Tag: leftovers

How to Use Up Stale Bread

Using Stale Bread | Serious Crust

Using Stale Bread | Serious Crust
Using Stale Bread | Serious Crust

We all do it. We buy a beautiful loaf of bread to eat with dinner, or to sop in egg custard for breakfast, and then, a few days later it’s looking rather sad. Maybe mildly shriveled, too crusty around the edges. And it doesn’t feel great, knowing that you have half a loaf of kind of inedible bread, knowing how chewy and perfect it was when it was fresh. But it is edible! You just have to have a few stale bread recipes in your back pocket. Here are some of mine:

Make breadcrumbs: Cut the crust off your bread and cut it into chunks, then throw them in the food processor till they’re the right consistency for you. You can either toast them now or throw them in a ziplock back in your fridge – for sooner use – or freezer – for later use. Pull them out later to top your favorite macaroni and cheese (I’m dying to try this one) or this chicken gratin (which I just made and was a big hit).

Ribollita: Stale bread soup may sound odd, but that’s what this is. I love this easy, throw-whatever-you’ve-got-in-the-pot soup. It’s a hearty, delicious meal for colder days.

Croutons: Cube your bread, toss it in some olive oil, and throw it on a sheet pan with a few cloves of smashed garlic and sprigs of thyme. Toast at roughly 350°F for about 8-10 minutes, keeping a close eye on them to avoid burning.

Bread pudding: If you’ve got more of a sweet tooth, cube your bread, soak it in eggs, sugar, milk, and spices, and bake it for an easy, rustic dessert.

Panzanella: A summertime recipe, panzanella is a great way to use up stale bread and the plethora of tomatoes you may have from your garden. Remove crusts and cube your bread, halve or dice your tomatoes, some cucumber, red onion if you want, and add some crumbled feta or ricotta salata. Top with torn basil and a simple balsamic or red wine vinaigrette.

French onion soup: Not only is French onion soup a great way to use stale bread, it’s also a great way to use any chicken or beef or vegetable stock you might have in the freezer. But let’s be honest, the best part of this soup is the cheesy toast floating on top, soaking up all that delicious broth.

Soba Noodles with Summer Squash and Mango

Soba Noodles with Summer Squash and Mango // Serious Crust
Soba Noodles with Summer Squash and Mango // Serious Crust
Soba Noodles with Summer Squash and Mango // Serious Crust
Soba Noodles with Summer Squash and Mango // Serious Crust

Soba noodles have become a staple in my kitchen. I have always liked them, but as the weather has been slowly getting warmer, and there’s lovely produce all around, they have been appearing more often in my kitchen. I love them with a light sauce made of rice vinegar and lime juice. But the true beauty of soba noodles, to me, is that they are delicious cold. The day after you make them, and they’ve been sitting in whatever sauce you’ve tossed them with, they become ultra flavorful and refreshing. I am a big fan. And I think you should be too.

Jonah came home this week, on Monday actually, and I had a feeling that cooking might not be exactly what he wanted to do the moment he stepped of the plane. So on Sunday night I made a big batch of soba noodles tossed with roasted zucchini, fresh mango, and a light citrus-y sauce. I ate a small bowl, and threw the rest in the fridge, knowing that it would be delicious the next day for dinner with some roasted green beens (also in the fridge).

I love how colorful this dish is, how summery it is, and how packed with flavor. I think it’d make a great cold side dish for a summer party (4th of July, anyone?), and it makes great leftovers to take to the office for lunch. You can add some seared tofu, or maybe even some grilled chicken.

Soba Noodles with Summer Squash and Mango

Ingredients

2 zucchini, julienned
2 summer squash, julienned
olive oil
salt
1 9-oz package buckwheat soba noodles
3/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp salt
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 jalapeño, finely chopped (and seeded, if you’re not feeling the heat)
juice and zest of 1 lime
1 Tbl sesame oil
1 ripe mango, peeled and julienned
~1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
~1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
optional but recommended: chopped peanuts to top (I used about 1/4 cup), lime wedges

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Toss the julienned zucchini and squash with olive oil and salt. Spread on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast for 20-30 minutes, until lightly browned, tossing halfway through. Set aside to cool.

