Tag: leftovers

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.

Stale Bread Soup (Ribollita)

Stale Bread Soup // Serious Crust by Annie FasslerStale Bread Soup // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

I realize that at this point you might be sick and tired of hearing us harp about how great Tamar Adler’s An Everlasting Meal is. But hear me out one more time. Everyone has stale bread. Or at least everyone who has bread at some point and does not eat it all eventually has stale bread lying around. And most of the time it gets thrown away, or responsibly composted. If you are culinarily educated, dear reader, you may already have known of stale bread soup; but as I read Tamar’s book, I was astounded to find out that not only does such a thing exist, but there is a long and ancient tradition of creating soup from leftover bread (Ribollita in Italian).

There are a few things that should be said about stale bread soup. First, it is not a soup in the same way that chicken noodle is a soup; stale bread soup is usually much thicker and feels more like a hearty chili. Second, stale bread soup is more of a general idea and a starting point than a recipe. It is meant to be made with whatever is around, provided you have some stale bread (otherwise, you will be making whatever-is-around soup – which could turn out to be vegetables-in-water “soup” if you don’t have any broth lying around).

The recipe below is adapted slightly from Tamar’s recipe for Ribollita in An Everlasting Meal. In usual Tamar fashion, you will use A LOT of olive oil in this recipe. We have made stale bread soup twice now, so I’ve noted the different things we used.

Stale Bread Soup (Ribollita)

Ingredients

Olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
Celery, if you have it (I did not)
salt
1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs like parsley or rosemary or thyme (if you don’t have fresh, maybe do 1/4 cup dried?)
1/2 teaspoon chile flakes
Tomatoes in some form, if you want (3 peeled fresh tomatoes, or I used 1 can diced. Made it once without tomatoes as well)
1 bunch leafy greens (I used kale once and cauliflower greens once; other ideas are swiss chard, collard greens, radish greens, etc)
1/4 cup water
2 cups cooked beans (I used a can of black beans both times, Tamar suggests chickpeas or cannellini beans)
2 cups broth from beans or chicken/veggie stock or cans of tomatoes (I used a combo of all three, and you can make up any shortfall with water)
1 piece of Parmesan rind (Do this if you can, because it makes the soup soooo tasty and rich. Also, what else are you going to do with your Parmesan rind?)
2 cups stale bread, crusts removed, torn/cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Instructions

Heat 1/4 inch olive oil (this is just the beginning) in a big-ish soup pot. Cook the onion and garlic (and celery if you have it) until they soften. Add the herbs and chile flakes and a little bit of salt. Add the tomatoes and cook for a few minutes over medium heat.

Chop the greens (and remove from the stems) then add to the pot, and add the water. Cover and cook over low heat until the greens are wilted. Put in all your broths/waters/juices and the beans, plus the Parmesan rind.

(If you have a bunch of Parmesan left, make sure to cut the rind from the rest of the Parmesan. Otherwise, just save the Parmesan rind for when you will next make bread soup. Make sure your Parmesan is big enough that you can keep track of it, because you’re going to take it out later.)

Bring to a simmer, then add the bread and more olive oil (Tamar says to add 1/2 cup, but I was not brave enough and probably added about a 1/4 cup at this point). Cover and cook for 1/2 hour on low, stirring occasionally to make sure the bottom doesn’t burn. The bread will soak up the soup and then liquify into it.  Taste it, add more broth or salt or whatever you want, and then take it off the heat.

Add in another 1/2 cup olive oil (Tamar, are you crazy!?!? I probably added 3 tablespoons here) and take out the Parmesan rind. You can grate Parmesan on top and add some pepper to serve.

This soup is perfect for a windy, rainy, cold, or dark winter/fall night.

Rice Cakes (using rice gone wrong)

Rice Cakes
Rice Cakes

Rice Cakes

Sometimes you’re in the kitchen and you have a lot going on and you miss something going wrong. Maybe you accidentally over-salt your pasta or you burn your veggies. There’s a whole (albeit little) chapter in Tamar Adler’s book all about how to save your mistakes. For example, turn those burned veggies into a smoky veggie salad. Or take that over-salted pasta, mix it with some herbs and butter, and make a frittata. The possibilities are endless.

A while ago, Jonah and I made these rice bowls. We doubled the rice recipe, and I must’ve done some math wrong and put in way too much liquid. So, while the rice tasted good, it was definitely a little mushy. After sitting in the fridge sadly for a week, I was thinking of using it to make rice cakes. Jonah reminded me about the “Further Fixes” chapter in An Everlasting Meal, so to the book I went. It kind of told me what I was already thinking of doing, so on I went.

