One joy of aging is meeting the outstanding medical personnel who make the journey more comfortable. Tricia Fong, MSPT, COMT, FAAOMPT Physical Therapist in Washington, not only made my neck feel better, but she shared three frugal Asian tips devised to save all of us dollars.
Frugal Asian Veggie Stock
"In a 16-cup freezer container, add all stock bits, such as carrot tops, onion skins, celery trimmings, mushroom stems, and meat bones, since stock requires bones. Technically, if you are making a vegetarian or vegan stock without bones, it is a broth. When the freezer bowl is full, put all the frozen bits into a pressure cooker (mine holds 16 cups!), fill it with water to the max line, then pressure cook it on high for 90 minutes...and viola! Stock! This is a quick stock, and it will not win any awards for clarity and such; it is delicious for home cooking."
Infused Soy or Tamari Sauces
"Infuse your soy or tamari sauce with flavors for extra yumminess. First, fill a mason jar halfway with dried shiitake mushrooms, then top the jar with your favorite soy sauce or tamari (use tamari if you're gluten-free!). Weigh down the mushrooms to stay submerged in the soy sauce (I use a glass weight for fermentation). Screw on the lid. I let these steep for one week on the counter in my Fermentation Station.
Pour off the soy sauce into a new bottle of Mushroom Soy Sauce. This is extra yummy! Plus...you get some soy sauce mushrooms. These are intensely salty, so use them sparingly. Even one or two fermented mushrooms in a veggie side dish will give your veggies an Umami Bomb! Store these fermented mushrooms in the fridge and use them within a few weeks. The salt content is high, so these are preserved well."
The Entire Bird
"Buy things whole if you can and if you have the skill. Purchasing a full chicken yields many different cuts and gives you bones (the stock pot!). It requires the skills and knowledge to disarticulate a bird into parts.
If you prefer not to eat the skin, peel it off. You can roast this on a foil-covered sheet with salt and pepper. It turns into chicken chips. At a minimum, these are super delicious for your dog. However, if you do eat the skin, it's like a chicken crisp. Outrageous! If you want to go the extra mile after it's cooked, dehydrate it more in your dehydrator until it's dried. Pulverize this in your spice grinder, and you have made chicken powder. You can sprinkle this flavored powder onto your food for an extra chicken flavor. Like on french fries. An Australian seasoned salt is called 'chicken salt.' I bet I know what that seasoning contains.
Finally, the cut-up bird can yield breast pieces, drumsticks, thighs, and wings. Think about your entire week's worth of dinners, and plan to use these pieces. You can stretch a single bird into multiple meals and have a minimum of waste."
So try Trish's excellent tips if you want to make your food dollars stretch more in 2023. Why throw out good food when we can employ Frugal Asian Cooking?
One believes he may eat anything, while the weak man eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who abstains, and let not him who abstains pass judgment on him who eats; for God has welcomed him.
Martha Wild King, M.Ed., Author
The Frugal Catholic: Learn to live on less to give and save more.