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Fun with Leftovers

We had out-of-town company over the long weekend, so I had been cooking up a storm. Afterwards, I discovered my refrigerator filled with little containers of leftovers from the meals we enjoyed. There wasn’t enough of anything to “heat and eat,” but enough to provide lots of starting points to create several new meals. Here are some examples:

I had just enough leftover dressing and other ingredients to recreate Sunday night’s Caesar salad (the sprinkles are dulse flakes):

The vegetables from a leftover Roasted Vegetable Tower (see March 31, 2008 post) were transformed into roasted vegetable fajitas:


A few cups of leftover rotini were tossed with what was left of a vegetable tian and topped with panko crumbs for a yummy casserole:


Here’s a rice pilaf made with cremini mushrooms and fresh thyme:


I combined leftover cooked rice noodles that didn’t make it into a soup with some stray veggies for this noodle stir-fry:

Did you notice that there were no leftover desserts?

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Vegan Planet Guest Blogger

In keeping with the Vegan Planet theme, I thought it would be interesting to occasionally feature posts from vegans around the world. My first guest blogger is Lochlain Lewis, a vegan currently working in Afghanistan. Here is his post:

Eating Vegan in Afghanistan

We walk the short distance to the Afghan Security Guard compound for our weekly dinner invitation. Upon entering the small room most of us remove our footwear. A slender man comes in and rolls out a six foot mat on the floor. He scurries in and out carrying plates until there is no more room on the mat. It is now covered with dishes of rice, raw and cooked vegetables, falafel, meat, and flat bread. To be a good host is the mark of a good Afghan. They love that we sit with them on the floor around the mat, crossed legged or with one leg turned under with the other knee pulled up to one’s chest. In this setting with so many people sitting around the mat, they don’t notice that I’m not eating the meat.

I’m beginning to pick up the technique of eating rice by packing it with two fingers and thumb, and lifting it to my mouth without tilting back my head. My favorite rice has a nutty flavor nearly like Indian pilaf. It’s cooked with baby grapes that lend a tanginess to the rice. I pull a piece of the flatbread from the round next to me and, cupping it between my finger and thumb, I press it into the falafel patty. Its subtle spiced flavor contrasts well with the sautéed cabbage. Tomato slices as red and ripe as I’ve ever seen line the edge of a plate of green onions. The Afghan fare is what most of us would consider rustic. But it is in the simplicity that I find its true enjoyment.

At the close of the meal, green tea is served. They pour a small amount of locally grown granular sugar in the bottom of a glass mug and pour the steaming tea over it. The conversation floats like steam rising from our tea. Dinner concludes with handshakes all around and the occasional hand to the heart. Such hospitality is an oasis in an otherwise unforgiving terrain.
—Lochlain Lewis