Posts tagged leftovers

Leftovers Casserole

Clean out the pantry and icebox casserole. Everything but the kitchen sink casserole. Yep, you get the idea. And all of us have done it, one way or the other. It’s the end of the week and time to do another round of groceries. But you don’t want that last piece of zucchini, that last piece of cheese, whatever, to go to waste. Right? Right?

Let’s see what I had left… Zucchini, roasted eggplant pieces, a can of tomatoes, an almost empty bag of cheddar, a small piece of fresh mozzarella, leftover burger patty and the remaining sweet corn salsa.

Whatcha got left in your fridge?

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Five-Spice Scallops on Fried Rice

Here’s another one of my “leftover” recipes that turned out to be excellent. Big flavor, health conscious, and looks good too! What more can you ask for?

The highlight of this dish comes from the spices. A combination of pure (unrefined) sesame seed oil and Chinese Five Spice powder blend which is a mixture of cinnamon, fennel seeds, cloves, star anise and ginger, or sometimes Szechuan peppercorns. It’s simple yet profound. You just have to try it to know what I’m talking about.

By the way, there is an art to making fried rice. You can do it however you want ingredient and flavor-wise, but it’s first and foremost about the foundation. The texture is equally as important as the flavor. In a nutshell, you either do it right or you don’t… and it may take some time to master it.

First of all, you need to prep at least a day ahead of actually making your fried rice. I didn’t have to do this particularly this time since I already have leftover rice in the fridge (Traditionally, having leftover rice is why you make fried rice, to begin with). But if you don’t, here’s what you do…

Before you cook the rice, you need to rinse the grains a few times to get rid of the starch. This helps to keep the rice from being “sticky” when it’s cooked. Then you cook it al dente with just a tad less water than as directed. When it’s done, do not open the lid. In fact, never open the lid throughout the cooking process. Keep it closed until the rice cools off, which could take hours. Then, store it in the fridge until you’re ready to make your fried rice. It’s important to note that the grains need to be cold and as dry as possible when you’re frying or you’ll end up with a sticky mess.

Ingredients: Fresh Scallops, 1 Cup Uncooked Jasmine Rice, 4 Eggs (2 whole, 2 whites only), Garlic, Low-Sodium Soy Sauce, Chinese Five Spice Powder, Scallions or Fresh Chives, Canola Oil, Pure (Unrefined) Sesame Seed Oil, Salt & Pepper, All Natural Dipping Sauce (Oyster, Hoisin, Peppered Vinegar, Sweet Chili, Sweet & Sour, etc.)

Directions: Marinate scallops in a mixture of soy sauce, five spice powder, minced garlic and a small amount of sesame oil for at least two hours in the fridge (overnight is great). Place on a non-stick baking sheet and in a 400F preheated oven for about 20 minutes or so. Be careful not to overcook. Meanwhile, scramble the eggs, breaking it into small pieces. Set aside. Now, coat a wok or a large pan with a couple tablespoons of canola oil. In medium heat, saute garlic for a couple of minutes. Take the rice out of the fridge and break the lumps with your hand. Pour into the pan and stir vigorously until the garlic is evenly incorporated. Add the scrambled eggs, a dash of five-spice powder, salt and pepper to taste and continue to stir for another 10 minutes or so, making sure there are no lumps left. Then at the end, add a drizzle of sesame oil and some chopped scallions or chives. Turn off the heat and stir one last time until everything is evenly incorporated. Serve rice and scallops on a plate with a dipping sauce of your choice.

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Leftover Tempura Soup

Well, I had to give way to the Butterball all-out feasting for a couple of days but now that it’s over, I’m back in the green and sensible eating business.

Now, not only did I have fish, veggies and fruit pieces leftover from making the baked tempura, I also had a few tempura pieces that I didn’t get to finish. So I thought of making soup out of all this today. Which turned out to be a winner. The tempura gets soggy when dipped in the soup but that’s how you want it. I’ve never tried making soup out of fruits before and I gotta tell ya, this ain’t gonna be the last time. So yummy and refreshing!

Ingredients: Assorted Veggies (I used Zucchini, Mushrooms, Carrots and Sweet Potato) and Fruits (I used Apple, Pear, Peach and Avocado), Leftover Tempura Pieces, Chicken Stock, Dry White Wine, Garlic, Olive Oil, Chives or Scallions, Salt & Pepper

Directions: Dice all veggies and fruits into small pieces. In a pot or dutch oven, saute garlic in a little olive oil. Throw in all veggies and fruit pieces, season with salt & pepper and stir. Add just enough stock to immerse everything then add a splash of white wine. Let boil for 10 minutes or until the veggies and fruits are very soft. Ladle the veggie and fruit pieces and some stock into the blender and puree. Pour back into the pot and if needed, re-season to taste. Reheat leftover tempura pieces in the mircrowave. Ladle soup in a bowl, add tempura pieces and garnish with chives or scallions.

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