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An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler

This is the most amazing, inspirational food-related book I have read in years. It is not exactly a cookbook, but it contains a lot of recipes, and I have been cooking from it regularly since I read it a couple of months ago. I have found it transformative.

The book is not a series of recipes so much as a set of ideas for making delicious meals out of materials you already have on hand. It contains many ideas for concocting wonderful things to eat from scraps and leftovers, such as vegetable stalks, onion skins, leftover cooking water and stale bread. There is also a truly amazing chapter that discusses how to precook all your vegetables for the week on Sunday and then use them throughout the week for simple weeknight meals. I work full-time and have a toddler and another on the way, so I don't have time to pore over cookbooks and prepare elaborate meals in the way I used to. I really appreciate how this book has enabled me to produce better dinners in less time, and with a lot less stress. The recipes themselves are wonderful because they are so versatile. They invite substitution rather than making you feel like you will fail if you don't have a particular item on the list.

Since reading this book, I am cooking better and more often, eating more vegetables and wasting less and saving money. Just some of the things I have been able to do:

Roast vegetables for the week ahead of time and use them for quick weeknight meals, salads, risotto, pasta, whatever.
Save my vegetable scraps for stock and soup - I recently made an amazing minestrone that was comprised largely of kitchen scraps and leftover cooking liquids of various kinds (combined with beans and pasta, of course) - mostly stuff that I previously would have thrown away or composted.

Have others been reading this book? I thought it would be fun to start a little thread to talk about the techniques we have learned and enjoyed from this book.

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  1. Just saw your post - I love this book!

    I get a weekly CSA bag so nothing goes to waste anymore.

    Right now I'm working on a pot of black eyed peas - can't wait for all the things to do with them. The best is her thrown together lunch of cooked beans, greens or squash, with an egg cooked in it served over toasted stale bread rubbed with garlic... and topped with parmesan. Heavenly!

    1. I agree completely! Yesterday I did the "come home from the market and boil or roast everything" and it is so exciting. I made the core/stem/leaf pesto from my cruciferae and kale stems, and I'm gobbling it up right now as a cold soup with the croutons I made with residual oven heat. Amazing!

      1. Westminstress, I am so glad that you started the thread! I bought the book and had it shipped to my daughter's because is was much more economical (I am in Canada and my daughter is in NYC). I will be re-united with the book in a couple of weeks and will happily participate in cooking from it and discussing ideas and techniques.

        1. Thanks for posting about this book. I feel I've fallen off the cooking wagon since bringing my child home and would love to find a way to climb back on. Maybe this book is what I need?

          Thank you, herby, for pointing me to this thread!

          ~TDQ

          1. I'm very curious about this book, after having read descriptions. I'm at the end of a long hold list at the library, so it may be a while before I actually lay eyes on it.

            4 Replies
              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                My library had a ton of holds on it, too, so I broke down and bought a used copy on Amazon. It's a new book so it wasn't exceedingly cheap, but I think this book could really be helpful to me right now, so I took the plunge.

                I cannot bring any new cookbooks in, though, without getting rid of one. So, I'll need to decide which book will go.

                ~TDQ

                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  Yes - if you have a new baby, you need this book! It is so much easier to cook something simple from what you have on hand than to do anything else.

                  Meal planning helps a lot too. And by "meal planning," I mean something really simple - jotting down a few meals you plan to eat that week and shopping for them in advance so that you have the ingredients on hand. When I first got back to cooking regularly after having my son, I had a goal of cooking two-three times per week. Now it comes more naturally, and I cook most nights. But I have to say, this book has really helped me a lot!

                  1. re: Westminstress

                    Awesome. I've been doing a lot more meal planning lately because I've started having my groceries delivered. So, now we really try to buy a weeks worth of groceries at once. It's caused us to be a lot more focused... I can't wait for my book to arrive!

                    ~TDQ

              2. Oh, I'm so glad I checked back into this thread and saw some responses! Last night I made a fantastic soup that had as a primary ingredient finely chopped parsley and dill stems that otherwise would have been cast to the compost heap. It tasted like spring without actually having any spring vegetables in it, just storage carrots, onions and potatoes. I used the recipe at the end of the herbs chapter as a jumping-off point.

                I've had good luck recently with the stem and core pesto too (I used kale stems and cauliflower core)

                And I've taken to boiling when I need to get a veggie on the table fast. Broccoli boiled in well-salted water and dressed with good olive oil is simple but surprisingly good.

