31 Mar2008


Every once in a while, usually towards the end of the month, or after serious holiday feasts, I do a “reconnaissance mission” through our refrigerators, freezers and pantry and try to use up odds and ends. I like to refer to these meals as “vacuum cleaner” meals, sucking out leftovers, miscellaneous food items, pairing them with staples, and creating meals that help us clean up the supplies and be as efficient as possible about our food stocks, which are typically rather voluminous when compared to most households… I think this is how many folks actually cook, not necessarily with all of the stated ingredients in a recipe, but improvising based on their tastes and supplies on hand. So here is what we had for Sunday lunch…


The main feature for the yesterday’s lunch was a platter with several types of grilled sausages. We found half a kielbasa, some sweet Italian sausages and frankfurters in the freezer, and we decided to grill these on the barbecue. We also served several salads, the first a composed salad with some crisp romaine leaves, some blanched and chilled pencil thin asparagus, a head of broccoli and some ripe tomatoes. We also threw in the remaining fourth of a package of blue cheese that was beginning to take on a life of its own in the back of the fridge. This was served with a simple vinaigrette.


I also found two singkamas (jicama) and a mandarin orange and some grapes so I shredded a whole large carrot, added shredded singkamas, the juice of the orange, some grapes and a touch of salt and let this chill for an hour or two. This was a crunchy, refreshing salad with a hint of natural acidity and sweetness… not brilliant, but an effective vacuum cleaner type dish.


Next I found 4 roasted beets, still in the foil wrapper, that I forgot about a day or two before and which were now in the fridge. I made a simple beet salad by peeling the beets, adding a half of a small red onion and dressing this with champagne vinegar, a touch of sugar and some freshly ground pepper. This is best if made a day before you eat it, but a couple of hours of marinating in the dressing is sufficient.


We needed a starch to go with the sausages, so with two small packages of baby or new potatoes, I made a warm potato salad. First boil the potatoes for say 20 minutes until soft, then drain and slice in half. In a pan, saute, some pancetta (we had three slices in the freezer), a sliced onion, some sliced leeks and a little olive oil. When this is soft and cooked, add the potatoes, lots of salt and pepper and drizzle with sherry vinegar and turn off the heat. The hot potatoes should absorb a lot of the dressing and this is best when served still warm…


We had invited a friend to lunch, but a flight delay meant that she eventually missed the lunch and luckily, she lives just down the road from us so we sent a tray with a complete meal, including a slice of homemade apple pie for dessert, so she had something to eat when she got home. Hmmm, now what do we do with the leftovers from the vacuum lunch??



  1. Doddie from Korea says:


    What to do with your leftovers? Send them to me, MM. LOL I’ve got great news, I’ll be visiting Manila this June. Do you want me to bring over some millet for you? Or homemade gochujang and dwenjang sauces? I’ve got a ton in the fridge. If there is any korean product that you need, just email me and I’ll be glad to carry them over for you.

    From one foodie to another


    Mar 31, 2008 | 7:27 am


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  3. rina says:

    hi MM, if you end up with roasted beets again try doing a salad of field greens, roasted beets, feta and toasted walnuts with a simple balsamic dressing. this is my favourite way of using up roasted beets.

    Mar 31, 2008 | 10:38 am

  4. arlene says:

    Hi MM,

    what a meal….
    Can you please help me finde a good place to buy sausages?
    We love the octoberfest sausages of M and M in canada, they are erally good my family loves it. We even bought boxes of them and bring them here in manila.

    How about in manila is there a good place to buy sausages?


