Saturday, May 22

Serving Leftovers with Flair

When the weekends arrive, we are usually left with a few leftovers. Rather than re-heating the same and serving them up, I try to be creative, or should I say recreative. Last week, we had a fridge that included spiced, sauteed chicken filling for tacos, cherry tomatoes, rice, pasta and a pantry full of the usual suspects. Wanting to make some form of Mexican rice, the internet seemed to suggest that onion, cumin, garlic and beans were the integral ingredients. So, I sauteed some onions, added cumin, threw in the chicken, sprinkled garlic powder, a can of black-eyed peas, cherry tomatoes, chilli powder and finally the rice. As a side dish, opened up a can of refried beans and heated it up. I grabbed a handful of cilantro (coriander) from the backyard, chopped it up and threw it on the rice before turning it off. Note on cilantro, do not overcook, and do not cover the dish after adding it. This is my mother's advice when cooking Indian food. 'Cause if you do, it turns bitter.

A family favorite is a re-hash of leftover pancake batter. The one-cup flour recipe I detailed last week shouldn't leave a family of four with leftovers, but doubling the recipe might... So, my solution is to make my version of Okonomiyaki - a type of Japanese pancake with vegetables and a tasty dipping sauce. Please see link for an authentic recipe:

Okonomi literally means "as you like it" - quite Shakespearean... Yaki means fried. It usually comes with a thick dark sauce and some mayo and is covered with fluffy bonito flakes - flakes of dried tuna. My version lacks all the above, except for the Shakespearean title. It originates in Osaka, which is where I had my first Okonomiyaki.

Here is my recipe for leftover pancake batter:

1. Make pancake batter from "Lemony Pancakes"

2. Saute one of the following veg combos-
*sliced cabbage and carrots
*leeks and ham
*onions and spinach
with garlic powder, soy sauce,salt, and pepper

3. Prepare sauce of soy, sesame oil, and Chiu Chow Chilli oil (or any Chinese chilli oil).

4. Add sauteed vegetables to batter and mix well. Make small pancakes and serve with sauce.

It's a great way to get kids to eat vegetables! I hope you enjoy it.



Anonymous said...

sounds delicious! as a constant user of cilantro, i have found that its best not to cook it at all. for ex, i baked some cod (w/ chipotle/creole seasonings and butter on top) the other night, and just after i took it out of the oven, i covered it w/ lime & cilantro. it was great on a bed of rice. very summery.

i also like to make taco's out of leftovers. leftover chicken can lose its moistness, so i'll chop it up, add cheese and salsa, and either toast it in the toasteroven, or make quesadillas out of them. use your flat pancake griddle for the quesadillas and some cooking spray, fold em flat, heat em up and another easy good leftover meal. as a texan, i am a little embarrassed to report that the best flour tortillas are the store brand harris teeter kind, but alas. hasta!

Cinnamon and Truffle said...

Dear Texan,

Thank you for sharing your leftover ideas! I loved that chocolate sauce you made for the fish at your Super Bowl party! Can you share that, please?

I was watching the Bare Foot Contessa the other day. She had a very easy leftover recipe. Heat up roasted vegetables with good quality chicken broth, blend with hand blender and serve with home-made croutons. Croutons were made from chopped up old bread, doused with olive oil, salt and pepper and baked for 10-15 mins at 350F.


Anonymous said...

Dear Cinnamon

AND I made Okonomiyaki for dinner last night! Your chili oil/soy/sesame oil sauce was a hit. Will post a photo.




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