A Week in Their Kitchen 4: Eggs in Pipérade

Eggs+in+piperade A Week in Their Kitchen 4: Eggs in Pipérade
I thought I might actually lose some weight this week. Ha! Instead I’ve become hooked on peanut butter toast, those chewy-salty peanut granola bars, and Oreos with 2% milk. When your very best choices are the snacky things, you tend to go a bit overboard. Or I do, anyway.

Damn you, Mr. Christie. You make good cookies.

Oreos A Week in Their Kitchen 4: Eggs in Pipérade

I’ve been running on fumes this week. (Literally-I haven’t managed a shower in two days.) I haven’t been keeping up with the conversation here or at the Week in Their Kitchen blog as much as I’d like to. Today I didn’t have much time to spend trying to figure out what to do. I thought it was going to be a can of soup night. But I pulled out the thickly sliced zucchini and mushrooms in tomato sauce I made earlier in the week, thinking I’d put it on pasta. But it was so nice and chunky… I warmed it in a little baking dish, made some wells with a spoon into which I cracked a few eggs, and baked it. The eggs are tiny – rolling around in their styrofoam egg container with the expiry date hand-written on it in marker. I wonder if they are from someone’s backyard chickens?

Eggs+in+piperade+raw A Week in Their Kitchen 4: Eggs in Pipérade
Eggs+piperade+baked A Week in Their Kitchen 4: Eggs in Pipérade

You guys. I can’t believe how good this was. It was brilliant. I am so adding this to my regular repertoire, and not even changing it when I have access to more ingredients.

I’ve made eggs in Pipérade before – with peppers, tomatoes and garlic – but I don’t recall it being quite this good. Perhaps it was the time the vegetables had to spend in the fridge.

Eggs+in+piperade+2 A Week in Their Kitchen 4: Eggs in Pipérade

It was simply a zucchini, package of mushrooms (and OK – an onion – only because it was on the countertop on Monday and Mike unknowingly chopped and tossed it in, thinking it was with the rest of the stuff) and a shake of dehydrated garlic (one of my three spice choices) sauteed in a skillet with some canola oil. I poured a can of the plainest tomato sauce overtop and let it simmer, then it spent a few days in the fridge. Once the eggs were cracked in, they took about 15 minutes to bake in a 400ºF oven. Wowzah.

Eggs+in+piperade+3 A Week in Their Kitchen 4: Eggs in Pipérade

We ate it on toast, which was part of the appeal – I’m a fan of bread dragged through thick tomato sauce – and this was almost sloppy-Joe-esque, only better. And what a great, cheap, meatless meal – like eggs on toast for grown-ups. So long as you have tomato sauce, it could be made from any number of wilting veggies.

Speaking of. I know the Calgary Food Bank has become a sort of dumping ground for produce that is unsellable and often on the verge of composting itself. Plenty of companies (generously?) donate what’s garbage to them to the food bank, much of which is on the verge of unusable or already slimy – I’ve seen staff and volunteers out back, sorting through heaps of compost, opening packages to dump out the contents and filter out the plastic packaging. They really don’t need to be spending time and resources sorting through garbage so that whatever is compostable makes it into compost instead of into landfill.

So while we’re collectively eye-rolling over plantains and mushrooms and expired coleslaw (which is dated May 25th, but I ate again tonight, and it was just fine) I’m glad that some of this is being used – clearly plenty of it is perfectly edible, despite its poor aesthetics. We consumers like our produce to be plump and fresh with nary a blemish.

Which brings me to the topic of food waste. It’s something I’ve wanted to address for awhile – I have plenty to say on the subject, but for now I want to toss it out there for you to comment on. Every month, residents of Toronto toss out 17.5 million kilograms of food. (I’m sure statistics for Calgary are similar.) About a third of food purchased in the UK is thrown out every year – that translates to about $19.5 billion in Canadian dollars. Part of the problem is best-before and use-by dates on packaging, which isn’t regulated by any governing body and so determined by the manufacturers, most of whom undoubtedly would like to see a faster turnover of their product. Part of the problem is planning, and ease of accessibility, and sheer volume of food we all keep in our kitchens. (Do you know exactly what’s lurking in your fridge?) And buying more instead of using what we have.

Discuss.

