Monday, May 5, 2008

fava bean salad with mesculin greens

I have a particular aversion to leftovers. After putting so much effort and love into the original dish, I feel as though there is no way that leftovers can compete with taste memory. I'd rather let leftovers wilt into a nutrition-less mess in the trash can than re-heat and re-eat.

But honestly -- can I really afford to throw out food? No. Moreover, I feel ethically responsible to eat all of the food I purchase, not only for economic reasons, but for environmental reasons as well. After reading an article in New York Magazine about subsistence farming in Brooklyn, I became extremely conscious of the incredible amount of effort and resources it takes to grow, say, one pod of fava beans. Throwing away food is more of a waste than you may realize.

So to discard leftovers is, for me, a truly ethical dilemma. On one hand, I loathe the idea of eating food that has lost its nutritional value and taste from both the elapse of time and re-heating. Yet on the other hand, I lack the peace of conscience to throw away perfectly good food. The solution? One can begin by making smaller quantities from the outset. Otherwise, you can follow Darren Darlin's advice on saving money and make enough of a meal to take as a brown-bag lunch the next day. Not only will your conscience feel great about saving money and the future of food, but you will also become the envy of the office.

The trick is that you need to refresh your leftovers with new ingredients. Here's a simple example of how to do turn last night's side dish into this afternoon's lunch.


Serves one very happy employee

Leftover Fava Bean Salad
Half a dozen fresh grape tomatoes, cut in half
Fresh parsley leaves

Mesculin greens

Feta cheese, optional

Re-using the storage container in which you have refrigerated your fava bean salad, toss in grape tomatoes and some more fresh parsley leaves to the leftovers. Re-seal container and plop in your lunch box.

In a separate container large enough to serve the salad bowl from which you will eat, add a handful of mesculin greens. Seal container and add to lunch box.

Cut off a portion of feta cheese, and put it in yet another container or plastic bag to go in the lunch box.

At the office, remove containers. Top mesculin greens with leftover refreshed fava bean salad. Crumble feta cheese on top. Bring to conference room, kitchen, or your cubicle. Revel in your co-workers' compliments -- and don't forget to tell them about that it came from the gourmet dinner you had last night.

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