Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Best of the Leftovers

Tuesdays were never meant to be this easy. D and I came home a bit late and a bit short on planning tonite. I thought I'd make turkey legs with mushroom masala sauce, but D said he was sick of turkey. We've eaten it every day since Thursday. That's five straight days: turkey slices, turkey soup, turkey slices, turkey soup (again), turkey stuffed in delicata squash boats . . . I knew I was pushing the limit. So I asked him to defrost the sirloin I have in the freezer, and to pick up some lettuce and mushrooms so that I could make a beef and ginger stir fry and a salad. But when I got home, he said he had just gotten home and didn't have a chance to do it. Well, I said, I kinda wanted to order Atomic Wings anyway, and I started getting together some money to give him so he could pick them up on the way back from the gym.

But then I thought: damn, I have so much food in this fridge right now why can't I just make something...it doesn't even have to have turkey in it! So I started taking out the cubed butternut squash that I had from the other night, the chopped kale, the ginger, an onion, some quinoa; I figured I'd make a stir fry. But then I thought: why not add some ground turkey that I haven't yet stuck in the freezer. Add some leftover ricotta cheese in there to make it all mushy. Maybe he won't even notice. And I could bake it in some of the phyllo dough that we used the other night.

I swear, this must be the best leftover turkey recipe I've ever dreamt up. I cooked it while I was listening to this awesome online service called Pandora radio (www. pandora.com, thanks so much to Ariel for the tip!) which takes a musician who you like, and collects all of the music that is like that music that you like, as rated by other pandora service users, and you just listen to it as though it is a radio station. You get to say whether or not you like the songs you hear, and pandora promises that it will not play songs like that one again. Anyway, I've been playing my Matt Nathanson station since this afternoon at work and I love it. What a great way to discover new music, seeing as how there is not a single consistently decent radio station that plays music that I like here in NYC.

I talked to an old friend while I was doing the dishes, and poured a glass of new Brooklyn Oeneology Motley Cru (very interesting...made by a local vintner so small they don't even have a website! I get my B.O. wines from LeNell's Wine & Likker (http://www.lenells.com/). Then I cooked up this thing:

Turkey Phyllo Torte

1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp minced ginger
1 cup turkey
2-3 cups shredded kale
1 cup cubed butternut squash (uncooked)
1/4 cup chopped mushrooms
2 tbsp small black currants
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp paprika
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 pkg (8 oz) phyllo dough
olive oil

Saute the onion until it becomes a golden brown and gives off a heady scent. Add the diced ginger and garlic and saute until tender. Add the ground turkey, brown for a bit, and then add in the butternut squash, kale, and mushrooms. Add some water or broth as needed to keep the mixture moist. Toss in a handful of currants. Then season with salt, pepper, cinnamon, and paprika. Saute until everything is cooked through and the butternut squash is a bit mushy, but not too mushy. Take off the heat and set aside until it is no longer too hot to work with. Line a springform pan (or a pie pan, but it won't turn out as a torte). Layer phyllo dough sheets, about five atop one another arranged to cover the pan, spraying some olive oil in between each layer.

Scoop in half of your turkey/kale/squash mixture and spread at the bottom generously but evenly. Dollop your ricotta cheese atop that layer, and repeat with another layer of turkey/kale/squash. Pat evenly, and layer another five phyllo dough sheets evenly over the filling.

Pop it in the oven at 350 for 45 minutes, then 400 for 15 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned. Serve with a dollop of yogurt and some nuts (pistacchios). But if we were to make this recipe again (which seems likely) we'd sprinkle a handful of pistaccio nuts in the middle of the torte.

What a perfect meal.

The leftovers make a great lunch for the next day. I packed ours with a few olives, a slice of mango, and a handful of pecans. If you heat everything up together, it's delicious.

1 comment:

Manhattnik said...

What a fantastic blog. You're making me so hungry...