Archive for the leftovers Category

Jammed Onions

Posted in condiments, leftovers, peppers, preserve, sauce, side dish with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2014 by oskila

It’s finally time for a proper post about food again! This time it’s about a cold sauce that goes well with pâté rustique and similar dishes. The need for such a sauce arose when we got some pâté (and other awesome food) left over from my brother’s 30th birthday party, which me and mrs NerdCuisine missed on account of being busy fussing over NerdCuisine jr. (also known as Olivia) in a maternity ward.

Now, the pâtés I’ve eaten have usually been accompanied by Cumberland sauce, which consists mainly of red wine, black currant jelly and orange rind. I possessed neither and had to improvise something of a similar sweetness and acidity. Also, there’s an unprecedented amount of pictures, just because. These things happen.

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This was the first batch of ingredients I decided on – red onion, tomatoes, raspberry syrup, lime, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and red bell pepper. Since this is a highly improvised affair, more stuff will be added along the way.

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A bit of chopping later, the vegetables are sizzling in a pot, along with some unannounced red currants I realized were in the freezer. A small pinch of salt gets the sweating going.

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With the liquids added, a slow simmer for as long as one can stand waiting is in order.

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Another late addition; a squeeze of pomegranate juice (and probably quite a few seeds)

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Adding some lime zest. The whole thing has started to thicken somewhat and it’s also probably time to add what else in the way of spices one would like to have.

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Acidity was a tad high, so a bit of palm sugar was  added to balance it out (and make the ingredient list complicated)

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And now it’s time to squeeze the whole thing through a sieve. Mainly because we’re still attempting to mimic some aspects of real cumberland, which means a smooth texture without any bits.

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That taken care of, we put the pot to a simmer again, with some gelling sugar and very thinly sliced red onions added in. I used raw onions, but I’d hazard that onions with a bit of sear on them would render the result sweeter and less sharp.

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Simmer just long enough for the gelling agent to kick in. A couple of juniper berries also found their way in, and since I overdid it slightly with the sugar, I compensated with a couple of splashes raspberry-flavored balsamico. As the title suggests, the end result is something ranging from rather sweet and sour sauce to comparatively tart jam.

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And so – cold, red, sweet sauce accompanying pâté, like nature intended. Long time readers might wonder what the deal is with me and making sweet condiments out of onions around NYE, but it’s pure coincidence actually.

It’s great to be back in business! Next time I think we’ll look into a bit of Swedish and Finnish Christmas food, only some 50 weeks in advance. Take care until then!

Feral Fall Food

Posted in cabbage, chestnut, discount, leftovers, mushroom, parsnip, pork, potato, sauce, scandinavian with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2013 by oskila

Autumn is truly upon us and almost automatically, the food gets stouter and earthier, at least in my kitchen (well not ALWAYS, but what few salads we had during summer have definitely given way to soups, stews and casseroles). One of the returning, short-seasoned ingredients that tend to sneak in is chestnuts. For many years, I bought a few out of interest, then saved them for a more festive meal, until they dried up unsalvageably and had to be thrown out. Over time I’ve learned to get my chestnuts early in the season and use them the same day.

The post title refers to the mix of domesticated and ‘wild’ ingredients of today’s dish, which is a bit of a stretch really, since only the mushrooms are actually harvested in the actual wild.

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These chestnuts (already roasted in the picture) were picked up at a grocery store closer to work than home, which I visit only occasionally, mainly for the differences in product range (such as early chestnuts). A short walk down the vegetable aisle also resulted in good looking parsnips, fresh brussel sprouts and some yellowfoot mushrooms.

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Mushrooms, having been fried in a dry pan with some salt beforehand, sizzling away with onion and garlic.

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Diced potatoes, parsnips and carrots added. The different dice-size was decided upon in order to cook them fairly evenly as they were nuked in the microwave for five minutes before frying.

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It’s also time to fry up some salt pork. I had originally decided to use pork loin in this dish, but as I went shopping at the local store for hand soap, potatoes and an apple, I came by short date salt pork at 50% off. I sprinkled some of my dry rub on it, but I think most of the rub stuck to the pan, on account of containing lots of sugar.

