|Try looking at your leftovers in new ways. |
Here, I've combined this week's leftovers with fresh spinach and roasted red peppers to make a pretty verrine appetizer.
This month's theme is going Back to Basics, and I can't think of anything more basic than how to reinvent leftovers. It's a problem everyone shares: vegan or omnivore; single or married with 6 kids; city or country. No one wants to waste food, especially in this economy. At the same time, no one wants to eat last Sunday's casserole three nights in a row. Variety is, as they say, the spice of life.
After a solid week of MoFo blogging, and several weeks of pie-baking and recipe-testing for my upcoming cookbook, even my ginormous new refrigerator and freezer are jam-packed with – you guessed it – leftovers. I can only freeze and give away so much.
"You eat with your eyes first."
This adage is true for a reason, and I've come to realize that enjoying leftovers is more of a visual problem than a gustatory one [assuming you actually enjoyed the original meal!]. Seeing beautifully presented food whets our appetites. We Americans usually eat dinner from a single plate, with all 3 courses slapped together, artists'-palette style. Personally, this is my least favorite way to eat; I experience Stendhal Syndrome when confronted with all those colors, textures and flavors at once, plus, dinner is over too quickly – and I love eating dinner! Many other cultures habitually parse out meals into courses, and still others, like the Japanese, habitually present food artfully using tiny portions.
My "Sexy Leftover" Experiment
I decided to do a little food styling experiment with some leftovers from the past week. In the photos below, I've presented essentially the same meal in several different ways, using:
- Quinoa [from Lazy Girl's Breakfast Quinoa]
- Mashed potatoes from a Shepherd's Pie for the new cookbook
- Sweet-ish Meatballs
- Fresh spinach
- An occasional roasted red pepper [for color]
I tried to make everything as appealing as possible. Please vote at the end of this post for which method you think made this humble ménage of leftovers the sexiest [ie, most appetizing].
Dinner, American Style
Everything on one plate...
|Love, American style, All courses are served at once.|
À la Française
Each course is served on separate plates...
The leftovers become raw material in which you create an entirely different, new meal. These are just 2 options; possibilities are limitless.
|An appetizer verrine, created with tiny portions of leftovers, served in a vodka glass. Eat with a demitasse spoon.|
|Entree portion served in a stemless wine glass terrarium style.|