Sunday, November 14, 2010

Left Overs


Luck exists in the leftovers.
- Japanese proverb.

            While I was writing yesterday’s post, I realized I could crown myself as the Leftover Queen (with a crown of broccoli and Brussels sprout scepter). Here are some ways you can reconstruct your containers of random starches (meat and veggies will get another post in the future), before they turn into science projects. 

Bread
  1. Make French toast.  Dip day-old bread in a mixture of 1 cup of milk, 1 egg, pinch of salt, and zest of some any citrus fruit.  Fry in hot skillet.  Serve with syrup, preserves or powdered sugar.
  2. Make bread pudding with dried fruit.  Soak 11/2 c. of any dried fruit (if large, cut into smaller pieces) in some brandy (cognac, calvados, eau de vie, etc.) for an hour.  Cut dried bread into 1in. cubes.  Beat 2 cups of milk, 2 eggs, 3/4 c. sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla in a medium bowl.  Toss bread cubes and fruit with egg mixture.  Place into a loaf pan, including any leftover egg mixture and fruit soaking liquid.  Bake in a water bath at 350°F until custard is set, about 45-50 minutes.  Serve with mascarpone cheese.
  3. Make panzanella (fantastic in the summer with heirloom tomatoes).  Cut bread into cubes.  Heat 2 tbs. of oil and 1 crushed garlic clove in a skillet over medium high heat.  Toast bread cubes in oil.  Chop 2 large ripe tomatoes, 1 cucumber (English), 1/2 red onion, and a handful of basil.  Toss bread cubes with vegetables. Dress with any good balsamic vinaigrette.
  4. Croutons.  Cut bread into cubes and dry in a 200°F oven.  Use later for stuffings.
  5. Ribbolita.  Chop whatever vegetables you have (carrots, celery, onions, garlic, etc.) and sauté in a stock pot with olive oil until soft.  Add 3 c. stock (chicken, etc.), 2 cans of any white beans, 1 can crushed tomatoes, and bunch of leafy greens (kale, cavalo nero, cabbage, etc.).  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Add 4 c. stale bread cubes.  Simmer for another 10 minutes.  Season and serve with grated Parmesan.
Rice
1.     If you have long grain rice of any kind (basmati, etc.), make fried rice.  Chop any leftover meat and/or cooked vegetables into bite-size pieces.  Heat wok or deep skillet with 2 tbs. peanut oil.  Sauté leftover vegetables and meat.  Toss in leftover rice to combine.  Beat two eggs and scramble with the rice mixture.  Serve with soy sauce.
2.     Short-grain (e.g. sushi) rice.  Make congee or jook.  Place leftover rice, 3-4 c. of any type of stock into a heavy pot.  Heat on a low simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rice has broken down into the liquid.  Season with soy sauce, leftover meat pieces, or furikake.
3.     Short grain rice or risotto.  Make arancini. Stir cubed ham and peas into leftover rice.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir in 1 beaten egg.  Make into rice balls with a cube of mozzarella in the middle.  Beat 1 egg with a tbs. of milk.  Dip rice balls in egg mixture and coat in bread crumbs.  Deep fry until golden.
4.     Sticky rice with mango.  Warm leftover short-grain rice in a microwave.  Add enough brown or palm sugar and coconut milk to taste.  Serve with sliced ripe mango.
Boiled Potatoes
1.     Cut cooked potatoes into cubes.  Heat whatever fat you have around in a skillet (bacon or duck is especially nice) over medium heat.  Sauté potatoes in fat until crispy. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with eggs or my favorite, aioli mixed with Pimentón de la Vera or Piment d’Espelette.
2.     Potato Pancakes.  Coarsely mash boiled potatoes.  Add 1 beaten egg and some bread/cracker crumbs.  Heat non-stick pan with 2 tbs. oil and fry into pancakes (you can make them large or small). Season with salt and pepper Serve with crème fraiche and chives, applesauce, or caviar.
3.     Sort of vichyssoise. Sauté 2 chopped leeks with 3 tbs. of butter in a stockpot until soft.  Sauté potatoes with leeks until heated, but not browned.  Add 4 c. of chicken stock.  Bring to a simmer for 15 minutes.  Take off heat. Using an immersion blender or regular blender, blend with 1/2 c. heavy cream until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.
4.     Mashed potatoes.  Warm potatoes in a microwave until hot.  In a small saucepan, heat 1/2 c. whole milk and 1/2 c. heavy cream until hot.  Mash potatoes with 3 tbs. of butter, and milk/cream mixture until you have the consistency you want.  Season with salt and pepper.

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