I had a few extra minutes at work this morning, so I took a piece of paper and listed everything I could think of in my fridge and freezer. Usually, when my fridge is overflowing, it's a good time to take leftovers for lunch. For some reason today, I have more ingredients than actual leftover food. Some of it has been served before, some is just extra from a previous meal, but I hate to throw it out and I can't justify shopping for food when my bounty is bursting, so to speak.
It's a particularly Western decadence to look at a closet of clothes or a cupboard of food and say you have nothing to wear or to eat. Beyond Western, it's modern opulence. I think my grandmother would be offended at those sentiments. What we're really saying, of course, is, "I don't feel like wearing any of these clothes." Perhaps, "None of these food stuffs is what I had in mind to eat." "Oh, I have food; I just also have money and time. Maybe I'll let this rot and just buy more." Of course, the more I type, the more it sounds like pompous Western snobbery.
Making new dishes out of leftovers isn't a new idea. It's been the goal of many a maker of quiche, stew, pot pie, stir fry, hash, curry and omelet. (The British are particularly proud of these kinds of food, and tend to name them esoteric things like Bubble and Squeak, to make people feel like they're part of the in-crowd, I'm guessing.) That being said, I'm not proficient at these sort of dishes. It's a skill, though, and in this economy, a useful one.
So tonight we had cod, seasoned with Kickin' Chicken (orange peel, peppers, crushed red pepper, other herbs--it's in a grinding contraption, sold at Sam's Club) and cooked with garlic butter. As a starter, we had escargot with garlic butter and bread. For our side, we had an orzo dish with edemame, fresh mushrooms, parmasean cheese and lardons of pancetta.
I cooked the orzo with some leftover chicken broth. That dish was a wonderful variety of flavors and textures. The lardon were particularly crunchy and lovely. The cod was very flavorful and moist, although slightly too buttery for my taste. The escargot were sin on french bread; in other words, sublime.
On any given day, would I have cod, escargot and fresh mushrooms? No, but I did today. We bought crusty bread, $2, and froze half for another day. We also bought a large bunch of parsley, $1.99, of which we used maybe 1/5.
I have two more meals planned out of my fridge! Stay tuned...