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Feature Fri Nov 23 2007

Leftovers That Don't Taste Like Leftovers

It’s the day after Thanksgiving. Your food coma is in full-force and you’re still rockin’ the sweatpants that you changed into at about 5 o’clock the night before. The last thing you want to think about is cooking—didn’t you just do enough of that? Admittedly, you did enough eating too, but there’s always room for leftovers.

First, let’s discuss how to get the most life out of your leftovers. It all starts with proper storage. Here are a few tips from the editors of Bon Appétit:

- Refrigerate all leftovers as soon as possible.
- Be sure to spoon the stuffing out of the bird right away and refrigerate immediately.
- Pull the turkey meat off the carcass before you refrigerate it.
- Cover the turkey tightly so that it stays as moist as possible.

If stored properly, turkey, stuffing and gravy will last about three days. Cranberry sauce and other acidic foods will keep for about a week.

Three days worth of turkey is a lot of turkey, but your post-Thanksgiving meals don’t have to consist of everything smashed together between two pieces of bread (although, I realize this is a popular option—even Cosi has its own version). A little work and creativity can produce dish that could be (dare I say it) even more delicious than the original.

Turkey

Easy: Skip the sandwich and transform your leftover turkey into a delicious hash. A few months ago while watching Food Network, I came across a recipe for a Poached Eggs with Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast and Sweet Potato Hash. Sweet and savory, a hash is a great way to use up leftover turkey for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Easier: Snack on some nachos. Nachos are a good carrier for pretty much any leftover meat, but turkey seems to work really well because it shreds easily. And while there are no rules as far as toppings are concerned (other than cheese and chips, of course), my nachos usually include black beans, black olives, chopped tomatoes and scallions. Assemble nachos on a foil-covered cookie sheet (for easy clean up) and bake at 350 degrees until cheese is melted. Top with salsa (I like the peach salsa from Trader Joe’s) and sour cream if desired.

Mashed potatoes

Easy: Epicurious.com has a recipe for turning your leftover mashed potatoes into a delicious soup. Simply add vegetables, stock, leftover mashed potatoes and a few seasonings to your pot, and in 45 minutes you’ve got a creamy mashed potato soup.

Easier: Fry up some potato pancakes. Mix leftover mashed potatoes with diced onion, egg and shredded cheese. (The potato to cheese ratio should be about 4:1 to get the best pancakes.) Roll mixture into balls, toss in flour and form into patties. Fry pancakes in butter for about 5 minutes on each side, or until browned. Be sure to season them while they’re still hot. Jazz them up even more by topping them with smoked salmon, creme fraiche and fresh dill.

Cranberry sauce

Easy: Cheese-lover? Give this easy cranberry brie a try. Bake brie in a 350-degree oven for about 10-12 minutes, or until the center is soft. Top with leftover cranberry sauce and serve with toasted baguette slices and assorted veggies.

Easier: If you have any apple pie left over (and preferably some vanilla ice cream, too), top it off with some leftover cranberry sauce that’s been heated in the microwave for a few seconds. Hey, that counts as two servings of fruit, right?

Everything

If you want to get rid of all your leftovers at once, try this recipe for Pan-Fried Turkey Croquette with Cranberry Arugula from chow.com. It uses turkey, stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce.

1 cup shredded turkey
1 cup leftover stuffing
1/2 cup leftover thick gravy
1 egg
1 ounce shredded parmesan cheese
Chopped herbs of your choice

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. If mixture seems too wet, add a few pinches of breadcrumbs. Shape into cakes about 2 inches in diameter and about 1/2-inch thick and lightly coat them with breadcrumbs. Pan fry the cakes in a mixture of olive oil and butter over medium heat until golden brown. For the cranberry vinaigrette, whisk 1/4 cup cranberry sauce with some olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Serve the cakes hot over arugula and a drizzle of the vinaigrette.

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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Drive-Thru is the food and drink section of Gapers Block, covering the city's vibrant dining, drinking and cooking scene. More...
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Editor: Robyn Nisi, rn@gapersblock.com
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