                So often when following her suggestions, I think to myself, really??? Cooking Tamar's way can be a bit of a leap of faith, but then the results -- fantastic!

                1. Hey! Where is everyone? Come back, I have a new experience to share
                  I am half through reading the book and love her ideas and approach to cooking. Once upon a time, I had a somewhat similar philosophy, all forgotten by now. I am in the fridge/freezer clean out mode and today decided to follow Tamar’s advice to put on a pot of water to boil and see what happens. First a few stray spears of asparagus went in later to be heated up with, maybe, an egg on top, to eat for breakfast. Then a bit of cauliflower went in. That became my lunch topped with béchamel, bread crumbs (made from bits of stale bread) and cheese – baked until bubbly. There were a couple of white and one sweet potato. They went into a pot with a few cloves of garlic and became yummy garlic mashed potatoes. The last one was a handful of spinach – not sure yet what will become of it (maybe saag paneer if I get my courage together and transfer all the extra milk into paneer). The liquid left after all this boiling is amazingly flavourful – my immediate reaction was to soak some beans to cook in it tomorrow but I already have too much food. So, it will go into a freezer till when I am back at home for a week or so. I also fried leftover mushrooms with sage, garlic and chilies; finished them with a bit of cream and now have lovely sauce for pasta. All that plus the clean up took me about an hour and a half and I have few meals ready to be served with an addition of simple protein and pasta.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: herby

                    We're here! We're here! So, the idea is if you have a pot of boiling water rolling you'll find plenty of ways to use it?

                    ~TDQ

                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      Exactly, TDQ! The first chapter "How to Boil Water" talks about and I went into the kitchen without any ideas and a need to start cleaning the fridge:) Another chapter "How to Catch Your Tails" talks about odds and ends (tails) and what to do with them. I'll continue reading and hope to apply a lot of Tamar's ideas to my life. I find that when I am visiting family (I am planning to do a lot of visiting this summer), I spend a lot of time on cooking various dishes from start and this needs to change to free up time. The only thing that I always do once I get to my daughter's house is to start a big pot of chicken stock and that will become soup, base for a sauce, etc. Chicken pieces will go in at different times to be used later to shred into the soup or to make a salad or whatever. This is a HUGE time saver but it is the only one thing that I do to simplify cooking and I need more ideas of which Tamar has plenty.

                      How are you doing with the book? Did you start reading it?

                    2. re: herby

                      Yay, that is an amazing story! I now pop my leftover cooking liquids into the freezer - they make excellent bases for soup or sauces as long as the flavors are compatible. I need to get back to this book as I've been a bit distracted by COTM.

                      1. re: Westminstress

                        OK - you've convinced me to buy the book....

                    3. I think you have a great idea to start a thread about the techniques in Tamar's book. My problem is, there are so many great ideas, I lose track of them since they flow from one topic to another. I tried highlighting some sentences, but that failed completely...could not put the highlighter down & ended up with 90 per cent of the page highlighted!

                      I need to read the book through several times to grasp it all. One question I have is about roasting veggies ahead of time to be used during the week. Wouldn't they look kinda drab & lose their nutritional value by just sitting around for several days? Have not tried to roast ahead of time, so maybe I am getting ahead of myself.

                      I think her book is great, so relaxing in her approach, calmly making it all come together.

                      Thanks for opening this thread...looking forward to seeing what others are gleaning from her book.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: cstout

                        Cstout, try to follow one idea at a time as I did upthread. I had many leftover veggies to use and went into the kitchen, put a pot of water on and the magic happened. I will not roast all veggies that I brought from the market or received in my CSA basket. I will use them up in different ways for couple of days and then, if there are too many left, will roast/boil all that are left with an idea of using them up in different ways.

                        Please post about your journey.

                        1. re: herby

                          I certainly will post as I come up with ways to use the book. Wish there were cookbooks out like this one...it just makes a lot more sense. Has anyone looked into "Peasant cooking", "Rustic cooking" & that sort of thing? I sorta browsed around on the net, but could not come up with anything quite like Tamar's approach.

