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This was a random experiment, stemming from my desire to put some carrot and cucumber peels and some onions to good use. I boiled a few cups of water, and tossed in the veggies, letting them simmer for a good 15 minutes. I tossed in some chopped dill and cilantro for extra fresh flavor, and salt and peppered to taste. Letting the pot simmer for about an hour, the broth/stock took on a nice dark color, and had rich bold flavor. Sure, probably not a real recipe or process to make it, but mine nonetheless.
Not enjoying the taste of soft veggie skins, I drained the liquid into a separate bowl, making sure to press and squeeze every last drop out of the mush. Bringing the stock back on the heat, I tossed in some chunks of left over prime rib and some cooked ziti. A very light but tasty soup that heats up any cold body this winter!
Holidays are good for two things: gifts and leftovers. Yeah, I said it. Materialistic? Maybe. I’m not completely downplaying the whole “family and friends” angle, or that small “good will toward your fellow man” bit. I’m just saying presents and food are the two factors that get us kid-on-Christmas-morning giddy around this time of year. One dish that Sam has ranted and raved about since we started dating is her famous grandmother’s potato puffs, made from very specific mashed potato leftovers. When she was little, her family ate Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners early, and her Nan would make these puffs as a late evening snack with the leftowards. The trick here, according to this love of mine, is to pressure cook the potatoes, using powdered milk instead of regular, and allowing the starchy goodness to sit overnight.
All of that did help when forming the potato patties. The spuds stuck together with minimal crumble, and held both the egg wash and panko bread crumbs extremely well. I heated a small pot of vegetable oil, and dropped them in the hot bath. The oil swallowed the puffs with just a small section of the top popping out. Giving it about 6 minutes each side, flipping over once, take them out and let them dry on a paper towel.
I have to say, Sam was on point! The puffs had a delicious crust, both added from the panko and natural from the inside layer of potato. The insides were smooth and creamy, almost more than from where they started the day before. I made a ham and mozzarella sandwich to accompany. Try CPR-thrusting the bread before toasting to get a really nice thin crisp in each bite!
Thin pork chops, breaded with (you guessed it) panko bread crumbs, oven fried to a delicious crisp. Sauteed onions, mushrooms, and romaine lettuce with garlic, soy sauce, and oyster sauce. I poured already boiling water into the pan to ghetto deglaze, letting it cook on high for a minute, then pouring back into the pot and bringing to a boil. I tossed in the noodles and cracked an egg over the top. Once done, the soup went into a bowl, and slices of the chop across the top.
After making way too much noodles for a cheese lasagna I made days ago, I decided to put it to good use with the remainder of leftover breaded chicken I had. This incarnation (which will be revisited for a future italian/japanese hybrid in the upcoming days) will be dubbed chicken lasagna roll up. No, it’s not manicotti. Manicotti tubes are too small, and would pale in comparison to this generously stuffed chicken, mozzarella cheese, and homemade tomato sauce dish.
OK - slight own horn tooting above, but it still was really good.
Not so much a ghetto gourmet entry, as fried rice made at home should be a potluck affair. I think I can safely speak for my chinese people: there’s almost nothing that can’t go into this. Day old leftovers work perfect in this dish, giving them new life and different flavors when mixing them together. I used breaded chicken, french cut string beans, chopped onions and baby portobello mushrooms, and sauteed these in stages in a hot oiled pan with garlic. Before tossing in my basmati rice, I poured in some soy, oyster, and some white pepper.
Even though I have a crab cake taste, but live on a tuna fish budget, it doesn’t mean that Bumblebee can’t taste good. I mixed up some standard tuna salad, using a little less mayo than normal, and added some spicy brown mustard to taste. In a separate bowl, I mixed panko bread crumbs, white pepper, and sea salt, and coated golf ball sized tuna liberally. When properly layered, I gently smushed them into small cakes, using additional dry mix to fill in the cracks. I’d say keep your tuna cakes on the small side, as the larger ones seem to fall apart easy.
I dropped them into a hot pan of oil, in which the liquid came up just below the top of the cake, leaving it exposed to the air. Cook until your side reaches it’s desired brown, and flip, shaving off a few minutes on the second side. In a separate pan, I sauteed some french cut string beans in some olive oil, garlic, and butter, and tossed in vermicelli. Salt and pepper to taste.
For an additional kick of heat, I mixed up some spicy sriracha mayo sauce, and lightly drizzled a bit over the cakes.
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Taking a small step down from the bachelor’s fridge means an incredibly limited base meal, with unlimited amount of random condiments. In this case, I was pushing the boundaries on Thanksgiving leftovers and other one-off dishes, on top of having nothing of real substance as the main feature. What’s pictured above will hopefully be the last saddest lunch ever witnessed. Leftover mac-n-cheese that you’ve seen, green peas, and stuffing.
Coolio, I’ll be taking the crown back now.
I’ve had a box of Japanese panko bread crumbs sitting in my pantry for a couple of weeks that needed to be put to good use. With a perfectly good defrosted chicken breast sitting in my fridge, I went to work. Chicken went through a quick dry-wet-dry bath of flour, egg wash, and panko crumbs, and into a small pan with oil, already hot in a preheated 350 degree oven. I gave each side about seven minutes in that hot inferno, while I fried up an egg over easy.
Drizzling a good amount of the ever versatile oyster sauce, and I had a quicky, tasty meal ready to go.
I think it’s completely normal to be sitting on a couch one Saturday 10 AM, and get a hankering for mac and cheese from scratch. Everyone should leave the powdered blue box cheese in their childhood past, and try this out. I heated a cup or so of milk and a few tablespoons of butter in a small pot, and tossed in a few different hand shredded slices of cheese: provolone, american, cheddar, monterey jack, asadero, and queso blanco. Letting it cook out for about 15-20 minutes to get all the cheese melted, pour the cheese sauce into a pre-drained pot with ziti, or whatever pasta you might choose. I mixed it together until the noodles were coated, and put in a pan. I love the crispy top on casserole ziti and cheese, so I dusted the top with bread crumbs mixed with black pepper and oregano, and drizzled a little olive oil. Bake in 300 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until the top is at desired crunch.
A page out of mom’s cookbook, a simple pan sauteed dish. I browned the chops with a little salt and pepper, took off the heat to cut into strips. I tossed back in along with chopped onions, and poured on some soy and oyster sauce, and ketchup, which gives the dish a great sweetness. Pouring in a little water created a nice sauce which I cooked out to thicken it up without the need for added starches. Mom would normally also use dark and mushroom soy sauce, and extra sugar, none of which I had on hand.
I served this over basmati rice, which is also a new addition in my kitchen. Normally choosing brown or Carolina long-grain because they’re cheaper, Sam bought this when we went grocery shopping in support of my culinary experiments: and it paid off. Basmati is much lighter, fluffier, and brighter taste to it. I’ll be sure to spend the extra couple bucks for improved taste in the future.
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