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June 03 2010 08:10 pm | breakfast and eggs

31 Responses to “A Week in Their Kitchen 4: Eggs in Pipérade”

  1. Jessica on 03 Jun 2010 at 8:55 pm #

    Okay – that’s it!! EYE-ROLLING at plantains??!! How many did you get, ‘cuz I bought about 12 for 50% off at Superstore last month from the getting-too-ripe bin, and we happily ate them with dinner over the course of the next two weeks. Have you tried frying them – did you see my comment on how to fry them last week? One of our favorites. Really! Eye-rolling. ;o)

    It’s been fun reading about your food bank creations. You’re doing a terrific job, as usual, with the food AND highlighting an important social justice issue.

  2. Julie on 03 Jun 2010 at 9:04 pm #

    Hi Julie,

    You are doing an awesome job with this and it is a wonderful piece of awareness-raising for all of us. I have always given food to the foodbank but I think I am going to make a change to money so that a few more apples can end up in the mix.
    As to food waste – it is a huge problem and with all problems, small steps toward change seem much less overwhelming. Planning what you will eat and buying that can make a huge difference to what you end up throwing away. If your basic grocery list is on your fridge, you can make notes of what was leftover so that you don’t end up buying it again. Thanks for bringing it to our global attention!

  3. JulieVR on 03 Jun 2010 at 9:14 pm #

    Jessica – that’s not what I meant! I’m loving the plantains. We did fry them. But we collectively – all of us involved in this project – have been making lots of plantain jokes, and wondering what to do with them with our limited resources. That’s all.

  4. Lori on 03 Jun 2010 at 9:24 pm #

    I come from super frugal roots and am allergic to throwing food away.
    I will plan meals based on what’s going to go bad next and use best before and expiry dates as guidelines only. Instead I rely on my eyes and nose.
    I am not afraid to cut some fur off the cheese, grate the rest and use it or throw it in the freezer. Sour milk gets frozen in one cup containers and used in baking.
    Oh I could go on, but I contribute very little to that statistic.

  5. Kathleen on 03 Jun 2010 at 9:47 pm #

    Julie – I think it is awesome what you are trying to highlight. So many of us are all talk, no action, and you are the exception. As for the food waste – my grandmother grew up in the depression, and won’t even throw out a cabbage that is half rotten, because the other half is ‘still good’! She has a stomach of steel. As for me, I only have to cook for myself and my husband so far, and don’t have the complicaiton of picky eaters to content with, but we make a schedule of meals and only buy what we need for those meals. I write out a plan for the week, and create my grocery list with that, and then we buy the other essentials for the week like milk, eggs, bread, cereal, salad fixings, and yogurt, etc. By the end of the week, we usually have quite a bare fridge, but that is a good thing to me, because it means we have used all that we bought. We buy our meat in bulk, separate it into portions and freeze it that way, and have extra bread frozen as well (I know – the horror!). I guess this isn’t rocket science, and I am sure many people so this. I just find we waste less, and spend less this way. I can’t stand going through my fridge and throwing out things – it is like money in the trash, and I can’t help but think that I could have fed one more person with what I have wasted.

  6. Vivian on 03 Jun 2010 at 10:40 pm #

    I am getting such a wake-up call here. So many of my practices are wasteful…I buy what appeals to my eyes, imagining what I will do with it and then because of poor planning it doesn’t get used and because of “the industry” and their “best before” strategy, I end up tossing stuff out of fear. At least it is into the compost so that SOME good comes of it! I really think that “best before” and “use by” are just scare tactics. So very often I dive into stuff with bygone dates to find that it is just fine. Do you think it is a bit of an industry conspiracy?

  7. tami on 03 Jun 2010 at 11:27 pm #

    Jonathan Bloom’s blog on the subject might interest you.

    http://www.wastedfood.com/

  8. Fiona on 04 Jun 2010 at 12:25 am #

    I’ll tell you something – we compost a lot of produce. Or we did, until I stopped buying it all at once and started making more frequent trips to the store, or buying it frozen. Or getting my act together and freezing it before I forgot about it in what a friend of mine lovingly calls her veggie drawer – The Rotter. (I have passed along your tip about freezing those bags of spinach to all my friends, none of whom can ever finish a bag before it starts to wilt. Think of all the spinach you’ve saved!) Also – and people are going to think this is nuts – I waste far less when I have a dog to feed. She cares not if the broccoli’s getting a little rubbery or the zucchini looks funny, and her whole entire deal is “I’ll have what you’re having,” so I make extra.

    The ‘best before’ thing drives me nuts. I read a great story on CBC about it – I need to dig it up and read it again.

