Tying Up the Loose Ends
Suggestions on How to Use Up All the Edible Bits and Pieces
Waste not, want not. It’s a tenet for sourcing, cooking, and eating sustainably. Here, the Edible Maine staff serves up ways to use up any special ingredient the recipes in this issue may have brought into your kitchen.
BLACK WALNUT BITTERS
Due to its price (between $2 and $18 an ounce), we can’t recommend using this nutty elixir in vast quantities. It’s best savored a few drops at a time.
TRIPLE WALNUT VINAIGRETTE
Place ¼ cup chopped walnuts and ½ cup vegetable oil in a saucepan over low heat. Simmer until walnuts are toasted. Strain walnuts from oil and set both aside to cool. Combine 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar, 5 dashes black walnut bitters, and 1 tablespoon each hot water, Dijon mustard, honey, and minced shallot. Drizzle walnut oil into bowl while whisking to emulsify. Stir in toasted walnuts. Season with salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine 1 cup buckwheat flour with ½ cup warm water, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Lightly knead dough and roll it out very thinly. Cut into 2-inch squares, brush each lightly with water, and sprinkle with flaky salt. Transfer squares to prepared tray and bake until they are browned on the edges, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.
Coconut sugar can stand in for either white or brown sugar, but it has an almost earthy flavor that’s darker than both. It’s best used in sweets also containing chocolate, warm spices, and coffee. But it also brightens curries and tempers spicy soups.
THAI-INSPIRED SWEET AND SOUR BROTH
Heat 1 teaspoon vegetable oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon minced garlic, 2 teaspoons minced ginger, and 1 teaspoon minced fresh chili. Add 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock, 2 stalks peeled lemongrass cut into 4-inch pieces, 1 tablespoon coconut sugar, and 2 teaspoons hot chili paste. Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes. Pick out lemongrass. Stir in soy sauce and lime juice to taste. To make this broth a meal, gently poach chopped vegetables (mushrooms, carrots, tomatoes, zucchini) and thinly sliced proteins (chicken, shrimp, fish, or tofu) in the hot broth until cooked through. Garnish with lime wedges and chopped cilantro.
Espresso powder is made by grinding beans, brewing espresso, taking spent grounds, drying them, and grinding them into a powder. They don’t reconstitute into a very good cup of coffee, but they do enhance the flavor of chocolate, nuts, and caramel.
COFFEE CARAMEL SAUCE
Combine 2 tablespoons hot water and 4 teaspoons espresso coffee powder in small bowl. Stir in ⅔ cup heavy cream and set aside. Combine 6 tablespoons water and 1 ⅓ cups sugar in medium saucepan and let sit undisturbed over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil without stirring until syrup turns deep amber, occasionally swirling the pan and brushing down the sides with a pastry brush dipped in water. Remove saucepan from heat. Add cream mixture and 5 tablespoons butter. The mixture will bubble vigorously, so be careful. Return pan to medium heat and bring mixture to a boil, whisking constantly until smooth. Remove from heat, then stir in a pinch of salt. Cool to room temperature before pouring into glass jars. Sauce will hold in the fridge for 2 weeks and can be rewarmed gently to be served.
This syrup is made from almonds, sugar, and either orange blossom water or rosewater.
ALMOND CORNMEAL LOAF
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9- by 5- by 3-inch loaf pan. Cream 8 tablespoons butter, ¼ cup almond flour, and ¾ cups orgeat syrup. Add 4 egg yolks and mix well. Combine 1 cup cake flour, ½ cup cornmeal, and 1 teaspoon baking powder in a separate bowl. Stir flour mixture into butter mixture. Beat 4 egg whites with a pinch of salt until they reach soft peaks. Fold whites into batter and pour it into prepared pan. Bake 40 minutes and cool completely before turning it out of the pan. For a moister cake, poke holes in the warm cake with a skewer and brush it with a bit more orgeat.
MAINE SUNFLOWER SEED OIL
As a general note, you can use sunflower seed oil in any recipe that calls for vegetable oil. But if you’ve scored a bottle of the local stuff, use it where you can taste the difference. Drizzle it over the last of this year’s garden tomatoes, stir it into a freshly cooked pot of Maine Grains wheatberries, or layer it with chopped dates, toasted pumpkin seeds, and lemon zest in a Greek-style yogurt parfait.