                        2. re: cstout

                          The best nutritional value for vegetables is gotten by buying them frozen. Unless you are getting just-picked at a farmstand/CSA, by the time you get them home from the supermarket they have lost significant nutrients. Roasting makes for delicious vegetables but is fairly inimical to preparing with vitamin/mineral content in mind.So are baking, frying, boiling. Steaming is best.

                          An exception is tomatoes. Lycopene is rendered more bioavailable by cooking.

                          I know I am pooping in the punchbowl of the lovefest for this book. I have not seen it and don't plan to read it. Sounds like it's simply a rehashing of what every frugal or low-income cook learns to do by
                          commitment or necessity. Recipes seem antithetical in an approach which boils (literally) down to:
                          think of something to do with what's in your fridge and pantry, and do it. If it's edible, don't discard it.
                          As an aside, I was at dinner with a group tonight. A lot of garlicky chili oil remained from the wonderful noodles we shared. I got a styrofoam cup and took the oil home, as I did previous times when ordering this dish. I've used it before to saute chicken livers. This time around, my options are chicken breasts or pork butt, I will mull it over when I go to bed, and cook with it tomorrow. Probably the pork, since I have cabbage and apples that need using.

                          1. re: greygarious

                            You are NOT pooping in the punch bowl, you are merely voicing your opinion of the book, & everyone is welcome with their opinions.

                            I personally am attracted to this book because I am not as imaginative as Tamar or you. When you took the chili oil home, you were merely doing what Tamar does, but with your own bent on how to carry on with an ingredient. Both of you are doing what we all strive to do.

                            Being frugal is an art & some of the finest meals ever eaten were due to combining, capturing, & extending foods. Tamar is just one of the many who has put into words what a lot of good cooks already know by instinct. She offers nothing more or less in her writings. As for me, I chose to shell out the bucks to buy her book over many others. I have not been disappointed in the least. She is teaching others to open their minds to their own possibilities in meal preparation. I need that. You obviously are talented in that respect & I admire folks like you who have this gift.

                        3. She helped open and was chef at one of my favorite restaurants, Farm 255 in Athens, Ga. I think I might need this book.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: wekick

                            I just got mine today - trying to read a chapter tonight!

                          2. Question about beet cooking instructions. On page 41, I am not sure if you cook the beets first in water & then roast in the oven, or just wash in water & then roast. For some reason, I am not sure how this is done, please someone clear up the fog in my head.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: cstout

                              I do not have the book with me and usually roast beets as I would any other veg; sometimes bake in the oven wrapped in foil - this works well too. If I remember correctly, Tamar suggests roasting them in a pan with some water on the bottom tightly sealed with foil. The idea is to steam roast, I guess. I have not tried her method but will in the future.

                              1. re: herby

                                When you bake beets wrapped in foil, do you rub olive oil on them?

                                1. re: cstout

                                  You could but not necessary. I usually wrap them while still wet - sort of simir idea to Tamars just not as much steam. Make sure you roast them until very tender.

                              2. re: cstout

                                I've been using her beet cooking instructions with good results. What I do is put all the beets in an appropriately sized pyrex casserole, rinse them with water until the water runs clear (this doesn't take long as they are usually pretty clean already), leave a little water in the bottom of the dish to provide some steam, cover the dish tightly with foil, and roast until done. After they cool a bit I top, tail and peel them.

                                1. re: Westminstress

                                  Thanks, she is doing exactly what you are doing...just could not get it for some reason. So far this has been the best "cookbook" I have read in years.

                                  Do you know if M.F.K Fischer books are like her writing style?

                                  1. re: cstout

                                    I know that How to Cook a Wolf by MFK Fisher is her inspiration. I have some MFK Fisher books but for some reason have always had a bit of difficulty getting into them and have never cooked from them. Heresy, I know, but there it is.

                              3. I got this book from the library two days ago, after a long wait for my name to finally make it to the top of the reserves list. I confess that three chapters in, I was fighting off sleep, and not because I hadn't gotten enough the night before.

                                Somehow I just couldn't relate to her enthusiasm for boiling vegetables and her disdain for those of us who like them with some life left in them. Perhaps this is because the only kind of vegetables I ever knew as a child were boiled to a soggy, limp mess I was forced to eat.

                                Then there was her excitement about boiled chicken. Seriously? Somehow I just couldn't summon up the desire to spend 20 minutes standing over a pot of simmering water skimming scum. And what a waste of the skin, which could otherwise be made crisp and savory if the bird were roasted instead of drowned.

