In our haste for convenience, we often overlook some of the delightful ways of “repurposing” left-over foods. Many of our comfort foods had their origins in creating something tasty from food that had lost its freshness, e.g. over-ripe fruit, old bread, etc. Over-ripe fruit gets turned into jam, compote, cider or hard alcohol. Stale bread can be turned into bread pudding or plum pudding. In Switzerland, my grandmother used up old bread to make “Rösti” with apple or plums. Here’s how: the sliced fruit is steamed in some butter, with a little added sugar. Remove the fruit from the pan, add more butter and toast the thinly sliced hard bread, until brown and crisp. Add the fruit back to the pan, with a pinch of sugar, lemon zest and juice. Serve warm, with a splash of cream.
. . . what more could you want? This fabulous “chwockwat” mousse (as my granddaughter calls it) is high in fat and calories, made with real butter, eggs and real cream. It’s a treat – so you eat a small portion and savor it. There is no comparison between REAL FOOD and processed low-fat, low-everything STUFF! Try it, you’ll like it . . .
Chips and salsa, anyone?
Here’s a summer recipe that’s guaranteed to be a hit at your next party – Avocado-Mango Salsa!
3 ripe, firm avocados
1 lb fresh or frozen mango, cut into chunks
1 medium size jicama, cut into large chunks
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 small chili, jalapeño or serrano (finely chopped)
½ bunch cilantro, finely chopped
Juice from 2-3 limes
Sea salt, to taste
Place the jicama in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped but not puréed. Add the avocado and mango and pulse until blended. Fold in the minced garlic, chopped chili, cilantro, lime juice and salt. Makes about 3 cups. Serve with corn chips, quesadillas, or fish tacos.
. . . with this fabulous salad from Joan Nathan’s latest cookbook King Solomon’s Table. It combines two grains (barley and wheat), and five fruit (grapes, olives, dates, pomegranates and figs) – foods that were eaten during biblical times – with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and some seasonings. I chose a quick-cooking barley and freekeh (a delicious green wheat) for the grains, and seasoned them with extra virgin Bariani olive oil, a little sea salt and a splash of balsamic vinegar. The cooked grains were combined with organic microgreens and then topped with the sliced fruit. It makes the perfect meal for a summer evening – filling, yet light with an exotic twist.
Now that the weather has gone from zero to sixty in record time, light summer meals are back in vogue. As a chef, I love learning about different cuisines from around the planet, as the foods of a region reflect its history of cultural influences and cross-pollination. Marrying into a family of Eastern Europeans, I came to appreciate many of the Lithuanian specialties prepared by my mother-in-law. Many of the dishes combined pickled or smoked fish with cooked vegetables and dill, and I found a similar dish more recently in a book of Tunisian cuisine – just one example of how foods travel across cultures.
For this dish, combine cooked carrot, potato, beet, and turnip with a vinaigrette dressing, dill, cooked egg and smoked herring . . . a most satisfying and light meal on a warm day!