Yesterday, when I was grocery shopping, I noticed that macadamia nuts and sourdough bread were on sale. I bought them despite the fact that I had no idea how I was going to prepare them at the time. I was sure I could come up with a tasty plan though.
I’ve been making an effort lately when grocery shopping to buy food that is on the day-old bread rack or listed as “Manager’s Special”. These food items are typically close to out-dating and may be thrown away by the grocery store due to public safety concerns if not purchased by shoppers. Food waste in the US is staggering, by some estimates 40% of all food produced is sent to the landfill. Far less than 40% of our population is facing serious food insecurity, meaning that if we prevented food waste through better distribution of our food supplies, we would not have a hunger problem in the US.
I realized that one way average people like us can reduce food waste is to simply purchase food that is close to out-dating, bring it home, cook it, and eat it as part of our normal diet. Of course, this requires some creativity in the kitchen because the nearly outdated ingredients may be somewhat random, like macadamia nuts and sourdough bread. Or potatoes and eggplant. Or lamb and yogurt. But, there are so many recipes available now in cookbooks and on the Internet that virtually any combination of ingredients can be made into a meal.
If you are accustomed to shopping with a list for a weeks’ menu plan, you can accommodate the spontaneity of purchasing nearly outdated food by having a “Manager’s Special” spot in your menu plan at the beginning of your week. Cooking your Manager’s Special food soon after purchase will help prevent spoilage, and you can relish the creative masterpiece that your parsimony has brought you.
For Sunday brunch at home, today’s Manager’s Special recipe ending up being Macadamia Nut French Toast. Because of the various dietary restrictions in our house, this recipe is egg-less, cholesterol-free, lactose-free, and sugar-free. The recipe can be made gluten-free by substituting the sourdough bread with a gluten-free variety.
The recipe was surprisingly light despite the macadamia nuts. Because the batter was egg-less, it was safe to give the last little bit remaining to our dog, Lainie, who had staged a lie-down food protest in the middle of the kitchen floor after she smelt the toast cooking. It was impossible to leave the kitchen without stepping over her and meeting her manipulative starving-puppy “If you really loved me, you’d share your food with me” gaze.
⅓C Soy powder
2C coconut milk
½ C macadamia nuts, ground fine in a food processor
1t vanilla extract
1t ground cinnamon
½ t ground nutmeg
1 day-old loaf sliced sourdough bread
Mix soy powder, coconut milk, vanilla and spices together until smooth. Stir in macadamia nuts. Dip bread into mixture until coated evenly with batter and macadamia nuts. Pan-fry in a small amount of vegetable oil over medium heat. Enjoy with sugar-free syrup, or real maple syrup.