Category Archive: Otherwise, Trash

Otherwise, Trash: Parsnip Cores Crudité

Parsnips and carrots share silhouettes, but that’s where their similarities end.  Bitten into whole and raw, carrots crack and crunch; parsnips chew like wet stick.  Yes, both are sweet, but carrots’ flavors are accessible and convenient, parsnips’ more elusive, remote.

Otherwise, Trash: Sauteed Spinach Stems

Advisory: This recipe uses whole, dirt-dusted bunch spinach, whose thicker, veined leaves stand strident on sturdy, crunchy stems. Compare bunch spinach to pre-washed, pillow-packaged, baby greens, popular not because of taste or long shelf life, but necessary convenience. Most of us won’t make the effort to wash, clean, and dismember a whole leafy plant, given […]

Knife Skills Slaw

Purple Kale’s knife skills class works through ingredients in a range of shapes, densities, sizes, and textures–carrots, onion, celery, cucumber, garlic, herbs. They collect in heaps of slices, dices, and scraps. With a little sugar, salt, and vinegar, these assorted cuts turn into a fresh, happy slaw. This recipe rewards careful knife work, which is, […]

Otherwise, Trash: Dried Spent Lemons

In my kitchen are lemon halves I use for juice, but don’t bother to wrap and put away. Sitting on the counter overnight in dry winter air, their cut surfaces pull taut. After a week, residual juices turn amber and musky, pulps shrink and recede into their triangular rooms. Yellow peels tint to orange (where […]

Squash by way of Mole: Shortribs Braised with Whole Pumpkin and Chile

The squash, with dense, but fragrant flesh and chewy, if not formidable seeds, is an overlooked kit unto itself for silky, substantial winter sauces. In this dish below, shortribs and squash braise together. Informed by mole, a Mexican sauce of chiles and nuts, I char vegetables, add tomato and let it cook slowly with broth, […]

Otherwise, Trash: What is Chicken Salt?

Take chicken wings. Oil lightly and salt well. Roast on high heat until caramel colored, completely crisp all over, and charred at the tips. Remove the wings to a serving plate; set aside or eat. Drain off fat in the roasting pan, leaving crusty, browned bits behind. Scrape up the bits. This is Chicken Salt.

Otherwise, Trash: Confit Watermelon Rind

A watermelon consumes its unfair share of kitchen space, given that we use but one-third of its edible weight.  At its peak, watermelon is sweet and vegetal, porous and dense, tender and crisp.  A picnic slice reveals these different textures and tastes; in its colorful striations, we see possibilities for the fruit beyond snack.

“Otherwise, Trash” Talk.

The press has been hot on the topic of food waste these last few weeks, giving some of the city’s best chefs due coverage of a terrific food waste restaurant. But while writers, drunk with self-reflection, celebrate this quirky (and worthy) chef exercise, what’s the take-away for the rest of us? No one wants to […]

The “Otherwise, Trash” Trend

Kim Severson of the NYTimes wrote yesterday of recent trends toward efficiency in the kitchen, in efforts to reduce food waste at home.  I’ve been told that being an expert of re-purposed food carries a certain culinary clout; it is a status-marker of the contemporary cook. Severson’s article confirms that, as do publishers who want […]

Otherwise, Trash: Apple Peels Slaw

For the record, I don’t find every food scrap good to eat. Carrot tops taste of dirt, no matter the fix with salt or cheese. But when I find myself munching on, say, a pile of apple peels, I’m prompted to ask, “What can I do with these?”

Otherwise, Trash: Tomato Seed Dressing

Some restaurants “fillet” tomatoes. A filleted tomato is the flesh sliced clean from its skin and seed pockets.  Of flat, even thickness, filleted tomatoes may be cut to a nice, uniform dice. Now, a dated garnish, diced tomato fillets still appear on a kitchen line–for one, their soft flesh breaks to sauce quickly in a […]

Otherwise, Trash: Cucumber Peel Kimchi

Peels make good pickles. In this case, cucumbers employed for cold summer soup, leave us a pile of peels that call for a quick “put up.” Taking seasoning cues from kimchi, a traditionally fermented Korean pickle, we pair these peels with salt, garlic, rice vinegar, chili flake, and scallion. They yield quickly to the flavors, […]

