12.30.2017

Bits, Scraps, and Orts

I tend to keep lots of little bits and pieces of leftover food. I just can't throw them away; in my mind, wasting food is not a good thing.

Sometimes this habit comes back to bite me, though. Like when we delve deep into the fridge to find leftovers that have devolved into “science experiments.” Cringe.

Rather than let this happen too often, I like to take all those little tidbits - while still fresh - and put them together in creative ways.

For example, today. Following all the holiday feasting, I had some cooked carrots, a small lump of chèvre, a couple of tablespoons mascarpone, and a tablespoon olive oil left in a bottle.

I cooked several more carrots, added the cheeses, oil, and a few spices - voilà, a carrot pâté. Perfect for New Year's Eve! Now, this has me wondering: what else is in there to play with?

My warmest wishes to you for a Happy New Year!

~ David

Spicy Carrot Pâté

4 large carrots, peeled and sliced *
2 tablespoons butter
1 large/2 small shallots, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon piment d’Espelette, or more to taste *
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 ounce chèvre *
3 tablespoons mascarpone *
1 tablespoon olive oil


Steam the sliced carrots until very soft - about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium skillet and add the minced shallot. Cook until soft and then add the cumin, piment d’Esplette. salt, pepper, and cinnamon. Cook for 30 seconds or so to bring out the flavors in the dried spices.

When the carrots are soft, add them to the spice mixture and cook a few more minutes. Transfer the mixture to a mini food processor and add the goat and mascarpone along with the olive oil. Purée until very smooth; adjust for seasoning and scoop into a bowl. Serve with celery sticks or crackers.

Makes about 2 cups.

* What if you don’t have any of these bits, scraps, or orts? It's easy to make substitutions:
     cooked carrots – sweet potatoes, butternut squash, peas
     
piment d’Esplette – red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper
     
goat cheese – cream cheese, cottage cheese, ricotta
     
mascarpone – crème fraîche, sour cream, heavy cream


35 comments:

  1. I hate wasting food, too. Not that our fridge is filled with left-overs, but there's always a little something wrapped up waiting to be finished. I may have to cook up some carrots today!

    And - a very big Happy New Year to you and Mark. My new and very beautifully photographed 2018 calendar is already on my desk ;) so bring on the next year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, John - so glad the calendar made it in such good time! Happy New Year to you and Dean... I hope (especially for the US) it’s a better one!

      Funny thing is that we never have leftovers in our fridge... I want something new every night! (Because I want to cook every night!)

      Delete
  2. How creative of you! I usually wind up throwing food away, but haven't thought of combining those 'unwanted' foods. A pet peeve of mine is people who insist on throwing food away even when it's one day past the "best use by date." If the food looks good and still tastes good, then I'm game to still eat it! Happy New year to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, Fran. I use my nose all the time. If it smells good, it probably tastes good. If not, to the can it goes!

      Happy New Year to you, and it’s nice to have you as one of my new friends!

      Delete
  3. ... and the award for the most creative use a of leftovers goes to...
    GREG

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wonderful! I really love that there’s no tahini or garbanzo beans in this dip!!! Or, pate´!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha - I think either of those two ingredients would ruin this, Mimi!

      Delete
  5. Putting all your leftovers together to make this pâté is the sign of a great cook. Happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I should make this today. On Friday I asked hubby to get me some carrots because I wanted to make vege soup. He brought home two BIG bags of carrots. Then,,,,,yes, of course I discovered another bag buried way down in the vege drawer. I don't like to run out of carrots, though, so they'll all get used over the coming weeks. I know what I'll do. My dogs LOVE carrots. They'll get a cooked batch in their dog food as a NEW YEAR celebration! ¡Feliz Año Nuevo, David!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is so funny, Caterina - our dog loved carrots, too, so we could never leave one out for Rudolph! Rudolph got celery sticks, instead... Happy New Year!

      Delete
  7. David, what a clever idea! I hate food waste, too - it just seems obscene to waste food when there are so many people going without. But I don't think I've come up with anything this chic out of my odd bits.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jean, I am sure you would/could! Hope you had a wonderful New Year celebration with Mr. Delightful!

      Delete
  8. Must admit to barely a scrap of leftovers in the fridge at the moment, but this appeals enough to steam some carrots in the next few minutes especially since there is goats cheese around :) ! Friends coming for drinks in three hours [well, the New Year is 14 hours old hereabouts!! - methinks time to surprise them . . . A happy New Year to you and yours . . .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy New Year, Eha! If you made the pâté, I hope you and your friends enjoyed it! A New Year’s Day gathering is so much more civilized than going crazy the night before!

