Archive of ‘Leftovers’ category

Food Recycling


Our pediatrician told us toddlers are grazers, but last night at dinner I watched my daughter re-enact The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

She started with the top of a broccoli tree chopped up, then asked for another. Three broccoli trees later, she managed to put away Bubbie’s brisket and half a small chicken breast. It was still hot from the broiler, and I’m not kidding, this child could barely wait for it to cool.

Last night John was working late. I was making whole wheat pasta for him while feeding Luci dinner, and of course she wanted some of that too. I rinsed strands of spaghetti under the sink so they wouldn’t burn her mouth, scorching my hands in the process. I put them in front of her and cut them up.

My mother and I frequently talk on FaceTime in the evenings when John works or goes to art class. As we went from broccoli to pasta, I saw the gamut of her expressions begin at proud, and slowly morph into concern, as Luci kept asking for “More! More!”

“She must be going through a growth spurt,” my mother said.

“Whatever it is, she’s hungry,” I replied, going to the sink to rinse more pasta.

I sat down with Luci again, trying to finish my own dinner. “More! More!” she yelled.

I offered her some pasta. She shook her head.


No again.

“How about dessert?” my mother said, from her seat at the kitchen table in Baltimore where we’d spent a good part of our trip last week.

“Please don’t say the c word,” I cautioned her.

It’s not that cookie is a bad word in our house, but after eating such a healthy meal I just couldn’t bring myself to give Luci an animal cracker, her standard dessert fare.

“How about some berries instead?”

Luci nodded.

I opened the fridge and took out the blueberries and strawberries. The strawberries especially were looking a little dry.

I still cut up several, and put them on her high chair tray along with a handful of blueberries. Bubbie, proud again, watched her granddaughter go to town.

Not wanting to waste the rest of the fruit, I put it in a small pot with a cup of water, 1 tsp. brown sugar, and a squeeze of lemon juice.


I boiled it down to a compote, which Luci enjoyed on her toast this morning. You can add a bit more white or brown sugar to suit your taste.


This dish was cooked spur of the moment, as most of my food recycling recipes are. If you have any good tips for preserving food that’s about to go bad and turning it into a completely different, delicious dish, please post in the comments section. Food recycling doesn’t get enough attention, and it’s a great way to use up leftovers.





Salmon Salad

Salmon Salad

Today Luci and I are taking the train to Baltimore to visit my family for Passover. John is joining us either tomorrow or Monday, depending on when he can get away. I miss him.

Traveling on a train or plane takes careful planning food-wise because once you board, you’re trapped. Unless you pack your own sustenance, you’re stuck buying stale bags of chips, and if you’re lucky, some sort of un-namable cheese product.

Last night I packed lunch using all our leftovers. John always says he will eat them whenever we go somewhere and he has to stay home, but then I get back, open the fridge, and am assaulted by a mess of smelly food that should have been eaten days before. So now I’ve gotten smart.

In a bowl, I mixed salmon and quinoa from last night’s dinner, then threw in some broccoli. After chopping all the ingredients, I tossed in a handful of sunflower seeds to provide some extra crunch. A drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice, and my salad is complete. How easy is that?

I like this dish because it used up everything in the fridge, and I didn’t have to go shopping for anything extra. It’s also a great dish to take on the road while the weather’s still cold. I wouldn’t recommend it for a long trip once it warms up outside.

Now if only I could count on the train ride being this easy.