Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Re-tooling and Re-using Leftovers

Last week when I made the cornmeal crusted pork I had quite a bit leftover so I decided to re-use it two nights later but with different side dishes. Originally, I used the quinoa with peas and oven roasted cauliflower. Today I decided for something lighter and more summery to accompany the pork.
Since I had only used 3/4 cup of ricotta cheese for the dinner crepes I still had more than half a container to use up. I decided to make the ricotta sauce pasta to complement the cornmeal crusted pork and serve a tomato and red pepper salad with it. The pasta will take about 20 minutes and you will merely heat up the pork briefly in the microwave right before you are ready to serve. Unfortunately, re-heating the pork in the microwave will soften the cornmeal crust but it is an efficient way to get it warm. Alternately a toaster oven might be a good option - I don't happen to own one but if anyone tries it please let me know.
For the pepper and tomato salad, I simply cut one medium tomato in quarters and gently de-seeded it. I repeated the process with a red pepper and then I cut the tomato and pepper into bite-size portions. I tossed them with a bit of olive oil (1 tablespoon) and balsamic vinegar (half a tablespoon). This salad adds a light, crisp complement to the thyme and lemon flavoring of the pork and the cheese sauce of the pasta and is purposely simplistic.
The next night dinner was again made with leftovers. I had enough of the dinner crepes leftover to re-heat for the two of us as well as the last of the vegetable soup. I set to oven to 350 degrees, placed the remaining crepes in a pie plate, and set into the oven to re-heat for 10-15 minutes. I set the soup in a small pan on very low heat on the stove top and set the table for dinner. I rounded it out with some wheat crackers and iberico cheese to go with the soup.
Warming the crepes in the oven is perfect - the bottom side that lays on the pie plate is lightly crisped, the filling is warm all the way through and the top part is soft. The crepes go well with a nice bowl of steaming vegetable soup.
So with a bit more effort in making dinner sometimes you are rewarded with multiple meals: the pork made dinner one night for four people; three lunches and dinner another night for the two of us. The package of sukiyaki pork wasn't more than 1.5 pounds either. The crepe recipe was good for dinner on two separate nights and two lunches. For flexibility and convenience, I sometimes just freeze leftovers of larger recipes on the same night so we can have them for the future rather than being obligated to eat them the same week. Most of my meals typically serve dinner for two and there is enough for two lunches the next day.

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