Culinary Challenge: My fridge died. What should I eat at home?
Chow Friends - I'm new to the boards but eager to share my culinary challenge.
My fridge died and I'm resorting to making my meals on a same-day / no leftovers / no refrigerated foods basis (i.e. no eggs, yogurts, cheeses). Life will be like this for at least another 3 - 4 weeks (it's a warranty issue).
I live in NYC, so I'm fine with walking to the market each morning to pick up canned foods, a few fresh items that won't spoil, and fresh breads. I've had more garbanzo and refried beans that I can stand, so I'm hoping you all can suggest quick and easy (and cheap) recipe suggestions.
Just FYI, I don't eat meat or chicken but I enjoy fish (although canned tuna is out, as I am over my limit). And I generally try to stay on the healthier side. Anyways, this has been quite a challenge these last weeks. I can use your suggestions!
I had the same problem in NYC also. It lasted for a year, not a warranty issue but a landlord one. In the meantime, I had a cooler and bought alot of ice. I shopped on an daily basis and since I do eat meat, just purchased and cooked it the same day. Lots of fruit and firmer veggies will last outside the fridge for a few days and I used canned beans, tomatoes and pasta, sardines and samon on a regular basis. I cooked much smaller portions than usual, to avoid the leftover issue. Edit: Eggs don't need to be refrigerated, as other posters have mentioned.
I suggest getting a small cooler; then you could keep dairy for at least more than a day.
Now with the colder weather here, maybe you could put stuff out on the fire escape, if you have one. I kept milk out on mine which was moderately successful. I had to buy it by the quart.
Beyond that, I ended up eating canned chili and mac and cheese frequently, and because I lived in Greenpoint at that time, I got Polish food take-out on many a night. My doctor mentioned that my sodium was quite high, probably due to the mac and cheese consumption, and I should change my diet accordingly. So I finally got a new big fridge and promptly stocked it with a six of Budweiser. Took care of the sodium problem right away...
My thoughts are with you.
hard cheeses, like pecorino, will also be fine at room temp for a least a week, depending how warm your place is.
you can buy small (4 oz.) packages of smoked salmon.
tins of smoked oysters, smoked mussels; tins of salmon, mackerel, herring, escargot, sardines all come in smallish sizes.
Some tofu is shelf stable, such as this one http://www.morinu.com/
Here's a tofu recipe I like. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4341...
How about cooking with pasta, dried mushrooms, hard cheeses? Maybe some nuts? Pine nuts, almonds, walnuts... Might be good "baking" sales on nuts this time of year.
For a vegetable that doesn't require refrigeration, hijiki is dried and can be re-hydrated and used in stir-fries and salads.
How about Vietnamese spring rolls? You can just buy a small amount of shrimp and vegetables as needed. The rice wrappers and vermicelli noodles are shelf stable.
I hope this helps. Good luck!
re: The Dairy Queen
Also, not super cheap or lightweight, but small containers of pickled things might be good to have one hand--mushrooms, artichoke hearts, palm hearts, olives, etc. Since they are high in flavor (and salt, ha!), they might be very satisfying to add to pastas and sandwiches. They are shelf-stable until you open them. If you have a small cooler, I'm sure they would keep a long time even after opened, if you wanted to buy bigger jars.
Sundried tomatoes, either dried or in oil, again, to add to pastas or sandwiches.
Also, powdered milk isn't bad for some cooking applications, since you can't keep refrigerated milk on hand.
Boring but true--nut butters. Here's even an intriguing cookie recipe someone posted today you could make from all shelf-stable ingredients. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4062...
NYC hasn't been THAT cold the past week or 2. It was 62 F last Saturday and will be in the 50s this week. The cooler and some ice is your best bet to keep a quart of milk, some eggs and cheese.
Most fruits are OK out of the fridge, dry pasta with oil and garlic is a favorite pantry staple of mine and the garlic can stay out of the fridge too. Or grab a bunch of fresh herbs, a little cheese from your cooler, some pine nuts and olive oil for a quick pesto.