Otherwise, Trash: Day-Old Salad Turned to Tomato-Olive Oil Soup

Yesterday’s salad is hard to love.  Time turns muddled and mushy what was once crisp and bright. Dressed too long, salad is the leftover without another life. But I found redemption recently, in day-old Greek salad.  Not, that is, in its leading parts, but in the combined liquids—tomato juice, olive oil, vinegar—pooled at the bottom […]

Better than Popcorn–Spicy Crisped (leftover) Rice

Rice survives the turn to “day old,” but barely. Cold and starchy, it begs to be fried; its molded form resists rejuvenation. Fried rice must have been born in a moment like this, about 1500 years ago, and it continues to sustain us in a pinch. In Purple Kale’s kitchen, fried rice becomes a standard […]

A Zero-Waste Habit: The Case of Clementine Peels

Purple Kale Kitchenworks didn’t start as a platform for condemning food waste. Our aim in using every scrap of each ingredient is to create a flexible system for making delicious, impromptu things to eat. The success of this system depends on how it fits with the way we live our lives. We will only cut […]

Otherwise, Trash: Leek Stalk Linguine

Discovering new ways to use familiar ingredients begins with examining them in all their distinct parts. With leeks, we may examine the typically-jettisoned stalks, as we’ve done in previous “Otherwise, Trash” entries. This time, opening up the stalks themselves reveals further creative uses for their differently hued parts. Have you ever looked inside a leek […]

Otherwise, Trash: Apple Core Mostarda

Here, we take the leftover bloated apple cores from making Apple Core Agrodolce and remove the near gelatinous, intensely sweet and sour flesh.  What remains are seeds and stems.  These, I’ll let you put in the trash. Apple Core Mostarda Membrillo is jellied quince confection, typically served with cheese and cured meats.  Here, the apple […]

Otherwise, Trash: Apple Core Agrodolce

Apple Core Agrodolce A recipe for your reclusive cores. Agrodolce is an Italian sweet and sour sauce.  Here, we reduce sugar and vinegar with apple cores, for delicious, intensely-concentrated essence of fall.  Agrodolce plays well with meats, along with the less obvious uses we play around with here.

Otherwise, Trash: Shallot Apple (cores) Agrodolce

This is perhaps one of the most assertive, yet versatile ways to serve the simple shallot. Apple Core Agrodolce turns seared shallots into something that both emboldens a bowl of soft, warm polenta, and tames gamey meat.  Coarsely chopped, it turns into a condiment all its own, with a several week shelf life.

Otherwise, Trash: Apple (cores) Bourbon

Cocktail is a favorite Purple Kale category for uses of things that are Otherwise, Trash.  Here, we combine Apple Core Agrodolce (a sweet and sour sauce) with excellent brandy for a drink–hot or cold–that takes you right through fall.

Solving Two Problems with Stocks

Lately, I’ve been thinking about two separate problems with stocks. First, that we discard the contents of a stock pot, left after the broth gets strained.* Second, most stocks simply take too long for home cooks to make, with payoff that is elusive beyond the task of soup. So I started thinking about stocks that […]

Otherwise, Trash: Garlic Peels Vinegar

I’ve documented before Purple Kale’s method of poaching whole, unwrapped garlic cloves.  Once raw and astringent, these cloves, cooked slowly, submerged in water, become mellow, deeply fragrant and long on flavor.  In Purple Kale’s workshop, we include poached garlic to illustrate how simple techniques paired with common ingredients yield delicious, versatile things.  In addition to […]

Otherwise, Trash: Watermelon Rind Four Ways

We play around a great deal with watermelon rind at Purple Kale, so we forget folks out there still deign to throw it away.  Here, we’ve found a way to dissect the rind further than ever before.   In the following recipes, we use not only the lightly-sweet white pulp to make a granite and summer […]

Crunchy Pickled Watermelon Rinds; Salad of Watermelon Rinds, Salami, Feta, and Parsley Vinaigrette

CRUNCHY PICKLED WATERMELON RINDS The watermelon’s protective green helmet makes outstanding, forever-crisp pickles.

