Sunday, June 28, 2015

Strategic cooking

A lovely place for a hike, except for the part where I don't really like to hike
The first half of June seemed to involve an epic amount of cooking (unaccompanied by any photo-taking or blog-posting, alas - hence the entirely gratuitous scenery shot of a recent trip to Blue Moutains National Park). During that two-week stretch I had close to two dozen people over for meals, in varying amounts and combinations, all associated with DP's programme in one way or another (ie, mostly - but not all - teapot people). Enough of these events were back-to-back that I had the opportunity to experiment with re-purposing leftovers strategic cooking in a way that I was comfortable with, rather than starting from zero every time.

Here are a few of the hacks I came up with, mostly to do with starters and desserts - I think because I'm used to cooking a main meal most nights anyways, it's the frills that drive me around the bend.

Starters
This is not rocket science, but worth noting - a sturdy dip such as either of these will hold well for a couple of days. Maybe freshen the second batch with a squeeze of lemon or a slug of olive oil before serving?
Desserts
  • Chocolate ganache (I made a big batch of this; the first night I drizzled it over brown sugar pound cake and vanilla ice cream; by the second night it had firmed up in the fridge and I used it to fill a batch of Essential Cookie Sandwiches for a simple dessert for a non-teapot-person visitor.)
  • Flourless chocolate cake (I served this in slices with whipped cream the first night, then in rounds, topped with roasted pears and maple whipped cream (an homage to the flavors of poires belle Helene) the second night)
  • Caramel apple upside down cake (again - first night in slices with cream (ice? whipped? maybe a choice?), second day in hefty chunks in muffin cases as part of a lunch dessert spread)
It's probably worth noting that both the chocolate and the apple cakes were just as delicious the second day and not at all dried out or otherwise deterioriated.

Extras
In the event that you make a very large batch of nice homemade rolls one night and happen to have a lot of leftovers, they make excellent garlic rolls to accompany the next night's main course (particularly if it's something Italian, which it usually is in my house). Simply cut nearly all the way through each roll in an X-shape, then drizzle generously with butter that has been melted and combined with lots of chopped garlic. Wrap tightly in aluminum foil and re-heat for 15-20 minutes.

I also tried out some new stuff, which I'll write up as soon as I make them again and take some pictures of them. Hightlights to come include an entirely GF meal, something Miss B refers to as "flat tasty chicken", and my new favorite dessert.
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