Scraps Book Tour: Being Resourceful in the Kitchen
One of the many things that continues to fascinate me is how creative chefs can be as far as creating new and innovative ways to keep the scraps made from everything in the kitchen. I wanted to learn more and when you are focused on something, doesn’t it just show up in the middle of nowhere? I was flipping through some cooking class offerings and there was a FREE class called Scraps Book Tour: Stop Wasting Food with Joel Gamoran. Joel is a national chef with Sur La Table and has a series called “Scraps” on A&E. I recently purchased his book after this class, so I can absorb all that I possibly can in order to be a more creative colorful chef…and so can you!
We started off with taking some onion skins, flour, salt, pepper, beer and blending it all together. We battered some salty pickles that held their shape really well and fried them. The batter itself had a smooth texture and had an oniony flavor and I was fascinated that we could actually eat onion skins in a different form. After frying the pickles, the crunchy exterior of the fried batter with the sour and crunch of the pickle, was a perfect combination. Where else can I use onion skins in cooking, you ask? One of my favorite ways is in chicken stock. I throw in garlic…onions…everything with the skins and I strain it later. It’s absolutely GOLD…literally!
Steak can definitely be pricey…but growing up, I remember we’d try some chuck steak, which was a more economical cut of meat. It is located by the shoulder and is used in stews, slow cooking and braising dishes. If it’s prepared well, it can be tender, juicy and take on the flavors of the vibrant ingredients you bring together! This class made chuck eye steak with a salsa verde made from carrot tops. We added some anchovies for a salty kick (if you aren’t a fan, it’s ok, because you don’t taste them in the cooking process) and there was such a brightness…freshness! You know that feeling you have when you eat healthy vegetables and you feel amazing afterwards….well that feeling right there nails it! We poured the jade green salsa verde all over the perfectly medium rare cooked steak…and it was a feast for the eyes as well as for our appetite!
What do you think of when someone says “aquafaba”? Well, initially, I thought of Aquaman’s superhero cousin possibly…but that wasn’t it. When you take the liquid from a can of chickpeas…or the water from cooking them…and use an immersion blender….it transforms this ingredient. Vegans love it, because they can make meringue out of it, just by adding the right ingredients to sweeten it up! Aquafaba got its name from the Spanish word for “water” and “bean”. It’s amazing how creamy this liquid gets and it’s all about the ingredients that you add to it. In our case, we cut up some fresh carrots and cauliflower and then whipped up the aquafaba and added some chives, mustard seeds, salt, lemon, onion powder, apple cider vinegar, garlic, etc and served it as a dip. It was tasty and the consistency was a little thinner than the bottled ranch dressing, but it was equally as tasty! I was captivated by this!
Now who does not love chocolate chip cookies?! What do you do with leftover slightly stale potato chips? Throw them in the cookie batter! It adds a saltiness to the batter, and an extra crunch too!
When I have scraps from cooking, I usually compost them, because of all of the gardening I do. After trying these tasty recipes, it’s in our best interest just to do a little research to see how much fun and creative we can be with scraps!
Onion Skin Fried Pickles
Mild-tasting vegetable oil, for frying
1/2 cup onion skins and ends
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups lager beer, flat for fizzy
Couple shakes of hot pepper sauce
2 cups dill pickles slices, drained
Heat 4 inches of oil in a heavy sauce pan over medium heat to 375 degrees F.
Blitz the onion skins, 1 cup of flour, the salt, pepper, beer and hot sauce in a high-speed blender into a smooth batter.
Pat the pickles slices with paper towels until dry and dredge in the remaining flour. Pat excess flour and dip it in the batter. Lift with tongs and drop into the hot oil. Fry, a few at a time, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, put the fried pickles on paper towels to drain. Serve hot (4 servings).
Chuck Eye Steak with Carrot Top Salsa Verde
2 lbs chuck eye steak or skirt steak, no more than 3/4 inch thick
2 tbsp grapeseed oil or other mild-tasting oil
Coarse sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper
2 cups carrot tops
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 cup fresh mint leaves
5 anchovies (half 2 oz can)
Oil from can of anchovies or other strong-tasting oil such as extra-virgin olive oil
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp honey
Finely grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
Start by setting up the grill for high heat. Oil the top side of your steaks and season with salt and pepper. Place your steaks, oil-side down, onto the grill. Season with more salt and pepper and a little more oil and let them char for about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare, a minute less or a few minutes less or more for rare or well-done. Take your steaks off the grill and let them rest (10 minutes) wrapped in foil.
While the steaks are resting, blitz your carrot tops, basil, mint, anchovies, anchovy oil, olive oil, honey, lemon juice and lemon zest in a food processor. Once smooth, season with salt and pepper and pour into a bowl.
If you want, while the grill is still hot, oil the cut surface of the lemon half and char it on the grill. It adds a smoky, citrus flavor.
Slice the steaks against the grain, squeeze any juice remaining in the lemon over the steaks, and place with a generous amount of the carrot top salsa verde (4 servings).
Aquafaba Ranch Dressing
1/4 cup aquafaba (the liquid from canned chickpeas)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 garlic clove, chopped fine
1/2 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp ground brown mustard seeds
3/4 tsp fine sea salt
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp chopped fresh chives
Finely grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Cut up vegetables for dipping
Blitz the aquafaba, vinegar, garlic, sugar, mustard seeds, and salt using a stick immersion blender or upright blender on low speed. Drizzle in the oil while blending until thickened. Stir in the chives, lemon zest and juice, onion powder, oregano and pepper. I like to stir these in and so the herbs don’t color the dressing green.
Put the vegetables on a serving plate and drizzle with some of the dip. Serve the rest in a bowl for dipping in the vegetables.
Potato Chip Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 sticks (16 tbsp butter) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, softened at room temp
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
3 cups plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
2 cups (10 oz) semisweet chocolate discs
2 cups crushed rigid potato chips
Beat the butter in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add both sugars and continue to beat until fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla seeds and beat for a few more minutes, periodically scraping down the sides of the bowl.
Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sat in a medium bowl and spoon into the mixer. Beat on the lowest speed and scrape down the sides of the bowl until the batter is smooth, about 1 minutes.
Add the chocolate discs and potato chips and beat on the lowest speed until just combined. Do not overtax or you’ll get potato dust instead of chips. Pat the dough into two inch thick rectangles, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. This improves the texture of the cookies.
Turn the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Cut the dough into 12 squares. Square cookies are more rustic. Put 6 cookies evenly spaced on the sheet. When the oven is up to temperature, bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown on the edges. Do not overbake or you won’t get a gooey center. Let cool on the sheet for 2 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool the rest of the way. Bake the next batch the same way!