Tuesday, September 8, 2009

No leftovers left behind

Good for designer and writer Erik Trinidad, who revamps fast-food meals to look like they'd be at home in a fine restaurant. That's his Chicken McNugget Confit at right, from www.fancyfastfood.com.

His tagline on the site: “Yeah, it’s still bad for you — but see how good it can look.”

But I'd like to see some of Trinidad's energy to go into making leftovers look good. Think of all the food that's wasted every day in this country that, with a little imagination and care, could have an encore worthy of applause.

Until he takes up the gauntlet, let me provide a few hints for using leftovers:
  • Don't use the microwave for reheating everything. While vegetables are very good reheated that way, it's not as good for any food containing oil or fat (they heat really quickly) and it's a disaster for anything with bread or Parmesan cheese.
  • Use a container appropriate to the size of the food. The original dish may have been fine in a 4-quart casserole, but if you only have a serving or two left over, dish it into something smaller.
  • Think of something fresh to add to the leftovers and make it into a whole new dish. Or add a salad.
  • If all else fails, cover it with shedded cheese. It will melt quickly, and pleases most everyone, except dairy-intolerant, vegans or dieters.
Tonight I had some carnitas and plain rice to use up. I put the rice in a covered casserole dish and sprinkled it with water; sautéed some sliced crimini mushrooms and whole baby onions and scattered them over it; then topped it off with the carnitas. I covered the dish and put it in a 425 degree oven for 10 minutes, removed the lid and let the carnitas brown a little for another 10 minutes. I served it with a salad of sliced tomatoes dressed with pesto, green onions and basil ribbons, and a loaf of crusty whole wheat bread. Not once were the words "Leftovers again?" uttered.

1 comment:

  1. Galaxy makes a decent vegan cheese called VEGGIE SLICES. Behaves pretty well as far as melting goes.