Friday, November 23, 2007

Using Leftovers: The Day After

Post holiday lethargy stetting in? Feel a need for a good workout today? Don't worry, you are not alone! The good news is our Colts won last night. The bad news is that I'm sure I gained five pounds in the last week. I'll be in the gym. In the meantime, here are a few tidbits for you to enjoy today! (And no, shopping is *not* an effective workout. Taking a nap, however, is.)

Recipes for Leftovers: For some reason, a lot of people I know scaled down this Thanksgiving. With smaller birds, just favorite sides, and one dessert instead of three, joy was in the quality and favorites instead of abundance of an overdone Thanksgiving. If you were one of these downscalers, you might not have an many leftovers as years past. Or maybe not just endless turkey for sandwiches. If you do have leftovers galore and are already sick of reheating for every meal, try a few of these creative uses for extra turkey, cranberry sauce, and green bean casserole. (I came home with a perfectly filled container of turkey, stuffing, and gravy. My favorite leftovers!)

** Turkey Sandwiches Galore: Looking for turkey sandwich ideas? A good friend said she's most looking forward to turkey Manhattans, open faced complete with mashed potatoes and gravy. Turkey clubs and basic cranberry (and cream cheese) options are always my favorites. Here are a few more from Slashfood.

** Cranberry Meatballs: Here's one I may try myself and I don't even have any leftover cranberry sauce. Perfect for serving with toothpicks for a party or over savoury egg noodles. Recipe also via Slashfood.

** Turkey Chilaquiles: Inspired by a wonderful casserole put together by a foodie friend, it occurred to me that chilaquiles would be a perfect use for leftover turkey. And, in fact, Rick Bayless himself notes it in this recipe from Food and Wine. You may have to improvise a bit, but turkey should work perfectly. Try a green tomatillo sauce instead of the salsa. Then invite me over for dinner, please.

** Potato Cakes: Ever wonder what to do with leftover mashed potatoes? There are a couple of options but my favorite involves a frying pan and hot oil (no surprise there, really.) For first day leftover mashed potatoes, I tend to go the cheese, bacon, sour cream re-hash route. Then, put leftover potatoes into a loaf pan and refrigerate. The next day, heat oil, slice the potatoes into 1 inch thick slabs, and fry. Mmmm. Leftover potato cakey goodness.

** Leftover Stuffing: There is never any leftover stuffing at my house.

Quiz Answer: Sous-vide cooking is the process of vacuum sealing food in plastic, then cooking it in a water bath. How is this different than, say, dropping a pouch of frozen vegetables into boiling water? Well, it's a little more subtle and considerably more difficult but the idea is the same. Chefs who use this technique carefully seal portions into vacuum sealed packages. They carefully regulate the water bath sometimes at a very low temperature which can be very hard to do. Hard core molecular gastronomists rely on special equipment with delicate temperature controls called thermal immersion circulators. But, as we saw with Hung on Top Chef, if you know what you're doing, you can have great success with boiling water and a good thermometer. (Hung often used this technique to yield perfectly cooked chicken and duck.) More from Harold McGee. Hey! 75% of you got it right!


Anonymous said...

An important consideration with sous vide is that you typically do not bring the temperature high enough to kill bacteria. This does not make for good leftovers unless you rethermalize to a safe temperature. Also you should never store in a sealed bag as anerobic bacteria are the worst.
Sous vide yeilds the best and most consistant result but care is needed to keep it safe.


Anonymous said...

Phillip is right on target.

A few things to consider when applying the sous vide as a technique:

1. Clean, clean clean is the name of the game. THe threat of cross contamination when applying sous vide is tripled.

2. Rethermalization is imperative!

and one quick correction if I may to Braingirls post.
Boiling the water bath is counter productive in the process of sous vide. You need to keep the water a t an incredibly precise 142 degrees Fahrenheit. By doing this and prolonging the cooking time according to the ingredients being cooked you can minimize the threat of pathogens. Truly though I would never recommend this technique to the home cook, unless you really have a grasp of the concept.


Anonymous said...

By the way, is this Phillip Preston by chance? If so, please get ahold of me, I would love to follow up on our previous conversations about the ceramic oven. Also, send Grant my best wishes.


braingirl said...

Thanks, guys, for the clarifications! I knew I was going to get myself in trouble oversimplifying. Just wait until we tackle spherification :-)