Have you ever wanted to do something, but didn’t have the means or the knowledge to put it into practice? At Tempi di Recupero, we deal with the recovery and enhancement of ingredients in their entirety, and for this reason we decided to collect some useful ideas and offer you a manual of recovery in the kitchen … in miniature form! Obviously it is not meant to be exhaustive, but it can be useful to guide you in the world of everyday food recovery, and reveal simple tips and tricks to use in the kitchen.
The variety of ingredients is very wide so, to start with, we have decided to focus on fruit and vegetables and how to make the most of them in their entirety! If you want to have fun and try your hand at making some original preparations, let yourself be inspired by the recipes you will find on our website! Over the years, our chef friends and hosts have cooked many dishes that tell their vision of recovery. Thanks to the collaboration with them and the many other protagonists of our network, we have collected many creative recipes inspired by tradition.
When we clean vegetables, the first thing we do, instinctively, is peel them. Why do we peel potatoes, when the skin is a reservoir of potassium, fibre and vitamin C? Or aubergines, whose exterior contains a wealth of antioxidants? What about pumpkins – Hokkaido, for example – with their thick peel rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals? Use them as ‘whole’ as possible in your favorite recipes and you will save time and improve your health! If you do decide to peel vegetables, there are plenty of ways to turn them into tasty dishes. With potatoes and pumpkin, you can make irresistible chips: season the skins with a few spices, a pinch of salt and a drizzle of oil, and after drying in the oven they will become your favorite finger food. As for carrots, blanch the peels and make a hummus or spicy sauce to put on a slice of toast and you will amaze your guests with a healthy and sustainable aperitif.
How often does the organic bin fill up with leaves just because we don’t think they’re good enough to eat? They are imperfect, slightly wilted and harder than the others, it is true. There are ways to give them value. How? By cooking them for a long time to soften even the toughest leaves of winter’s main characters: cabbage, purple cabbage, savoy cabbage, black cabbage, curly cabbage. Cauliflower – whether white, yellow or purple – and Romanesco broccoli are also waste-free. Once the ribbed leaves are cooked, blend them to enrich your vegetable soups or add them to béchamel sauce to make tasty flans. If you’ve never used radish leaves before, it’s time to start! Mash them in a frying pan together with the outer leaves of the lettuce and chopped onions to sweeten their bitter taste and make fritters and pies. The same goes for the woody outer parts of fennel, which can be cooked in a pan, baked au gratin or added to soups.
The stems of vegetables are often considered secondary and less noble than the tops. Are you sure? Take your broccoli and asparagus, arm yourself with a potato peeler, and with the help of a knife, remove the tough outer part of the stalks: you will see that it contains a soft core. All you have to do is cook the living part and blend it to obtain a cream that will become the basis of a risotto, a creamy soup or an original second course. Cut the outer, stringy ribs of the celery into small pieces and freeze them together with the darker leaves (rich in vitamin C) to make a valuable base for stir-fries and soups.
And there’s more…
Pea pods and the outer leaves of artichokes make for a sweet and delicate flavourful stock, so all you have to do is prepare a spring risotto!
Use the fragrant fennel ‘fronds’ for an infusion, it will become a must to warm you up on cold winter evenings!
Add the green tufts of carrots to your soups or salads, or chop them raw with dried fruit to make an unusual pesto for pasta.
Are you fed up with using the green ends of leeks and spring onions in soups? Frittatas and flans can help: cut them finely and stew them, and let your imagination run wild!
A tip for a homemade snack: remove the seeds from the inside of the pumpkin, soak them in hot water to soften them, dry them and toast them in the oven and they are ready to munch on.
Ripe or bruised?
How many times has that apple looked ‘too old, overripe, or bruised and ruined on that side to be used’ and you have wrongly disposed it to the organic bin, not thinking of… cooking it? When fruit is no longer ‘beautiful’ enough to be eaten fresh, the answer lies in cooking. You can make compotes and jams, or use it in cakes, biscuits or tarts; or simply eat it cooked, perhaps with yogurt or kefir for breakfast.
What about the peels of apples, pears and peaches? Did you know that they contain far more nutrients and fibre than the flesh? So whether you eat them fresh or cooked, if possible do not peel the fruit! Of course, it is not a universal rule, citrus peels should not be eaten raw, but they can be transformed into delicious and fragrant candied peels; or, once dried, use them to flavor your herbal teas!