Cook the soba noodles as instructed on the package. Usually, this means boil them for about 4 minutes, drain them, rinse them with cold water, drain them, and spread them out on a dish towel to try.

While boiling the water for the noodles, combine the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small pot over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add garlic and jalapeño. Allow to cool, then add the lime juice and zest as well as the sesame oil. Whisk to combine. Put the soba noodles in a bowl, and toss with the dressing. Add the squash, mango, herbs, and nuts to the noodles, tossing to combine. Garnish with a sprinkle more of chopped peanuts and a lime wedge. Enjoy with a light beer on a hot day.

Weekend Finds 6:1:14

Well friends, today marks the beginning of June. That’s a pretty crazy thing. This year is flying by, and it seems like if I blink, it’ll be Christmas. But I’m working on taking things a little slower and enjoying what I’ve got going on. These finds are what I’ve been liking this week.

1. Davenport

Davenport, PDX // Weekend Finds on Serious Crust
The fried octopus atop frisee. (Photo from Portland Monthly.)

When family is in town, we eat. And we eat well. Last night, after finally winnowing down our list of places to dine, my dad, Darla, Jonah, and I went to Davenport. The kitchen is helmed by Kevin Gibson, of Evoe, and they’ve been open for about 6 months. I’d been wanting to go for all of those 6 months. Located in the old June space on E. Burnside, the restaurant is cozy and clean. Last night it was warm enough that the big garage door was open. Our servers were so kind, the wine was perfect (a red sancerre) and the food was impeccable. Highlights included: roasted fava beans with pancetta, fried octopus over frisee, asparagus with porcini/breadcrumbs/parmesan, and grilled duck breast with a walnut aioli.

2. Pro Pie Tips

Pie Tips // Weekend Finds on Serious Crust
Some key pie advice will lead you to pie nirvana. Pievana? (Photo from Bon Appetit.)

It is officially pie season. The rhubarb is here and the strawberries are starting to trickle in. So do a little prep work and check out these tips from Bon Appetit. I’m especially keen on the recommendations to put the pie at the bottom of the oven and to put it in the freezer for 15 minutes before you bake it. So smart.

3. Rachel W. Cole

Rachel W. Cole // Weekend Finds on Serious Crust
A screenshot from Rachel Cole’s website – all about figuring out what you’re really hungry for.

Now don’t get all judgmental on me here. Rachel Cole is a life coach who focuses on feeding your true hungers. Via her social media outlets (which I follow), she talks a lot about body image and how we fill ourselves, with food and other things in our lives. I recently signed up for her newsletter, and spent a few hours on Friday doing her fulfillment pyramid activity (you can get it too if you sign up for her newsletter on her site). Think of it as making a food pyramid for yourself, but putting all the things you need in your life in it, not just vegetables and grains. It was a really fun, reflective, positive activity, and I definitely recommend it. Trust me, cooking for friends and baking pies definitely made it on to my pyramid.

4. Foodie events in and around Portland

Summer Foodie Events in Portland // Weekend Finds on Serious Crust
Why yes, I will spend my summer drinking rosé out of mason jars in a beautiful field, thank you. (Photo from Feast.)

Perhaps my favorite thing about summer in Portland is all of the foodie events. Seriously: Oregon Brewer’s Fest (plus so many more beer festivals), Portland Monthly’s Country Brunch (and Bloody Mary Smackdown), so many Plate & Pitchfork dinners, and of course Feast. Some blogger friends have rounded up more events on their sites, Pechluck’s Food Adventures and Bakery Bingo, so check them out. There’s no way you can be bored and hungry this summer.

5. Pork Belly

Pork Belly prep tips // Weekend Finds on Serious Crust
Why does cooking pork belly make me so nervous? (Photo from Food52.)

