Thanksgiving leftover roundup

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and I’m happy to report that the only waste that resulted from our feast was a baked wonton stuffed with vegetables – one that I would have eaten had it not turned into a soggy, slimy, scary mess. (It’s probably worth noting that I was properly chastised for letting it get to that state.)

I tend to cook just enough for one meal, so figuring out how to turn leftovers into new meals is a rare challenge – and kind of a fun one. I didn’t do anything wildly creative or exotic, but every meal managed to feel different from the one before, which was the goal. That being said, I was happy to see the last of the turkey and Brussels sprouts go.

The shots below are an abridged photographic record of our Thanksgiving leftovers. (People were spared such displays before the Internet came along.) Hopefully they will inspire someone out there to repurpose the leftovers from their next holiday feast rather than trash them.

Thanksgiving dinner

Thanksgiving dinner was step-5 turkey with bread stuffing, cranberry sauce made with the juice and zest of an orange and honey, pastry stuffed with a vegetable medley and a purée of roasted cauliflower & garlic, and mashed potatoes ‘n gravy (made out of the turkey giblets). It was a small turkey (8 lbs), but way more than the two of us could eat in a single sitting…

Turkey wonton soup

We stripped the meat off the turkey on the day after Thanksgiving, and made a broth, which ended up in a few soups. This turkey wonton soup was the best of them, and featured wontons stuffed with leftover veg and cauliflower purée. The wontons lacked a bit of structural integrity, but somehow it all worked.

Turkey hash

We used the meat in a few different ways. Some ended up in soups and sandwiches, and one thigh ended up in a baked turkey hash with a stuffing topping. We used up a lot of the veg in the hash as well, and flavored the white sauce with the last of the gravy.

Vegetable medley

This vegetable medley had a lot of great flavours and colours, and found it’s way into just about every meal for for several days. In addition to the hash and the soup, it was used in omelets and a frittata – and made for a good side dish all on its own.

Brussels sprouts with apple

We entered the holiday weekend with an embarrassment of Brussels sprouts, and had to get creative to get through them all, while still maintaining a little variety in our diet. Two dishes that stood out were some Brussels sprouts tacos and this dish made with Brussels sprouts, apple, shallot, garlic, apple cider vinegar, a bit of honey, salt and red pepper flakes.

So what did you do with your leftovers?

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Wish you were here

One of the great tragedies in life is that we often don’t truly appreciate people until they’re gone. As I reflected on my recent eulogy for our three cup Cuisinart, I realized that the same is often true of appliances – and that’s a shame.

That’s why I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge our immersion blender, a plucky little orange kitchen warrior that is often called upon to help out with a meal – and one that I am truly missing this week, as I try to make meals in a kitchen equipped with a Teflon-coated wok and a wooden thing that is neither spoon nor spatula. There is also a bowl.

Now here’s a fun (and germane) fact about vegetables: if they’re a little limp, any dish that calls for them to be pulverized probably won’t suffer. So when I see a vegetable that’s a little less turgid than I’d like it to be, one question I ask myself is: what would happen if I took my orange friend to it?

The most recent meal old orange and I made together was a refreshing cold cucumber soup – a favourite at our place that, I should hasten to point out, can be made with limp cucumbers. It’s one of the recipes in Bright & Bold collection on the 222 million tons app, but you don’t need to buy the app to get the recipe. It’s right here:

Cold cucumber-yogurt soup (serves 1)

Cold cucumber soup

Ingredients

  • ½ cucumber (turgid or limp)
  • 1 scallion (turgid or limp)
  • 1 Tbsp cilantro
  • ½ jalapeño pepper (turgid or limp)
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 4 oz plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • ¼ tsp salt, or to taste

Directions

  • Chop the cucumber, scallion and cilantro coarsely.
  • Remove the seeds and membranes from the jalapeño pepper, and chop coarsely.
  • Crush the garlic.
  • Using an immersion blender, blender or food processor, blend all of the above with the lime juice, olive oil and salt, until it looks like soup.
  • Put the soup in the refrigerator to chill.