Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sounds Bad... Tastes Great... Leftovers!

Dear Mouse,
Is that not the WORST title for any food-related post? It's like saying "Eewwwwwwwwwwwwwwthis food."

Remember in high school a group of valiant parents banded together around an idea to raise money for the school theatre (excuse me, "performing arts program") and came up with the "Angels Cookbook"?

It was a cute little blue-and-yellow spiral-bound book full of recipes solicited from the kitchens of willing parents & faculty. I used to cook from the recipes with titles like "Aunt Ruthie's Ohio-Baked Brownies" and "Pretty Pound Cake". And this one mom, bless her, submitted a recipe titled

"Sounds Bad-Tastes Great-Chicken!"

Um, it starts with the word "bad". Why would anyone read any farther? "Sure", I remember thinking, "sure it tastes great." I think it involved rice krispies... ? that's all I remember.
"Lady", I thought, "if it sounds bad it probably is. No dice. I'm gonna make me some Snickerdoodles."

What an irony then, that in preparing to post the recipe I created this week, I found myself thinking, "well I can tell them that it might sound bad... but it tastes great!"
Even worse, it showcases a certain tiny furled green vegetable, and I can't think of anything worse than "Sounds Bad-Tastes Great-Brussels Sprouts!" Let's go with "Odds and Ends Salad", maybe. Or "Warm & Cold Brussels Sprouts Melange". Or "Things He Left In the Kitchen".

The GC just left town for a month-long gig, leaving me with only a frozen calzone for company. (He made a bunch of them last week and this one is supposed to compensate for distance. If I get lonely, I am allowed to defrost and eat it. That's romance, friends.)
The spectacular calzones (mozzarella/parmesan/turkeysausage/pepperoni) had been made for a dinner with friends (roasted broccoli and Ina Garten lemon cake by Boo) earlier this week.
This was the last in a pre-departure parade of Serious Carb Showstoppers ( homemade challah for a dinner in Williamsburg , homemade pizza for Election Night). I came home today from the Farmer's Market with a $3 box of brussels sprouts, determined to eat a vegetable and too tired to do an actual grocery shop. I cast about in the fridge and came up with:

The Sprouts He Left Behind, by Boo
In serving bowl:
Chopped up end of stick of hard salami or pepperoni (salami is better-the cracked pepper kind)
handful or two of leftover shredded mozzarella (or leftover grated parm)
Chopped apple (ideally granny smith) in large chunks

In a roasting pan:
brussels sprouts, halved, ends sliced off
leftover red sweet pepper, in chunks
small onion in chunks
a garlic clove, peeled
chopped fresh rosemary (or sage or really whatever herb lying around. keep it simple though.)
Pour olive oil over the items in the pan; toss to combine. Salt & pepper and toss again.
Roast in oven on 425, flipping/stirring veggies occasionally, til sprouts begin to blacken/get brown. I'd say 10 min. Mix hot ingredients with cold in bowl and vigorously toss. Cheese will melt and get all over. A good squeeze of lemon (apple cider vinegar would work too) over and toss more. Handful of breadcrumbs. Maybe some more salt & pepper. Taste.

Long live leftovers and the Angels cookbook.

The Boo

P.S. The
Mouse did something very similar this week, taking one item from the farmers market, and adding it to a slew of pantry ingredients to create a new and tasty (and questionable sounding) dish. The Boo thought twice about coming over when I described it as "some type of a bean and kale concoction." Note from Boo: Sounded bad, tasted GREAT.

Bean and Kale Pantry Concoction, by Mouse

Sautee one chopped
medium onion and two garlic cloves with some olive or vegetable oil in the bottom of a nice sized pot.
Add one minced
serrano pepper (or jalapeno) with or without seeds, and one chopped red bell pepper.
Sautee a few minutes over medium heat.
28-oz can of whole tomatoes and their juice, breaking up the tomatoes (sometimes i just fish them out and squeeze them in a fist until they're crushed. Good for anger management.)
Add 1
large can of kidney beans (or whatever beans you have on hand), with a bit of their juice.
Season with salt and pepper,
chili powder, and perhaps a bit of blackening seasoning or some of a leftover packet of chili seasoning or something else like that if you have it lying around and feel like a shortcut.
Chop one
large bunch of curly kale and add to pot. Stir a bit, salt and pepper, and put lid on pot until wilted a bit and more manageable. Add 1/2 Cup of chicken broth if you have it and a little bit of water.
Simmer uncovered until kale is cooked and liquid reduced a bit.
At this point I decided it needed a bit of a starch to round it out though you could serve it as is as a light chili/soup. I added 3/4 Cup of
white rice to the pot, stirred, and covered. Let simmer for 20 minutes over low heat until rice is cooked and some liquid has been absorbed.
Serve with chopped
scallions as garnish and a dollop of sour cream.

If you have any leftover meat, you could throw that in too--shredded chicken would make it a poor man's arroz con pollo, shrimp: a poor man's paella, sausage like a chili or gumbo. I think this dish would make a good catch-all for whatever veggies or meat you have lying around. And the nice thing is, unlike boiling or steaming kale, you don't lose any of the vitamins in the discarded liquid. Very healthy.
And cheap.


Anonymous said...

sounds far away, tastes close.
(the verification word is: rebuce)

Unknown said...

I must say this post is pitch -perfect for our times...thrift and health conscious - sounded like something you'd read to conserve while the troops are off fighting some war..oh, yeah..the troops are off fighting and the economy is tanking and that's just one reason....

Unknown said...

meisner is actually Max...sorry...
but I do have a question...what is lurking in front of what looks like a delicious lemon cak drizzled with ymmish lemonicing?

The Boo said...

An orange slice...

Anonymous said...

ps...didn't the GC make the icing for the lemon-cake? just a thought...

(the verification word is: hersesti.)

Anonymous said...

yes, he did. from Ina's recipe. Which he criticized but followed. Yeesh.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
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