I’ve been itching to try cooking with pork belly, and I think once my schedule becomes normal again, it’d be a great day-long kitchen activity. I’m picturing it seasoned with thyme, and served with a rhubarb chutney. I’ll definitely be re-reading these tips from Food52 before I go for it.

6. Grocery Shopping

Groceries // Weekend Finds on Serious Crust
We all shop for and cook our food differently, but what’s important is that it works for us. (Photo from The Kitchn.)

I like this little meditation on grocery shopping. Jonah and I have been trying to do more meal planning and making enough to have leftovers for lunch and then committing to actually eating those leftovers… It’s all harder than it sounds. But here’s what I’ve realized – as long as we are all feeding ourselves well and trying to be conscious about where the food is coming from, then we’re “doing it right.”

Simple Meringues from Leftover Egg Whites

Simple Meringues // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Simple Meringues // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Simple Meringues // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Simple Meringues // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

I loved meringues when I was a kid – the incredible sweetness, the way they just melt in your mouth, the way they sound kind of like styrofoam (a weird thing to like, I know), and the delicate poofy shapes they came in. I remembered making them once when I was in middle school, and getting the sticky batter all over my shirt and fingers and face.

While I don’t feel as passionately about meringues as I did when I was younger, I still enjoy them. I still love how as soon as you get a crumb on your tongue, it seems to be gone almost as quickly as it came. I love the intense sweet taste, and how it lingers in your mouth. I love the slight nuttiness that comes from the slow caramelization of the sugar.

After I made the mint matcha ice cream, I had a bunch of leftover egg whites. I thought about making macarons, but I simply wasn’t in the mood for something so potentially intense where so much could go wrong. Plus, all my egg whites were in a jar together, so measuring out 3 or however many was going to be tricky. That’s the tough thing about leftover egg whites or yolks – you so often have to find a recipe that uses the exact amount you have leftover. I had seen an article recently on Food 52 about making meringue without a recipe, so I read it, and went ahead. I wouldn’t normally choose to make this much meringue, but it turns out 6 large egg whites yeilds…a lot.

Simple Meringues

Ingredients

1 part egg whites to 2 parts sugar. For example, 1 cup egg whites, 2 cups sugar. To stabilize, you’ll need 1/2 tsp cream of tartar or 2 tsp white vinegar per 1 cup of egg whites. An easy way to remember this, if you’re using vinegar, is that it’s the same amount as the sugar but in teaspoons. So, what I used: 1 cup egg whites (from 6 large eggs), 2 cups sugar, and 2 tsp white vinegar.

Instructions

Bring your egg whites to room temperature, if not a little warmer. You can do this by simply leaving them out in the kitchen for a while, or putting them in a bowl and putting that bowl in another bowl full of hot water.

Preheat your oven to 225 degrees.  Line two pans with parchment paper. In a bowl, combine egg whites and vinegar or cream of tartar. Whip on medium speed with an electric beater or in the bowl of an electric mixer until there are soft peaks when the beater is lifted from the bowl.

Once soft peaks can form, turn the mixer speed to high, and add the sugar by heaping teaspoons. This will take a few minutes (certainly if you’re making as much meringue as I was). Be patient. Once the sugar is mixed in, either pipe the meringue onto the prepared baking sheets, or drop by spoonful. I used a large ziploc, used a spatula to scoop all of the meringue in, and then cut off the tip of one of the corners, and used that for piping. It worked really well.

Bake the meringues for 1 1/2 hours, rotating front to back and top rack to bottom half way through. When time is up, turn off the oven and allow them to cool in the oven. If you have SO MUCH MERINGUE, like I did, you can turn off the oven and allow them to cool partway, remove from oven, and then preheat the oven for the next batch. I left my meringue on the counter while the first batch baked, and while it was noticeably not as fully whipped, it still worked just fine. I recommend crunching into one when it’s still warm, because how often do you get to try a warm meringue? Store the rest in an airtight container, and enjoy whenever you’re in need of a sweet, light treat.