Friday, January 22, 2010

Second helping: Leftovers, please!

Sometimes there's too much food for not so many people on the table. Freezing? Tossing away? No.  I always want to use it all. And the idea is simple: to transform yesterday's food in today's new adventure.

One way I found out to make this process into a very attractive challenge is to visit the fridge on the day after and select all kinds of very fresh ingredients and some herbs and spices.
When very creative,  all I want is to re-dress the old into a brand new flavor. That can be achieved by using the odd ingredients: capers forgotten somewhere in the fridge, unknown spices given by someone and now in the corner of the pantry.  I display the ingredients on the counter top and start to imagine how they could all go together.

Sometimes I go to my favorite reference book and browse for inspirational ideas that would help me to create a new recipe, and that can be very rewarding.

Here are a few recipes that can use left overs as ingredients or a tip to give a new use for them.

Brownies  and Birthday Cake -- When its the second day and they've not been devoured yet, I cut in thin layers or small cubes and bake it again for 5-10 minutes at 350 F. They become crunchy sweet croutons to cover yogurt or ice-cream.

Beans Casserole -- It makes a wonderful base for a soup. The vegetarian soup Liquid V is one of them.

Couscous  (picture) -- Can easily be transformed as a main ingredient for a Frittata.

Pasta Dish -- I normally prepare a Minestrone using the pasta, adding some more herbs, lemon peel and beans.

Rotisserie Chicken -- After Darienne published her Lazy Stock, I always go for it! Also you can use it for her Chicken Tortilla Soup  or Chicken Salad

Roasted Pork Loin -- If there is something left, I use it to prepare a Mexican dinner. I shred the meat and stir fry in hot olive oil with fresh bell peppers, purple onions and finish with tomato sauce. They can be then served with tacos, tortillas or rice.

Salad Dressing prepared the day before -- I use as a marinade to grill meat, adding more olive oil and salt.

Sandwich Bread Crusts - They become a nice addition to a party tray after being toasted for 10 minutes in the oven (350F) and can be used to with dip.

Do you have any tip to share? You are invited to include it on comments.  We will be delighted to try it!


Myrna Herzog said...

This was really an awesome posting, bravissimo! Being able to use leftovers and transform them into interesting meals is doubtless one of the most traditional and important skills in the realm of cooking. Thanks to this capacity, a million recipes have been invented. I found the recipes above great, especially the one of the brownies. I wish to compliment you also on the courage to write about left-overs, which are often regarded as something "less chic". The capacity of making inventive use of them just shows how much of a cook we are, and our ability to dream, create and transform. Bravo!

Darienne said...

One of my favorites is to slice up cold, leftover steak and serve it with a green salad, with a bit of lemony dressing. Yum.

Bruna Batista said...

Anna, o site esta maravilhoso! Parabens pelo trabalho, e amei as dicas de leftovers, e' sempre bom comer uma comida caseira sem tanto trabalho na cozinha toda vez. Com certeza vai ser util :)


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