What's for dinner? BENT CAN SOUP, combined
with WHATEVER'S IN THE FRIDGE
By Anita Sands Hernandez
People all over America are beginning to feel the growl-ey stomach when there's no job, absolutely no money, TEN people at the table and rice is a buck a pound! (A grain only eaten in rumbly-belly countries as they're desperate as it's useless, nutritionally.) The remedy for hunger in Our country thankfully offers FOOD STAMPS, but that's tomorrow. So what do we eat TONIGHT? Go to your supermarket early just after the worker half-prices the bent cans and it's BENT CAN SOUP which is an INEXPENSIVE and FUN dish to serve to the family. Have a bowl & you'll be smiling as it costs l0c a bowl. That's practically no cost at all. Add a piece of toast and if you don't tell the kids that you're out of a job, out of money, out of food, they will not even know that the recession just broadsided them. Simply serve up a bowl of deliciousness made up of a combination of good things:
A.) the contents of those BENT CANS that are half price at the super market. They're FREE if found in the back of your home pantry getting old and outdated .
B.) Whatever was just left in the dumpster behind the local grocery store, broccoli, stringbeans, corn on the cob, outdated but still vita-many! Get the things that are wrapped in plastic and clean. Get what's on top, we never take stuff below, inside a dumpster especially if the LID is closed-- just what was put there in the last few minutes. and
C.) whatever's in the fridge growing ripe AND
D.) whatever's growing ripe out in the garden. Or in the neighbor's garden. Victor gives me his entire OLIVE crop. I easily process them. ( CURE OLIVES 101). But olives aren't for soup.
BENT CANS are found, (where else?) on the BENT CAN RACK at the back of every big chain super market. You'll find cans of all sorts of vegetables, green beans, red beans, black beans, refried beans as paste, (my personal favorite for bean soup,) and corn (whole corn or creamed,) also cans of soup concentrate.
I just did three days of soup off a single sml. can of cream of celery. Each meal different. (recipe below) Same 'bent' rack offers THINGS that work bigtime in soup, like dry soup mixes in pckgs, Soy Sauce. Dried noodles. All of these I'll pick up if they're priced low enough. I have four basic styles for soup. American, Chinese, Japanese and Mexican. But if beets are in a bent can, add beef, onions and make borscht, so Russian is the fifth style.
NOVEL, INGENIOUS RECIPES include:
1.) American style GARDEN VEGETABLE SOUP. These are made of whatever's in the yard, usually chard or BROCCOLI. I'll use bent cans, maybe some pintos, red beans or BUTTER BEANs. The SOUP is part yard, part bent can. (Poverty does make you improvise!)
First, simmer whatever veggies are around in the YARD, whatever's out there. Today I had one fresh floret broccoli, 2 small yellow crookneck squash, l sml, red potato. I always add a slice of onion and some cilantro or parsley to the water when I simmer. That's the nutritional stuff, but now let's do the secret ingredients which make it taste good:
While it's simmering which it will do for three min you get out a heavy SKILLET, an iron skillet, heat it well, then add the OLIVE OIL, Fry a few cloves of garlic, cut or minced and ONE Farmer John pork frank, (plain or spicy and the KROGER chain, 735 stores, remainders sausages as they get near expiration date;) Of if you have too much money, one or two MORNINGSTAR SAUSAGES. Or some pork meat if you buy remaindered meat by the pound and put 2 oz in each piece Saran wrap and freeze for soup days like this.
Fry in some cubed cooked or raw potato. Cabbage is very good for you, cures any disease, so always keep a head around, take a quarter off the head for soup, another quarter another day for raw cole slaw salad. Having a whole head forces you to think of four uses in four days before the head wilts. Ergo more disease fighting health.
When cooked, remove meat. Drain on paper, then Wipe down pan with same paper towel if it was geniune pork. Or shake the cat kibble in the fat, serve. Wipe out or wash pan well. Now, heat pan again, add put 1 tsp. olive oil in that skillet, saute onions, garlic, and a LOT of old corn tortilla pieces,. l jalapeno chopped. If you're veggie, fry tofu with onions.
