Waste not, cause you might not have it again.

My first 24 hours here in Paris was filled with excitement of arriving after purchasing round-trip tickets earlier this year after my forty-something day holiday trip to the Caribbean.  Lots of walking around in large train stations, transferring from one train line to the next to get to my friend’s hill-top apartment.  Walking the entire length of a street known to only sell Crepes in the Montparnasse area to find the best Creperie.  I settled on the classic Morbihannaise Crepe filled with ham, eggs, cheese and tomatoes, washed down with the best Cider I’ve had from Bretagne.

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This trip and first day could not have happened without my two Parisian friends.  Nassira, my friend of about three years who refers to her passport as her husband.  She and I met in NYC on one of her many trips across continents.  Audrey, a friend of Nassira who assumed position of my tour guide for the first day–she has now become my bestie too!  Catching up with both Nassira and Audrey about their life in Paris and spilling the ‘tea’ about my single life in the US, I realized distinct differences between living in both countries.  In the US, our cup sure runneth over and unfortunately show thanks with wastage.  From food to money even to utilizing our apartment space.  I’m not on a mission to compare every little detail about the both countries, but I can implement things that can help me live a simpler and happier life.

Before I packed my bags and booked an NYC Airporter ticket from Port Authority to JFK’s terminal 8 I had to prepare for my trip.  I might not have had a filled agenda of sightseeing, must-try restaurants and people to meet but I try to use the time leading up to my upcoming travel wisely.  So, what I mean by preparations?  Important emails sent out and phone meetings conducted making sure I keep on top of things and I’m not left out of the loop returning from my week-long stay in Europe.

Another must-do is making sure the fridge is cleared of all fresh produce and cooked meals.  I had of lot this time around due to my weekly visits to the farmer’s market for Summer produce.  In the two crispers of my large refrigerator sat so many vegetables-two of this, half of that.  Some washed and bagged others laying directly in the clear bins wilting slowing and waiting to be cooked.

The below freestyle stew recipe can be made with any combination of veggies, the only thing you must consider is how large or small to cut them so they are cook evenly.

I wanted to continue reading my book without having to check the stove every so often.  I allowed this one pot to cook in the oven.  On 350 degrees for about 40 minutes to cook the veggies evenly.

Once cooked I portioned the stew in freezer safe bowls to be eaten when I return.  I had this dish with steamed rice and fried sweet plantain, another item I had to use before my travelling.

1 Eggplant, medium chop
3 medium Potatoes, medium sliced
1 large Bell Pepper, medium sliced
½ large Red Onion, medium sliced
1 Carrot, medium sliced
1 Jalapeno, small chop
3 green onions, medium chop
6 sprigs of Thyme
6 cloves of Garlic, smashed
8 oz. of warm Vegetable Stock
Salt and Black Pepper
Coconut oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Prepare vegetables per the above suggestion.
In a small bowl add 2 Tbsp. of Curry Powder, ½ tsp of Geera, ½ tsp of Turmeric, ½ tsp of Pepper Flakes, ½ tsp of Black Pepper and enough water to create a thick paste.  Set aside

Using a medium sauce pan, hot enough oil to coat the bottom of pan. Once the oil is hot, add the curry paste and cook for ½ a minute before adding vegetables.  Mixing to coat the vegetables in the curry paste.

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Dammit!  I forgot the potatoes.  No worries, instead of mixing with other veggies I took the veggies out and placed at the bottom of the pan.  Adding the veggies back to the pan with 8 oz. of warm vegetable stock, bay leaves, thyme and 1 Tbsp. of Salt and ½ Tbsp. of Black Pepper.

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Once the stew boils, cover and place in the oven for 40 minutes, cooking covered for the first 20 minutes.  After the 40 minutes taste for added salt, black pepper (I added more crushed garlic here too) and serve hot with rice.

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