Susan over at Food Blogga recently conjured applesauce out of dented apples, prompting me to comment that I find turning "iffy" food and/or left-overs into something new and delicious to be perhaps the most satisfying kitchen magic of all.
There are two different approaches to this magic--the first being the act of "saving" food that would otherwise be a disappointment to eat, as Susan did with her apples; or which would go wasted, as I did when I made grapefruit-orange "jarmalade" out of a pile if rindless naked citrus after I'd candied their peels. The second type is more of a conjuring act-- making something out of what seems to be nothing. This occurs when you want a snack or need to make dinner and have no plans and no intention of making a trip to the shops. You simply go and rummage and let the contents of your refrigerator (and cupboards) tell you what to do. It's most effective if you can pull this off after your sweetheart has been complaining that there is nothing in the house to eat. Nada. Zip.
Jack and I like to have a "proper" breakfast on the weekends and will often take ourselves out to brunch somewhere in the neighborhood. Sometimes we just want to pad around in our bathrobes for most of the day, and will make scrambled eggs on toast or omelets. Last weekend we we decided to stay in but were uninspired about what to have, so I decided to rummage. We had a doggy bag containing steak and frites as well as a tiny container of the black peppercorn sauce served with the steak. We had some left-over mashed potatoes. We had eggs. We had a shallot. I conjured up this lovely hash of potatoes and steak with sunny-side up eggs on the top (two for Jack and one for me) and delighted in Jack's amazement.
I'm leaving you with this Morecambe and Wise video because, while not exactly the sort of kitchen magic I practice, it's magical all the same (though I would like add that Jack and I don't swan around the kitchen with "The Stripper" going in the background. Well, not often!).