Pimping leftovers: a looking like an adult hack

Leftovers are a wonderful thing. I don’t know what it is about them but I think I enjoy them more than the original meal. Maybe it appeals to my greed – you can serve several things together and enjoy a bit of everything.

Since the destroyer of vests (aka, Mister Baby; number 5 on the international most wanted list for crimes against cotton) I have been cooking huge portions. Two portions for the Patriarch and me for tea; one for the Patriarch’s lunchbox the next day; and anything left after that for my lunch or a leftovers dinner. 

Occasionally we still see other adults. I have no reservations about serving leftovers if done correctly. 

Case in point: this was quinoa and brown rice mixed with homemade salsa and cheddar. We had guests coming so I served it cold as a salad with a variety of toppings and half a bag of tortilla chips that had escaped my grasp the previous night.

My top secret secrets:

– if you have made a dish with carbs such as pasta, new potatoes, or rice: mix in salad leaves to turn the dish into its cold salad alter ego 

– scatter seeds, nuts, crumbled cheese, or chilli flakes to add interest and presentational pizazz. Why do you think Jamie Oliver drizzles things with olive oil? Same trick 

– all dishes with avocado must be cool, so mash half an avocado and drizzle it with lemon or lime juice. Or, you can pop some Greek yoghurt or hummus on the plate to the same effect 

– put food in your good china. If it’s in a serving plate with a garnish then it looks classy. Or add a rakish hipster twist by serving it in something slightly unexpected – a tin, a baking tray, a shoe

– along with the ease of letting guests serve themselves, a DIY element to the meal is fun. Put all the different bits of the meal out at once and people can make their own picnic of it (see top image – just put out whatever fruit you have, for example). I also use this technique to disguise the fact that I’m terrible at serving individual portions presentably 

– get stuff out of the freezer to use as side dishes. There. I said it. 

Now I have to kill you so that you can’t reveal these earth-shattering, illuminati-level revelations to anyone else. Sorry about that.


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