October is the third annual Dining Month on OnMilwaukee.com. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, delicious features, chef profiles, unique articles on everything food, as well as the winners of our "Best of Dining 2009."
In our house, we often struggle with eating leftovers. Point blank, no matter how well-intentioned you are, it's downright difficult to get yourself to eat the same thing day after day until it's gone. (Okay, so maybe some things are easier than others to do this with, but I still think you get my drift.)
So, I thought as part of OnMilwaukee.com's dining month, I would tackle a few leftovers and try to help you (and me) with reinventing them as another meal.
I'm trying out a couple "Sunday meals," if you will, and then recreating them in a quick and easy weekday meal with a few key ingredients, to make the second run of dinner a little easier to bite down, and get rid of those leftovers in one fell swoop. My theory is that reinventing them into a new meal makes them easier to eat.
The first one I attacked was leftover shrimp and rice. I'm always a little skittish about leftover, reheated seafood, because sometimes it just gets so overcooked or slightly fishy smelling that it's nothing I want to put in my mouth.
So, I figured out a few key tips. If you use shell-on shrimp and keep the shell on during preparation, the shrimp seem to maintain its composure a little better and escapes the fishy smell. You'll still want to use the shrimp within 72 hours of your first preparation, but converting the dish into shrimp fried rice makes it a quick and delicious way to do so. I used grilled shrimp, but you could also use sautéed, broiled, baked or boiled.
Skewer the shrimp and drizzle both sides with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
Snap tough ends from asparagus spears and place the spears in a foil packet, drizzling with olive oil and seasoning with salt and pepper. Place the packet on the grill, and grill for about 5 minutes until the spears are crisp-tender.
Grill shrimp until they turn pink, about 2-4 minutes depending on the size. Prepare the rice according to the package instructions.
Serve shrimp with rice and asparagus spears.
Wrap leftovers separately and refrigerate.
4 cups jasmine rice
1 cup vegetable oil
3 green onions, chopped into 1-in. pieces
½ can of peas
2 cloves of minced garlic
1/3 cup sherry
1/3 cup soy sauce
Any combination of one or more of the following: leftover asparagus, can of water chestnuts, ½ cup bean spouts, minced ginger, 1 cup chopped ham.
Remove the shells from your shrimp and devein. Make enough additional rice so that with your leftovers you have four full cups.
In a hot wok or large pan, heat ½ cup vegetable oil and add garlic, green onion and shrimp, tossing continuously until heated through. Put in an oven or warmer.
Heat the remaining ½ cup of oil in the wok until smoking, but not hot, and add the rice, tossing continuously until all the grains separate. Add your shrimp mixture and any additional items you like and stir fry until heated through. Mix the sherry and soy sauce together and add to the mixture, stirring to coat evenly.
One full set of leftovers gone.
Amy L. Schubert is a 15-year veteran of the hospitality industry and has worked in every aspect of bar and restaurant operations. A graduate of Marquette University (B.A.-Writing Intensive English, 1997) and UW-Milwaukee (M.A.-Rhetoric, Composition, and Professional Writing, 2001), Amy still occasionally moonlights as a guest bartender and she mixes a mean martini.
The restaurant business seems to be in Amy’s blood, and she prides herself in researching and experimenting with culinary combinations and cooking techniques in her own kitchen as well as in friends’ restaurants. Both she and her husband, Scott, are avid cooks and “wine heads,” and love to entertain friends, family and neighbors as frequently as possible.
Amy and Scott live with their boys, Alex and Nick, in Bay View, where they are all very active in the community. Amy finds great pleasure in sharing her knowledge and passions for food and writing in her contributions to OnMilwaukee.com.