Oh, Oh, Oh, It’s Magic

It warmed up a bit, and that made for a November Sunday perfectly suited to getting some chores done. I spent a couple of hours out in the garden dismantling tomato trellises and then cleaning out all of the tender beds; the blasted remnants of cucurbits and nightshades all got raked into the compost along with lawn trimmings, the kitchen pile, ashes from the grill, and some leaves.

And speaking of leaves, I also picked lettuces, spinach, arugula, herbs, and radishes to make a superlative salad. The dressing was an earnestly whisked mixture of olive oil, the monk’s apricot vinegar, mustard, salt, and garlic. Wow. Serious autumnal ecstasy.

Next up, a puréed soup of more garden: leek, potatoes, carrots, turnip, daikon, fennel, and parsley in a quick stock made from chicken and quail bones left from previous meals. Save your bones; they’ll keep on giving.

And last, once hunger had been beaten back a bit, some leftover chick pea curry from a couple of nights before, blended fairly smooth and with a bit of flour added, fried into little falafel-type cakes. Given the heavily Indian nature of the seasoning, instead of tahini or similar I opted for a tamarind-based sauce that also included mango chutney and locally-made repolho relish. Bear with me for a sec while I backpedal to explain the orgins of this.

Here’s the chick pea curry:

It’s worth mentioning that this was really good, and that the opener was even better: samosas with a filling of freshly-dug potatoes and the last of the broccoli florets. Cooked down with just enough liquid to get them there, then tucked into pockets of the pie crust I had tried to defrost the previous evening and baked, they made for absolutely wonderful appetizers (with a different but still pretty good sauce). The shape was dictated by my trying to be efficient; stamping circles out of dough leaves a lot of waste, which requires re-rolling. These were made from a long rectangle, such as a pasta machine might make, cut into thirds and then folded over themselves and crimped. Baking is healthier than frying, obviously, and the pie crust provides its own fat within itself, so the lack of frying is not for a minute missed.

So, flash forward two nights, to this remix of the chick peas and the tamarind sauce, and you’ll see how leftovers are, more often than  not, the jumping-off point for dinner in these parts. Plus, after the salad and the soup, just a few of these were enough to complete the meal. Spacing out courses makes a big difference to the quantity of food required to reach satiety.

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  1. November 9

    I wish I liked leftovers half as much as you do, even a quarter as much.

    I only cook enough for dinner, and if there’s anything left over, it either goes in the kid’s lunch or the chickens’ breakfast bowl.

    But bones get made into stock that same night. You’re damned right ’bout dem bones. And that salad of course can only sing.

  2. November 9

    One of the most satisfying things about cooking, to me, is turning the leftovers of meals into other meals. I really like the idea of using a pasta machine for pastry dough. I’ll be making meat pastries with that suet…

  3. Peter
    November 9

    El: It’s actually the not-liking of leftovers that spurs innovation and transformation.

    Julia: It is satisfying to empty out all of those flavor-rich containers and do something new with them. I’m sure your pies will be great.

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