Friday, September 12, 2008

experimenting with scraps

We didn't plan to do a lot of cooking this week, owing to my being sick, so we've been living mostly on boxed Trader Joe's soup, salad, juice, tea, and a few vegetables that I picked up so that there'd be some nutrients in all this.

By Wed I was getting creative, and by Thurs, I was running on scraps. Still, sometimes experimenting with the leftovers has positive results. The remoulade (foreground) was planned - no way I just keep ripe pears and celery root on hand. It's a pretty easy side dish, particularly if you're lazy about the julienning, like I am, and you get someone else to make the sauce, which is basically a flavourful, homemade mayonnaise/aioli (an egg yolk, some mustard, a splash of vinegar and a half cup of olive oil and whisk whisk whisk!).

The scraps come in with the gnocchi (and while, yes, I do sometimes make my own gnocchi, this is the pre-packaged stuff that Trader Joe's sells for $1.49). A firm believer that some slow-sauteed caramellized onions is the basis of many tasty things, I cut an onion in thin crescents, and caramellized them over low heat in olive oil. I chopped some fresh sage leaves from the garden and threw them in as the onions finished. Then I added a leftover baked garnet yam, skin removed, and flesh cut into chunks, three figs (sliced thin to spread them further) and a handful of baby spinach leaves (the last of a pre-packaged bag). I sauteed to wilt the spinach and warm the figs and yam through. Meanwhile, we cooked the gnocchi, drained it, and tossed it with a little olive oil, then added the veggies and tossed all together. I topped mine with some crumbled Mt. Vikos Manouri Manaki, a light and salty sheep-and-goat's-milk cheese. Cass went for parmesan - I'm sure either would be grand.

We paired it with the remoulade, some leftover salad greens tossed with leftover homemade vinagrette, and a glass of syrah. Not too shabby for scraps - even Cass, who was very dubious about all this, especially when he saw me putting the figs in, said it was tasty. We might even make it again, on purpose this time.

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