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Article: Swinging Open the Refrigerator with Hope

Swinging Open the Refrigerator with Hope

Swinging Open the Refrigerator with Hope

Do you ever swing open the refrigerator door and just stand there? Sometimes I am hoping for a magical leftover to appear. The news this week (the Middle East and Maine) and maybe the chill in the air pushed me to cook. I pulled out a stack of cookbooks that I have not looked at in years and flipped through them. Here are two: simple recipes that when they look back at you from inside the cooler seem like just what you were looking for. The first one is from Mollie Katzen’s “Vegetable Heaven”, I am on the verge of being a vegetarian but I am not there yet. This felt like a beginning. I think this recipe sounds like an odd combo but try it and as my dad used to say most things can be saved by more parmesan. I used gluten free cassava orzo but any orzo works.


Cozy Orzo

1 lb room temperature cottage cheese

1 teaspoon salt

¼ cup minced chives or scallions ( I made this twice and used both, not much difference)

1 tsp lemon zest

Black Pepper

½ lb orzo (rice shaped pasta)

1 cup frozen peas

Grated pecorino or parmesan for the top


Combine the cottage cheese, salt, chives or scallions, lemon zest and black pepper in a medium sized bowl and mix well.

Cook the orzo in plenty of rapidly boiling water until it is tender. Place the peas in a colander in the sink, drain the pasta right into the peas. (this will defrost the peas and cook them slightly.) Shake off the excess water, transfer the orzo and peas to the cottage cheese mixture, and stir gently. Sprinkle with grated pecorino or parmesan, and serve warm or at room temperature, in bowls.


And the second recipe is from Mark Bittman’s  “Dinner for Everyone” I am going to simplify his instructions, any questions write me.


Red Eye Ham Hash

1 ½ lb sweet potato

4 tablespoons unsalted butter plus more for greasing the pan

1 red onion chopped

8 oz smoked ham ( I bought mine from our local butcher Avedano’s -it seems important to buy good ham)

Salt and pepper

½ cup brewed coffee

2 tbsp ketchup

¼ cup sour cream

2 tbsp chopped chives


Heat the oven to 400 degrees

Grate the sweet potatoes (I started out with a box grater then switched to a mandoline grater and finally switched to my food processer’s grater attachment. (personally I think fine chopping would have worked fine here and made for a less mushy hash)

Grease a large, rimmed baking sheet with butter

Put 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and ham, cook stirring often for 3-5 minutes. Transfer to the baking sheet.

Ok now I am really going rogue here.. Mr. Bittman says to cook the sweet potatoes in two batches… I see no reason for this. Cook the sweet potatoes until they start to soften.

Add them to the onions and ham combine and put them in the oven. I cooked the hash for about 15 minutes and stirred the mixture with a spatula a few times.

Add the coffee and ketchup to the pan and combine scraping off any burnt bits and let it simmer until creamy. Pour over the potatoes and serve with chives and sour cream.

I recommend doubling this one. I want it to look back at you as a leftover when you open the fridge.

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