PENINSULA KITCHEN: Enjoy what you have

BY THE TIME you read this, snowmaggedon might be a soggy memory, or perhaps a lingering pile of dirty driveway snow.

That said, it has been almost two weeks since the first snow day and the shoulder-high pile of snow that I have shoveled from the walkway is still growing.

I live on a steep unplowed street at about 500 feet.

My compact, low-clearance vehicle is buried under a blocky avalanche of snow that slid off the roof.

We’ve stopped checking the weather report; predictions of rain and warming weather have not materialized.

For the present time, we are still snowbound and ready for more.

Before it hit, many of you hit the grocery store to prepare for impending weather.

Lines at the checkout were long, and shelves were cleared of everything from bottled water to bananas.

A quart of half-and-half for our morning coffee was our must-have, but other than that, we decided we could get by with what we had on hand.

Rather than stocking up, I have been using up.

It’s a bit like “Iron Chef,” creatively concocting meals out of random ingredients that have been lurking in the pantry for way too long.

Admittedly some experiments were better than others.

During the past week, we’ve had various soups and casseroles.

A package of mystery meat turned out to be short ribs.

We have had plenty to eat, and after almost two weeks, I can almost see the bottom of the freezer.

When snowflakes are flying and the roads are treacherous, remember to shop your own pantry, dig into your freezer and shovel out all of those odd and overlooked food items you’ve been stockpiling.

Isn’t a once-in-a-decade storm the reason you preserved all that food in the first place?

Usually in spring, I write a column about clearing out the freezer to make way for the coming bounty of summer.

June strawberries are still a long way off, but if you have anything left from last summer, it is not going to improve with age.

Thaw it out and use it up.

Let this storm be a reminder that enjoying what you have can be more delicious than getting what you want.

While snowflakes might continue to fall, we are enjoying the summer-sweet aroma of peach crisp in the oven.

Frozen fruit crisp

4 cups frozen fruit

1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)

¾ cup oatmeal (substitute 2-4 tablespoons crushed nuts for an equal amount of oats if desired)

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

4 tablespoons chilled butter

¼ teaspoon salt

Defrost the fruit in a medium-sized bowl. You may use peaches, berries, cherries or apples.

Mix with lemon juice, a dash of cinnamon and, if the fruit is tart, add 1-2 tablespoons sugar. Place in a 10-inch-by-10-inch baking dish.

For the topping, mix the remaining ingredients together. Use a knife or pastry cutter to break the butter into pea-sized pieces.

The result will be a crumbly mixture that can be sprinkled over the top of the fruit.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until fruit is bubbly and topping is golden brown.

Serve warm or chilled, with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or even a splash of half-and-half if you have it. Yum.

________

Betsy Wharton is the proprietor of the Clallam Canning Co., a local purveyor of artisan pickles and other farm to jar goods. You can find her and her products at the Sprouting Hope Greenhouse at 826 E. First St. in Port Angeles. Or contact her at betsy@clallam canningcompany.com.

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