    Mar 31, 2008 | 1:02 pm

  5. Katrina says:

    You know the show “Doorknock Dinners,” where a chef shows up unannounced at someone’s house and makes a full meal based on whatever happened to be in their kitchen? Your house would be no challenge at all for the chef, as your pantry’s probably better stocked than a restaurant! ;-) On the other hand, a chef would be hard put to cook in MY kitchen. My refrigerator’s total contents: some cheese, jam, salad dressing, condiments, butter, bread, yogurt, and a bit of left over salami. You wouldn’t need a vacuum cleaner to clean that out; a feather duster would suffice. ;-)

    Mar 31, 2008 | 1:30 pm

  6. Marketman says:

    Katrina, hahaha, yup, the chef might be a bit overwhelmed with odds and ends at our place… Actually, I have never seen the show “Doorknock Dinners” but it sounds interesting… arlene, I haven’t found fantastic sausages in Manila, but there are some decent ones for sale at Mickey’s Deli on Jupiter Street, Santis delicatessen and S&R… though the selection is rather limited… Rina, I do look beets with feta or a blue cheese with endive… so your salad is a very close version and sounds delicious! Doddie, you are too kind… actually, I can’t think of anything and don’t want to be a bother… many thanks, though. :)

    Mar 31, 2008 | 2:08 pm

  7. Beth says:

    For a well stocked pantry as yours, it’s a no brainer to concoct a dish to use up all the left overs!But thanks for this post,I need to clean up my ref and pantry too!

    Mar 31, 2008 | 2:09 pm

  8. alicia says:

    Sausages, warm potato salad, pickled beets.. yum, very German! I absolutely love beet salad and find that not many people enjoy it as much as I do.My part German/part Irish Grandmother used to make it for me all the time, ah memories !

    Mar 31, 2008 | 3:10 pm

  9. risa says:

    Where do you get sweet Italian sausages?

    Mar 31, 2008 | 6:40 pm

  10. Marketman says:

    risa, you can sometimes get Italian sweet sausages at S&R and at Santis.

    Mar 31, 2008 | 9:10 pm

  11. Gwiz says:

    Hehe, my kids call it my “tira tira” day when I clear up my ref, freezer and pantry (for nearing expiration stuff) and then proceed to concoct whatever. I have come up with some really weird ones. =)

    Apr 1, 2008 | 7:41 pm

  12. wysgal says:

    I know that frozen meats last forever (sort of …) but I do need to remind myself to consume all the 6-month old chicken breasts in my freezer before going out and buying more groceries.

    Apr 2, 2008 | 4:19 am

  13. skyemermaid says:

    what a thoughtful neighbor you are :)

    how i’d love to have that tray of food waiting for me after dealing with a delayed flight.

    Apr 2, 2008 | 5:21 pm

  14. dorky's girl says:

    Arlene, I buy good (and very reasonably priced) sausages from Earl’s Deli. They have a “stall” in the meat section in Shopwise Cubao. They have kielbasa, hungarian sausage, and other sausages. They also have great roast beef for making yummy roast beef sandwiches, plus many other deli items. I think they also have different branches and they deliver too..but i lost their number. :) Good luck!

    Apr 5, 2008 | 1:41 pm

  15. dhayL says:

    It’s really amazing how we can create something new out of leftovers! Whenever we have left over beef lets say from nilaga/bulalo, i’ll peel out the meat, and I use it for fried rice, same thing for chicken I can add it when making pansit or sopas!

    Apr 7, 2008 | 12:55 am

  16. Topster says:

    Im with you dhayl, with left over meats I usually use them as pansahog to my guinisang gulay (pakbet, upo, sayote and munggo soup). I also use them whenever I cook my favorite instant Korean noodles. I usually add the soup mixture in the boiling water first instead of the noodles so if I want to add leftover meats or fresh vegetables they’d have time to infuse with the flavors.

    I tried using leftover Chickenjoy and Shopwise’s roast for chicken sandwich. Its passable, I just cant let food go to waste! must’ve got it from my mom! LOL!

    Apr 14, 2008 | 12:55 pm

  17. peya says:

    Hello… we sell sausages, my brother in law makes them. We don’t do retail since we sell in bulk to some hotels and restaurants. but i do sell retail only in our village, so does my sister in her village. we are in the south side, me in United Paranaque 1 and my sister in La Marea. since wholesale, our prices are a bit lower than those in the supermarkets. drop me an email if you would be interested to try our sausages and other processed meats — peyacid@yahoo.com :D

    Jul 22, 2008 | 7:56 pm


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