Save the liquids-cooking with leftover sauces
This week I don't have to worry so much about leftovers in my kitchen since I am traveling and visiting friends. It is reassuring to see that by committing myself to eliminating food waste I am also inspiring my friends to waste less. My friend Katja in New York (who I am staying with) suggested to have a spring risotto one night for dinner. She had some peas in the freezer, spring onions and wild garlic (ramps) and combined that with asparagus. On our trip to Chinatown we found some yellow chives that we have never seen before and thought should go in as well. This is following a maxim that I think is important in cooking with leftovers: don't regard it as scarcity or deprivation or a chore, but make it fun, sensual and playful. Using something wilted, stale or soft and combining it with something fresh, crunchy and/or even decadent.
I did some of the prepping for the risotto while Katja did the cooking. I enjoyed kicking back the heels and waiting to be served dinner after I have done my chopping duty.
Dinner was served with a laugh because of the decor being so 1980s. The risotto was delicious...all the wonderful flavours of spring! I was a bit puzzled though because I kept tasting a subtle flavour of fish. I believed I was imagining this, because it was so subtle. One can easily be fooled to believe he is something else, because there is a similar flavour. Braised mushrooms can easily mimic the umami of a beef stew. Eventually I asked Katja what stock she has been using. I think she was taken aback for a second and thought that there was something wrong. Not at all!
Katja revealed that she kept the poaching liquid when she made a salmon and kept it in the freezer for later use. She reckoned that we often don't make full use of the leftover liquids. Many recipes even ask to just strain something and not consider that this may be used for something else. I think I will dedicate a full post to this topic with further examples on how to include leftover liquids in your cooking.
Katja doesn't stop at saving liquids at home. When we were out and about one day this week, she took me to a Xian take away in Chinatown, which was made famous by Antony Bourdain. We shared a dish of spinach dumplings in a rich broth. When we finished we had so much left of the broth that Katja decided to take it home. Great idea. However you want to make sure to put it in a safe container or carry it in a separate bag. When we got home we realised that carrying it in your handbag with all your other belongings wasn't such a great idea. Unless if you fancy your smartphone wearing l'eau de beef broth.