Watermelon Rind Granita and White Rind Rummy


Otherwise, Trash: Braised and Pickled Kale Stems

To the naysayers:  yes, you CAN cook kale with its stem on.  Chard and collard greens, too.  Stems for these bundles remain tougher than their attached leaves, but to expedite wrangling the season’s outsized greens, many cooks embrace the contrast. Still at Purple Kale, resourcefulness is not just about economy of time or ingredients, but […]

Otherwise, Trash: Broccoli Stem Pickles

Pickles don’t require the forethought and planning cases of cucumbers and Mason jars suggest.  Sometimes, the best pickles are the ones we dress quickly and casually, in the style of warmer weather.   Pickling is a great way to use scraps of produce and fruit we would otherwise throw away (see: The Pickle Bank).   As it […]

Barnyard Broth, the Accidental Stock

Stocks take time to make, and though I champion their versatile and foundational use, few home cooks I know make them at all.  If I am bent on having people use homemade stocks, I figure, I ought to come up with respectable options that take less time to make.  

Stalk Vinaigrette–“Otherwise, Trash” Taken Twice

My favorite “Otherwise, Trash“ recipe is for a five-minute stock made from the scraps of the green and white vegetables I use in cooking other things. As we learn in Purple Kale’s workshops, Stalk Stock makes a fantastic base for risotto and soup. It exposes boxed vegetable stock for the food-colored sham it is.

Otherwise, Trash: Green Pepper Cores Relish

If you bite into the core of a green bell pepper, with its blond seeds and spongy white flesh, you’ll find little to redeem it.  But roast the same pieces–seeds, stem and all–and you have something that tastes of pepper, still, but also of zucchini, with toasty seeds that hint at an otherwise anticipated bitterness.

Otherwise, Trash: Beet Peels Vinaigrette

I like to roast beets.  I pair them unapologetically retro with greens, nuts, and cheese. Weeks ago, I was brought a bunch of beets, dug up fresh from Long Island. They were small and crusted with dirt. Washing them revealed a striking, moddled gray skin. Pausing over the peel, I noticed that there were enough […]

Taking Stock of What’s Trash

Sometimes, we need to get food on the table in the most assured way, without operating on impulse and discovery.  But only if we are open to the possibilities accumulating around us as we prepare meals, particularly those items we’d otherwise throw away, do we develop a habit of curiosity, which is key to becoming […]

Otherwise, Trash: Corn, Green Pepper, and Watermelon Rind Salad

Last July, the New York Times ran an article featuring Purple Kale Kitchenworks, on using vegetables scraps, roots, and stems, the “nose to tail” take on the produce aisle.  To the research, we contributed an “Otherwise, Trash” recipe for Watermelon Rind Gazpacho, a rich, substantial, summer soup.  Since then, I’ve habitually stockpiled rinds in my […]

The “Otherwise, Trash” Trend

“Otherwise, Trash,” my column about using scraps of food we might otherwise throw away, has become the media-darling of Purple Kale Kitchenworks, and remains the most searched of “2 minutes to dinner” entries. Publishers who want to make the column into an impulse-buy book tell me that being an expert on re-purposed food carries a […]

Feeding Kids: A Toast Crusts Tale

A few months ago, I wrote about using the crusts of toasts some of us cut off daily for our kids.  When I didn’t eat them for my own breakfast, I saved them to make a Buttermilk Banana Bread Crusts Pudding.  It’s the kind of thing I do, in part because I’m manic about not […]

Otherwise, Trash: Potato Peel Chips

Potato peels make ideal chips.  They crisp naturally in the oven with little oil.  They curl and tangle invitingly into a messy heap.  They are quick to make and even quicker to eat.  You may never buy bagged chips again. The effort to make peel chips is the same for 1 potato or 10.  Toss […]

Otherwise, Trash: Strainer Smarts

I love my chinois.  It might be my favorite kitchen tool.  Its conical-shaped, fine, overlapping mesh strains out the tiniest seeds, fiber, and pulp from sauces and purees.  It turns soup into something “silky,” and transforms a rustic sauce into one more elegant. For me, what passes through the chinois is only part of the […]

Otherwise, Trash: Celery Leaves and Ends

This is a companion entry to a previous installment of “Might As Well,” the periodic “2 minutes to dinner” column about using leftover quantities of raw ingredients we typically throw away.  In “Might As Well: Celery,” I shared a bundle of ideas for using extra, unused stalks of celery that typically languish in the fridge. […]

