Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Making a meal out of odds and ends

Every so often, I find myself with a fridge full of odds and ends: a few ounces of fresh green beans that weren't needed for a recipe, some salad greens that I bought and then didn't use because I didn't have time to make a salad with dinner, extra sour cream, etc. My usual approach to leftovers is to try and incorporate them into my lunches somehow, but this past weekend I felt a bit more adventurous.

In the refrigerator, I had about 6 ounces of fresh green beans, some leftover cooked jasmine rice, a tomato, and a mango that I'd bought to accompany some salmon steaks (the sauce recipe made too much, and I didn't need the second mango). I almost always have cilantro on hand, and I had about a pound of imitation crab meat in the freezer. I almost always cook from a predeveloped recipe, but this time I immediately thought of crab burritoes with a homemade mango salsa. I went to the store and purchased a small avocado, a jalepeno, a lime, and a package of flour tortillas, and came home to get dinner on the table.

The first step was getting a salad together. I steamed the green beans for about 90 seconds in the microwave, shocked them with cold water to stop the cooking process, and let them drain. Then I added about a cup of frozen corn that I had thawed quickly under some warm running water, and about a quarter cup of chopped red onion. Dressing was simple: one part red wine vinegar, two parts olive oil, and a little salt, pepper, and sugar. I set the salad aside to allow the flavors to develop while I took care of the burritos.

To make the salsa, I peeled and diced the mango and the tomato, minced the jalepeno and one clove of garlic, and squeezed half of the lime over the mixture. This was also set aside to develop for a bit.

For the crab filling, I chopped up a couple of cups of imitation crab chunks and warmed them in the microwave with a little ground cumin, ground coriander, and cayenne pepper.

The final touch was adding a generous amount (maybe a quarter cup) of chopped cilantro and the juice from the other half of the lime to the rice and warming it up in the microwave (green rice, the kind that Chipotle puts in their burritoes).

Each tortilla got some green rice, some seasoned crab, a little mango salsa, and some chopped avocado. The marinated corn and green bean salad was ready to eat by the time the burritos were done, and for a couple of dollars and about 40 minutes of cooking time (with only the microwave, making this a great supper option for a hot summer day), we ate well and cleaned the refrigerator at the same time.

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