January 3rd was a banner night in the Vielee household. Drumroll please…I cooked without a recipe card to guide me.
And you know what? It turned out pretty good.
Being the first Sunday post-holidays, we had a refrigerator full of leftovers and no idea what to make with them. After watching Food Network all cold weekend long, I decided to pretend I was a contestant trying to “wow” the panel of judges with my food.
Normally I just reheat leftovers in their original state but I knew that wasn’t going to cut it in my imaginary Iron Chef America competition with Chef Flay and Chef Comerford.
Go ahead and laugh if you want. A little imagination had some tasty results!
First I sautéed some onions, garlic and leftover mushrooms in butter and white wine. Then I removed them so I could reduce the sauce to glaze the leftover pork loin. And yes, Mom, I’m using words like “reduce” and “glaze” like I know what I’m doing. The Food Network can do that to you.
I returned the veggies to the pan. Then I followed the lead of my television cooking instructors and tasted the mix. It was lacking some flavor and I knew the Iron Chefs had me beat. There was still some time on the clock so I took a deep breath and opened the spice cabinet.
You have to understand that, every other day, the spice cabinet is part of my husband’s domain. He uses rubs and fresh ginger and other strange and wonderful blended spices all the time. I, on the other hand, have no idea which spice gives what flavor to a dish. That may be why I mostly stick to reheating food.
If this really had been televised, my lingering over the spices would have been cause for a commercial break. I hesitated that long. I vaguely remembered that rosemary has an earthy flavor so that’s what I picked. I used it sparingly just in case, but it did turn out to enhance the rest of the dish.
After covering the pan to let the dried-out pork tenderize a little bit, I jazzed up some crescent rolls with a brush of milk and some previously fresh parmesan cheese to bake into the crust, and steamed some broccoli left from a veggie tray. Then it was time to plate the food and let the panel of judges weigh in.
Judging from the clean plates, I think they prefer this method of cooking leftovers! I really enjoyed it too.
I’m not ready for my primetime Super Chef Battle but I do think I’ll try to be a little more adventurous in the kitchen this winter. Any tips on how to use spices are definitely welcome!