08 April, 2011

Friday Food Frenzy

It’s the end of the week and time to clean out the refrigerator. Sometime, in a past life maybe, I must have been hungry because I tend to keep my refrigerator chock-a-block full.  My mother was the original frugal gourmet and passed on the gene. I refuse to throw anything out.  I may end up feeding it to the dog, but I won’t throw out perfectly good food.  

It wasn’t until I attended Johnson & Wales one summer that I realized my idiosyncrasy could be a good thing.  During my course, every Friday was dedicated to making restaurant quality (and priced) meals out of leftovers.  Nirvana! A string of chefs unveiled the mysteries of $35 leftovers.  I learned the secrets of crepes, manicotti and quiches, not to mention soups, roulades, pates and terrines – all good ways to use up leftovers.
Over the years, I’ve discussed this philosophy with friends and come up with one basic, undeniable truth: you need to cook good meals to have good leftovers. Not necessarily gourmet meals, but not  -- please excuse my language – crap. Crap, IMHO, includes boxed macaroni and cheese, TV dinners, and bologna sandwiches with canned tomato soup.

Just for kicks I opened a friend’s refrigerator yesterday to check out the situation.  She had half a platter of rollups from Costco, a huge bag of wilting lettuce, megajugs of diet ice tea, 2 eggs, and some dubious Chinese takeout.  I won’t horrify you by listing the freezer contents.  Suffice it to say, it was not the stuff of which gourmet meals are made.  Susan (not her name, but I don’t want to embarrass her) is not much of a cook, but then again, her husband isn’t a fussy eater.

My refrigerator, when inventoried this morning, had goat cheese, the end of a marinated pork tenderloin, half a roasted chicken, artichoke hearts, fresh spinach, roasted pepper puree, and light cream.  Home-made chicken broth, pasta sheets, crepes, and (store bought) puff pastry are freezer staples for me. And yes, my family are picky eaters; they’ve been spoiled and like it that way.  

So what’s on my menu for this weekend: goat cheese and red pepper ravioli in chicken broth with wilted spinach, chicken enchiladas, and pork nasi goreng (Indonesian fried rice).   And I’ll still have the chicken rack to make more broth! 

Now if I could just find a way to "recycle" left over pizza I'd have it made!

How about you?  What’s in your refrigerator and what are you going to do with it?

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