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Six Recipes that Transform Leftover Kitchen Regulars into Daily Delicacies

By Rebecca Muh

In KoldCast TV’s uniquely practical cooking show, How We Do It, various chefs and foodies share simple recipes to help viewers make use of ingredients they already have in their kitchens, and infuse them with little twists to create gourmet dishes that don’t break the bank.

The simple brilliance of How We Do It is in its ability to utilize easy cooking methods we all understand to transform long-sitting fridge staples like butter into impressive haut cuisine sides. Instead of just racking up shelf life, that spread will live on as sweet honey butter or compound garlic herb butter.

You are watching How We Do It:
“Garlic Herb Butter”

How We Do It: “Tomato Pineapple Salsa”

Here are some surprisingly simple concoctions that can be pulled together with nothing more than ingredients left over from your last meal, or even those hovering near their expiration date. Gourmet everyday? Take a look at how you can do it, right in your own home.

Chocolate Mousse With Fleur de Sel

Chocolate comes in waves, especially during the holidays, but what to do with the pieces after the guests have scampered? Before you think about throwing out old, chalky chocolate, try this simple recipe for chocolate mousse, made from merely chocolate, water, and a little bit of salt. Make use of leftover Halloween, Valentines Day, and Easter chocolate bars, or even baking chocolate. It’s the chef’s choice!

8 ounces of chocolate, broken up
3/4 cup boiling water
A pinch of kosher salt
Sprig of mint, raspberry, or whipped cream as garnish, optional

Quickly stir the chocolate into the boiling water. Place the chocolate mixture in a bowl set over an ice bath. In a fluid motion, whisk the chocolate by hand for about 5 to 8 minutes without stopping. The texture should go from water, to yogurt, to a whipped cream-like consistency. Once the mixture begins to harden and peak, stop whisking. Spoon desired amount into small ramekins or shot glasses and let set for a minute. Top with mint leaves, raspberries, whipped cream or serve plain!

Fruit Infused Pancake Syrup

Every hip brunch and breakfast joint usually justifies their $25 pancake dish with some fancy clotted cream and fruit infused syrup. Bring this scrumptious touch to your morning table at home with a spoonful of old jam that’s lost its cap-popping freshness, but makes for an excellent addition to plain old maple syrup.

1 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup jam
Note: If you have only a spoonful of jam, start with half a cup of maple syrup and add more to your liking.

Heat the maple syrup over stovetop on low. Stir in the jam and simmer for two minutes. Serve warm on some pancakes or biscuits.

Stuffed French Toast

Whether it’s east coast bagel snobbery or west coast flavored cream cheese addiction at work, we’ve all found ourselves staring into a fridge of half-empty plastic cream cheese tubs on a Sunday afternoon. Don’t worry about stocking up on more bagels to save your precious schmear. Use it in a recipe that will leave you shopping for bigger belt sizes.

2 to 4 ounces cream cheese (according to how stuffed you want your French toast to be)
2 teaspoons sugar (again, amount according to taste and amount of cream cheese used)
4 slices of bread
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter
Powdered sugar for topping (optional)

Stir the sugar into the cream cheese. Spread the cream cheese mixture onto two slices of bread and top with another slice of bread, creating two sandwiches. Set aside. In a bowl with a wide bottom, whisk the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract together. Soak each sandwich in the egg mixture. Make sure to evenly coat both sides. Heat the butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Cook the sandwiches for about 5 minutes on each side until golden. Place both sandwiches on a baking sheet or tin foil and place in oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with your fruit infused pancake syrup.

Confiture de Lait

Instead of watching a microscopic civilization take shape inside that week-old carton of milk, throw a bit of French cooking know-how that will make it last longer and taste sweeter. Confiture de lait is a caramel milk jam made from little more than milk, sugar and vanilla. It’s great on pastries and toast, just like fruit jam, and of course on vanilla ice cream.

4 cups milk
1 3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer. Make sure the heat is at its lowest, and then stir every 20 minutes for an hour. Once the liquid begins to thicken, stir every 5-10 minutes until it begins to slightly coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and whisk by hand for about one minute and spoon into sterilized jam jars.

Saffron Croutons

Remember months ago when you decided to make it Mediterranean night? Yes, it was cute and rather delicious, but that spice-shopping spree also bought you a cabinet full of exotic seeds, extracts and crushed leaves you almost never incorporate into day-to-day meals. Before you smack yourself for having spent $12 on a miniscule jar of saffron, use it to create an amazing salad ingredient along with stale bread or the ends of a loaf.

3 slices of stale bread
1/4 teaspoon saffron
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
A pinch of salt

Cut the bread into cubes, as small or big as you like your croutons. Heat the olive oil with saffron over medium low heat for about a minute, careful not to burn the oil off too much. Stir the bread cubes into the oil, coating all sides. Sprinkle the salt evenly over the bread cubes and cook over stovetop for about 5 minutes until golden brown. Cool completely before serving or storing.

Olive Tapenade

Ditch fancy, overpriced sandwich spreads (Williams-Sonoma sells Wichcraft spreads for about $15 a jar!) and make your very own tapenade from leftover martini olives in abundance after last night’s party. If you find any guests still lying around your house, it’ll compliment the perfect gourmet hangover cure. Spread on your sandwiches, chips, or use as a condiment for fish or poultry.

1/2 cup olives
2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon finely chopped capers (or any tart pickles you have handy)
1 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped parsley (or 1 1/2 tablespoon dried parsley)
1 teaspoon vodka (optional)

Place peeled garlic and olives in a blender and mince. Add all other ingredients and mince until fine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

By implementing just a few of these simple and creative kitchen tricks, your meals will graduate to the next level and your pantry will be able to breathe again. Check out KoldCast TV’s How We Do It for more recipes that transform your kitchen regulars into Zagat-rated hits!

Click to watch How We Do It: “Dill Pickles”

How We Do It: “Honey Butter”

Rebecca Muh was dragged back to Los Angeles by her heels after a glorious four year run at New York University. Making the most of the loneliest city on earth, she is always on the search for fairy rings and a secret portal to transport her to the end of the world. Be the first to follow Rebecca on her tumblr, Manifest.

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Must Reads 8/30/2014