Sunday, November 7, 2010

All Hail the Compost!

Gross, huh? Kind of. But not to those of us who reap the rewards of composting. THIS, is a pretty good take for one day. In case you're wondering, that's a regular-sized Rachel Ray garbage bowl. And it's almost full, so that means we had a good day in the kitchen. Lots of fresh ingredients in the recipes. It's amazing what we can add to the compost pile. Oh by no means are we huge composters. Don has a bin out back and it's getting full of leaves and grass as is common for this time of year. There's a few pumpkin remnants in there from last week, too. Talk about something that breaks down fast--any kind of gourdage! Blek. Takes on a whole new life.
Anyway, we do love the idea of getting it back into the soil. The flower beds around our house are full of different kinds of soil, I think from years of previous owners trying out different things, and oh yes, a whole lot of rocks. The compost helps to balance things out. We even had a bunch of Papaya plants come up in the beds this summer from one papaya I used earlier.
So let's break this bowl down a little. There's an apple peel--okay, somebody had a good snack! I see a leaf from a house plant. (I don't do houseplants--that's Mom's baby. I think she ate the apple too.) Brussel sprout leaves. Okay, I have a confession. It's huge. Ready? I've never eaten a brussel sprout till today. Really. Never had them growing up--Mom didn't serve them. Just never had the opportunity or the knowledge about them or how to cook them. And it doesn't help growing up hearing them referred to as "the worst thing you've ever put in your mouth." Admit it--you've heard that. It's like...spinach. Essentially hated by all young people everywhere. Nationwide. So I've been throwing around the idea and asking around about recipes. My boss and I just talked about this a few weeks ago, and I think she gave me the idea that I should roast them. I've seen Ina Garten do it on the Food Network. (Which, by the way, is off the air due to AT&T and Scripps network not getting along--that's another story--and I'm not happy.) So I roasted some. Olive oil, salt and pepper. 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes, that's it. I wanted to experience them without a bunch of other flavors masking the true taste. Well, I love them. It's true that I do love a lot of green things that I didn't used to, but these really are good. I don't know about how they'd be boiled, since I'm not crazy about mushy veggies, but this gave them a little crunch and I thought they were great. We're having them again.
Back to the compost. There's an egg shell in there. That was for a great Weight Watchers recipe-Lemon Pasta. Hence also the lemon rinds. Used the zest and the juice in that one. I'll post a picture of dinner below--Lemon Pasta, Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Roasted Fingerling Potatoes. (Same thing on the taters-just olive oil, salt and pepper--just takes longer--about 45 minutes.)
Down below what you can see in the bowl is also trimmings from some green onions (scallions) and believe it or not, dryer lint. What's sad is, I forgot to get the bowl out early and missed getting to add previous egg shells from breakfast along with the coffee grounds. It's Sunday and a lot of food was flyin' around.
So it doesn't take much to get a compost heap started. You'd be amazed to see what all you would accumulate in no time. And it's amazing to see what it turns into. I'd say it's like "black gold." I can't believe what it used to be, but by spring, it's rich, dark, nutritional goodness for the beds.

So here's a pretty picture of dinner:
And here's a link to that pasta recipe:

And finally, here's a shout out to my assistant Sara, who was appalled that I was off all week and didn't post. I'm bringing brussel sprouts in my lunch tomorrow to share with you!

Yummy in your tummy!