                                Her ode to eggs was a bit much, at least to me. Her discussion on how to get the shells off boiled eggs without a struggle was less than useful, to be polite. We should just grin and bear it as we pick of those tiny little pieces of shell stuck like glue as we rejoice in the freshness of the egg? Good grief!

                                Maybe the rest of the book redeems itself, but I'm not counting on it. Indeed, something tells me the next person on the library's reserve list is going to get this book well ahead of schedule.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: bitchincook

                                  I haven't read the book, but I recently followed the suggestion in a recipe to throw the broccoli in with the pasta 3 minutes before it was done. It worked amazingly well. I'm a supertaster, so broccoli can be a bit much for me. Boiling removes the offensive flavor. At 3 minutes, it's tender with beautiful color--but not overly tender. You don't have to boil forever, and I hope you don't!

                                  The chapter titles seem to be reminiscent of MFK Fisher's How to Cook a Wolf (a great book).

                                  I cook for my dogs, so I use everything edible but leftover onion and grapes in that ongoing project ...

                                  1. re: bitchincook

                                    I think if the book is not speaking to you, you have your answer. It's not for everyone. I for one really love her writing style. Her recipes are really just jumping off points. But I wouldn't buy this book for the recipes. I do very much enjoy her thought process and the poetic way she able to express herself.

                                  2. Two recent frittatas inspired by Tamar Adler:

                                    The first used sauteed radish tops and green garlic. (I never throw out the leaves and stems of vegetables anymore.) This was good but since radish greens are on the bitter side, it would have been even better with the addition of anchovies (I was all out unfortunately) or possibly some bacon or pancetta - basically something salty with lots of umami to balance the bitterness.

                                    The second was a clean out the fridge kind of thing -- a few old scallions, some feta, and several cups of chopped fresh herbs (parsley, mint and cilantro) that I had leftover and did not want to go to waste. I sauteed the scallions and herbs before adding them to the eggs and cheese. This was excellent!

                                    I always used to hesitate about buying too many fresh herbs because I would use so little of them before they went bad and just hated the waste. Tamar taught me that I can also use herbs like a vegetable if I have a lot of them. So now I buy without fear. I still get a little waste but not so much as before, and it is great to always have something around to add that extra pop of flavor to a meal.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Westminstress

                                      I tried cooking with radish leaves & stems, but were just too bitter for me, although a good radish is absolute heaven. A little home made butter & some sea salt on a plate right now would be a perfect meal for me.

                                      I don't know how to offset foods except for the sweet/salty thing, but her book is helping me see so many possibilities.

                                      Yes, buying fresh herbs can get very expensive if you aren't growing them. I intend to so some research on planting my own from seed. Did that once before & got tons of basil, but that was about it. To me, fresh herbs are always preferred to frozen or dried.

                                      Just have a few more pages of the book to read & then I will start over making notes of things to do & try. Am sure wishing it would be an Everlasting book. Tamar's approach to a meal is just the way it should be. Feeding the heart, mind, body & soul with no pretenses or excuses for the simplest meal.

                                      Unfortunately most folks expect more variety, more complicated, more of everything.

                                    2. Page 199, chapter 17, Tamar is talking about roasting a can of tomatoes in the oven with some garlic & olive oil. I added some sliced onions also.

                                      I took it from there & added the mixture to a pot that had 2 turkey wings simmering with some carrots, celery, bell pepper, onion & spike seasoning plus about a tablespoon of dehydrated veggie sprinkles.

                                      Later on I added some rinsed jasmine rice. End result was very good tasting, but too greasy. Much fat from the wings plus olive oil to boot, did not think this thing through.

                                      I shall let the soup cool overnight & skim off the excess fat & save it to add to pasta tomorrow or perhaps add to a can of navy beans to offset the canned flavor. I also have a can of cannellini beans that I might consider.

                                      The canned roasted tomatoes would have been delicious poured over a fried or poached egg or just eaten with some good crusty bread in the wintertime when a there wasn't a fresh tomato in sight.

                                      Does anyone have any other ideas as to what I can do with the skimmed off fat?

                                      Am loving this book. Any other time I would have tossed the whole thing out because of the excess fat, but now I am trying to figure out how to make things work in other dishes. New learning curve for me.

                                      Just a few more pages & I will be sad to see the "Everlasting Meal" come to an end.

