• Karine Wlasichuk

Mediterranean Night: Empty-the-Fridge Edition

Updated: May 1, 2020

I must say this: I get such an adrenaline rush (says the girl who worked in war zones, wait for it) when I get to empty out the fridge and pantry for that final meal of the week. When you tell yourself, there is nothing left here, we'll order takeout and then let's go to the grocery store. WRONG. That 1/3 cucumber, half tomato and can of chickpeas disagree. It's Mediterranean night. Rejoice.

By the way, when I was a fairly broke therapeutic aid in Jerusalem, this is the type of rudimentary meals I would make for myself (without the meatballs, we're talking cooked carrots with raw chickpeas mixed together- although we're not going to that extreme today, you should know that we can only go up from here).

Let's talk about this cuisine. It is no secret by now that, although I do enjoy the starch and warmth that a good Slavic meal brings, Mediterraneans were very blessed with the lands they were given and thus, their food is extra healthy, fresh and ultra-flavourful. Living by the sea and surrounded by perfect harvesting conditions results in quite the feast-making abilities. And yes, although you might think 'Israel is in the Middle-East who is she kidding', it is also considered a Mediterranean country, as it has coastlines on the Mediterranean sea (Eastern shore of the sea, south of the country, with Egypt). Now that the geography lesson is over, let's jump into my last attempt of the week: turning an empty fridge into a full stomach.

Let's look at what we had left:

As you can see, there is an abundance of recipes which can come out of this vegetable medley (fancy omelette, spring salad, vegetable roast). Here is what I chose to prepare:

  • A chickpea salad on a bed of couscous

  • Chicken meatballs

  • Lemon potato roast à la grecque

  • Served with leftover hummus and garlic mayo, your pick!

I would also: add a kale salad (perhaps Fattoush), a Greek salad with tons of mint, feta and watermelon bites, and so many more. However I was out of those ingredients, and this is our entire concept today! Honesty time: I buy about 4 bunches of kale weekly. So if we're out of kale, we're pretty much living off of cans and water. Help.

The chickpea salad,

I mixed 1 can of washed chickpeas with 1/4 red onion (thinly sliced) and a few chopped cherry tomatoes. I then seasoned this mix with smoked paprika, sea salt, olive oil and black pepper.

The chicken meatballs,

In a large bowl, I combined 1 cup of breadcrumbs, 2 whisked eggs, a dash of olive oil, salt, pepper, 2 chopped scallions, 2 thinly sliced shallots and 1 lbs of ground chicken (I suggest also adding Parmesan, about 1/2 cup, and onion and garlic powder). Once everything was mixed together (with my hands), I rolled them up and aligned them on a baking tray, baking them for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

They burned? Here's what you do.

Why, of course they did, Ella and I started dancing to the Beatles and I turned around to crispy, shrunken meatballs. So here is what I did: I sliced them in half and served them on a layer of hummus as well as with some ketchup on the side to dip. By making sure you serve them with the sauces of your choice, it keeps your bites moist and flavourful! They are slightly overcooked, but it doesn't have to be the end of their run (and your meal).

And don't forget the lunches! I love to recycle food services packaging for small sauces and condiments into packed salad dressings or ketchup for René's lunches:

The last part,

Greek-style potatoes,

These of course have to go in the oven before you start preparing anything else as they take the longest to cook. I chopped the potatoes I had left in quarters and placed them in a baking dish, pouring over 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, pepper and a few tbsp of lemon juice. This is the shortened version of the actual recipe, which also includes fresh oregano, chicken stock, and minced garlic. I then cooked them in the oven a 350 for about 40 minutes.

Et voilà, you emptied your fridge and you fed your body and brain like a champ.