longer copying.
Faux-Plum (Actually Apple) Crumble
I had two apples, a partly empty container of blueberries, and a gluten free partner who really likes stone fruit. Unintentionally, I made a crumble that worked with all of those conditions.
Serves: 2-4, depending on how you feel about portions
Crumble Topping Ingredients
- 10 tbsp GF old fashioned rolled oats (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
- 2-3 tbsp glazed walnuts, ground with mortar and pestle
- 4 tbsp pure cane sugar
- 4 tbsp GF all-purpose flour (I used Namaste Perfect Flour Blend)
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter, chilled, cubed
Crumble Topping Instructions
- Stir the dry ingredients together.
- Rub the cubes of butter in with your fingers until everything comes together in a moist clump.
- Put in the fridge and let it chill for a while. In the meantime, do something else for a bit.
Crumble Filling Ingredients
- 2 Pink Lady apples
- 4oz blueberries*
- 1 tbsp strawberry lemonade (because I had no lemon juice)
- 1/4 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tbsp pure cane sugar
* It was a 6oz container, with some already used for a salad earlier in the week. I guesstimated. If you have a full one, bump the proportions up to 3 apples, etc.
- Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray. Or not. I was going to, but I forgot.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Don’t forget this part, it’s important.
- Cut the apples in quarters and remove the core, then slice as thinly as humanly possible. Skinning an apple is a pain, in my opinion, and thin strips of apple skin aren’t as weird to eat along with the softened fruit. Plus, the thinner the fruit the faster it cooks and you get to eat it.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the apples, blueberries, and lemonade. Toss a bit so it all gets coated.
- Combine the sugar and cinnamon, then dump or sprinkle or otherwise distribute the mixture over the fruit. Mix to coat. Note: some apple slices will stick together and need prying apart to get all the cinnamon sugary goodness in there.
- Dump the fruit mixture in the baking dish. Try to get the blueberries more or less evenly distributed, and not all on the bottom. The more you have at the top, the more the apples will soak in the juice when the blueberries burst and get that dark plum look.
- Sprinkle the topping on evenly, with as little fruit showing as you can manage.
- Bake until the apples are tender. Or, if you want an indicator you can actually see, until the topping is crisp and golden. For me this took 40 minutes, but cooking time will vary depending on the depth of your baking dish so just keep a good eye on it.
- Serve warm, with blueberry Greek frozen yogurt bars.