Rice Cakes

Ingredients

roughly 3 cups of overcooked rice
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1/2 leek (if I’d had a whole one, I’d have used it), thinly sliced
salt, pepper
garlic powder
parmesan cheese
olive oil for cooking

Instructions

I heated up the rice in the microwave, drizzling it with water to kind of re-steam it. If your rice won’t stick together (perhaps it’s not quite as mushy as mine was), feel free to stir an egg into the mix. Stir together the rice, shallot, and leek, and add any seasoning you like. I added a few shakes of garlic powder, probably 1/2-1 tsp salt, and probably 1/4 cup grated parmesan. But none of this has to be exact. Put a bunch of stuff you like in there. I bet chopped sage would’ve been good, as would onion and garlic.

Heat some olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat, form the rice mixture into patties, and cook on each side until golden brown, roughly 3-5 minutes. Add more oil as you need it. You want them to have a nice crispiness on the outside to add some texture.

We ate them alongside some delicious panko-crusted tilapia and roasted broccoli. They would make a great appetizer for a fancier dinner. Also, they would make a delicious breakfast had I put a fried egg on top. Or melted a slice of cheddar. With some breakfast sausage on the side. See, there are so many uses for botched food! Now go mess up some rice.

Beet Tart

beet tart

OK people – I know we read a lot of food books and talk about them all the time, but if there is ONE book you are going to read from our suggestions, let it be An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler.  It is amazing book that changed my life, and is sure to make you think and act differently around food.  If you have not read it yet, go read our blog post on her book, and then continue below.

This beet tart is a perfect example of Tamar’s philosophy and grace: if you attacked this beet tart recipe from start to finish in one cooking session alone – it would take most of your day; first you would have to roast the beets (which takes a long time anyway), then make tart dough and chill it for an hour, then bake the tart dough, then put together the filling, bake some more, add the sliced beets, and bake once again.  Sounds daunting! I would never have done this recipe if it wasn’t spread out over many days and incorporated in the general meal preparations for the week.  However, the manner in which it was made made it feel like I was just throwing leftovers together in a very creative way, rather than a labor intensive ordeal.

Here’s what happened: A few days before, Annie and I roasted a whole bunch of veggies for dinner (or was it lunch?).  We filled the whole oven and roasted lots of different veggies with olive oil and salt.  I fit the beets in a small pan with a 1/2 inch of water in the bottom, covered them with foil, and let them roast for a long time (probably too long, I may have forgotten about them).  We ate the other roasted veggies as part of our dinner that night, but we had no intention of eating the beets that day, so we didn’t have to wait around for them to roast.  We let them cool and then peeled them and put them in the fridge before bed.  Now we had roasted beets peeled beets in the fridge.  We had no plan but we had ideas: beet salad, beet pasta, or beet anything; they were simply a nice starting point.

A few days before roasting the veggies, we had made a different veggie tart using the Olive Oil Tart dough recipe that can be found in Tamar’s book, so we had some leftover in the fridge.  A few days later, I looked in the fridge and saw that a perfect storm had brewed for a beet tart.  There, sitting in the fridge waiting to be used, were roasted peeled beets, tart dough, and some leftover ricotta cheese.

If you want to make this recipe from start to finish, more power to you.  However, I would suggest at least making the tart dough a day ahead, and then looking through your fridge to find any vegetables that would work, roast them, and put them on top of the tart in place of beets.

Beet Tart

Note: You’ll want to roast your beets or other vegetables before you make the tart dough.

Ingredients

Olive Oil Tart Dough

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup ice water
1 teaspoon salt

Beet Tart Filling

1 1/2 cups ricotta (fresh)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tb. cream (I think I just used leftover creme fraiche)
1/2 t. salt
2 egg yolks
a pinch of fresh thym or rosemary

Instructions

Olive Oil Tart Dough

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. If its too dry, add more water, a tablespoon at a time. Divide the dough in half and roll into balls, then put them in the fridge to chill.

Take out one dough ball (you get to save the rest for another day!) and roll it out on a floured counter until its about 1/4 inch thick. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Grease the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan and dust with a bit of flour. Lay the crust in the pan and trim the edges. Prick the bottom a few times (this dissuades bubbles from appearing in your tart dough). Cover the crust in aluminum foil and put some dried beans or pie weights in to fill the tart and hold down the dough. Bake for 20 minutes.

Beet Tart Filling

Whisk together filling ingredients. Pour into the pre-baked tart dough (remember to take out the dried beans and aluminum foil!) and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.  Now lay your beet slices (I cut mine into half-moons) on top of the ricotta filling in a single layer and bake for another 10 minutes.  Let it cool and eat at room temperature.

It is very filling and great for lunch the next day and many days after!