Monday, October 29, 2012

A Love Affair with Leftovers

I know many folks who turn up their noses at leftovers, but I embrace them. If I enjoyed eating something once, I usually enjoy it a second or third time. Still, I sometimes change the appearance of an ingredient after a few meals.

In summer, almost any leftover might show up in a salad of some sort. In winter, those same ingredients often show up in a quiche or in soup. The quiche shown here, for instance, contains two large mushrooms, one leftover leek, a handful of fresh spinach, and a small end piece of gruyere cheese. I chopped and sauteed the mushroom and leek briefly, and then used the same pan to wilt the spinach. Next, I layered those foods in the pie shell and poured over the custard. (I have also made quiche using broccoli, asparagus, green beans, onions, tomatoes, chicken, ham, or a host of other ingredients.)

The rule of thumb for most quiches is simple: place bite-sized or shredded meat, cheese, or veggies in an unbaked pie shell. Then make a custard using 4 eggs, 1 1/4 cups milk (or half-and-half, if you like it), and salt and pepper. Pour the custard over the other foods and bake in a preheated 350 oven for just under an hour. The center may still be runny, but the edges should be cooked. Let stand for 15 minutes or so.

Despite Bruce Feirstein's book, real men do eat quiche, and most enjoy it. So do women. Furthermore, most people do not think of this dish as being created from "leftovers." Therein lies half its charm.

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