Using Up Kitchen Scraps: Part 2

Folks, I’m happy to report that my struggles in using up the endless march of autumn produce are finally paying off. In fact, today I had pumpkin soup and sauteed brussels sprouts for dinner just so I could cross brussels sprouts off my list of endangered foods! That’s commitment for you.

As promised, here are some more ideas to use up those kitchen scraps:

Cilantro Stems

I never even gave a thought to using the stems on cilantro until I came across Molly’s amazing recipe for tomato soup, which basically consists of canned tomatoes, garlic, cilantro stems and red onion. It’s effortlessly simple, but it performs some sort of soup alchemy in the pot and becomes much more than the sum of its ingredients. The cilantro stems are delightfully grassy and crunchy and they add a whole new dimension to the soup.  I think they would be equally good in other soup recipes, or even a stir fry, as long as you cook them long enough to make them tender.

Beet Greens

Next time you buy beets, buy them with the greens intact and then saute them up with some olive oil and garlic and add it to whatever dish you’re making. The greens add a perfect counterpoint to the earthiness of the beets and they look pretty, too. That’s how I came up with my Beet Walnut Pesto Rotini, but you can easily toss the greens and the beets with some goat cheese and pine nuts for an easy salad.

Celery Leaves

Celery leaves taste just like celery (duh.) So you can use them anywhere a bit of (leafy) celery would be nice – in salads, in soups or as a substitute for cilantro. I’ve even heard that you can microwave them on a paper towel for 30 second intervals until they become dry, then crumble them and use them as celery salt,. Who knew?

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