    And I cannot tell you how often we have the “but there’s nothing to eat” conversation at my house. It’s crazy and stupid and wrong. There’s all kinds of stuff to eat, we’re just spoiled.

  9. bridgit on 04 Jun 2010 at 6:26 am #

    Oh food waste. I can say, growing more of our own food makes food waste a lot less likely in our house; we have a lot more appreciation for what it has taken to get the food to our table. This is especially true in the winter when we’re eating food we’ve preserved. And I feel growing a _portion_ of our own food gives us grater respect for all the other food we consume.

  10. Robin (Hippo Flambe) on 04 Jun 2010 at 7:07 am #

    Food waste is a big issue for me as well. I am often horrified by what some friends waste while prepping dinner. I have watched one friend chop up a pepper and tossing out huge portions of it because she could not be bothered to put it in a container back in the fridge.

    Personally I think part of the problem is the cost of food. It is so cheap that people don’t bat an eyelash at throwing it out. I buy all my meat from local farmers and most of my produce as well so I am much more thrifty about what I toss. However the best thing for my food waste reduction is my chickens. I love giving scraps to my chickens who then turn it into compost and the best eggs ever. I especially love my chickens when my 2 school age boys take a bite of a muffin and then leave it to rot on the table.

    That egg dish sounds wonderful, I am sure i will try a version of it this summer.

    -Robin

  11. Cheryl on 04 Jun 2010 at 7:10 am #

    I think the food wastage discussion can be centered on three things – all of which the discussion has already touched on.
    1. Poor planning. We buy because it looks good. This happens to me in the summer when we get so excited about all the produce options at the market. In order to eliminate waste I now stop myself and ask what I will actually make and count the potential meals before I spend a cent. I also have a master grocery list for the staples.
    2. Aesthetics. As consumers we’ve gotten quite used to the pretty veg and fruit that the store sells us. So there are many among us who would have thrown away your mushrooms, zucchini, and coleslaw because they looked a little off, not that they were.
    3. Lack of cooking skills. My Hubby cannot look at a pile of food and think what to make. He can cook, but only with a prescribed list of ingredients. So, he will often say there is nothing for dinner when we have a fridge full of food! This and the time it takes to cook is important, especially when you are harried.

    Love your dinner! It is a favourite of mine, except I just do it all on the stove top. Heat sauce in a frying pan with a tight lid, crack eggs, cover for a few minutes.

    You know what else your week is showing? That dinner isn’t always about a meat, a starch, and a veggie. Dinner is about something good in your tummy and the people you eat with.

  12. Janet on 04 Jun 2010 at 7:11 am #

    Eggs in Piperade sounds very similar to the Israeli dish called Shakshouka. We basically do not waste food at our house – have always been very careful on that. I always just create a dish to use up the vegetables – usually it becomes a stir fry.

  13. Lana in South Mountain (ON) on 04 Jun 2010 at 7:26 am #

    Julie- I am so proud of you for this blog theme!
    My feedback is that I make a list of meals one week in advance, after I first check out the freezer, fridge and cupboards. Then, I build the meal-plan around that, adding ingredients to the grocery list as I need to. We have to budget this way- I make enough in each meal for dinner, and then for leftovers for my husband’s lunch the next day. If it’s a spaghetti-type thing, enough for two dinners. It almost always gets used up and if there are leftovers, then we have a leftover-buffet by the end of the week! All the dribs and drabs get eaten and the kids actually get excited about having bits of everything!
    We ARE spoiled in this society. It’s crazy.
    I also follow the nose/eye rule with the best before dates. “Best before” does not mean “rotten the day after”!
    You are inspiring me once again- hurray!

  14. Jennifer M on 04 Jun 2010 at 8:02 am #

    I love the sound of your egg dish. I use to make something similar all the time – my two year old won’t eat eggs, or anything saucy and mixed together, so I haven’t enjoyed it for a long time!
    On the subject of food waste: I’ve recently read some Mennonite cookbooks that I picked up at the library (namely, “More with Less”) and found some really great ideas. Since then I’ve made a real effort to make more things from scratch and I find that a lot less goes to waste that way. One idea that I read about (which I haven’t tried yet) is a weekly soup pot. The pot is left in the fridge and leftover bits are tossed in – come the end of the week, cook it and serve it as soup. Sounds slightly unappealing to me, but I’m sure with the right meal planning it could be very successful.

  15. Theresa on 04 Jun 2010 at 8:36 am #

    Expiration dates are just a guideline ;) Yogurt can be used in baking for a loooooong time after!