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To the vegetable pan, add finely diced apple (I use Granny Smith), chopped roasted chestnuts and brussel sprout leaves. (Separating them is a tedious task, but a lot more elegant than chucking whole or chopped sprouts in)

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For the plating I made use of the bottle of red wine sauce my brother left last week. It goes rather well with the pork and the apple and the parsnip and so on.

Pulled Some More Pork

Posted in american, condiments, leftovers, pork, potato with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2013 by oskila

My brother came over the other day and since he hadn’t had dinner he went to the store for food to cook at our place. He returned with a piece of pork shoulder, shaped like a fillet, and marinated in orange and ginger and also some potatoes and a bottle of ready made red wine sauce. He only cooked and ate half of it, so I had the rest for lunch the next day.

Since both my previous attempts mainly involved an oven and nearly whole days of cooking, I knew I had to change method or have something else for lunch. The choice fell on the cast iron pot that’s been heavily featured recently. I tipped the rest of the red wine sauce in, along with a bit of water, pork stock, sugar and half an onion in slices. Simmered the meat, which wasn’t as large as the big chunks of pork neck I’ve used before, for about two hours

Both this step and the next would have had really nice pictures, if the camera hadn’t messed the files up. (My trusty DSLR does become a bit iffy from time to time.  It’s about 10 years old.)

Next step was to rub the cooked meat with a new batch of dust, basicall same as the old one but with muscovado sugar instead of regular and some Sichuan pepper and English mustard powder added to spice things up a bit. Then half an hour in the oven at 150 C (300 F) to get a bit of bark going.

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Pork pulled and camera working again.

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The remains of the simmering part.

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Meat reheated in a pan with a dollop of homemade barbecue sauce. It had time to go cold due to slightly poor planning with the garnish and all the fiddling with the camera.

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Comparatively quick pulled pork with refried potatoes and some onions and romaine lettuce

Fast Food, Only Slow…

Posted in leftovers, mediterranean, pork, side dish with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 1, 2013 by oskila

We didn’t even eat half the roast of the last post for dinner that night. I didn’t feel like just slicing and re-heating it. After some thinking I realized that the Greek fast food dish gyros is usually made with pork neck. The name comes from the broiling on a rotating spit of course, but you can’t get all the details right just for the sake of it. Pan fried is totally nice too.

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Having previously roasted the meat once, it’s much easier to slice it thinly before frying – and considering that nice pink, it badly needs frying.

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Fantasized up a nice seasoning mix, mostly from memory of previously encountered Greek food and a bit of logical reasoning. Equal parts ground coriander seeds, cumin, chili powder/paprika, dried parsley and dried garlic along with half-measures of black pepper, thyme, oregano, rosemary and sumac. Also added a dash of cinnamon after comparing to recipes found online (although most of them, except notably the one in the Wikipedia article on gyros, suggested adding as much cinnamon as oregano, which I suspect would be an overpowering amount)

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Give the seasoning mix a quick sizzle before adding the meat to the pan. (Most of the cooking fat is rendered piggy lard from the roasting dish)

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To fully imitate proper gyros, the frying has to go on for quite some time since the meat should be bordering on overcooked and charred. I kept the meat in the pan for almost the whole time it takes to cook prefab French fries in the oven (20 minutes).

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There was also some tzatziki left from last time. All things considered a really nice dish just like the ones from the fast food joints, with slightly healthier fries since they’re baked instead of deep fried and slightly less healthy meat since it’s fried in considerable amounts of fat instead of broiled. And there are four more pounds of pork neck in the freezer…

Someone complained yesterday that I don’t pay enough attention to the finished dishes in my blog posts. I’ve tried to come up with more than the above paragraph, and I realize that it’s simply not my forte. I often enjoy cooking the food slightly more than eating it I think, and by the time I’ve come to the presented plate of food-part of the blog posts I mostly want it over and done with.

