Category Archives: Reclamation Recipes

Starting from Scraps…

I was recently given the wonderful opportunity to write, cook, style and photograph my own story about leftovers for Dining. It appeared in yesterday’s New York Times. Although this is what I do here in this space all the time the magnitude of seeing it in print on the cover yesterday and the reception and congratulations I received from friends and colleagues was amazing. It was quite a different experience to see both my photo byline on top of my writing byline in such a prominent space. It’s nice when an old dog can do a few new tricks once in a while. Thanks for reading and thanks for all of the kind words.


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Reclamation Recipes # 3 Millie’s Brunch Burrito

You may recognize this avatar that represents my Grandmother Millie as one of the characters in my Idiom Cafe Series. Before blog fame made her a household name, Grandma Millie’s fridge was legendary.  She was a child of the depression, deeply religious and was the first one to throw that “There are children in (insert impoverished country here) who would be very grateful for that last bite of spinach”. The fridge held dozens of tiny containers and baggies holding the likes of  3 string beans and 4 broccoli crowns and half of a chopped red bell pepper. I opened the door to mine the other day and had a flashback. It was time to channel my inner Millie and make use of the bits and pieces. In back to back weeks, I had assignments for omelets and then grainy, healthy lunches. I was left of all sorts of chopped and blanched veggies, an extra dozen eggs and some lavash bread. . It was time for a reclamation brunch.

Millie’s Brunch Burrito

5 eggs

2 tbs. milk

1 tbs butter or olive oil

1/4 C. blanched swiss chard, chopped fine

1/4 chopped red bell pepper

4 steamed broccoli crowns, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 small onion, chopped

1 tsp crushed red pepper

2 lavash breads

salt and pepper to taste

hot sauce if desired

Heat a medium skillet over medium heat and melt the butter (or olive oil) and add the onion and allow to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining vegetables and saute for an additional 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for an additional minute.

Whip the eggs with the milk and add to the pan, swirling around to coat the bottom of the skillet around the vegetables. Let the eggs set and then lift up the sides of the omelet with a spatula and allow the egg to run underneath. When the omelet is fully set take a plate roughly the same size as the omelet and lay it flat over the eggs. Carefully flip the omelet out of the pan and onto the plate and return it to the pan on the undercooked side. Let it cook  an additional minute and remove to a cutting board.

Lay the lavash bread on a flat surface wide side facing you, slice the omelet in strips, fill the middle of the flatbread with omelet strips, season with more salt and pepper to taste, hot sauce if you like, ketchup if you dare, fold right and left sides toward the middle, about 2 inches from each side, roll and tuck eggs as you fold bottom of the bread toward the center and finishing rolling until the seam is under the roll. Cut in 2, serve and eat. Enjoy.

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Reclamation Recipes # 2 Scrappy Tuna Salad

I was home and under the weather. Hungry. Cranky. Not a whole lot in the fridge and even less motivation to make lunch or leave the house to find something to eat. I scanned the cupboard and only found a little of this and a little of that…a handful of walnuts, a few dried cranberries, half a Granny Smith apple left from the Recipes for Health Apples shoot and some bread. Through the haze of my head cold I had some inspiration. I am really fond of the tuna salad with cranberries and apples that I get at the Whole Foods prepared foods section, so I crossed my fingers and searched for some canned tuna in the cabinet. I was in luck… and here is my approximation of that dish. I was a little less grumpy after lunch.


Half a small onion cut in small dice

1/4 C. walnut pieces

1/4 C. dried cranberries, chopped

1/2 Granny Smith apple, cut in small dice

2 6 oz. cans of Albacore packed in water, drained

2 Tbsp. mayonaise

salt and pepper to taste

toasted whole wheat bread

Mix all ingredients, add more mayo if you feel it’s too dry for you, serve on toasted bread and add some lettuce and tomato, celery, carrot…whatever you have laying’s ok. Enjoy.

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Reclamation Recipes # 1 Odd’s & End’s Chicken Soup

One of the things that I often have to contend with in my kitchen, particularly after a shoot, is what to do with all of the leftovers and odds and ends in the fridge. I hate to waste food. In fact, it bothers me at a cellular level. I often feed my extended family, my neighbors, friends who have office jobs and their co-workers…basically whoever will take the food off my hands. Even with all of these outlets, I still end up with all manner of things in my fridge that need to be eaten or more often re-purposed. I realized lately that I have evolved into a different type of cook. One who more often than not reuses ingredients and makes things from the scraps. I’d like to think I’m like the artist who uses found objects to create rather than starting with fresh, new materials.

So, after a discussion with friend recently about how to re-incorporate recipes into this space…something that has been sorely lacking…I want to introduce a new recurring feature called…Reclamation Recipes. I will be posting recipes that I concoct out of what is in my fridge after a shoot. Should be fun.

RR# 1: Odd’s & End’s Chicken Soup

At the end of the week I always seem to be left with a mish-mash of things in the vegetable crisper…2 carrots, a leek, a couple of celery stalks…This time I also had a poached chicken breast and a handful of small Yukon gold potatoes. Realizing this stuff had about another day of life in the fridge before their replacements arrived from Fresh Direct for the next round of shooting, a chicken soup was in their future. Here is how I put it together but you can substitute, add or delete items based on what you have in your fridge. No protein? Vegetarian? Vegan? Add a can of beans instead of the chicken.


2 Tbs. Olive oil

1 large Onion, diced

2 large Carrots, diced

2 Celery Stalks, diced

1 large Leek, halved lengthwise then sliced thick

4 cloves of Garlic, smashed and peeled

6 small Yukon Gold potatoes

1 poached Chicken Breast, diced

Bouquet Garni of parmesan rind, thyme and parsley tied with string

1 Qt. of Chicken Stock

Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat and add the onion, leek, carrot and celery. Saute, stirring occasionally for about 7 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften and add the garlic, salt and pepper. Saute for an additional minute.

Add the stock, the potatoes, chicken and the bouquet garni and bring to a boil. Lower heat to bring pot to a simmer, cover and cook over low heat for about an hour or until potatoes are starting to fall apart. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

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