Leftovers, Revisited

By Sandy Hu

Last month, I cited a Wall Street Journal article about how much food Americans waste. It struck a chord with one of our Special Fork Food Editors, Debby Goldsmith, a veteran food journalist who was Associate Food Director at Good Housekeeping for many years.

Here’s what she wrote:

“I read that WSJ article at the dentist and I just couldn't fathom how or why people are so wasteful with food and everything else. I compost, I burn paper waste; I recycle.

We now have single stream recycling upstate (New York) so everything from newspapers to every number of plastic (the number in the recycle triangle on disposable plastics) except bags goes in the same giant bin and I lug cans and bottles to the supermarket for my 5-cent wild money.

My husband takes a tiny bag of real garbage into the city every Sunday. Even with the single stream recycling, the lazy people can't seem to do that right!

Fact is, I adore leftovers. Is it because I am a food person and have the ability to create dinner from scraps? I don't know, but I am never bored with my creations. I save everything and most of the time it ends up in a pasta dish or a crazy soup.

It's only two of us but I never hesitate to rotisserie a whole chicken to use for two meals plus a salad. Grilled steak or lamb always becomes a tasty sandwich or salad -- sometimes better than the original dish! Too much strawberry-rhubarb cobbler for two? Well, breakfast here I come! Why would I buy an expensive breakfast sweet?

And, another boon is leftover roasted potatoes that make a great companion for Sunday brunch with eggs. Old, slimy mushrooms make the best omelets!

I do realize that now that I am not working outside the home, I am home for lunch and that makes leftovers even more appealing. Also, since I spend three days a week upstate, I need to send leftovers down to the city with my husband so he can have carefree meals for at least two nights. Seems to work for him, also.

I even save my coffee grounds in New York City to fertilize my backyard plants.

I just got back from the Union Square Green Market where I kept filling up my green canvas bag with all the goodies I bought. I even brought my own heavy-duty canvas bags and paper sleeves so I could go to Trader Joe's Wine on 14th Street. I could go on and on….”

We could all learn a lesson from Debby.

And, coincidentally, at Camp Blogaway which I attended as a sponsor for Kerrygold, my PR client, Cutco, also a sponsor of the camp, presented “30 Minutes: Use your Scraps!” with Chef Chef Susan Goss of West Town Tavern in Chicago.

Among Susan’s many tips for using every scrap of food was a recipe for Quick Orange Peel-Shallot Pickle. While I try to grate citrus peels and freeze them for future use, this recipe takes peel and pith – usually destined for the scrap bin – and turns it into a delicious condiment, for free.

Susan says the pickle could be used after a few hours. One of her suggestions for use is to combine the pickle with olive oil and marinate fish.

The demonstration, of course, used a variety of Cutco knives, and each of us as camp attendees received a 7-5/8" chef’s knife.

To get the recipe and shopping list on your smartphone (iPhone, BlackBerry, Android device) or PC, click here.

Quick Orange Peel-Shallot Pickle
1 ½ cups julienne orange rind with pith (2.5 ounces)
¼ cup thinly sliced shallot (1 large)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt

Toss all ingredients together in a small bowl. Refrigerate, covered at least overnight, or up to 2 weeks. Rind will continue to soften and pickle as it stands. Recipe may also be made with lemon rind.

Recipe from Chef Chef Susan Goss of West Town Tavern, Chicago.

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Posted: May 20th by Sandy_Hu