The inexperienced cook pulls leftovers from the fridge and serves them again. The brilliant cook repurposes leftovers so no one recognizes them the second time around. The art here is not so much culinary prowess as it is camouflage.
We think there are a handful of culinary techniques experienced cooks have in their arsenal. Think F-O-C-U-S to remember the five.
The Frittata is a beautiful thing: eggy, melty, and browned, it can hide a multitude of leftovers — from pasta, to bits of roast pork or chicken, to vegetables. Frittatas made with leftovers like this are often the best and almost impossible to replicate. Which is a tragedy but remains a terrific way to get rid of leftovers. Dice your leftovers, whisk together some eggs with cream, fold it all together in a cast iron skillet with some crumbled cheese and bake it at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Try finishing your frittata with some Taylor Street Garlic & Herb Seasoning. Or, top with a bit of this H.A.C.A Hot Sauce to wake things up.
Like its cousin the Fritatta, the Omelet can hide almost anything: a little bit of fish, leftover cheese, a few roasted vegetables. They are all fair game the morning after. And it is your choice of spices that can get these guys to sing together as one. Herbes de Provence is the classic omelet blend, and it’s a classic for a reason: it’s very good. But maybe you want to maintain the French technique but venture from Metropolitan France: Our Caribbean Citrus Chile Rub nods to St. Barth’s, Guadeloupe, and Martinique; while a touch of Marrakesh Market Blend will hearken to Francophone Africa and the flavors of Morocco.
A curry can be the perfect place to repurpose leftover vegetables and a little roast or stewed meat or fish. This potato curry recipe is an excellent kitchen sink recipe, just add whatever you have lying around. We offer a number of curry seasonings — try them out and see which ones suit you best. They are terrific tools to have on hand.
Our next tool for leftover camouflage is the Taco. Everything is fair game. Beef, pork, chicken, fish, tofu, vegetables, fruit… you name it, it can go in a taco. Arm yourself with corn or flour tortillas and let your imagination run wild. Our suggestion is to vary the heat among the ingredients (from, say, Ground Guajillo Chiles to Ancho Chile Powder or Aji Amarillo Ground Chiles, all the way to Carolina Reaper Chiles, if you dare) and let your diners choose how spicy they want their leftovers. Take leftover roast turkey or chicken for example; Sauté some diced onion in an oiled skillet, add some Ancho Chile Powder, Mexican Oregano, a large splash of cerveza, and then let the meat sort of braise until the flavors marry and the liquid has reduced some. Include a couple of types of salsa or pico de gallo and you have the makings of a wonderful meal.
There is probably no easier way to handle leftovers than soup making and any soup provides the broadcast palette for building flavor with herbs and spices. Whether you’re using a leftover turkey carcass, or leftover vegetables, or the remnants of a roast, or the contents of the bottom drawer of the freezer, your choice of spices will make all the difference. Be bold. Have some seafood? Or some chicken? Try Our Classic (or Extra Hot) Cajun Seasoning. Want a soup with a Mexican kick? Try using our Carne Asada Steak Seasoning on your chicken tortilla soup. Have leftover mashed or baked potatoes? Try a rustic potato soup with our Bridgeport Potato Seasoning or a mock Vichyssoise with some cream, some yellow onions, and our Parisian Shallot Salt-Free Herb Blend and stick that wonderful concoction back into the fridge until it’s time to serve.