Hopefully, your pantry is filled with bent cans as that's smart. A national emergency will close down all food shipping and markets will be empty. The L.A. Riots gave us a city curfew and lines l00 long in supermarkets. Always keep five weeks worth of cans around
So now we are going to open one of those bent cans that the super market marks down to l5c, it can be beans in liquid, refried beans, butter beans, any of the BEAN FAMILY. Add your BEAN SOUP or fried beans, gauging how much liquid you must add, perhaps as skimmed broth or perhaps as some chopped tomatoes. Then add the broth and vegetables you cooked up,stir well, serve with parmesan cheese on top or gomasio. (Toasted sesame seeds with a little salt pulverized into it. Use back of spoon to grind pinch salt into your two oz. of seeds).
2.) MEXICAN SOUP. Down south they'd call it CHILAQUILES (a semi-dry soup,) Recipe requires a can of tomato soup for each 2 persons and one or two corn tortillas for every person. I get the kind with YELLOW CORN, no preservatives, no cellulose, (wood fiber,) avail at healthfood stores and at real Mex markets. You check all labels to find one without preservatives. Mex don't like them and shun 'em. Americans don't seem to know the diff. All super market tortillas are mass produced with actual wood fiber and a ton of chemical preservatives. Have a can of either tomato soup on hand for each 2 persons. Mexicans save their dried stale tortillas precisely to make this great soup.
HEAT your OLIVE OIL in fry pan, thick bottomed, solid iron works best. Drop in chopped onions, deveined chopped chiles, garlic and tortilla pieces, a jalapeno (walls only, remove guts) chopped. Stir for a half minutes, then add the tomato soup, some water, cilantro, and if you want to kick up the protein, egg whites. I give yolks to kittens so I always have raw whites saved in a jar in fridge. This is a great use, it gives you a lot of protein and it's not noticeable in the finished soup. The corn tortilla pieces become noodle-like super tasty. STALE day old tortillas are used by Mexicans with this recipe.
NOTE: If I have a zucchini, I'll grate one into the frying ingredients. And if I have parmesan cheese, grate or shake some on top. This soup ends up being unlike anything you've ever tasted, but because of the tortillas and jalapeno in creamy tomato base it totally duplicates Mexico's famous "Sopa de TORTILLA.".
CREAMED SOUPS- They probably are not as good for us as tomato soup, but.. occasionally what can it do? Fry onions, garlic, jalapenos, corn tortillas broken up, throw in a little soup powder cube, some liquid, your concentrated mushroom or broccoli or cheese soup, Finish off with spices for a richer flavor than plain old mushroom soup or tomato soup can deliver (as there's no milk here) I add dash cayenne, chile sesame oil, soy sauce. As you serve it, add parmesan cheese or I might squeeze a little pc of orange for its juice so a 1/4 tsp of juice gives it a fresh flavor without it being identifiable as orange. ALTHOUGH you could do this with lemon too. Or, you could make it a creamier soup with a cup of milk in it, or some half and half. But who has the money for cream these days? A dollop of Sour Cream if there's a coupon on it that week. If not, yogurt looks like cream! Looks count for something, right?
3.) CHINESE EGGFLOWER ONION SOUP - I'm often on graveyard shift, a total nite schedule. I wake and it's dark. I have toast and coffee for breakfast, I work all nite, am hungry and tired by dawn so today, there's nothing to eat in the fridge but a pal had just mailed me Vegie broth cubes. Well everybody's favorite soup is ONION! The FRENCH KNEW about that kind of early morning, empty tummy and invented ONION SOUP which is sold at five a.m. in Les Halles the big market in Paris where it comes thick with oil, slimy cheese melting all over its surface, crispy croutons that you know were fried in oil, the whole thing is a delicious OIL SPILL DISASTER. SO I think, maybe do a little healthier version, kick up the protein with eggwhites to make CHINESE EGG FLOWER. (again, I generally have fridged egg whites in a jar (saved after giving baby cats their supplment made of yolks in milk.) Everybody has a bouillon cube somewhere. I had the VEGIE boullion cube. SO I improvise.
