One of my goals during our stay in the Catskills has been to cook meals that can be easily repurposed into ingredients for future meals. When you’re cooking every day, being able to stretch your leftovers like so saves a ton of time and money.
There are few ingredients that can ‘stretch’ as far as a whole chicken. The one pictured above I roasted over a bed of onions and potatoes. (This is probably worth a separate post, but I roast chickens and turkeys breast side down so that the white meat cooks slower.)
The next day, I broke down the leftover chicken into dark meat, white meat, bones, and skin. I used the bones to make about two quarts of chicken pho broth, and then used said broth to make a curry gravy, which I ate over rice with fried chicken skin crumbles on top.
We’ve had that curry for a few meals now, and still have a breast which will probably become chicken salad, and a quart of broth, which will be used to braise some beef short ribs.
I accidentally purchased these lupini beans a few months ago because of their likeness and proximity to gigante beans at Euromarket. They could not be any more different. After pressure cooking the lupinis for 45 minutes, which would normally render a bean tender and sweet, these guys were stiff and bitter… insanely bitter. More bitter than a thousand heads of radicchio.
Some cursory research revealed that they are prepared entirely differently from most legumes. Thinking that maybe I could produce something edible from them, since I’d already skipped the recommended 2 week soaking process, I pressure cooked them for another 3 hours. Alas, they were still too bitter- for tonight, a can of chili will have to do.
I think pesto is up there on my Mt. Rushmore of foods. It seems like any green + any nut + any hard cheese + raw garlic + good olive oil + salt = way more than the sum of its parts. This one was basil, pistachio, grana padano, garlic, olive oil, and a little bit of lemon juice served room temperature with leftover pasta.
We discard a lot of carrot tops in our house, but the other day, I decided to add them into my vegetable smoothie because I was short on kale. They’re definitely more bitter than a normal juicing green, but the difference is hardly noticeable considering how much lemon and ginger I use. I’ll definitely start keeping them around for smoothies once I figure out whether or not they’re dangerous to eat.
Nicole and I are staying in an AirBnB in the Catskills for a few days to escape the gross heat and humidity of NYC while she works on a few videos. I love searching through the kitchens of airbnb’s and finding the barely used/half used ingredients that guests buy for their vacation feasts and leave behind- a can of tonnino tuna, a fancy tube of harrisa paste, and several bags of marshmallows are just a few of the gems we’ve found here.
This house has a policy that everything in the kitchen is fair game so for one of our first meals, I cooked one of the several open bags of pasta from the pantry and added it into some old frozen chicken soup that we brought up from Brooklyn.
Normally it’d be unthinkable to have a hot bowl of soup in July, but up here in the Catskills, it’s pretty cool out by the time we have dinner.
Over on Medium.com my friend David Hart has been holding the Nacho Bowl, a head-to-head tournament between NFL-inspired nacho recipes. A purist will point out that states like North Carolina and Washington don’t lay claim to a distinct nacho style, but ‘regional inspiration’ comes in many forms. David’s divisional playoff match pitted Frasier themed nachos (topped with smoked salmon and espresso cheddar) against some Carolina faux pulled pork nachos, resulting in a close victory for Seattle. Simply brilliant and hilarious.
This sort of pun-heavy, needlessly clever culinaria is right up my alley. David accepted my offer to represent my hometown New England Patriots for the AFC championship against the Colts, and I spent the next few days putting together a dish called Good Will Punting: How Do You Like Them Nachos?