"Chopped" Challenge - The Home Cooking edition….
So here's an idea - we all have days where we're confronted with loose ends / bits and pieces / foods we need to or should use up, but aren't entirely sure how to incorporate them ALL (or most of them, at least) into a semi-coherent meal.
I thought it might be a fun challenge for us hounds to try to come up with ideas. Each day, one or more hounds share whichever crazy combo of ingredients they have sitting on the counter / in the crisper / wherever, and we suggest what they do with them.
The great thing, of course, is that none of you get to taste the end result and bitch about it, only the cook can pronounce a winning combo.
May I start? Here goes:
1 strip steak
1 Chinese eggplant
1 fennel bulb
1 large king trumpet mushroom
3 garlic cloves
1/2 green pepper
a bunch of fresh mint & scallions
Why do other people's odds and ends look better than mine?
If I had your stash, I'd make a salad of the tomatoes and fennel. Like this, w/o pine nuts is fine:
Then I'd stir fry the rest of the ingredients and make a sauce, serve over rice or, better, thick wheat noodles.
I'm not at the odds and ends part of the week yet, but I'll return when I am. In the meantime, I think I would just S&P your strip steak and grill it then make a ratatouille-ish with the rest, chopped fresh mint and green onions atop.
Great idea for a thread, lingua!
What a great idea! I have a ton of leftovers from two recent events and I am driving myself crazy trying to figure out how to turn them into normal meals and not waste a bunch of food. Here's my list:
These are the items that need to be used in some kind of reasonable timeframes so the food doesn't go bad:
Fresh from the garden tomatoes
Cream cheese w/balsamic vinegar
Cheese - lots of it: Havarti, sharp cheddar, Jarlsberg, Bergonost, Gjeitost, Provolone, Fresh Mozzarella, shredded cheddar
Deli meats - lots of it: Smoked turkey, canadian bacon, salami
Half and half
Heavy whipping cream (half gallon, seriously)
Potato lefse dough, uncooked
Oh yeah, and about 10 lbs of bread scraps
Also have in vast quantities, but with a longer lifespan:
Russet & Yukon Gold potatoes
Spam (don't get me started...)
Jarred artichoke hearts
Olives - black and green
We made about 400 sandwiches for a wedding reception on Saturday, thus all the sandwich type stuff. The other odds and ends are leftovers from my parents' 50th annivesary party the weekend before. After preparing for both events, I am so disinterested in my kitchen at the moment but cannot bear to let good food go to waste.
I welcome your suggestions!
Wow, you've got a mess on your hands! How much freezer space do you have? If plenty, I would say to freeze the bread and use it for stuffing, or make it into breadcrumbs and freeze. You could take a lot of that cheese and make it into fromage fort, but cheese keeps relatively well (unless it's shredded). My mother uses half and half to make yogurt (a trick she learned from an Indian friend) - that will extend its lifespan considerably - you can use the pineapple tidbits as a fruit mix-in.
I agree with tcamp though, that a strata would be a great way to get rid of a lot of stuff - the problem is that you're going to have a HUGE amount of strata. Have a brunch party to get rid of it? As for the lefse dough, could you make dumplings with it, using the swedish meatballs as a filler? Chop them up a bit with some of the other meats and wrap in the dough? You could also make a sort of pan-Scandinavian shepherd's pie and use up some of your veg/cheese/other stuff at the same time?
I have a side by side fridge/freezer combo in the kitchen and then another one (aka as "the beer fridge" in the garage). So more than most kitchens but not a whole freezer chest.
I was planning to make breadcrumbs and my husband was going to make stuffing, but we just don't need that much. Of all the food items we have, that is probably the least costly and nutritious if we have to dump some of it. I hate wasting food--would rather use it, give it away, and/or donate.
If it were a couple months from now, it would be my turn for making meals for our local homeless shelter and a favorite is breakfast casseroles that can be put together the evening before and baked for a hot meal. I probably made a dozen of those last fall, if I made one.
The yogurt idea is a good one...I will have to give that a try, and pineapple is my daughter's and my favorite fruit flavor,
Great idea on the lefse dough also. I keep the potato/cream/butter mix separate and don't mix in flour until I am ready to bake, so it could very easily go into some kind of meat pie.
Thank you so much!!!
This is ALL supposed to go into one single meal? How many people are you feeding?
I don't feel half as bad about my list now. Probably going with the stir-fry suggestion & throwing the tomatoes & fennel in as well for good measure -- my man can't abide raw fennel.
Also, we already had the other strip steak grilled with mushrooms yesterday, so I was sortakinda hoping to mix it up some more.
I'll likely serve the stir-fry over Chinese 'scallop' noodles.
In any event. This should be a fun thread. Keep 'em coming.
Oh gosh, not one meal...as many as I can make over the next week or so. I have five people at home to feed (all adults except my 10-year-old who eats well), along with the occasional houseguest (currently have one). I also like to bring in leftovers to work.
The stir-fry sounds great! This is a very fun thread!
I would roast the eggplant make a puree of some type, maybe with some of the garlic, mint and scallions (which you could also roast). I'd also roast/partially dehydrate the tomatoes and use them and their reduced juices to make a dressing for a salad of the fennel and pepper (both raw, thinly sliced). Grill the steak, saute the mushroom with the rest of the garlic - serve the steak atop the eggplant puree, top with mushrooms, salad on the side. Make some scallion compound butter if you have butter and put a slice of that on the steak too!