I spend a lot of time picking apart my meals after I’ve eaten to see what I liked and what I could do better next time. In light of my self-and-local goals, I want to talk about my meal tonight.
Source: Supermarket brand dried pink beans.
Preparation: Soaked for three days with several water changes and then simmered covered for about 6 hours with some salt and lime juice, skimming the foam. Mashed with a potato masher (that has never seen a potato, by the way) and fried in lard.
Result: Waaaay better than canned beans, wow! Better taste, better texture, and less salt! I’ll be sure to put some more beans to soak at least once a week from now on.
Alternatives: Canned beans. More convenient, but less tasty and saltier. Locally produced beans, which I have not sourced, or beans grown myself, which I have not done. I’m not sure they have enough time to dry in the climate. But perhaps I’ll try one year. I’ve been thinking of ordering some online too.
Source: Bandon cheddar baby loaf.
Preparation: Shredded in my food processor, which takes under a minute for the whole loaf.
Result: It’s melted cheese, what more do you want? Not as creamy as a queso blanco, which is my fave with mexican foods, but still delicious.
Alternatives: Bandon cheese has been made by Tillamook for over a decade, and possibly more. My husband likes it better than Tillamook cheddar, and I like it less than Cracker Barrel, but it’s a good choice for the money. Shredded cheeses have corn starch added to keep the cheese from sticking. It’s kinda powdery and gross, so we’ve been shredding our own for a while. I want to make my own cheeses in the future, but cheddar might not be one of them. I have not sourced local cheddar.
Source: Taco Loco, a brand made in Anchorage and available at local supermarkets.
Result: I like how moist these are compared to national brands, which tend to flake or break after a while.
Alternatives: I could just learn how to make my own. Maybe I will this year. Again, national brands are inferior in texture, and have a slightly longer list of weird ingredients. Taco Loco could have less ingredients, but since I’m too lazy to make my own, I can’t complain.
Source: Snowcap Lard
Preparation: Fried the beans in this.
Result: Better than vegetable shortening for everything, including refried beans.
Alternatives: I am dying to get some non-hydrogenated lard, and to get that I will probably have to buy my own pig on the hoof for the freezer. Vegetable shortening, which I don’t use because I don’t like it as much.
Source: Canned something or another from the store.
Preparation: Open can, pour on enchiladas.
Result: Meh. Not so good. Rather tinny tasting. Hot variety missing the silky body of the milder canned stuff I do like.
Alternatives: A canned brand I do like. Or make it myself, which I have never done, but I may start doing when I can tomatoes this year.
I would rate this meal as a 2/5 for meeting my goals. While I am making some local choices and doing some of the prep myself, it still falls short of what I could be doing with a little more effort.