Category Archives: Leftovers Makeover

Using leftover food to create completely different delicious meals.

Leftovers Makeover: Turning Christmas Dinner leftovers into Turkey Pot Pie


Nothing’s worse than cooking a huge  holiday meal and not knowing what to do with all the leftovers. For Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, that is exactly what happened. We had a ton of extra food, and even after feeding lots of friends and family over the course of several days, it just wouldn’t go away. I took one look at all the fresh veggies and the massive pile of turkey, and I decided to make pot pie.

Turkey Pot Pie

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Leftovers Makeover: Sausage Marinara Sandwich


Sausage and Chorizo Marinara Sandwich, Topped with a Truffle and White Wine Cheese Sauce, on Buttered Garlic Baguette

Sausage Marinara Sandwich
Sometimes the best part of the meal can be the leftovers.

I love Italian food, every single classic dish. I am not Italian, but it was my mom’s version of homemade spaghetti and meatballs that created my love for the cuisine and culture of Italy. My mothers deliciously famous recipe for spaghetti and meatballs, to this day,  remains to be my favorite meal ever. The dark red sauce dense with chopped onions, whole tomatoes, and bite sized meatballs, make it hard to put down your fork. I have tried many a plate of what has been proclaimed “the best spaghetti”, but no one can ever come close to matching the savoury magic of her recipe, including myself. I have decided it’s some secret ingredient she never let anyone see her using.

Continue reading Leftovers Makeover: Sausage Marinara Sandwich

Leftovers Makeover: From Sushi, to Squid Ink Penne Pasta with Uni Butter


Leftovers Makeover: From Sushi, to Squid Ink Penne Pasta with Uni Butter

Uni Butter Penne3
Squid Ink Penne Pasta with Uni Butter.

 

Purple Sea Urchin
The gloves are not just for the strong fashion statement. A Purple Sea Urchin’s spines contain poison that can cause a blood infection.

Not everyone likes sea urchin. They look pretty creepy, I admit, poisonous spines and all. The more you learn about them, the less appetizing they seem. After all, that “roe” you are eating is actually their gonads. The japanese call this edible section of the sea hedgehog “Uni”. I love Uni, the creamy texture and delicate flavor of the sea are perfectly balanced in my opinion. In the US it is considered a delicacy and is usually pretty expensive. In the Philippines, with its boundless seafood selections, it seems they are giving it away. I was shocked the first time I ordered a sashimi combination, because I was used to a serving of 4 pieces of Uni. The mountain of urchin I recieved dominated the plate and I couldn’t even finish everything.

Yum?
Yum?

Since Uni doesn’t keep long, especially after leaving the refrigerator, I found the best way to keep it around is to turn it into Uni butter. Now this is great on anything from toast to steaks, but my favorite way to use it is for pasta sauce.  The flavor of Uni is already so complex you really would be over complicating such a beautifully simple dish to add anything beyond just a few key ingredients. If you cook Uni in its natural form it turns into a tough rubber band. If it’s too cold when it hits the butter it forms clumps. To avoid this, start with room temperature butter and room temperature Uni. This simple recipe takes about 15 minutes from start to finish.

Squid Ink Penne Pasta with Uni Butter Sauce

  • ½ cup sea urchin roe, at room temperature
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sliced spring onions. Fresh sorrel or basil are wonderful substitutes.
  • 2 servings squid ink pasta
  • 1/2 lemon, seeds and zest removed
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature 
"The better the butter, the better your sauce."
“The better the butter, the better your sauce.”
Pass the Uni through a strainer for a consistent sauce.
Pass the Uni through a fine strainer for a smoother, more consistent sauce.

-For the Uni butter: Puree the Uni in a food processor or blender. Pass it through a fine-mesh sieve, and return to the food processor. Add the softened butter and puree. If you made a lot, you can refrigerate the extra Uni butter.

-To create the Uni butter pasta sauce: Warm about 1 tablespoon of water in a small saucepan, do not boil. Gradually whisk in the sea urchin butter, about 1 tablespoon at a time. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente; drain.

Put the herbs in a medium stainless steel bowl, add the warmed sauce and stir. Taste, then season with salt and pepper if necessary. Add the pasta and toss gently. Squeeze the lemon juice over the noodles and serve immediately.

Squid Ink Penne, Spring Onions, and Lemon Zest
Squid Ink Penne with Spring Onions, and Lemon Zest.

 

Uni Butter Penne2
I added fresh ground black and pink peppercorns, and a sprinkle of sea salt flakes to finish this off. Easy on the salt though, the Uni is salty by itself.

 

Uni Butter Penne1
Uni, Butter, Penne. Simply Delicious.

 

I adapted this recipe from a few pointers I begged from a waitress at Sun of a Gun seafood restaurant in Los Angeles. Their linguine and clams dish has a Uni based sauce to die for.

I did not take the live sea urchin photo, all the credit goes to wikipedia for that. Although I have handled and opened live urchin in the past, I never had a camera ready.

Leftovers Makeover: From Easter Dinner to Duck Stew


How it all started… Duck L’Orange with a colorful assortment of roasted Farmer’s Market veggies IMG_0157 IMG_0158 IMG_0161 IMG_0173One of my absolute favorite things to do is to create an entirely different meal out of the random leftovers that are in my fridge. You never know what can happen when you combine hunger and the procrastination to cook something from scratch. Leftover Korean turns into fried rice, perhaps some grilled veggies from the BBQ pit transform into curry, but for some reason the soup version of these meals always turns out the best. Last Easter, I made Duck L’orange and we also made side dishes from some really choice farmers market veggies. Lunch the following day was a different story as I was feeling pretty spent from my epic kitchen Easter marathon. Luckily, I had a ton of beautifully wrapped pre-cooked items ready for their reincarnation. I used the carcass of the duck as well as the drippings, thyme bundle, celery, and carrots as my stock base for the soup. I let this reduce into a very thick stew adding a little wine, a splash of water, and a touch of the zesty l’orange sauce for zing. All I had to do next was simply choose the roasted vegetables I wanted to add from the previous days roasting pan and side dishes. I went with several potatoes, some of the carrots and red onions, and of course garlic. Lastly, I added ground black pepper, and a large handful of picked Italian Parsley leaves and called it a meal.

Leftovers Makeover, From Easter Dinner to Duck Stew



How it all started… Duck L’Orange with a colorful assortment of roasted Farmer’s Market veggies
IMG_0157IMG_0158IMG_0161IMG_0173One of my absolute favorite things to do is to create an entirely different meal out of the random leftovers that are in my fridge. You never know what can happen when you combine hunger and the procrastination to cook something from scratch. Leftover Korean turns into fried rice, perhaps some grilled veggies from the BBQ pit transform into curry, but for some reason the soup version of these meals always turns out the best.

Last Easter, I made Duck L’orange and we also made side dishes from some really choice farmers market veggies.

Lunch the following day was a different story as I was feeling pretty spent from my epic kitchen Easter marathon. Luckily, I had a ton of beautifully wrapped pre-cooked items ready for their reincarnation.

I used the carcass of the duck as well as the drippings, thyme bundle, celery, and carrots as my stock base for the soup. I let this reduce into a very thick stew adding a little wine, a splash of water, and a touch of the zesty l’orange sauce for zing. All I had to do next was simply choose the roasted vegetables I wanted to add from the previous days roasting pan and side dishes. I went with several potatoes, some of the carrots and red onions, and of course garlic. Lastly, I added ground black pepper, and a large handful of picked Italian Parsley leaves and called it a meal.