A Quick Pie Tip

Posted in british, cheese, eggs, ground beef, leftovers, mushroom, pie, potato, stew with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2013 by oskila

Here’s a suggestion for what to do with lots of leftover bolognese sauce if you happen to have a bag of instant mashed potatoes around the house. Make a pie not dissimilar to the traditional shepherd’s. Instant mash is a terrible thing to do to potatoes, but quite handy for those days when fancy or wholesome or tasty aren’t the top priorities.

Since I had not only half a pot of bolognese sauce, but also quite a lot of button mushrooms, I whipped up a bit of mushroom stew to layer in between the meat sauce and the mash lid.

I substituted at least half of the water used for a four helping bag of mash for cream and eggs, and also added a cup or so of grated cheese.

30 minutes in the oven should do it, since most of the ingredients are already cooked and a nice crisp surface is the most important bit.

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For some reason a piece of mushroom found its way to the top of the pie, and removing it after baking would have looked odd.

Clearance Stew: Gumbo-inspired Muck

Posted in american, cabbage, cajun, crossover, discount, ground beef, leftovers, mushroom, okra, peppers, sausage, stew, stock with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2013 by oskila

It was one of those days when the leftovers and odds and ends reached critical mass. A number of loose food ends that are at risk of going bad unless they’re chucked out (which is very unfashionable these days) or made into a clearance stew (a.k.a. fridge stew). Such stews can take any number of directions, depending on what it is that you’ve forgotten behind the eggs and the jam. The deciding factor for me was probably the bag of okra pods in the freezer. I bought them just because I could, with only a vague idea that they’re used for thickening in Cajun cooking. As per usual, I knew very little about the dish I was going to get inspired by, in this case gumbo. Apart from okra I seemed to recall that onions, celery and green peppers were important, and that it was supposed to be fairly spicy. From there it was touch and go.

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Leftover spanish chorizo, beef stock cubes, ground beef (bought just before Christmas, frozen and forgotten) green bell pepper, the last bit of savoy cabbage, shallots, carrots, cured sausages of some kind, red chili pepper, mushrooms, garlic, onion, celery and okra. Since the main protein is ground beef, this dish can at most be Cajun-inspired or have a hint of Louisiana, but my intention wasn’t to make actual gumbo, but rather to make a stew that’d last all week.

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Chopped onions, carrots, garlic, celery, peppers and chili. Whole shallots.

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Beef, mushrooms, cabbage, cured sausage and chorizo added

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Stock and okra go in, along with some herbs and a bit of tomato paste

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A couple of hours of slow simmering produces half a gallon of swamp-like stew. Way tastier than it looks.

 

Rounding Up the Leftovers: The Almost Tortilla

Posted in cheese, eggs, leftovers, mushroom, peppers, potato, vegetarian with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 13, 2013 by oskila

Came home late. Needed something to eat. Noted the accumulated leftovers from recent cooking adventures. Sprung into action. A proper spanish tortilla, is, from what I’ve gathered, an omelet with maybe more potato than egg in it. I only had half a potato, which makes it an almost tortilla.

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Sautéed some onions and garlic, along with leftover green chili and enoki

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Next, adding sliced potatoes – the blue ones from yesterday. Only had half a very large one, but it added some color and carbs. For a proper tortilla one would fry a much larger amount of sliced potatoes for much longer, instead of a bit of old and boiled. Also sprinkled a bit of smoked paprika and French herbs.

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Adding lightly beaten eggs. I’ve always been taught that it’s best to use a fork, yet when Gordon Ramsay asks some chef to make an omelet to get an estimate on his skill level, they almost infallibly bring out the whisks – which, according to what I’ve learned, increases the risk of a crumbly texture.

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Flipped with the assistance of a pot lid. It’s somewhat amorphous in shape, but that’s something one often has to live with when making an omelet in a pan larger than precisely needed.

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A bit of cheese enhances the experience. The most common solution would probably be grating the cheese and mix it in with the eggs, but I decided to add cheese fairly late in the cooking process and went with sliced. Supposedly, the common Scandinavian cheese slicer is viewed with suspicion in many parts of the world. It’s a very handy tool actually – buying sliced cheese is just silly.

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Done!

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