Culinistas's Kitchen,  Recipes & Cooking

How To Use Ingredients On Their Last Legs

by The Culinistas

Sheltering in place has made us all conscious about shopping smart and minimizing food waste. If your ingredients (especially your produce) are starting to reach the end of their deliciousness, the answer is to get creative, not resort to the trash bin (but really we hope you are composting). Here are our top tips for  s t r e t c h i n g  ingredients on their last legs.

Get Saucey

Soft herbs and leafy greens are the first to wilt in the crisper drawer. The quickest fix is to turn on your blender. We love making kale pesto with kale, basil, almonds, lemon juice and plenty of EVOO. It’s great on pasta, eggs, and sandwiches. Sad looking arugula gets a new lease on life by transforming into a gremolata with garlic, serrano, lemon, cumin and olive oil. It’s a sophisticated addition to any protein (especially steak). Don’t have a blender? Go rustic by giving your greens a rough but thorough chop and adding garlic, oil, and vinegar, chimichurri style. Don’t want to chop all the garlic? Bonus round: make a garlic oil.

Make Stock

Stock is simple. Beyond your less than desirable herbs, alliums, and vegetable odds & ends, we also recommend starting a bag in your freezer for scraps like radish tops, chard stems, chicken bones, and onion skins. Throw everything into a pot of water, add some whole peppercorns, bay leaves, and coriander or mustard seeds for extra flavor, plus a solid amount of salt and pepper, bring it all to a boil then simmer for at least two hours. Skim off any excess fat from the top, and strain the stock for a crystal clear, vitamin & mineral rich broth. Use your stock for soup, as a cooking liquid for grains, or to sip on in the morning. If you are going the sipping route, we recommend incorporating ginger into the potion.

When I Dip, You Dip, We Dip

Our friend the blender surfaces once again. Red Peppers and carrots you never got the chance snack on? Roast them with cumin, salt & pepper, then blend into a creamy Romesco Dip with toasted hazelnuts, sherry vinegar, EVOO, and a touch of water. If carrots aren’t your favorite, try our tangy, nutty Muhammara Dip. It calls for pita but any bread will do, even your homemade loaf you thought was a fail.

Hydrate Responsibly

Lemons and limes looking less perky? Slice them up and add to a big pitcher of water for a tart treat. You’ll be more inclined to hydrate this way! Add herbs or cucumbers for a spa worthy water situation.

Thank you to Sylvie Rosokoff for the beautiful photo.