Otherwise, Trash: Creamed Leek Stems

I like to cook with leeks, and for a long time, I ended up with bundles of army-green stems that went straight to the trash. Then, as chronicled in a previous entry of “Otherwise, Trash,” I improvised a leek vinaigrette, built around these same stems, which I make to dress grains or for potato salad. […]

Otherwise, Trash: Mock Apple Cider

“Save the cooking liquid,” is a common Purple Kale refrain. Use grain water for a soup base, vegetable water for a mock stock. The strategy is to cook one thing, but take away two, the item you’re preparing and the liquid left over. Sometimes, the cooking water is strictly utilitarian, not entirely flavorful on its […]

Otherwise, Trash: Bread Crusts

(This is a reprint of a guest post I wrote for Park Slope Parents on October 27th) Child-free cooks are often incredulous at the ways in which parents accommodate the eating “preferences” of kids. In our house, for instance, we love toast. The crustier the better. But sometimes our kids protest the effort it takes […]

Poached Garlic Soup: Otherwise, Trash

A few heads of garlic turned once into a condiment, then its poaching liquid into a stock, and finally the both combined into soup. An Otherwise, Trash entry for the die-hard conservationists among us. Poached Garlic Soup Yield: 4 servings 4 cups Garlic Stock 1/3 to 1/2 cup Poached Garlic 2 small Yukon Gold potatoes, […]

Otherwise, Trash: corn cobs

In my house, corn cobs never go to waste. After shaving off the raw kernels, I hand the messy, milky cobs to my kids as “pops.” When I am feeling particularly ambitious, however, I keep them all to myself, and make soup. Local corn is plentiful here, still, but fall produce is on its way […]

Otherwise, Trash: The Pickle Bank

I like August for its invitation to “put food up,” to fill Mason jars with bright tomatoes, freezer bags with sweet corn. Of course, true “putting up” is for the dedicated and ambitious: big batch canning sessions are logistically complex, sweaty, scalding, and unglamorous affairs. Some forms of preserving, however, provide easier “ins” than others. […]

Workshop Improvisations and Watermelon Rind Soup

July workshops were a good excuse to play with some nice summer stocks (garlic, mud, stalk. . .), rinds and shoots (watermelon and garlic), early zucchini and tomatoes, and fruity summer drinks. Some workshop improvisations included Yukon Gold Potato and Two Garlic Salad, Seared Polenta with Swiss Chard Stem Jam, Pappardelle with Za’atar Chicken Jus, […]

Otherwise, Trash: Leek Stalks

Every recipe for leeks reads the same: “Trim leeks, using white and light green part only. Discard the dark green stalks.” This is where we come in. “Otherwise, Trash” is a Purple Kale Kitchenworks series about using parts of ingredients we might otherwise throw away. Below is a recipe for turning those tough, dusty leek […]

Otherwise, Trash: Garlic Stock

Garlic Stock is made from the peels and liquid that remains after poaching heads of garlic. If you’ve never poached garlic, a recipe follows, below. Garlic Stock 1 small onion, thinly sliced 1 small bulb fennel, thinly sliced 1 small carrot, thinly sliced 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 teaspoons salt 6 stems thyme […]

Otherwise, Trash: Stalk Stock

Some waste is a necessary by-product of cooking. Perhaps that explains the popular trend toward pre-cut vegetables and fruit. After all, if we buy mushroom tops, because they require less effort to prepare, we are buying food that we are more likely to eat. Of course, the convenience is not just in minimizing the labor […]

Otherwise, trash: Swiss Chard Stems

The thing about cooking leafy winter greens is that you have to use a lot to yield enough for a large group to eat. Like the people you might have had over for Thanksgiving. Swiss chard leaves are tough raw, but take well to a slow simmer. We discard the stems, though, because they break […]

Otherwise, Trash: a new blog series

A zero-waste kitchen is a noble goal, but to use up odd parts of ingredients we might otherwise throw away means we have to justify the extra time spent to create and execute a dish that we might not have exactly planned for. Introducing a new blog series here at “2 minutes to dinner” called […]