Emptying the Fridge on Meatless Monday

Stefanie Gans is a freelance food writer and co-editor of the food blog, Endless Simmer. Her writing has appeared in the Washington Post's Express, Onion’s Decider DC, BusinessWoman Magazine and Young Women Misbehavin’. She lives in D..C, always has her nails painted and finds daily inspiration from avocados.

(Stefanie Gans)

I got it easy. It’s simple to start off right, but just like New Year’s resolutions and spring flings, the newness will soon fade. And then you’re left with a fridge full of slimy greens and rank yogurt.

So I’ve taken the lead-off position quite seriously. I want to set the right tone. The Eating Down the Fridge challenge is actually not intimidating if you plan a bit for the week (like Miss Karin does here), although sketching each meal is not my idea of fun. I like the freedom of mood-induced dishes because I surely cannot predict my food cravings days in advance. But what I can do is whip up a few things in the beginning of the week that I can easily turn into new meals.

I always find a use for grains: side dish, salad base, burrito filler. Bulgur wheat has been my recent obsession, but in honor of EDF, I dug through the pantry. I pushed past the line of defense built by my regulars -- canned chickpeas, soba noodles, granola -- so I could find the prize.

I discovered a bag of quinoa that had been there for, um, well maybe it was that trip I took to Wegmans with my dad back in Jersey a few months ago. Anyway, I cooked enough for the week. I could find plenty of ways to pair it with the rest of my kitchen’s contents. It’s both subtle in taste and versatile in use. And super healthy.

I also made a sauce that could enhance said side dish, salad and burrito (my burritos clearly break the Tex-Mex mold). Even though I showed extra restraint at the Mt. Pleasant Farmers’ Market this weekend, I still bought a bunch of perishables, including arugula. I love grinding greens into liquid form -- it’s a great way to sneak in nutrients and use up mass quantities of vegetables. As an added EDF plus, I finally killed that bottle of grainy mustard that’s been stealing valuable shelf space with only a remaining tablespoon left.

Following in the Notorious KOD’s blog steps, I thought it’d be appropriate to continue the Meatless Monday mantra. But in keeping with my style, I topped the dinner with a fried egg. If Kim is trying to shift the majority-meat mind frame to one of vegetables and legumes, then I have a paradigm movement goal, too: eggs for dinner.

P.S. Are you on Twitter? Tweet about your EDF experiences with the following hash tag: #EDFsum. Over at Facebook, EDFers are posting udpates on the EDF Group page

Sunny-side Up Egg Over Patty Pan Squash and Quinoa
Rinse 1 cup quinoa in water. Bring quinoa and 2 cups water to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. Fluff with fork. Measure 1/3 cup for this recipe and save the rest for the week.

Arugula-Mustard Sauce
In a food processor combine:
1 cup tightly packed arugula
1 tablespoon Grey Poupon Country Dijon Mustard (or any coarse grain Dijon mustard), 3-4 garlic cloves
1/2 cup yogurt (preferably from the farmers market)
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Whiz together. The sauce will be fairly thin.

Slice the patty pan squash length-wise into thin rounds and sprinkle one side with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. (I like this summer squash variety because it has a lot of surface space, but any other kind of summer squash is cool too.) Fry in an oiled, hot pan in one layer, which you can achieve in a 10-inch non-stick pan. Flip the rounds once fairly browned, just a few minutes, and take out when the second side is browned and squash has softened. Remove from pan and keep warm.

In the same pan, add a bit of butter and fry one egg. I like mine sunny-side up, but feel free to flip, but be sure to keep a bit of the yolk runny.

To serve: Place patty pan slices on bottom of plate, circle quinoa around squash, top with fried egg and splatter 1-2 tablespoons of sauce over top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

It’s not necessary to complete the dish, but I find feta magical. I allowed for about a tablespoon of crumbled feta to finalize the meal. Now break that yolk and good luck eating down your fridge.

By Kim ODonnel |  June 22, 2009; 2:15 PM ET Eating Down the Fridge , Meatless Monday
Previous: Eating Down the Fridge: A Week of Menus | Next: When EDF Is Not a Game, But Real Life


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I like eggs for dinner, too. I especially like to throw a fried egg over noodle dishes. I think it makes a dish seem more substantial and slightly exotic (I live in the sticks so my threshold is pretty low).

Posted by: esleigh | June 22, 2009 3:27 PM

Feta is heavenly, especially on eggs. I've been enjoying feta-egg sandwiches in the morning. I guess they could also translate to dinner, too.

Posted by: zencucina | June 22, 2009 8:49 PM

I love the idea of Eating Down the Fridge! Thanks so much Stephanie for creating a beautiful, affordable meal and incorporating Meatless Monday. Skipping meat now and again is already an economically sound choice; using only materials you have on hand makes the price even better!

I work on the Meatless Monday campaign, which encourages Americans not to eat meat one day a week to help their health and the environment. You can find tasty Meatless Monday meal ideas in the Washington Post every Monday. We also have our own website full of healthy meatless recipes, articles and reviews! Please take a moment to stop by. www.MeatlessMonday.com

Posted by: MeatlessMon | June 24, 2009 10:43 AM

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