Why waste food? Even though more chefs rule the world then politicians (there are five times more Goggle searches for ‘pizza’ then there are for ‘peace’) this doesn’t imply that we should go on abusing food. Restaurants have economic incentives to monitor inventories, serve as many portions as there are guests and creatively transform left overs – we don’t. Waste consciousness is not at all uncommon- a pastry chef from San Francisco claims she uses the entire fruit in her desserts- even the green part of the strawberry. Other celebrity chefs like Giorgio Locatelli and Jamie Oliver are known for their creative waste management solutions- Giorgio prepares home-made bread crumbs from stale bread while Jamie has organized an entire supply side initiative to provide the unprivileged with access to healthy left overs.
The idea of recycling left overs certainly isn’t new. In the summer we take the excess fresh vegetables and turn them into pickles for the winter; at lunchtime we take our left over risotto and convert it into arancini for dinnertime. In France families use leftover Christmas bread or brioche to prepare pain perdu- bread pudding.
Food waste management is not just resourceful, but an essential stage for creative in the kitchen. How many times do we invent a new recipe simply because we don’t have enough ingredients we have in the fridge? This is precisely how the Cesar salad was invented.
Resourceful creativity is especially common with desserts and pastry preparation as many of the steps overlap: you prepare custard the same way you prepare an ice cream. Batters are extremely flexible, there are countless choices of what you can do with a batter: bake a sponge cake, make moist brownies, and mold teatime cookies. Then, One a certain day you realize that you are out of stock on chocolate and use nuttela instead; another time your yogurt is too boring so you sprinkle it with some Oreos.
If you are fan of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream or Haagen Dasz surely you noticed that most of their flavours, are cake flavours: Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream, Baked Alaska ice cream, Cookies and Cream, chocolate brownie… as much as we enjoy eating these desserts, we are dying to eat them cold, as an ice cream!
So are you ready to make the most mind blowing deserts and become the most ecofriendly chef all in one go? Then…
1. Swap your chocolate profiterole with a vanilla and crunch chocolate amaretto sandwich: you avoid the hassle of making choux pastry while you find some good use for the stale amarettos
2. Make your chocolate chip muffin a chocolate chip ice cream. Or if you have a leftover muffin from breakfast then tear it apart and mix it with yogurt ice cream to get a cheese cake effect.
3. Sponge cakes are great for left over desserts: cut a square piece of sponge, make a tropical sorbet simply by blending fruit, mixing it with syrup and freezing it- spread a layer on top of the sponge and cover with whipped cream.
4. Oreos are very naughty- too naughty to resist sometimes- so better freeze them with vanilla ice cream to avoid the temptation at least for a couple of hours!
5. Last but not least everyone knows that we can all do better than granola. You should aim for a more eye-catching for your oats like mixing them with a chocolate pudding and almonds and freezing everything together until the granola transforms into a parfait cake.
I hope I have inspired you to expand your imagination in the kitchen, and made your garbage bags leaner as a result. Throwing food away is not as sexy as inventing the coolest left over dessert- ice cream cake…and saved you time, money and ingredients!