                                      I think it is a great idea to take some of her basic ideas & see how we can move them forward in our cooking.I read a bit & then think how I could expand on her concept, or perhaps even change it. Are you all doing the same thing too?

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: cstout

                                        I haven't been able to dive into this book, alas. But, I have to say is that part of that is that this doesn't seem like a spring/summer book to me. In spring and summer I want to be out and about, grilling etc. And I don't want to do anything that might heat up the house. Any book that talks about cooking in the oven or having pots of things simmering on the stove for long periods sounds like it would have more of an appeal in fall and winter when I'm puttering around inside more.

                                        Does that make sense?

                                        ~TDQ

                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          Not a spring/summer book. You have a point there. Well, put this on your list when the wind is howling & you need something chuckling on the back burner.

                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                            I disagree. Very often Tamar will say "if it is spring, you do this" and "summer vegetables could be cooked this way" or whatever. This is not recipe book really. It is more of a philosophy of cooking. It is a continous process, you start today where you left off yesterday - turn your stale bread into breacrumbs, make a salad of yesterdays roasted veggies, etc. She says that most cookbooks get you running all over the place assembling ingredients because that is the authors' starting point - they already have and use these ingredients - but you are starting from scratch.

                                            So, use her suggestions and use cooking methods that you are comfortable with; start tomorrow's food with today's BBQ leftovers that we all have and will continue to have. Tamar rightfully says that if the world will start from scratch every day, we will never see a full grown tree:)

                                        2. After seeing this thread, I bought my wife a copy for a Mother's Day present. Only problem is she is reading it like a novel, and hasn't put it down to try any of the recipes yet!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: DonShirer

                                            As I said up-thread, this is not a recipe book. It is "reading like a novel", soaking up concepts kind of book:)

                                          2. Last night I made bread salad inspired by the discussion on p. 87. Mine consisted of toasted, olive oiled stale bread, the last of the green market cherry tomatoes, a big handful of chopped parsley and some scallion greens. Tossed with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. It was thrifty, effortless and absolutely delicious. I've been doing a lot of recipe cooking recently, and I felt a renewed appreciation for Tamar's more fluid approach to dinner.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Westminstress

                                              Bread Salad, that sounds wonderful. I am going to make Peter Reinhart's lean bread recipe today & always have some stale bread left over. I shall revisit the discussion on page 87 plus keep in mind your additions. Wish I had some cherry tomatoes, just have the store bought Romas.

                                              1. re: Westminstress

                                                Sounds like an interesting book, but I'm still on the waiting list at the library. Just from the comments on this post, it's focused mainly on American foods and I cook different Asian foods. Plus since I'm allergic to chicken (only chicken in America - I'm ok w/ chicken everywhere else in the world) and have to eat gluten=free, I think the book will just inspire me to make my own Asian style dishes -- very easy to do, since most Asian dishes always use a little bit of this, a little bit of that.

                                                We aim to eat 30 different types of food per day, that's why everything is a little bit of it. I also found out that if you eat this way ALL THE TIME, you don't get food allergies.

                                                Food allergies happen when you eat the same foods day in & day out for years (that's why hubby is allergic to dairy, corn and barley -- he ate WAAAAAAAY too many dairy & mexican foods & beer).

                                              2. Gave it to DW for a birthday present. She loves it, but I don't think it has made a major impact in her cooking yet. I've just started reading it, but since I only cook 1 or 2 days a week and don't plan far ahead, I'm not sure I will appreciate it as much as a full-time cook would.

                                                1. It was a night when there seemed to be nothing in the fridge, but I didn't feel like going to the store or ordering take out, so I started rummaging: a handful of dried beans, an onion, a few garlic cloves, some bean broth and fennel stalks from the freezer, half a bunch of kale, a chopped cauliflower core, the remnants (stems and all) of some parsley and sage that were at least two weeks old but still edible, a Parmesan rind, the remnants of a bag of pasta ... And I had a huge, filling pot of incredibly delicious minestrone. This recipe alone is worth the price of the book.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Westminstress

                                                    Your meal would certainly make Tamar proud...I have learned to do so much of that type of cooking now.....just takes a learning curve to think out of the box.

                                                    Dried beans & a variety of veggies is a standard for me now....mix, match & add a dash of protein if I have it on hand & if not, that's OK too. Oh yes, a variety of pasta & canned tomatoes & you are good to go with just about anything.

