Instead of tossing away your less-than-savory ingredients like stale bread, milk and herbs, give them a delicious second life.
1 stale loaf of bread
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 350°F. Slice remainder of stale loaf into 1-inch cubes. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and toss with garlic and olive oil. Bake about 15 minutes until golden, tossing about halfway through the cooking process. Let cool. Store in an airtight container.
Stems from 1-2 bunches of herbs (parsley, cilantro or basil)
1 1/2-2 cups olive oil
Place the herb stalks and oil in a high-speed blender and blend until fully incorporated. Let stand 15 to 30 minutes to infuse, then strain through a double layer of cheesecloth into a bottle. Store, covered, in fridge for up to 1 week. Add oil to soups, use for sautés or vinaigrettes.
1 jar store-bought tomato sauce
1 Parmesan rind
Simmer tomato sauce and Parmesan rind together for about 20 minutes. Discard rind to serve sauce. The rind will impart a cheesy, nutty flavor.
Candied Citrus Peels
About 4 oranges, lemons or grapefruit
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
Using a vegetable peeler, peel the skins of the citrus into strips. Bring a small pot of water to a boil and blanch strips for 10 seconds. For a less bitter candy, rinse, then repeat the process one more time.
Bring 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water to a boil along with the blanched skins. Simmer on low about 30 minutes, until the skins are soft and the syrup is thick and reduced. Toss candied strips in 1/2 cup of sugar to coat all sides. Let dry on a wire rack.
Tops of garlic
Bottom and tips of celery stalks
Place vegetable scraps in a large heavy-bottomed pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, cover, lower heat, and simmer on low about 45 minutes. Strain and discard vegetables. Extra stock can be frozen in ice cube trays for future use.
1/2 gallon whole milk
1/3 cup lemon juice or white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
Place milk in a medium pot over medium heat. Gradually bring to 200 degrees, monitoring the temperature with a kitchen thermometer, and stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and salt. Let sit 10 minutes, then strain the mixture through a cheesecloth-lined strainer set over a large bowl. Let drain 10 to 30 minutes, until the cheese reaches your desired texture, squeezing out the excess liquid if necessary. Store up to 1 week in the fridge.
1 3/4 cups cookie crumbs
6 tablespoons salted butter, melted
Stir together cookie crumbs and butter in a large bowl until all the crumbs are moistened. Press into the bottom and sides of a tart pan or pie dish. Freeze before filling or, for a crispier crust, bake for 7 minutes at 350°F.
Assorted vegetables for pickling (cauliflower florets, zucchini slices, etc.)
Leftover juice from a jar of pickles
Pearl onions, peeled
Heat pickle juice in a small pot set over medium heat until boiling. Place vegetables and onions in the cleaned jar and pour juice over. Let cool, then seal jar with lid and store in fridge overnight. Pickles will keep up to 1 week in fridge.
1 small bunch carrot greens
Greens of 1 beet
1/2 cup packed basil
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
1 clove garlic
3 tablespoons pine nuts
Zest of 1 lemon
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
Place carrot and beet greens, basil, Parmesan, garlic, pine nuts, lemon zest, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse until combined and greens are finely chopped. With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the desired consistency is reached. Store covered in fridge for up to 5 days.
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