24 Jul2011

We have three refrigerators and lots of food in the house on any given day. It’s not a typical larder, in this day and age, but I am fairly into our food, as many of you know after reading this blog over the last 6+ years… So every few months or so, I get this urge to purge, and that doesn’t mean throw out. More often than not, it means inviting a few friends over on a lazy Saturday or Sunday, and the personal challenge is to use up as much of the odds and ends in the fridges and pantry as possible. The meals don’t have to make sense, but they still have to taste good, and folks can pick and choose and hopefully in the end, the objective of clearing out “stuff” is reasonably achieved. Few friends turn down these last minute invites… :)

Besides the odds and ends, the weekend is when we have an incredible amount of wonderful produce, including herbs, on hand. Market forays, CSA boxes, etc. result in a very well-stocked fridge, and often, I have to think of ways to use all of the wonderful bounty. Here, I start the meal with several tapas and salads, meant for folks to take as they please… loading up on one dish that strikes their fancy, or a bit of everything. But again, the rule is to “mop up” and finish everything… Up top, some white shrimp or suahe from the freezer is defrosted, brined, peeled and de-veined and made into a buttery gambas… patterned after a version I saw on the Australian Masterchef TV series. It’s done with butter, pureed garlic, salt and pepper, and a last minute addition of basil, here in two colors purple and green. The key is to just barely cook the shrimp or they will toughen. I love that this recipe has no big bits of garlic, but instead the sauce is seriously infused with garlic flavor. The tender soft shrimp are lightyears away from hard chewy overcooked gambas so often served in restaurants…

A second hot tapas is this simple dish of prosciutto, slow-roasted oven tomatoes, manchego cheese, whole eggs, Italian parsley and salt and pepper. Also inspired by the same TV episode from Australia. I changed several of the ingredients in this case, but nothing could be simpler to make… and these would be brilliant for breakfast. Simply place the slow-roasted tomatoes (they store well in the fridge if you want to make a big batch of them at home, as we did beforehand), and other ingredients in a small cast iron pan or ceramic “cazuela” and place in a hot oven for 8-10 minutes until the eggs are just set. Serve with sliced french bread on the side. Delicious! A nice meal for one. The first salad was made of shaved fennel with three kinds of citrus, all of them hanging out in the chiller waiting for their final use… Simply peel and section some oranges, grapefruit and pomelos and add some shaved fennel and olive oil and salt and pepper and garnish with fennel leaves or dill fronds and serve cold. Refreshing, light and very easy.

Some vinegared or pickled beets we made last weekend were still in the fridge, so I took those out, added some cubed sweet Chinese pears from the fruit bin, and garnished with fresh mint. The pears take on an incredible lighter shade of beet and the mint leaves make them appear so cooking showish… :)

Another great “mop-up dish” is the farro salad in the center of the photo above. Ancient grains, mixed with the remnants of bottled artichokes from the giant S&R bottle that has wallowed in the fridge for months… add the 3/4 bottle of brilliant local feta cheese from the Gawad Kalinga Farm in Bulacan, stray black olives, Italian parsley, basil, oven-dried tomatoes, olive oil and balsamic vinegar and chilled before serving. I really like this salad. But we only have it a few times a year, whenever I remember to stock up on farro (the grain) on trips abroad… We also laid out some sliced prosciutto in another dish, some sliced french bread (the only thing we purchased specifically for the meal that evening), etc. And that was only the appetizer spread. :) I forgot to photograph the main course but it was simple enough — a roasted mega chicken that had been in the deep freeze… just stuffed with lots of fresh herbs, a lemon, massaged it with butter, and seasoned liberally with salt and pepper. Under the chicken we cooked some carrots and potatoes. For dessert we had a pili cake, homemade marzipan (post coming up), an apple pie and guests brought a lemon meringue cake, also home-made. Finish off with tea and the odd bits of dark chocolate from the fridge and mission accomplished. :)



  1. maris says:

    MM, are you related to the Johnny and Milagros? Nice write up of your resto the other day. It was from there that I learned of your last name.
    Congrats on your second outlet.

    Jul 24, 2011 | 5:41 pm


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  3. Marketman says:

    maris, yes we are related…

    Jul 24, 2011 | 6:05 pm

  4. Peach says:

    How fun! :) Oh and your odds and ends are pretty impressive! If I were to hold a similar party, my friends would probably end up eating leftover adobo and mushy laswa. For dessert, a half carton of chocolait. Hahaha.

    Jul 24, 2011 | 6:13 pm

  5. maris says:

    My late sis/law was a niece of Johnny B. His children also bake. Especially yummy sans rival. That passion and talent certainly runs in your family.

    Jul 24, 2011 | 6:29 pm

  6. atbnorge says:

    Nice spread MM! I know it’s spontaneous and a lot of fun. I for one had a cooking marathon a few months back as part of spring cleaning. I made salmon escabeche, and four other dishes. It was not only to rid of the old stock of food but also to find out what porcelain service and table linen to give away to charity. I ended up keeping the service and table linen thinking “Till next cooking marathon.”