                                                    Yum....got to go rummage now.....thanks for sharing!!

                                                  2. This isn't anything that is actually in this book, but I'm posting here because I credit Tamar Adler with teaching me to use every part of the vegetable.

                                                    Leeks. They are so expensive and a lot of the weight is in the greens. It always killed me to throw them away. Even using them in stock seemed like a bit of a missed opportunity. I started to wonder -- are they edible?

                                                    Indeed, leek greens are not just edible, but delicious. They are not tough, contrary to popular belief. They taste like leeks, scallions and a bit of garlic combined. Last night I sliced them thinly and sauteed them in butter for inclusion in a frittata. They are also great in stir-fried dishes as a substitute for chinese chives. They are very hardy and last in the fridge for weeks without going bad.

                                                    I love being able to get more than one meal out of a single leek.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Westminstress

                                                      Thank you for sharing! I feel the same about thowing leek greens away and can't save for stock since I do not make it often and freezer space is at a primium.

                                                      1. re: Westminstress

                                                        I agree ... I use all of it that's tender. It's delicious, all the way from white to dark green.

                                                      2. Thank you Westminstress for starting this thread way back when. I am thoroughly enjoying reading through both AEM and this thread.

                                                        So far I have tabbed three recipes to try. They are tabbed with the cutest little baby chick sticky notes you have ever seen (a gift from my DH on his return from China). He always brings us back something, and this time for me it was baby chick sticky notes! I digress....(1) the shrimp with anchovy butter, p. 132, (2) Fergus Henderson's lamb hearts, p. 173, and (3) cured salmon, p. 182.

                                                        1. Another thanks from me for starting this thread and spreading the word on this book. I'm in line to get it from my library in the next week and am looking forward to it, especially having read through everything here.

                                                          1. I'm almost halfway through the book, and am already very inspired. Yesterday's carrot greens got tossed into a pan with some garlic and olive oil. I think I'll make a frittata for Lulu's lunch or maybe a sandwich with some mozzarella. So many interesting ideas, but mostly just a great new way of looking at our food.

                                                            26 Replies
                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                              Isn't it such a wonderful book to make your way through? I was really sad when I finished it, like a favorite novel, it is never the same when you reread it, but her voice will really stay with you.

                                                              1. re: dkennedy

                                                                It is absolutely wonderful. She's a great writer and she has really natural, obvious (but helpful) advice. There are some things that I already do; there are some things that I will never do (my husband would be aghast at boiled vegetables - he got those every day from his Scottish mother and can't deal with them mentally), but so many good ideas. I am thoroughly enjoying it.

                                                              2. re: LulusMom

                                                                I'm so glad you are enjoying it! I love this book. Let me know how you like your carrot tops - that's the one thing I feel like I still don't have a good use for.

                                                                1. re: Westminstress

                                                                  Just made a frittata for Lulu's lunch tomorrow and used the carrot greens that had been sauteed w/ garlic in olive oil. Added a bit of parsley that was hanging around and some black olives. I didn't have any ricotta so used a little milk and some sour cream and parmesan. I'm not the world's biggest egg lover, but in the name of being able to report here I just had a small sliver (committing the sin of eating frittata hot) and it was delicious. Seriously good.

                                                                  Here is what I would say about carrot greens: you really probably don't want the stemmy parts (the leafy parts are great) if you're not wanting to do a lot of chopping or chewing. Next time I'll probably just use the leaves. But still, delicious.

                                                                  I have my eye on some mozzarella, a nice small ripe tomato and some basil leaves for another one, but we only have 4 eggs now, and my husband tends to like the odd fried egg every other morning or so, and I don't see myself getting to the grocery store before Saturday (busy week at school, mom coming to town).

                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                    Oh, that's great! We eat a lot of frittatas, so now I know what to do with my next batch of carrot greens.

                                                                    1. re: Westminstress

                                                                      If this goes over well I'm going to start making one a week for L's lunch (it can easily be split into 2 lunches) with things that end up having no place to go in my crisper. Such a great idea, and a nice change from sandwiches. I'll send her off with half a frittata and some cheese sticks and I am guessing she'll be very happy. Thanks for the inspiration.

                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                        good luck, i hope she likes it! i have to start packing lunches in a few weeks myself, and frittata is on my "to try in the lunch box" list.

