Sunday, February 21, 2010

Leftover Cookery -- Black Bean and Barley Soup, Bubble and Squeak, Smashed Cauliflower, and Raisin Buns

I love the word "cookery". It's so old-fashioned sounding and reminds me of 7th grade Home-Ec class with Miss Pella. Are Home-Ec classes still in existence?

Leftovers are much maligned and get very little love. But you can turn your leftover odds and ends into fabulous new meals, and no one will be the wiser. I try very hard not to waste anything, including food, so I can get super creative using up the stuff in our fridge.

After the big mezze meal we had a bunch of food left, but not any certain thing in great quantity. So I tried to devise some dishes that would use everything up, but not taste like a bunch of random food thrown together.

I used the cooked black beans and carrots to make a delicious Bean-Barley Soup. I heated up the beans and carrots in some vegetable broth, and when the soup was hot I mashed everything with a potato masher. I added a little extra broth and a handful of barley. I cooked the soup on low heat just until the barley was tender and the soup thick. It was really good and hearty.

Bubble and Squeak is made with leftover mashed potatoes and cooked cabbage or other veggies. I made mine with the mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and carrots. Mix the potatoes and vegetables together and add them to a skillet that has been drizzled with olive oil. Cook the veggies until they are well browned on both sides--just keep browning and flipping sections until everything is nicely brown and a little crispy. You can serve Bubble and Squeak for breakfast with eggs, but I love it served with some nice bread.

I made Smashed Cauliflower to use up the leftover steamed cauliflower I had. It's made just like mashed potatoes with a little butter and some milk. I added a handful of white cheddar cheese and a topping of ajvar--a roasted red bell pepper and eggplant relish. This is total comfort food.

I also used up a small packet of frozen pie dough that was leftover from some other recipe. I rolled out the dough into a rectangle, brushed it with butter, and sprinkled on cinnamon, sugar, slivered almonds and raisins. I rolled up the dough into a log and cut thin slices, which I baked in a 350 degree oven just until they were lightly browned. These Raisin Buns are perfect for dipping in coffee as they are quite small.

I think I'm going to make "Leftover Cookery" a regular feature on the blog, if for no other reason than I love the word "cookery" so much.

Eat your leftovers...


  1. Wow...those are some inventive dishes! Great use of your leftovers.

  2. I'm so inspired to get creative with my leftovers after reading this post!

  3. What a feast! It is a special talent to make something so delicious from what is left in the fridge!

  4. I just bought a bag of barley from the store - and I told my husband I was going to check your site for some recipes in which to use it.

    And the mashed cauliflower is great idea - because he can't eat mashed potatoes anymore!

  5. Cookery is a fun word! You came up with some really creative ideas to use up your bits of food. I get really excited when I can use up a bunch of leftovers and the results taste good!

  6. Thank you so much for the sweet comments!