  16. Kristin on 04 Jun 2010 at 9:26 am #

    I HATE throwing food away. Things do get forgotten in the fridge sometimes, but that sure isn’t my plan. Yesterdays lunch was using up all the odds and ends in the fridge. I think we seriously used up at least 10 different things! It was a weird lunch…meatloaf, buttered noodles, pickles, applesauce, pineapple, etc. :) I never toss something just based on the expiration date. I always smell first and I’m not too scared to taste most things.

  17. Jen T on 04 Jun 2010 at 10:27 am #

    Waste not, Want not — there are so many options to food. Freezing food can be the easiest thing to do. But also sharing food is a great way to use it up.
    don’t buy what you won’t use in a week and take time to make a grocery list and only purchase what you need will typically result in no waste.

  18. robyn on 04 Jun 2010 at 10:30 am #

    I’m guilty. If something is wilted or looking sad, it will not be eaten. I blame the Food Safe class I took in 1993. However, because I feel creeped out about less than prime food, I don’t overbuy and throw a lot out. I buy what we need for the week and no more.

  19. rea on 04 Jun 2010 at 12:05 pm #

    i agree with Cheryl with regards to inability to think outside of a recipe. it’s taken me years to convince my husband, a staunch ‘made fresh every single freaking day’ man of European descent, that leftovers can be gourmet.

    i lived someplace i couldn’t store food more than 2-3 days (space constraints) so that cured me of my Canadian (freezer) roots. i now shop almost daily and accept it as part of life. the result is less spoilage, a healthier diet and a kind of thoughtful view on food. interestingly, my larder is smaller and i rotate food through it more frequently. freezing is minimal and related to fresh fruit and vegies, those gems that cost so much during wintertime.

  20. Monica I. on 04 Jun 2010 at 12:12 pm #

    I too am anti-waste. We’ve had the “More with Less” cookbooks in our family since I was very young. My parents (and theirs, and so on), were both farm-raised. Many years ago when we daughters went our own way, our mother gifted us each with a copy. I have found so many good things in that book. It’s not just a cookbook, but a “Life”book. It’s reading material on how to live.

    As a side bonus – many recipes are easily adapted to Gluten-Free life, (and allergy and gout diet as well, we have a diverse household)

    Society has been trained to waste. Think packaging. Bagged salad? Not in my house. I have been condo living without a large garden for a number of years, but patio container growing tomatoes and lettuce, and this year, my Significant Other has built a large bed at his home, so we’ll have potatoes, carrots onions, herbs and other foods to harvest. We might even have enough room to “Grow a Row” for the Edmonton Food Bank.

    I trim the slimy or frozen bits from my lettuce, yes, I freeze and trim my cheese that is slightly fuzzy, but prevent it by using a paper towel with a little vinegar wrapped around it. I smell everything – we have sour cream from late April that was unopened and still GOOD last week when we did open it. However, you have to know what is good and what isn’t – and many people don’t, and don’t know where to learn about food safety. My SO has no idea, and he will happily eat green meats, and things that smell very poorly. But he also has a stomach of steel and has gotten to +40 without my guidance of food spoilage.

    Compost is good, but if you can freeze it – do it! Cilantro is excellent fresh, but have you noticed from the store it lasts only a few days? My sister puts it in the food processor with a little oil, and spreads it on a cookie sheet and then freezes it. Breaks off the chunks, bags it and stores it until needed. PERFECT! I do have to say if you can get your cilantro fresh from the garden – it lasts 2 weeks or more in the fridge.

  21. erin on 04 Jun 2010 at 12:42 pm #

    Julie,

    I have been reading all week, and I just wanted to say thank you. Your posts, and the comments, have really made me think about how I approach meal times, and how blessed we are to have the luxury of eating what we want, and not having to make do with what we have.

    As for food waste, I have been guilty of it, for the same reasons as robyn above – I am terrified of ‘bad food’ (and it’s funny – I took the Food Safe course in the early 90s as well!!)

    I have really cut down on waste in the past year by shopping every three days or so, and I always try to leave one meal a week open – for leftovers or unexpected plans, etc. And this may sound stupid, but we realized our fridge was set too warm! Our dairy used to always go sour before the expiry date, and since we changed the temp, all our food seems to last longer.

  22. Elizabeth L. on 04 Jun 2010 at 1:04 pm #

    As has been noted, planning is the key to less waste, but I like to take it a step further and prep a lot of my ingredients in advance. It is so much easier to get dinner going if you have chopped/sliced or grated already–that is half the battle.

