Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The pig with three lives.

Repurpose- verb: To use or convert for use in another format or product

I love when a dish can give you several days worth of pleasure.  Leftovers with ninja skills.  The edible masters of disguise.  Sure you can eat them as is but what's the point of trying to relive the delicious glory days of one or two days ago?  Sure, some foods get better after a bit of resting (I'm looking at you soup) but the second you pop that beef stroganoff in the microwave, it's all over.  Mushy, grainy, gross, stinky, depressing are descriptive words that come to mind.  Okay, so you've progressed to using a full grown adult oven.  Still, some foods just aren't going to be the same.  They might look and smell like the food you know and love but in fact they are just ghosts of their former selves.  It's the Invasion of the Body Snatchers starring yesterdays rump roast.  

However, if you and your food have initiative your leftovers can in fact become something new.  A whole new identity.  Just as Diana Prince becomes Wonder Woman your leftover Swiss steak can become a mighty chicken fried steak or even a crime fighting steak sandwich.  All it takes is a little know-how and elbow grease (or perhaps bacon grease).

Take these Spicy Ginger Pork Spare Ribs for example.  Marinated in ginger, scallion, chili garlic paste, soy, sesame, and maple.  Slow roasted for a few hours until extremely tender.  Day one I served them with a tasty Cold Soba & Braised Endive Salad all drizzled with a Ponzu Ginger Vinaigrette.

Day two I served the ribs for breakfast with steamed sticky rice, rice wine braised scallions, a fried egg, and a sour Filipino style spicy adobo.  Still the same tasty ribs with a different supporting cast to spruce it up.  By the way, steamed rice with fried eggs and kimchi or some kind of spicy chili sauce is one of my all time favorite breakfasts.  The pork ribs threw it over the top.  So good but I needed a nap afterwards.

On day three it was time for a face lift.  I made Chino Latino Pork Rib Tacos with Baby Bok Choy Slaw.  Still the same ribs just spruced up for excitement and flavor.  I pulled all of the meat off the bones and tossed it with a little black pepper and black bean chili sauce.  A quick toss in in a saute pan and piled on a corn tortilla.  I then thinly sliced some baby bok choy and tossed it with some scallion, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, Maggi sauce (best secret Southeast Asian ingredient ever), light soy sauce, and a little pickled chilies.  Topped off with a drizzle of Sriracha hot sauce these Asian tacos blew me away they were so good.

Like I said, it's easy to eat leftovers they way they were.  There's no shame in reheating food.  It's disgusting how much food people waste.  They get tired of leftovers or let them go bad and toss them in the trash.  I know I've been guilty of this several times.  I love taking something tired and making it fresh and new again.  I get excited about these kinds of challenges.  I don't know about you but I cook because it's fun.  It's an adventure.  I cook because I have to.  It's in my blood, my soul.  If I'm not constantly creating then I have become what I fear, mundane.  Be in charge of the food in your fridge, don't let it control you.  If you're tired of what you're eating it's because your imagination has failed you.  You don't have to be Tony Danza to be the boss.  Food is like paint.  All you have to do is add a little bit of yellow to the blue to make green.


JeffLemkin said...

Couldn't agree more - your uses sound yum, and people totally waste food. Great post, thanks!

Violet Séverine said...

Thank you Jeff. Yes, I hate how people ,especially in this country, are so wasteful with food. I truly respect chefs like Fergus Henderson and the like that use the animals we eat from head to toe. It's respectful to the animal and to the environment. Thanks for stopping by. ;)