Sunday, October 23, 2016

Turning Leftovers into New Dishes

Chinese Fried Rice
I feel guilty if I throw away leftovers—unless they have a suspicious green tinge.  Luckily I don’t mind eating the same thing a few nights in a row.  I feel like I’m on kitchen vacation.

Unfortunately, Bart doesn’t share this view.  If he liked what I made originally, he will drum up some enthusiasm when he sees it on his plate on Day #2.  But there’s no way he will eagerly lap it up on Day #3.

However, if the extra baked potatoes suddenly appear as Home Fries or part of a taco filling, his enthusiasm returns. A leftover stir-fry that featured tofu, an ingredient he doesn’t like, looks completely different a few days later when strips of stir-fried pork replace the distinctive white squares.

And there’s always the possibility of Chinese Fried Rice when I cook too much plain white rice.  Leftover veggies can be tossed into Fried Rice or Risotto.  Leftover roast chicken can yield a dozen new dishes—from Chicken Salad to Grilled Chicken Sandwiches to Hearty Chicken Soup (complete with leftover rice).

Be clever when repurposing leftovers, and don’t tell anyone what you did.  They’ll think you’re a genius to come up with such a creative meal.
Chinese Fried Rice – serves 2-3 as a side (adapted from “Help! My Apartment Has a Kitchen”)  
1 large egg 
1 tablespoon water 
1 tablespoon butter 
1 medium onion 
1 red or orange bell pepper 
1 tablespoon canola, peanut or corn oil 
2 cups cold cooked rice 
2 tablespoons soy sauce 
1/2 cup frozen peas 
1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
Beat the egg with the water.  Melt the butter in a large frying pan or wok over medium-high heat.  Add the egg and cook it, without stirring, for about 1 minute, or until it is firm.  You don’t need to turn it over.  It will look like a flat pancake.  Remove it from the pan, cut it in shreds and set aside. 
Peel the onion and cut it into small pieces.  Wash the bell pepper, cut out and discard the stem and seeds and cut it into small pieces. 
Heat the oil in the same frying pan or wok over medium heat.  Add the onion and bell pepper and stir-fry for about 5 minutes, or until the pieces begin to soften.  
Add the rice, soy sauce, frozen peas and black pepper and stir continuously for about 5 minutes, or until the rice is hot and the peas are cooked.  If the rice starts to stick to the bottom of the pan, add another teaspoon more oil.  Add the egg shreds and stir until they are distributed throughout the mixture.  Serve immediately.