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Creative reuse

Despite the reduction in major food projects around these parts, we ate pretty well over the holidays. The part I was a bit smug about, actually, was how I used up the many leftovers that were packing the fridge after Tom left.

For Christmas Eve we recreated the dinner from two years ago: steak, celeriac puree, and wilted spinach salad with bacon. I am totally hooked on that purée technique (cube up root vegetables, sauté some garlic in olive oil, add the vegetables and soften a bit, add stock, cover and simmer until soft, purée with a dash of cream and butter if you’re feeling fancy) and have had great success with rutabaga as well as celeriac. Dinner was tasty, though I over-cooked the spinach:

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PSA: If you don’t have an immersion blender, do yourself a favor and get one ASAP. Over the last few weeks I used mine to whip cream (whisk attachment), purée things in their pans (blender attachment), and chop up stuff (mini prep). I have this one and it’s the best $40 you can spend on a kitchen gadget.

But somehow we ended up with mountains of the celeriac. I mean, ridiculous leftovers. We ate it with the leftover steak but there was a still a huge bowl sitting around. A few days later I got sick of looking at it, so I popped it all back in a pot with some milk (fine, and a little more cream), heated it up, made grilled cheese, and called it soup. It took a while, because I forgot to turn on the stove. But normally it would have taken about 5 minutes.

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Deeeelicious!

Early in Tom’s visit we made potato-leek soup, and we accidentally peeled too many potatoes. Tom diced up the extra and parboiled it, and used some for omelets and things while he was here. We also had two huge bunches of kale from the final winter CSA share, and I cooked it as per usual but we somehow had a ton leftover. Also I had a lot of bacon, since I planned to cook it for Christmas breakfast and we never got around to it thanks to a gift of Zingerman’s cinnamon rolls from Christy. And we’d made a batch of carnitas in the slow cooker, forgotten to uncover it to cook off the liquid, and thus scooped out some of the extra liquid, cooked it down (Tom again, always thinking!) and thrown that in the fridge where it turned into a gorgeous jelly (bone-in pork shoulder). AND Ben made pasta one night and cooked the whole pound, so there was a bunch of cooked rotini in a ziplock.

As you can imagine, all those bits and bobs were rendering the fridge a bit chaotic, and I was pretty much out of storage containers.

Here’s what I did: (This seems so simple, but guys, it was awesome.)

-Cooked some of the bacon as lardons, pulled it out
-Diced up some onion and cooked that along with the potatoes in the bacon fat
-Threw in the pasta to brown up a little bit and get heated up
-Added some of the pork jelly to glaze it all and provide a bit of moisture and sauce
-Mixed in the kale, heated it all up, topped with parmesan.

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The potatoes were key here. SO GOOD. In fact, it’s 11 a.m. and if I had any of that in the fridge now I would be eating it. I’m hungry.

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