On Eating and Loving Food

Leftover surf & turf, etc.

There’s a lot to be said for leftovers
Posted:  Wednesday, October 18, 2017 - 8:15am

Leftovers vs. gourmet dinner, in or out. Cheap vs. expensive. Delicious vs., like, totally awesome. Sitting on the couch, alone vs. in a nice restaurant with friends, or a date. OK, friends.

There’s a lot to be said for leftovers: The food is already cooked. It’s already paid for. You don’t have to go out to a restaurant, where you’ll get a bill around the time you just want to sit back and relax. You don't have to go through the stress of splitting the bill up among your fellow diners. You don't have to do the math for the tip.

You don't have to drive home after manhattans and wine. (You don’t have to pay for them either.)

One of the best things about leftovers is that I can relax and enjoy a manhattan before dinner rather than drinking it while I cook dinner. And no, forgoing a manhattan isn’t an option. I’m a creature of habit: coffee in the morning, manhattan in the evening.

Anyway. I started thinking about what I’d have for dinner around noontime yesterday. I remembered I had four or five pan-seared scallops (with lemon deglaze) left over from the night before.

The night before that I had pan-fried some steak for a steak salad, and had some of that left over too. Leftover surf & turf. I started getting hungry.

There was some leftover linguine with pesto and some steamed broccoli with olive oil and garlic in the fridge too.

Around 5:00 I made a manhattan (duh) and sat on the deck, relaxing, knowing I didn’t have to cook dinner. Not that I don’t enjoy cooking dinner. I love the idea of starting with a bunch of raw materials and ending up with a delectable hot meal.

But that night’s dinner would only take, like, 10 minutes. I added another half shot of my new favorite booze, rye, to my manhattan (thanks again Ellen and Larry Cray), and relaxed even more.

While I was relaxing a hornet fell into my manhattan. I  looked up and saw there was a very big nest in an eave above me. Don’t worry. I saved the hornet.

Finally I got up with a big sigh (I have a bad habit of sighing), and went into the kitchen, where my old refrigerator still sits in the middle of the floor, unplugged. I got a new one a few weeks ago. The old one still works fine and I thought I’d sell it. That hasn’t happened, so now I have to pay someone to come haul it to the dump. (Sigh)

Anyway. I went to get the leftovers out of my shiny new dark metallic fridge. There was the little container with five scallops. There was the steak. There was the container of linguine pesto. There was the leftover broccoli. AND … there were two other containers of leftovers I’d forgotten about. One contained rice and the other mashed rutabaga. All good, no mold.

I ended up putting the linguine back for another time, and still had a veritable buffet: scallops, steak, rice, broccoli and rutabaga. (What ever happened to turnip?) I threw the steak and scallops into a big cast iron pan and stirred them over high heat. The rest was heated up in the microwave.

Voila! Surf & turf, etc.

And, okay, I had wine too. Two glasses. It was a Friday night and it had been a long, arduous week. So, wine: red or white? Surf & turf. A dilemma. Just kidding. I have never abided by the red vs. white rule. Red meat, white scallops, beef, seafood. Who cares? Just to be impartial I had one of each :-).

And guess what else. It just so happened I had made a rhubarb custard pie a couple days before. Leftover dessert. Hello.

Other things you can do with leftovers: Garbage soup like my mother used to make, with chopped up leftovers and some chicken stock; and hash, like she used to make with a big old long-handled grinder. A pile of hash with ketchup. Yum!

Do you do anything with leftovers besides throw them away? Tell me about it: suzithayer@boothbayregister.com.

Also, the now empty, perfectly intact hornets’ nest is still there, free for the taking. Along with a perfectly good now empty refrigerator.

P.S. I picked up some swordfish from Pinkham’s on the way home today. Don’t think you won’t hear about that!

See ya next week!