      Delete
  9. I share your horror of wasting food, David. And I love finding inventive ways to use up those odds and ends in the fridge. Some of the most delicious dishes I've made have come from a spur of the moment inspiration. And as you may know, the Italians even have a name for them: piatti "svuotafrigo".

    Happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Frank, “piatto svuotafrigo” is my new favorite word combo - what a great way of saying, "inspiration du jour” or “pasta impromptu!” It is honestly one of our favorite ways to cook!

      Delete
  10. It's not just "in your mind", it's a fact that it's terrible to waste food (or is that opinion)? Can't help it! My Italian grandparents instilled it in their children and grandchildren not to waste. We couldn't even wash our hands outside without catching the water to water the garden!

    Love your carrot pate! How inventive! Nonno and Nonna would have loved you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is truly one thing I have always loved about Italian cuisine - it's not even about the leftovers. It is simply that no part of any animal is ever wasted. At the very least, the undesirable parts are used for soups and stocks!

      Delete
  11. ..lovely thing.. in one of Claudia Roden's book, there is a carrot purè, which is pretty similar, minus the mascarpone and cheese... cooked carrot and lots of spices... it is one of the best thing one could do to carrots...
    .. I guess the massacarpone and cheese give here extra creaminess....
    ... slightly diverting: mascarpone: I have been tempted to make my own, using good quality double cream and milk... the real thing is a million years away from the supermarket, whiter that white pap I can buy here in the UK (I come from Milano where, in some specialist cheese shop one is still able to buy mascarpone from the counter.. creamy colored and really luscious...)
    ... a good new year to all of u by the way :) ciao, stefano

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ciao, Stefano - yes, the mascarpone gives a creaminess that also adds flavor and half the fat of butter.

      I have never thought to look for fresh mascarpone when in Italy. I wish I could get the unpasteurized milk and cream here - I would try making it, too.

      Happy New Year - I hope my small package has arrived!

      Delete
  12. How very clever of you. Wishing the two of you the very best in this new year. Oh and I hope there aren't too many science experiments gone wrong. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Karen! I am hoping for fewer science experiments but have already fond the first of 2018... but, since it was purchased in 2017, can I count it for last year?

      Delete
  13. This sounds delicious David, love the idea of using all those spices.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carrots ares such a great vehicle for the spices - whether in this dish or any other!

      Delete
  14. I save worthwhile leftovers too, David and I hate to waste food. We have our weekly " clean out the fridge party" and we have a little buffet of leftovers and try to use them up, but we still end of with science experiments too at times. Your carrot pate is a such a creative way to use up those tidbits and it looks delicious. Love your list of substitutions at the bottom of the post (I wasn't sure what piment d’Esplette was!!LOL) :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marcelle - wherever I travel I get cool spices (like piment d'Esplrette) and then get hooked and spend a lot of time finding them in the U.S.! Fun to have!

      Delete
  15. How clever! You know creating a carrot mouse (warm) has been on my list for ages. But this will do just fine (though if you take challenges, feel free to tackle the mousse :) ). I recently came across my own "science experiment. I was fermenting whole small cabbages, which I've done before, but over the holidays I forgot about them and the liquid dropped below the cabbage. Yes, red cabbage and blue/green mold--quite a sight; it was poured directly onto the compost heap!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha - I bet the color combination took you right back to 1980s wallpaper colors!

      I am going to take your challenge and start thinking of a carrot mousse!

      Delete
  16. What a creative use of leftovers! Mine tend to turn into science experiments too often. But I don't think I could turn down some of this carrot pate!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am planning an excavation tomorrow, Caroline... trying to keep ahead of the science-y stuff!

      Delete
  17. This is a great way to use leftovers up. I hate food waste and am always looking for creative ways to use it up. This pate looks amazing, Happy New Year :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I imagine this could work with a variety of veggies, Caroline. And why not? Happy New Year to you, as well!

      Delete

Thank you for taking the time to leave me a note - I really appreciate hearing from you and welcome any ideas you may have for future posts, too. Happy Cooking!

If you would like to receive follow-up comments, simply click the "Subscribe by E-mail" link to the right of the "Publish" and "Preview" buttons.