                                                                        1. re: Westminstress

                                                                          This is when you'll find that leftovers really come in handy. I've got broccoli roasting right now and keep thinking how wonderful any leftovers would be over buttery grits (yes, we eat a lot of grits/polenta down here, and I loved her chapter on it). Oh, or rice! Always make extra of that anyway, so that would work. Now if I can just keep everyone from eating the broccoli all at dinner ....

                                                                        2. re: LulusMom

                                                                          The frittata was a hit. Big hit. Husband ended up eating the second half and also loved it.

                                                                          And this book has had inspiration outside my fridge. We went out for an easy after-school dinner on Friday. Lulu got the "salami and cheese plate" but without the salami. They felt they needed to make up for it so gave her TONS of cheese. Lots of feta and toasts left over. Husband had a side order of fries, most of which were left over. I'm never averse to asking for a to-go bag, but would never have thought to take these things home. And my husband scoffed at the idea of the fries in a frittata, but I thought "think about the Spanish tortilla ..." So, I've just made Lulu's frittata for school lunches - some green onions that I found in the crisper, cut up leftover french fries, more olives, and that feta. And I gave him a sliver and he was blown away. Loved it. The toasts just got zapped in the processor to be used as a pasta topping.

                                                                          I love how much this book has changed the way I look at leftovers.

                                                                      2. re: LulusMom

                                                                        I'm pretty impressed that Lulu will eat that for lunch. Mine turns her nose up at anything with unidentifiable green in it.

                                                                        1. re: Savour

                                                                          Don't be too impressed. Lulu won't eat a turkey sandwich. They all have their little things.

                                                                          While Lulu is pretty much ok with anything green, the olives were the real "come hither" touch. Olives, capers, pickles - anything salty/briny and she's all over it.

                                                                        2. re: LulusMom

                                                                          Thanks for the carrot-greens frittata inspiration, LLM. After I mentioned it, my housemate steamed a big, big bunch of carrot greens saved from the CSA box, along with some kale and other odds and ends, and put them in a frittata. I'm not sure I could ID the greens if I didn't know - actually, scratch that, I'm sure I couldn't - but it all worked well in the type of frittata most often made around here (a mess of whatever vegetables held together with eggs). The compost bin's loss is our gain!

                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                            oh, man, i am super excited about this for when fresh carrots with their tops start coming my way again!

                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                              Yay! I almost made another frittata again today (mozz, tomato, parlsey ... maybe capers?) with things hanging out, but a bit more insanity going on than would have made that possible. But it really is fun using things up in a way that makes them interesting and useful.

                                                                              Has anyone used dressed salad greens as either part of a frittata or to top pasta? We often have a bit left over, and I'm trying to think of a way to salvage them. Usually I can save one serving of it for Lulu's lunch but past that it seems a bit iffy. any brilliant ideas? Whip it up in the FP with something and use as a spread?

                                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                One or the other of us makes a frittata once a week or so, and they are great for using up bits and bobs of vegetables and fresh herbs. Almost everything works well in a frittata, as long as you cook the moisture out of more watery vegetables like greens and zucchini first. The carrot tops were a revelation because they are something that has always gone in the bin before, and farmers' market and CSA carrots always seem to come with a ton of greens.

                                                                                To answer your question, while I haven't used dressed greens in that way, I'm thinking it would work better with pasta, where they'd wilt further from the heat of the hot pasta (and wilted is what you'd expect), whereas with a frittata you'd run into the water content issue I mentioned above, which tends to turn the eggs watery.

                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                  And how about the spread idea? Suddenly this morning I thought of adding them to a can of beans with some additional lemon juice and oil and then zapping them. We'll see.

                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                    Why not? I can see that working to make something tasty. Let us know how it goes, if you try it.

                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                      I think I'm going to give it a shot. Won't be in the next week, but after that. We have an arugula salad with lemon juice and olive oil pretty much every week, so it should happen soon.

                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                        I don't see how adding arugula, lemon juice, and olive oil to a can of, say, cannelini beans, could go wrong (as long as the greens are wilted but not slimy, of course). You'd have a sandwich spread/dip kind of thing that would certainly last longer than the greens on their own.

                                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                          Exactly what I'm thinking. And the seasoning would be what I'd want in a bean spread/dip anyway, so the fact that the greens are already dressed won't be a problem.