METHOD: First, FORK THAT VEGE CUBE in water 'til it dissolves a little. OLIVE OIL's getting hot, in skillet, there's where you saute a half onion, costing a nickle, tad of garlic, (on sale now, 3 lbs for a buck!) jalapeno, one, nigh free, chop outside only --toss seeds. Mushrooms, two maybe 30c, cheap enuf..... Throw in the broth, then if no jalapeno, a pinch of cayenne to warm you (it's a vascular dilater,) a grated carrot, a dozen leaves of spinach or a few florets steamed broccoli, and maybe 1 or 2 egg whites per person or eggs even, whole. Some cilantro.. Tofu gets fried with this, or sauteed, like two servings or a third of the lb box, if you have some around. It's a staple you want to keep around, too, as on sale it's a buck an lb and you can hardly find meat at that price, but now the trick is add a cup of ramen, that's a plastic cup version but even the dime package of ramen works. Throw in some more broth or water as needed, cook a few min. put sesame chile oil drops on top, stir in -- If you have japanese sea weed, a great addition near the end. SUGGESTED TOPPINGS: Dot top with gomasio sprinkles (toasted sesame seeds,) LIME JUICE slashed on top last minute, . It's very filling. Hot, It's 5 am here. A good hot meal. And back to the ole keyboard, restored! This one pck ramen and the other items add up to two or three servings!
4.) HEALTHY JAPANESE SOUP - The basis of that Japanese flavor is kombu and dashi. Seaweed and bonito flakes. Make your own recipe is easy, KOMBU and DASHI FLAKES. Or a reasonable facsimile would be fish chunks.
You can add other broths but make certain they are kept clear by skimming the protein on top of slow, low simmering bones with a spoon. If it boils you get cloudy soup. Did you ever see the film TAMPOPO? Jap film from the 70's. RENT IT! A love story odyssey of soup stalls across Japan and the secrets of making a clear broth by simmering only... also tricks of using Ramen. I love ramen with fish and meat broth, broccoli, tofu, onions and soba noodles. And always toasted sesame oil, avail at oriental markets. A tsp on top of the pot at the end, when you turn off fire. As a healthfood fan, I had to switch to SOBA as white flour is mucus forming.
RAMEN TYPE SOUPS are easy to make. I always have chicken broth hanging around, left over from cooking cats up some cheap meats. I'll use some to wet down cats' kibble, some for my own soups. (Fridging that broth allows me to lift off the HARD FAT on top to store in old yogurt or cottage cheese containers. Once a week fat goes in trash. I used to advertise hard, fresh, ice cold fat on CRAIGS LIST free for soap makers. Get some pretty nice soap that way. )
Fish broth gets made if SOME FISH IS ON SALE. KROGERS has frozen pollock 3 fillets to the bag, $2.49 or 80c each fish dinner. I won't pay more than that I make a quick fish soup when I want JAPANESE SOUP. Start with INEXPENSIVE FISH. In Calif we used to get Alaskan, PACIFIC POLLOCK fillets, frozen in a bag of a dozen for 1.50$ an lb at Oriental supermarket. I had to quit buying it as the nitrates in it gave me a headache. I now use fresh fillets off Tilapia, fearing frozen ones from China have the same nitrates. On sale, Tilapia is $1.29 whole. My Chain super Market has the same FISH bagged also from China 8$ for 3 lbs, so double the cost.
Get your SOBA (whole grain buckwheat) noodles at Oriental market on sale. A 3 lb package at 5$ will last you for months. Oriental markets have loss leader items each week, same as major chains. Look for goodies like sesame oil, I love the taste of dashi rice seasoning (seaweed mixed with bonito flakes but the MSG in it gives me a terrible headache.) DASHI is usually super expensive too and the truth is, nobody's brain can tolerate monosodium glutamate but dashi is super tasty. It's bonito flakes. Tastiest fish I guess. You could buy a few oz of real bonito at any oriental market though. Then get some plain big pckg of seaweed and maybe a big bag of shitake dried mushrooms. (you freeze that in a tight plastic bag when not in use.) The BIG PCGK of SOBA has over a dozen smaller packets of SOBA inside. Pull one out each few days, keep rest in freezer as it's whole grain and has oils. Substitute it for pollock, both are very inexpensive. LAST, CHILE SESAME OIL. Toasted sesame oil. Fantastic stuff.
METHOD: In saucepan cook your broccoli and soba noodles in either broth or water. If you soak dried shitake mushrooms, rserve that liquid afterwards. You'll use that liquid too in the final soup. Seaweed is optional.
Separately, fry your onions, garlic, eggplant, fresh mushrooms, fish and when they're cooked add cubed tofu and toss to flavor the tofu which soaks up flavor. Drain noodles, broccoli, throw in with the fish mix. Stir, season with sesame oil, chopped cilantro, gomasio, lime juice. Minced onion.
