Leftovers and Scraps

Friday Instagram Round-Up 7

I am so ready for the weekend, how about you?  Shawn and I got a Blu-ray/DVD/Streaming Netflix device for our birthdays, so this past week has been a blur of work, cooking and Arrested Development episodes (SOOOO good).  Plus, a little time for Instagram.

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Working from home because of the BART strike.  Nice to final put that office to use after a year.

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Leftovers from dinner the night before resulted in this breakfast delight: herb and mashed potato omelette.

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Emily and I threw a girl’s cocktail party with small bites; super fun!

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Quick dinner: dry rubbed roasted pork, peach and basil yogurt wrap.  So, so good.

Also, for all you bloggers out there, Nichole from Vanilla Extract is organizing her Blog Brunch on Sunday, July 21.  Visit Vanilla Extract to RSVP!

Blog Brunch

Have a great weekend!


Quick Pumpkin Soup

Quick Pumpkin Soup

I have been actively trying to will autumn to start.  I love the fall.  The clothes, the food, the weather, the smells, the holidays.  In the Bay Area, we don’t really have the changing of the leaves like you do in New England, but the weather is just so cool and crisp and lovely.  And you have sweaters and boots.  And squash.  And stews.  And Halloween and crunchy leaves and cider.  It’s all just so cozy and comforting.  And I want it to start.  NOW.

So, in an attempt to kick start the season, I decided to make pumpkin-chocolate chip cookies.  The only problem with pumpkin-chocolate chip cookies?  The recipe calls for 1 cup of pumpkin puree, but canned pumpkin puree only comes in those enormous, pumpkin pie-sized cans.  You know, like this:

Canned Pumpkin Puree

It’s a mother can of pumpkin.  So, what do you do with the remaining 2 1/2 cups of pumpkin after you’re done with the cookies?  Make some soup!

Quick Pumpkin Soup

This is really a 20 minutes, start to finish soup.  And that finish is delicious.

I’ve had a lot of pumpkin soups that were on the sweeter side, with quince and butternut squash or sweet potato and cinnamon.  I really didn’t want to do a sweet pumpkin soup.  I wanted something hearty and definitely savory.  Ancho chile and crème fraiche and a sprinkling of pancetta really create that great, autumnal, savory comfort food flavor.  A drizzling of basil oil on top completely rounds out all the earthy flavors of this soup.

Come on in autumn!  Soup’s on!  THG

Quick Pumpkin Soup

Quick Pumpkin Soup

2 Tbsp. olive oil

3 garlic cloves, smashed

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

2 cups pumpkin puree

1 1/2 tsp. ancho chile powder

1 tsp. ground paprika

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/4 cup crème fraiche

1 cup pancetta, fried until crunchy

Basil Oil (recipe follows)

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add crushed garlic to olive oil and brown without letting it burn.  Add chicken or vegetable stock and bring to a boil.  Add pumpkin puree and mix well.  Add ancho chile powder, paprika and salt and mix.  Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add crème fraiche and using an immersion blender or a stand blender, puree soup until smooth.  Serve immediately garnished with basil oil and fried pancetta.

Serves 4

Basil Oil

2 cups fresh basil

1 cup olive oil

In a blender puree basil leaves and olive oil for 2-3 minutes.  Strain through a fine mesh sieve.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  Will keep for 1 week.

Sunday Scrap Lunch: Roasted Carrot and Garlic Soup

Roasted Carrot and Garlic Soup with Garlic Bread

I want a vacation.

I haven’t been on a good, proper vacation since my honeymoon.  Three and a half years ago.  I’ve gone out of town, but it’s only been for family gatherings and weddings, which while lovely and very fun, aren’t quite the same as taking a vacation out of town with the hubby.  Just a few days, away from work, alone, just to unwind.  It should be illegal to go three and a half years without taking a few days for yourself.

Roasted Carrots and Garlic
Roasted Garlic Butter and Whole-Wheat Toast

I want to be in the mountains.  In a cabin.  With a fire going.  A mug of green tea and this soup.

