I should call this one Holiday Leftovers – The Easter Edition… Easter was just a little over a week ago and as it often happens when cooking for a holiday, we prepared more than we needed so we spent the week after using up some of the leftovers. If you have read some of my other posts, you may have already heard me say “play with your food.” Of course I don’t mean squishing it in your fingers or picking it up and flinging it at your family members! I’m talking about flexing your creativity and looking at your food in different ways.
Often after I cook something I’ll then think of dozens of variations to try in the future for “food playtime,” but another great way to play with your food is to take your leftovers and turn them into something different. For this post I have spent some time doing just that and will share with you three things I made during the past week.
The first idea was inspired by our Easter dinner entrée. We enjoyed a very nice smoked turkey that night – actually we enjoyed it the night after as well! Turkey is truly one meal that keeps on giving. When Tuesday rolled around and there was still some left, I decided to make a turkey salad for lunch. The idea for this salad was based on a chicken salad my wife and I used to get at a local market near where we used to live and although the original used chicken, I thought turkey prepared in the same way would work well. Just a side note here – if you happened to read our Q&A post from last week, you’ll know this one isn’t for Karen!
Smoked Turkey Salad
- 2 cups diced smoked turkey
- 8 to 10 red grapes quartered
- 15 to 20 fresh Tarragon leaves cut or torn into 4 or 5 pieces each
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- Salt to taste
Simply mix all of the ingredients together and serve on your favorite bread. This should make enough for 2 sandwiches – I had mine on a toasted wheat English muffin.
Overall I was happy with how this one turned out and it definitely reminded me of the one we used to get from the market. Using smoked turkey instead of chicken was a pleasant change, but still tasted similar to the original. I know Karen will not agree, but the Tarragon truly is the star here!
The next idea in my trio of leftovers reimagined is a simple one. If you celebrate Easter, then chances are you have dyed Easter eggs. We love doing them in our family and it often leads to a bit of spirited and good natured fun. Who made the best blue egg? I did of course! Which egg was the best overall? Which one was the most unique? But what happens when you’re done coloring them and all of these important questions have been answered? You’re left with a bunch of hardboiled eggs that you need to find a use for!
There are many great uses for hardboiled eggs actually. You can simply eat them with a little salt, chop them up and add them to a salad or slice them and put them on toast with a little mayonnaise and make a sandwich out of them. Two of our favorite ways to use them are for egg salad and deviled eggs. One time we couldn’t decide which one we wanted to make more, so we meshed the two ideas together and the next recipe was born.
Deviled Egg Salad
- 2 hardboiled eggs chopped
- 2 teaspoons mayonnaise
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste if desired
- Paprika for garnish
Once again, simply mix all of the ingredients together (except for the paprika) and serve on your bread of choice – before you put the second piece of bread on, sprinkle the egg salad with paprika to give it that true deviled egg look. This recipe is good for one sandwich, but is certainly very easy to double or triple, etc.
For the first two recipes I stuck with more traditional ideas when putting them together, for the final one I had an odd thought pop into my head – can I turn leftover cake into a frozen ice cream like treat? So I decided to try – if you’re going to play with your food, you can’t play it safe all the time! The recipe I came up with was quite simple really, but would it work?
Cake “Ice Cream”
- 3 cups of leftover cake, icing included, cut into 1 inch cubes (I used yellow cake with white icing)
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend on a low speed until everything is combined, then switch to high and continue to blend until smooth. Transfer the mix to a freezer safe container and freeze for 24 hours.
Before freezing it, the mixture actually looked and tasted a bit like I had turned the cake back into cake batter! After the freezing was complete we took an initial taste test.
It tasted like birthday cake ice cream or frozen yogurt. Since the mixture wasn’t churned in any way during freezing, it was much more dense and solid than ice cream normally is. While it tasted pretty good, it was quite sweet and the texture was a bit too slick for my liking. I decided to go in a different direction and turn the frozen mixture into a milkshake instead.
My hope was that the additional milk would resolve the slick texture issue and also help to reduce the sweetness. So, back to the blender I went and put the frozen mix in along with a cup of milk and blended away.
What is it they say – two out of three ain’t bad? Well in this case it would be one out of two ain’t bad I suppose, although how good is 50% really? They looked very nice and the change in plan did get rid of that slick feeling, unfortunately it was still much too sweet to drink more than a couple of sips. If you’re going to serve something this sweet, perhaps cake shake shooters would be the better way to go!
In the end I guess I could actually apply the thought above and say two out of three recipes ain’t bad because two of them did come out well. As for the shakes, I wouldn’t call them a complete failure. I do believe there is still some potential there and perhaps with a few adjustments this one could come up a winner. Not everything will turn into an immediate success when you play with your food, but you’ll never know unless you try.