Friday, December 28, 2007

Leftovers Are a Busy Mom's Friend and They Can Be Your Friend Too

Yesterday evening I rounded up all the leftovers in the hopes of creating something that would use them all up without leaving any leftovers (except enough for Jim to take for lunch) of the new creation. (No matter how delicious anything is, it loses appeal when eaten three days in a row.) For any of you who are still eeky about combining leftovers, here's the technique I used.

I started by chopping the leftover pasta with sauce and egggplant into small, almost unrecognizable, pieces. Next I tore up the leftover bits of Easy No-Knead Crusty Bread into small pieces about the size of croutons and threw them in with the pasta mix. The remaining stuffing was next in the bowl (there wasn't a crumb of gluten roast left to add). The chickpea roll was crumbled, which broke my heart since the pastry shell had held together so well during cooking and serving, and added to the bowl.

I took a moment to mix this all together because the next two additions required tasting before actually adding them. I wasn't sure if the leftover chickpea and olive spread flavor would meld or clash with everything else. The easiest way to check this is to take a taste. I put a bit of the mix on a spoon and then added a bit of spread to it and tried it. It wasn't bad at all, so in it went. After mixing this around, I repeated the same tasting process with the leftover gravy. This also went well with the rest of the mixture so into the bowl it went.

Somewhere along the way, I had decided that this would become a loaf. To bind it together, I added in some flaxseed meal and a bit of water. I pressed the mixture into an 8"x8" pan and baked it at 375 degrees for about an hour. (I might have used a higher oven temperature and a shorter cooking time, but I had to run to the train station and I didn't want anything to burn.)

I've often said that serving something utilitarian like this loaf is best when paired with something fun. In keeping with that philosophy, I made baked French fries to accompany it. I also made a miso soup with shredded carrots and the last of the leeks. I love to have soup with meals this time of year.

I did wind up with just enough leftovers of last night's dinner for Jim's lunch today. For those of you wondering about proportions, interestingly, we ended up with almost equal amounts of leftovers of each of these things I used. Now the only remnants of Christmas left in the fridge are some winter squash puree (which will be used in muffins and pancakes this weekend) and some pumpkin pie (which probably won't last much past lunch time).

It seems I'm not the only one who views leftovers as ingredients. Omnivore readers will enjoy Melanie's post on the same topic.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love it! Your leftover creations always sound so good...I am scared to experiment with mine, but your posts are so inspiring I just may try it!