Monday, June 30, 2008
Get your leftovers signed up with the Witness Protection Program!
I know this is a really stupid title - but follow me along here for a moment. Do your leftovers get eaten or shuffled around and ignored? Does your family avoid them like the plague - or do they pretend they are completely clueless about how to reheat, just to avoid eating leftovers?
Do leftovers check into your freezer, but never check out?
I think many of us are in that boat and here is a way out of this dilemma, because let’s face it - we cannot afford to let leftovers go to waste. They contain pricey ingredients, the work and time you put into cooking them and they are usually perfectly seasoned just waiting to be eaten. They have to be put to use. And here is where the Witness Protection Program comes in. Because we are going to give them a new identity and a new name.
There are three main ways of using leftovers but they have one thing in common, they use leftovers as an ingredient in itself and not a finished meal. Let me demonstrate: Let’s say we cooked vegetarian lasagna - it was a hit, but we made too much. What to do if your family does not go along with your plan of eating lasagna for breakfast, lunch and dinner the next two days - simple - you’ll deceive them. Obviously!
The three ways of hiding leftovers are:
1. Soup; kind of obvious - puree the sucker - add some broth - reheat and most importantly - rename. Vegetarian Lasagna - becomes a thick, creamy soup called “Roman Wedding Soup” - or something like that - the more outlandish the name the better! And the funny thing is - it tastes really good! Cross my heart! I have done this and people were asking for the recipe. Which I did not give them - for obvious reasons - “Well,make lasagna and then put it in a blender.” Right.
2. Make a dip out of it. Also kind of obvious - no reheating and the result is “potluck-worthy” good - again you will be asked for the recipe - I guarantee! Method: stick your leftover lasagna in the blender, add some extra virgin olive oil and blend. Move things along with a spatula if things stick a bit. Cut in some olives or a bit of salsa and serve with tortilla chips or pita triangles.
3. This is my personal favorite because it actually makes a whole other meal out of your leftovers - which is great for the budget. One word - veggie burger. Do you know the ingredients of a veggie burger? No? Relax, no one really does. Because it is very flexible: basically, you need - a bit of tofu - any kind will do - your leftovers - anything from lasagna - can you say “Italian burgers” to leftover Indian food “Kashmiri burgers anyone” will work, and a bit of flour. Method: Chop your leftovers finely - add tofu - add flour or some sticky starch such as cooked rice or quinoa (also a leftover hopefully) - mix by hand, form patties - cook in a good oil - serve with a side salad. They will be the best veggie burgers ever, trust me!