    When I started doing this (after working in restaurants for over a decade and suddenly having to cook for my family) I kept everything in one of those round, covered crudite containers that have segments. I would load it up with sliced carrots, peppers, broccoli and mushrooms and voila, two or three day’s worth of vegetables ready to go. If you write up a prep list that covers a few good recipes, even better.

    I now use separate containers (glass or plastic–not bags) and it still maintains my sanity and virtually guarantees we eat our vegetables instead of wasting them.

  23. Beverley M on 04 Jun 2010 at 2:17 pm #

    @Lana ““Best before” does not mean “rotten the day after”!”

    I say that too! Some things I don’t mess around with, mostly milk, but other things I disregard the BB date entirely — I’m not afraid of salad dressing that is a year past its BB date.

    @Monica – thanks for the cilantro tip. I love it, but my husband really, really doesn’t, so it often goes slimy because I can’t use up an entire bunch myself.

    @Elizabeth – thanks for the pre-cutting tip!

    So many good ideas!

  24. Barb on 04 Jun 2010 at 2:35 pm #

    I try very hard to plan ahead and use all that I have on hand. It really goes against the way I was raised to waste anything.

  25. Hilary on 05 Jun 2010 at 4:25 am #

    Best before dates are one of my pet peeves for this very reason – so many people put so much stock in them, when they’re just a rough guideline. I have had cartons of buttermilk in my fridge for literally months past the bb date – and it was perfectly fine to use in baking. If it’s fine to smell, it’s fine to eat! I wish more people realized this.

    Monica, love the cilantro tip!

  26. Denise on 06 Jun 2010 at 7:21 am #

    Tried the eggs–loved them! I think this week’s columns not only made me think of the food waste but also about choosing the right foods when making a donation to the food bank. I’m going to pass this information along to my coworkers for the next time we do a food drive!

  27. Carol SB on 06 Jun 2010 at 6:33 pm #

    Y’know, I thought I was the only one who treated “best before” dates like the advice from a favorite aunt: yes, I’ll check, but I might not follow it exactly. How reassuring, to hear so many of you saying the same thing.
    My daughter, living in University Residence this past term, was fortunate to share a townhouse unit with three other young ladies– two of whom came from a country where they hadn’t had the opportunity to do ANY baking themselves. How fun it was for my girl to share their giddy bliss and experimentation! One of my favorite quotes was, “Why do we always have to wait for food to go bad before we can bake with it?” (In reference to two favorites: sour cream scones and banana muffins).
    Use it up; wear it out; make it do, or do without.

  28. Weekly Dinner Menu: 6/7/10 | Food for My Family on 07 Jun 2010 at 6:58 am #

    [...] Monday – Bacon-Wrapped Turkey Mignons and Corn Salad with Bacon, Tomato, and Avocado Tuesday – Eggs in Pipérade Wednesday – Curried Turkey Salad with Apples, Cranberries and Walnuts Thursday – Cheese [...]

  29. Kelly on 10 Jun 2010 at 2:22 pm #

    Hi Julie,
    A pretty cool organization in Calgary has come to my attention and I immediately thought of you. I know you are just coming off your food bank adventure but I wondered if you might have a recipe or two to share with Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids http://brownbaggingit.org/?page_id=2
    The website says that their kitchen supervisor Mimi “continues to try new recipes and ideas to create healthy and “kid friendly” lunches.”
    I’m not affiliated with them, just wanted to pass on a really interesting challenge.
    Salut.

  30. Shakshuka » Dinner With Julie on 04 Jan 2013 at 10:30 pm #

    [...] in a spicy tomato sauce – an Israeli breakfast staple that’s similar to the Basque Eggs in Pipérade that blew my mind years ago and yet I don’t think I’ve managed to make since. [...]

  31. otthon v?©gezheto munka eger on 17 Nov 2013 at 2:28 am #

    I usually do not leave a response, but after browsing a few of the remarks herde A Weekk in Their Kitchen 4:
    Eggs inn Pipérade ? Dinner With Julie. I actually do have
    a couple of questions for you if you do not mind.
    Cold it be only me or does it appear like some of these
    remarks lopok as if they are left bby brain dead folks?
    :-P And, if you arre posting at additional online social sites,
    I’d like to follow you. Would you post a list of the complete urls of all your
    social community pages like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin
    profile?

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