The Art of Repurposing Leftovers

Not letting leftovers go to waste reflects both personal thrift on the part of Chowhounds and and an ethical aversion to tossing out perfectly good food. But instead of simply eating the same thing the next day, hounds prefer to transform these bits into other dishes as good as or better than the originals.

If you have more than enough of a particularly tasty sauce or dressing, reusing it in another dish is a great way to get extra mileage. A local Sichuan place makes "this incredible fish and napa cabbage dish swimming in the most amazing sauce ever known to man," says Terrie H. "When talking to the owner, she told me she uses the extra sauce over tofu, so I make myself a delicious meal by taking home the leftovers."

dianne0712 says television host Alton Brown "changed my life when he told me you could add ... raw vegetables [to] your favorite pickle brine and they would pickle too!" She uses this trick to replicate a brand of marinated red peppers she loves.

Sometimes dishes made from transformed leftovers are so wonderful they inspire hounds to cook extra just so they can make them. thymetobake always cooks more green beans and mashed potatoes than needed so that she can use them again in other dishes. The green beans become a puréed soup, which "sounds weird but tastes similar to cream of asparagus soup," thymetobake says. To make it, blend the cooked green beans in a food processor, then heat the purée with enough milk to thin it to soup consistency and top with plenty of grated Pecorino Romano. Among thymetobake's favorite uses for leftover mashed potatoes are scones based on a James Beard recipe, made by mixing the potatoes with enough flour and butter to make a rollable dough, cutting them, and cooking them on a griddle. "They look like thick tortillas," thymetobake says.

Discuss: Capturing Flavor & Re Purposing Food

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