Roasting the carrots brings out their sweetness and adds a caramel-like flavor.  The garlic mellows out a lot and retains an almost nutty taste.  I added fresh thyme for its earthiness and ground ginger for a little kick.

Sweet.  Herby.  Peppery.  Nutty.  So delicious.


I used half the roast garlic bulb for garlic toast.  Just mashed the roast garlic into butter, little pepper, and spread it on whole-wheat toast.  Yum, yum, yum.

On a cold Sunday, where all I want to do is stay in, I can imagine I’m on a snowy mountain, in a beautiful cabin, just me and Shawn, a bowl of roasted carrot soup and some garlic toast.


Almost the same as a vacation.  ALMOST. 


Roasted Carrot and Garlic Soup

4 large carrots

1 garlic bulb

3 Tbsp. olive oil

4 cups chicken broth

2 Tbsp. fresh thyme

1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450ºF.

Cut carrots in half lengthwise, then in half widthwise, leaving skins on.  Cut garlic bulb in half through the middle.  Brush each carrot and the cut ends on the garlic with olive oil.  Roast in the oven until brown and lightly caramelized, about 20-30 minutes.

In a saucepan, combine carrots, half bulb of garlic (removed from paper skin), chicken broth, thyme, ginger, salt and pepper.  Reserve other half of garlic for toast.  Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce heat to a simmer until carrots are tender, about 15 minutes.  In a blender, puree soup until vegetables are broken down and soup is thick.  Garnish with fresh thyme leaves and fresh ground pepper.  Serve immediately.

Serves 2

Sunday Scrap Lunch: Custom Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Sunday Grilled Cheese Ingredients

Part of being a humble gourmet is knowing that you can’t always spend money on custom, special meals.  Sometimes, you have to go to the leftovers and scraps in the fridge to get a meal on the table.

Shawn and I are currently saving up to buy our first home (so exciting!).  We are just about at our savings goal, which means we are on major spending lock-down.  No $40 dinners, no random shopping trips, no weekend lunches out.  It’s tough sometimes, but we are just so close that we can really see it being worth it.  So, scrap lunches have become the new thing for us.

Custom Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Crumbled goat cheese and homemade olive tapenade left over from our New Year’s party.  Extra green apple from the Apple-Caramel Pavlovas.  Asiago cheese from Macaroni and Cheese night.  Honey.  Roasted red pepper.  A few slices of bread, a handful of kettle chips and an ice tea.


Roasted Red Pepper/Tapenade and Apple/Honey Grilled Cheese

No need to post a recipe with this meal.  Just assemble, melt some butter, and toast.  Grilled cheese my friends.  Such a tasty and versatile little sandwich.

Sunday Scrap Grilled Cheese

Such a great way to use up leftovers.  Shawn had an Asiago, green apple and honey sandwich on whole wheat.  Sweet and tart and salty all rolled into one, with the whole wheat providing an earthy and hearty backdrop for the other flavors to rest on.  I had the goat cheese, roasted red pepper and tapenade on sourdough.  Very hearty, salty, briny and sweet all mingling with the sourdough bread.  It was goat cheese heaven.

We ate our little gourmet sandwiches while watching Dexter on Demand.  Awesome Sunday lunch break.  And far better than most grilled cheese sandwiches I’ve paid upwards of $7.50 for.  Free gourmet grilled cheese.  Who could ask for anything more?

Scrap meals are definitely the norm for us lately.  But scrap meals doesn’t mean bad, past-their-prime leftovers.  It’s all about creativity.  Take some dry pasta and whatever fresh herbs are about to turn and have a fresh pasta dish.  Take some chicken broth, left over roast chicken and instant rice for a delicious and hearty soup.  Or make a grilled cheese sandwich.  There are so many combinations you can do with grilled cheese, you’ll never get bored of it.

What’s your favorite “clean out the pantry” scrap meal to cook?  THG

Sunday Scrap Lunch: Custom Grilled Cheese