Making use of what's available

August 1, 2005, 11:56 PM

When I studied in Germany, my friends and neighbors were always surprised that I could make dinner out of “nothing.” What they meant was that I could scrape together something interesting from available ingredients, even if the ingredients might not be particularly inspiring… it was fairly common for my selection of vegetables to be consumed fairly quickly, so I might have had only half an onion, some previously cooked vegetable, and maybe some lentils or something in my pantry; suddenly I’d produce a seasoned lentil soup.

Tonight was one of those nights. I didn’t have anything special planned, but I had remnants of a dense bread, a tomato, some leftover roasted cauliflower from a few days ago, and some previously fried bell peppers. I also had a bit of smoked mozzarella left, which I bought on a whim about a week ago, probably used for something else baked in the oven last week.

So I just toasted some bread on one side under the broiler, turned it over and brushed with olive oil and rubbed with garlic, and layered on what was around; the cauliflower went on one, and some bell peppers on the other, then everything else. I used a little salt and pepper to season. I wasn’t trying to be delicate; I used thicker layers of vegetables than if I had planned a bruschetta or a pizza or something. I just wanted to use up things. So this was not delicate in any way. But it did the trick, and tasted pretty nice.


Last night I was out on a run… Rather than going up to Greenlake, for the last couple weeks I’ve just been jogging past the zoo up Phinney. I go up to about 70th and then my energy has been pretty much exhausted, so I come back alternating between walking and running. Actually I made it up to about 75th this time, but I stopped running and walked most of the way back home.  Along the way back, I ran into Etsuko at Fresh Flours, who had just closed up shop for the night and was locking the door as I crossed 61st. I said hello, and chatted about 30 seconds. She offered me a few little fruit tarts and a kind of cream puff.

It sort of undermined my whole reason for jogging, I supposed, but I was happy to have something nice for breakfast this morning. Half of the cream puff served as dessert tonight as well. Although a little soft after a night in the refrigerator, it had a nice custard filling. The tart was just what I needed to start the morning… that, and a standard Seattle dose of cafe latte, which I made at home.

Fresh Flours tart and cream puff