                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                            These sound like promising ideas. I'm amazed that you have leftover salad greens! We have salad often and always polish off the entire bowl.

                                                                                            1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                              It is because we're gluttons, so I usually buy two boxes of washed arugula for us. One never seems to be enough, two is, obviously, just a bit too much.

                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                Oh I see. Yes , we would have leftovers too. But why not make 11/2 boxes and save the other half for your lunch?

                                                                                                1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                  Now that is a very sensible question. I suppose because there have been one or two times when we finished the salad? But mostly, yeah, that makes a heck of a lot of sense.

                                                                                    2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                      Finally got around to making a bean spread salad using my leftover salad. It took this long because I wised-up about how much salad I was making after Westminstress pointed out that I might not have leftover salad if I didn't make so much. Seems like a no brainer - not sure why I needed to be told this (but I did) ... Anyway, last night we had leftover arugula dressed in olive oil and lemon juice, so this morning I drained a can of great northern beans, chopped 3 cloves of garlic, and zapped them with the salad in the FP with a little salt. Added a bit more lemon and some pepper and Bingo - delicious. Earthy and vegetal from the beans and salad, but with a nice brightness from the lemon. This might not be up everyone's alley, but I love it.

                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                        Your leftover arugula creation sounds great! If I ever have any, I will surely try it.

                                                                        3. After this thread, I got inspired and bought the book. It just arrived the other day, and I am now on chapter 3. So far, the only useful thing I found was a recipe of salsa verde and a suggestion to add half anise to the chicken broth. The rest of the tips I was doing already. I will see what other suggestions the rest of the book offers :)

                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Allenkii

                                                                            I don't think this book is useful in the "Zuni" sense of learning things you wouldn't already intuit, it is useful in the way it asks you to see the world. At least, that is what I got out of it. I have yet to try a recipe from it, and I am sure the recipes are going to be good, just not a priority. It was more the serenity of sitting down with it that got to me. It's not for everybody.

                                                                            1. re: dkennedy

                                                                              I like reading it - it reads easy and interesting, I just wish there was more advice that would be useful for me...

                                                                              1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                In my case, and as reflected in my original post, this was the book that freed me to cook again, after feeling completely paralyzed in the kitchen after many life changes including a new baby. I've actually had great luck following the recipes. But more important is the way she makes you feel empowered to cook simply and economically, using what you have available.

                                                                                I don't know if I've mentioned this upthread, but one recipe from this book that I love (aside from my favorite minestrone soup) is the pureed soup made from handfuls of herbs and a potato, smoothed out with a bit of dairy. At the end of the herbs chapter. This one is a good way to make use of things like parsley and cilantro stems.

                                                                              2. re: Allenkii

                                                                                I read this and didn't learn anything new from it, BUT I liked how it underscored what I was already doing--cooking and eating with much less waste. Her writing, while poetic and lyrical, is a tad too precious and full-o-wonder for me. Still, I am very glad to have read the book and intend to hang on to it for a while (yes, eventually it'll be donated to the library book sale). I do think it is a worthwhile read in that it may get people to really think about what is on their plates. I see overlap between this and other books, especially Dan Barber's The Third Plate--his tome is required reading for anyone interested in food issues and the future of our food systems. Adler's book encourages us to look at the microscale, that is our own plates and kitchens.

                                                                                1. re: nofunlatte

                                                                                  Your post sums up my take on it.

                                                                                  I've always been frugal. Part of it is my nature and part is necessity. I'm also open to experimentation. So much of my cooking is an ongoing inspiration based on the bits and pieces of earlier meals.

                                                                                  I guess our approach has enough similarities that the book didn't provide any aha moments for me.

                                                                                  I do think this approach to cooking and using ingredients can be freeing. Personally I've always enjoyed the creativity of it. It's great seeing how many people have been inspired by the book!

                                                                              3. The concept was "nothing new" as others have pointed out. But I liked some of her suggestions, such as keeping the broth made from making beans, or putting red wine vinegar on beets. And I love the writing. I re-read this book over the weekend and then came home from the market yesterday and made a big batch of roasted vegetables and sauteed greens, as well as kale and collard stem pesto for the week. I also love her commitment to toasted bread as a template for a meal. I saw on her Twitter profile that she just signed a deal for two books. The first is a cookbook, the second is a book of essays.