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Nov 6, 2006 05:05 PM

Gourmet Garbage

I want to always apprecicate what I have and not ever be wasteful. So I am curious what other people do. When I make a scan on the fridge at the end of the week and it'c cleanout time, I have to use what is left and make it work.

Now this is when true creativity comes to play. I love the challenge of making delicious meals from barely nothing. I am always amazed at the 3rd world countries with so little, that have the most delicious food and so many different dishes!

What is the most amazing meal that you came upwith using what you had on hand that now is a regular item for you?

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  1. One of our favorite meals is "pork soup". I've made it with chicken before, but we prefer the pork. You basically bring water to a simmer with salt, some peppercorns and a clove of garlic. Add in 1-2 slices of pork loin or a large soup bone that has some meat on it and let it simmer for an hour or so. Then strain it, and cut the meat into small pieces and add it to the resulting stock/soup (if I use a boneless piece of meat, sometimes I'll add some pork bouillion powder to the stock to enhance it). I toss in sliced cabbage, carrots, onion, zucchini, whatever I have on hand to finish up. Add some soy sauce and white pepper and serve over white rice. It's a nice, simple comfort food for us.

    1 Reply
    1. re: boogiebaby

      I have made a wonderful veggie soup today using pork neck bones. I have never bought them before but was told how much flavor they add to to soups. The soup is just as rich as can be, but darn I forgot the cabbage. That would of really made it good... nice on a cold day.

    2. This reminds me of Aroona Reejhsinghani's classic cookbook, "Tasty Dishes From Waste Items." Banana peel curry, anyone?

      1. Pinto Beans canned no fat added. I'm so over black beans haha.


        1 Reply
        1. re: PateBriseej

          They've actually come out with refried black beans with no fat that are amazing, i'll get back to you with the brand.

        2. You might be interested in a clever book by Arthur Schwartz called What to Cook: When you Think there's Nothing in the House to Eat. I like that it is ordered alphabetically by major ingredient, so if you have a cabbage, say, you can find something. Some very satisfying recipes there. Here's a link with a few recipes:

          That reminds me that Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone is an enormously useful resource for using vegetables or pantry items like beans, and is similarly (partly) organized by ingredient. I've made a "cabbage loaf" from there a couple of times. It seems to be a dish made out of nothing, yet turns out almost elegantly. I think I've put a sour cream and mustard sauce as well as a tomato based sauce on it. I've made vegetarian stuffed cabbage too, with whatever mix of veggies and grains were on hand, loosely following her recipe.

          Sounds like I'm saying if you have a cabbage in the fridge, you can get a meal out of it. I've always thought that about an onion, and yes there is a carmelized onion frittata with walnuts and sherry vinegar in "Vegetarian" that I love. I originally made it in desparation, but now make it on purpose.

          A long time ago I used to make a soup recipe from the NY Times Cookbook (Claiborne) that used anchovies and tomato paste and hardly anything else but an old piece of bread rubbed with garlic. I will have to dig that out because I used to be sure to keep those ingredients in the cubbord for emergency meals. I can't think what would have made me try it but I'd like to have it again. (If anyone reading this has the book please post!)

          3 Replies
          1. re: coconutz

            Yum, I will defifinitly check these books and links out. I get so much pleasure creating something tasty out of humble vegetables. I also have the Claibournes book I'll find the recipe, bread in soup is so good. And don't get me started on beans.. I make a blackeyed pea stew, garnished with cilantro, fresh tomato, a little cheese, and red onion. And I make everyone eat it that way. It always goes first at a party (for flavor a left over piece of pork)

            I have looked in both books, the NY Times, and Favorites, I can't locate the recipe you mentioned...

            1. re: coconutz

              Sorry relpied to wrong person, I looked in NY Times and Favorites, I am unable to locate the soup recipe that your looking for.

              1. re: chef chicklet

                thanks for checking anyway, it is a very old NY Times. I think it is called something like Italian soup. I will have to look for it.

            2. Spring rolls with peanut butter sauce.