冷蔵庫の食材使い切りチャレンジ!Empty Fridge Challenge: Day 1

This morning when I was wondering what to make for lunch, I opened the fridge to see what kind of ingredients I had on hand. There was a lot of pumpkin, a handful of okra from the garden, a huge tupperware container of eggplant pickles I had made the day before, two sad-looking shiso leaves, three pickled plums, and in the freezer, two lonely pieces of thin-sliced pork. Rather than go to the grocery store and buy more ingredients, I was determined to use what was already in the fridge and make something (anything!) for lunch.

I cut the pumpkin into bite-sized pieces, and steam-fried them in 3 tablespoons of olive oil until they were cooked through.

Then I took of the lid, turned up the heat a bit and browned the edges. Finally, I tossed the pumpkin pieces gently with a teaspoon and a half of rice vinegar and about one third of a teaspoon of salt. 


For the okra, I sprinkled them with salt, rolled them back and forth on the cutting board to remove the tiny hairs, then rinsed them in water.

Then I trimmed off the hard tip of the okra with a knife. (I guess I didn’t rub them hard enough with salt, because the the tiny hairs are still there!)

Once I trimmed all the okra, I boiled them for two minutes, then transferred them to a bowl of cold water. After patting them dry, I cut them in bite-sized pieces on the diagonal, and tossed them with half a teaspoon of seasoned soy sauce and some bonito flakes.

The day before, I had pickled eggplant in a salted water with konbu seaweed and dried chili peppers. All I had to do was give a few slices of eggplant a good squeeze to get rid of the water and they were ready to eat!

And finally, the two lonely pieces of thin-sliced pork! At first I thought about making a single serving of ginger pork, but changed my mind when I remembered the sad-looking shiso leaves and pickled plums waiting patiently in the fridge. I topped each slice of pork with a shiso leaf and minced pickled plum, then rolled it up.

After dipping the pork rolls in flour, egg, and panko crumbs, I deep-fried them for about four minutes until they were crisp and golden on the outside, then cut them in half diagonally.

It felt so good to finally use those two slices of pork that had been in the freezer for the longest time, not to mention the slightly wilted shiso leaves that were begging to be eaten! 

It can be really difficult to think of a good combination of side dishes for a lunch box when there are TOO many options. In a way, it was actually helpful to narrow down the options with rules like “you can only use the vegetables in the fridge” or “see what you can do with all that leftover meat in the freezer”. Not only did the “empty fridge challenge” make my lunch box making routine a lot easier, but I think the pork and the shiso leaves were happy to finally be eaten as well! 


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