Leftovers 102: Vegetable Neglect, and Why So Much Pumpkin??

WHAT??? I'm STILL eating leftovers??? You bet!
     Oh, dear friends of the food blog community, I have an insatiable appetite for turkey. I like it roasted, I like it plain with mayo, I like it in meatballs, in soup, in spring rolls. I could eat turkey until I sprouted wings and a wattle.
     This week is mental detox week in our home; i.e., the hubby and I are drinking and eating to our heart's content (I am preparing for a large move, so it's totally necessary!). In light of the low-effort movement, I chose to (finally!) clear the fridge of any lingering leftovers, from turkey day and beyond. In the dark, deep recesses of my crisper drawer, hiding beneath a clump of wilting kale and cellophane wrapped parsley, lay -*gasp!*- a small bag of brussels sprouts I had purchased and INTENDED to eat on Thanksgiving, but completely forgot about! I immediately felt sorry for the tiny cruciferous orbs of delight, as my fear was their imminent wiltedness and demise, and wasted food (I HATE wasting food).
     Let me guess - you hate brussels sprouts. Blame your mother for boiling the sh*t out of them. That is NOT how a b.s. should be treated!
     After a thorough inspection of my neglected veggies, I discovered that due to their remarkable vegetative lineage, the b.s.'s held up extremely well, and only needed a trim and a layer removed to find very edible stuff underneath. Yay! My dinner plate ideas included slapping a boatload of Hellman's on some turkey, eating it cold, and maybe adding some leftover pierogi (that's another blog entirely). Now I had a green veg - which always makes me feel better about eating half a pound of mayonnaise.
    I sliced the sprouts in half, then sliced up each half into narrow shreds. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan, saute a shallot, add sprouts on high, and stir-fry until crisp-tender. Yup, that's it, and they'd be great just like that...
....but I can't leave a good thing alone, you know. I made a vinaigrette from roasted walnut oil (my new fave), white balsamic vinegar, and Dijon. I chopped the turkey, stirred in the cooling sprout saute, just a touch of whole-berry cranberry sauce, and poured in the vinaigrette. Top with a few chopped toasted walnuts. Mmmmmmm, warm turkey brussels sprout "Waldorf" salad! The results were incredible, simple, and nutritious. I felt leftover-accomplished. And not so sorry now that I failed to roast the sprouts on Thanksgiving.

Roasted Turkey and Brussels Sprout "Waldorf"

8 oz. leftover roasted white meat turkey (or chicken), skin removed
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 large shallot, sliced thin
1 pound fresh brussels sprouts
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. whole berry cranberry sauce
1 tbsp. mayonnaise
6 tbsp. roasted walnut oil
2 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. whole grain Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c. toasted walnuts, chopped

Chop the turkey into small cubes; add into a large bowl. In a large saute pan, heat olive oil on medium high and add shallot, tossing until fragrant. Meanwhile, trim ends of brussels sprouts and peel off outer leaves. Cut in half lengthwise, then cut into thin shreds. Add into hot pan,  turn heat to high,  and sprinkle salt all over, stirring and tossing until sprouts and shallots are beginning to brown in spots and are crisp-tender. Remove from heat and set aside to cool 5 minutes.
Once cooled, add sprouts to the bowl with the turkey. Add mayonnaise and cranberry sauce, and stir to combine. In a small bowl, whisk the oil with the vinegar and Dijon, and pour all over the salad. Sprinkle in the pepper, and toss thoroughly. Top with walnuts. Serves two.

Part Deux: Pumpkin Puree is like Refrigerator Torture.

So, as always, I made the quintessential pumpkin pie on turkey day. It is a personal favorite of mine, and as of late, is one of the three food groups that my daughter will eat (not the squash group - the sugary dessert group). If you, like me, have always bought the big can of pumpkin in the supermarket, you've inevitably been faced with leftover pumpkin puree. Unless you were smart and read the recipe on the can, which always seems to use the whole can...well, I don't.  I follow the Joy of Cooking custardy recipe, which I adore, and has always worked for me. So, as usual, I am faced with leftover pumpkin puree, the most useless of leftovers from Thanksgiving - even worse than lumpy gravy, which could at least be redeemed into open-face sandwiches. And yes, I know - I wrote the pumpkin soup recipe! Why am I not making that?? Believe you me, friends, I have plans for soup...as soon as I finish the soup in my freezer already!
     I decided instead to treat my loving family to a hearty breakfast, which is not a common occurrence in our home. I came up with waffles, since my nonstick iron is in rare use, and is easier to clean up than a pan or griddle for pancakes. They came out crunchy, chewy, sweet, and delicious - especially when topped with whipped maple cream! I recommend making a big batch, and freezing them. They make excellent and healthy quick breakfasts when you're on the run, heated in the toaster until warm (sans cream).

Harvest Pumpkin Waffles
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 c. stone-ground cornmeal
  • 1/4 c. old-fashioned oats
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 tbsp. melted unsalted butter
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 3/4 c. pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 c. finely chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1/4 c. maple syrup
  • 1 c. heavy whipping cream
  • Have a heated and greased waffle iron ready.Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate medium bowl, combine eggs, butter, milk, honey, and pumpkin, whisking to thoroughly blend. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients; combine gently so mixture still has some small lumps. Stir in walnuts. Using a small ladle or cup measure, spoon about 1/4 c. mixture into center of hot iron. Cook to desired doneness - a light golden brown is preferred (follow the waffle iron instructions). Lay done waffles in a single layer on a baking sheet and keep warm in a low oven until ready to eat.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whip cream to very soft peaks. Whip in maple syrup gently to combine.
To serve, give each person 1 or 2 waffles, and spoon whipped maple cream over top. Drizzle with additional maple syrup or honey as desired. 


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