    Jul 24, 2011 | 8:03 pm

  7. Phil says:

    I do hope we have the same food stock and the same culinary creativity as yours, MM.
    “The key is to just barely cook the shrimp or they will toughen.” How right you are on this one! For me, this is the first key to judging a good seafood resto. I really don’t know why, but with with supposed to be years of experience of seafood resto chefs, I wonder why most could not nail this one down.

    Jul 24, 2011 | 9:28 pm

  8. KUMAGCOW says:

    Did you already get a new camera sir MM?!

    Jul 24, 2011 | 9:32 pm

  9. Marketman says:

    KUMAGCOW, no, still mooching cameras off of everyone else… need a new camera soon! Phil, for shrimp, I find the brining also takes them to the next level, along with the just cooking them enough… maris, small world indeed… :)

    Jul 24, 2011 | 9:47 pm

  10. Gerry says:

    Check out http://www.dpreview.com if you need help choosing a camera.

    Jul 25, 2011 | 2:09 am

  11. Girl golfing says:

    It must be amazing living in your house and having a gourmet kitchen. When i grow up i would like to have that too :-)

    Jul 25, 2011 | 2:34 am

  12. millet says:

    i like cleaning our my fridge this way too. those are all picture-perfect, MM, and am sure delicious, but my choice would be the dish in the cazuela, with a bit of the citrus salad, and the beet salad. what the…..i want them all!

    Jul 25, 2011 | 8:17 am

  13. lorna says:

    thank you, thank you again for these ideas. a very nice way to break the usual meals at home. i am inspired again.

    Jul 25, 2011 | 12:06 pm

  14. Nacho says:

    MM what a feast! could you do that in my house too? though I am sure I don’t have the variety of odds and ends as you do, your creativity and culinary prowess will certainly make up for it. I could pay you with tomatoes and peppers?…
    just kidding!

    Jul 25, 2011 | 2:06 pm

  15. Marketman says:

    Nacho, I still have to schedule a time to visit the farm… and if the tomatoes are really ripe, you should bottle them if the right type of tomato, I know I would love to bottle them. And you can do roasted peppers with the excess peppers… :) Gerry, thanks for the link, I am down to choosing between a Canon G12 and a Lumix of some sort…

    Jul 25, 2011 | 2:18 pm

  16. Nacho says:

    MM you are welcome in the farm anytime, though if we can schedule your visit a couple of months from now it would be great. I just planted a very nice cherry tomato, your critique of it would be most appreciated. As to the bottling, I need to do some research on it. We do have excess production during the summer and have had trouble getting rid of all our harvested tomatoes and peppers at times. We have tried sun drying but it’s just too humid to do it “au natural” in the Philippines, maybe bottling would work?

    Jul 25, 2011 | 4:09 pm

  17. millet says:

    MM, how long do roasted tomatoes keep in the fridge? i was afraid they ‘d get moldy so i put them in a plastic tub which i stuck in the freezer. of course they turned into tomato popsicles, and when thawed, they were a watery mush :-(

    Jul 25, 2011 | 9:39 pm

  18. eddie says:

    this is the first time i read your blog. i was intersted because iv watched KMJS episode about food blogging. no wonder why jessica soho said you are the only food blogger she follows.

    Jul 26, 2011 | 4:25 am

  19. Betchay says:

    nice way to clean up your ref and cupboards! :) Love the 1st and 2nd photos….very appetizing!

    Jul 26, 2011 | 10:58 am

  20. betty q. says:

    Millet…they do get MOLDY in time. Check you fridge temp. Also, best to use sterilized containers if planning to store it. Also, maybe roast small quantities and keep them in olive oil. But if you want to store it for longer period of time maybe roast them longer till they turn to like sun dried tomatoes but still a bit moist. Dunk them in olive oil and use a sterilized jar.

    Jul 26, 2011 | 12:37 pm

  21. Marketman says:

    Millet, I store them soaked in olive oil, and they last about 10-12 days or so. And yes, they do tend to mold as bettyq mentions above. Maybe if you plunge your bottle into boling water for say 8 minutes it would be enough to arrest the mold growth… but I haven’t tried that myself. Nacho, okay, will think say October/November or so maybe…?

    Jul 27, 2011 | 7:54 am

  22. filet minion says:

    Glad you found the GK cheese brilliant, MM! Do you mind if I use/ “steal with your consent” the photo of the salad in a brochure? (MM anticipated answer: Filet minion, I only get riled up when unscrupulous people cavalierly infringe copyright, but for GK’s cause, I will graciously concede. rest assured, you will neither receive my wrath nor a demand to cease and desist from my battery of lawyers)

    Yey, thank you in advance!!! (must do so because I don’t know when I will next have internet access when in the GK farm)

    Jul 27, 2011 | 10:38 am

  23. Marketman says:

    filet minion, you have consent, in exchange for future exchange of legal services if I ever end up in jail and need a public defendant… hahaha. :)

    Jul 27, 2011 | 10:02 pm


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