This post originally appeared in Cooking with Scraps on Food52.
My new cookbook, Secrets of Great Second Meals, is based on the principle that leftovers can be a springboard for more inventive and confident cooking in your life. If you learn to be truly comfortable working with leftovers, you can save time (on both shopping and prepping), money (by not throwing out so much food), and also reduce your carbon footprint (less wasted water, carbon, and landfill).
But most of all, reframing leftovers gives you a very particular kind of kitchen pleasure: a little sunny self-congratulation in part for being less wasteful, but also for being clever enough to find just the right way to reframe the food that is already sitting in the fridge. That last portion of cooked salmon can easily become rillettes or fish cakes the next day. Extra rice from your takeout could make gingery fried rice or a sunshine-yellow saffron rice pudding. Secrets of Great Second Meals is full of recipes that can handle a lot of variations, depending on what is on hand in your refrigerator.
The key to being a successful leftover cook is to use things while they are still vibrant and delicious.... Read more