Friday, June 3, 2011

Repurposed Edibles

If you know my wife, you might not be surprised to find out that she is a fan of HGTV. She is an interesting kid on many levels and she is interested in a wide variety of different topics, including different places, where and how people in those places live and what they do to make their surroundings more aesthetically pleasing. One concept I've become aware of through some of this programming is that of reclaiming old building materials that can be repurposed - that is, used for another application, such as taking wood from an abandoned house and using it in a different project or picking up old bricks from a demolition site and using them to build yourself a retaining wall or planter box. Aside from being time and labor intensive, there is relatively little if any actual cost to acquire the materials. Furthermore, it is eco-friendly. Now I have never hugged a tree but I appreciate the conservation approach. More than that, however, I like the idea that something that was to be cast-off or was esteemed as being of no worth can, with a little interest, planning and effort, be made into something worthwhile and useful.

What does this have to do with food? Good question. The culinary corollary is seen in what we disdainfully refer to as leftovers, but which I think should be called "tomorrow's muse for something new and wonderful." For example, yesterday's Potatoes Nicoise could become something great for breakfast or brunch - just add eggs. Last night's grilled potatoes could be transformed into excellent home fries (skillet potatoes) - just add diced yellow onion, diced red bell pepper and garlic. Leftover pesto from your Italian-themed dinner - just add eggs. By now you've obviously noticed my breakfast/brunch theme. I like to make it interesting. But the point is, that food not used yesterday can be repurposed for something excellent today. This is just a variant on the pantry principle only you've already done some of the prep work, which leads to my next point - that excellent results are achievable with little effort. High-yield! These are just a few examples. So the next time you want something interesting but you are not feeling inspired, just look at your leftovers and prepare to be blown away with a new combination of flavors you've never thought of.

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