MAKING YOUR OWN GOMASIO: All soups require something on top. Toast sesame seeds in heavy skillet, cool. Then, with a fork, mash a dash or two of salt into the seeds.Store in tea tin in freezer, take out what you need that week to be in shaker.
VARIATION FOR MEATBALL. Falafel balls added to soup at end is the most delicious food you can put in your mouth. You can make 70 balls, freeze them in bags, take out what's needed for tonight's soup.Trader Joes and all Arabic markets offer falafel balls frozen in a bag. I dropped a few in a bowl of hot soup and was surprised that when heated, it suddenly became so yummy. Treat frozen falafels them like albondigas, the Mexican meatball soup. Save your broth from good, local chicken, nothing shipped in ‘old’ from Arkansas…or fish broth or vegie broth, always fridge, skim fat off when it's hard, and drop these vege CICCI bean balls into your soup!
5.) RUSSIAN BORSCHT - canned beets are always found on sale at the bent rack and everybody ignores canned beets. They can't give'em away! Foolish people. They are delicious cold in salad with mayo or in soups. Cut up any leftover meat, fresh, cooked, ham whatever. Fry raw meat lightly with some onions, garlic, add the beets and their liquid. Serve dollop of dilled yogurt or sour cream on top. If you have ham, I always cut into pcs and boil first to get rid of salt and chemicals, then I'd mix it with beets, no additional frying, but you could drain it, fry it wi. onions.
OTHER DELICIOUS MEALS YOU CAN MAKE WITH ONE CAN OF SOMETHING
RATATOUILLE BOYARDEE - ChefBoyardee makes all kinds of noodles in tomato sauce with meatballs. Put on top of homemade ratatouille. Cut eggplant into bite size chunks, Fry in your oil with onions, garlic, bell pepper, Put lid on it for l0 min, then add can of boyardee at the end. DELISH!
BENT CAN BEANS Add Beans to every soup you make. Fills up like meat used to do in the posh days. My fave is REFRIED beans, all creamified. I add that to cooked potato, fry in oil with onion, garlic and chard in the vegetable cooking liquid. The resulting bean soup is thick and country delicious. Nobody will think MEXICAN!
CANNED CREAMED CORN OR WHOLE CORN CHOWDER or CORN Bread- Drain, canned corn but if it's creamed corn throw it ALL in! Use Corn bread mix. Always add melted butter, eggs, milk, flour to the mix of course, baking powder. I found a lb of CORN MEAL from top mill, on sale, 50c, well, on the bent rack as somebody had punched in a corner of the box. Wasn't me, I swear! Minced jalapenos, onions, olives can be added to batter.Keep it in freezer tightly wrapped between cookups.
CHOWDER- Fry bacon til crisp. Reserve. Paper towel out the pan. Throw slash of olive oil in pan, fry onion, garlic, sweet peppers, minced. Already cooked Potatoes can go in with onions or if you have cooked leftover potatoes, crumble or chop them add to finished soup which is made by adding either clams in their liquid, creamed corn or both. Garnish wi. parsley, bacon. OPULENT DISH. All leftovers!
ANY BEACH has clams. At low tide (google this, get a minus zero tide put kids in the car, some rakes, some garden forks, http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/tips-for-clam-digging-zmaz77ndzgoe.aspx )You quickly get a bucket of clams. I remove all intestines before cooking. READ UP ON HOW TO CLEAN CLAMS. One source says " Soak your clams for 20 minutes in fresh water just before cooking. As the clams breathe they filter water. When the fresh water is filtered, the clam pushes salt water and sand out of their shells. After 20 minutes, the clams will have cleaned themselves of much of the salt and sand they have collected.
Our POSTER is ANITA SANDS HERNANDEZ, Los Angeles Writer, Mother of 4 and career Astrologer. She knows about poor days having raised four children alone. Catch up with her websites TRUTHS GOV WILL HIDE & NEVER TELL YOU, also The FUTURE, WHAT'S COMIN' AT YA! & HOW TO SURVIVE the COMING GREAT DEPRESSION, and Secrets of Nature, HOLISTIC, AFFORDABLE HEALING. Also HOW TO LIVE on A NICKLE, The FRUGAL PAGE.* Anita is at email@example.com ). Get a free natal horoscope "my money/future life" reading now + copy horoscope as a Gif file graphic!
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