Tuesday, February 9, 2010

To the cook, go the Leftovers

Invariably, the day after Food Night my kitchen looks like a grenade went off at the Sigma Lamda Delta Alpha Beta kegger* on Halloween. And the worst part of it is not the dirty dishes, it's the fact that... aw, man... Food Night is over. Kind of like the day after Christmas when you were a kid. That day, and the day after my birthday, I recall being the worst days of the year. The mental hangover, the knowledge that you are a full YEAR away from the joy and jubilation those days bring, was always a drain that day after. But on the bright side, there were the toys you got to play with that lessened the disappointment. Similarly, the day after Food Night has it's own set of toys.... Leftovers!

* A kegger where the cheap beer is replaced with Priorat, Chateaunuf du Pape, Bordeaux and Chardonnay. Which happens from time to time, I'm told.

You remember the pickled tomatoes? Yeah, no leftovers there. Every one of those flavor grenades had it's pin pulled, so to speak. However, I couldn't bring myself to toss out the brine I pickled them in, so it sat in my fridge for a few days. And then I remembered that in that brine were some strips of meyer lemon peel. What a treat that was, to discover that after a few days, the peel had become really intense and bursting with flavors from the brine! Almost like a poor-man's version of the preserved lemon that Sameh garnishes dishes with at Saffron.* Leftover lemon peel. Who knew?

* Sameh and his restaurant Saffron deserves a post of it's own. I'm sure that'll happen. For now, please know that the preserved lemon he GARNISHES his dishes with is about the best thing you can eat. It's a foodgasm, and if I have to explain what that is to you, then just nevermind. And it he uses it as a freaking GARNISH. Yeah. Dude has some game in the kitchen. To say the least.

What we did have after the Truffle Food Night was leftover venison. And the sauce, the silky rich sauce. The chards of leftover venison and the plethora of sauce called for one thing; pasta. So after work one Tuesday night, I brought the venison back to life in a skillet full o'sauce, and then tossed it up with some goat cheese, chili flakes and cilantro.

Deeceness ensued........

One of the best things about braised meats is that the deliciousness factor of said meat increases as it chills in the refrigerator post-braise. Flavors intensify. Textures meld. Goodness is amplified. I don't know the science of what is occurring, but rest assured it is good (eats).

Just another reason to braise more meat.

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