Waste-not: mother of invention


This morning I read an article posted to Twitter from New York Eater titled “Blue Hill to Transform Into Food Waste Pop-Up.” It intrigued me as a cafe owner in the process of rethinking how the food business works. As part of my rethinking, I am experimenting in a smaller frame, my own home.

The article directly connected to my experience last evening in using up a few post-prime items I had stored: the last few pieces of spelt challah remaining from a batch I made a week and a half ago, part of a red cabbage that has been in my crisper bin for . . . awhile, two lonely pieces of roasted pepper remaining from a full batch, and the remains of the Red Lentil Kefta I made early this week as a Cafe special.

I decided to make a sandwich.  My thought in putting these items together into a sandwich was that if each individual food item was delicious and well-made, putting them all together might be awesome – and it was! Here’s my story in photos:

First I brought the 10-day old challah back to life with a little sautéing to crisp the crust and soften the rest:


Then I thought it could use something tasty and squishy. The leftover roasted peppers were perfect, sliced into strips:


Then I added some sliced avocado for richness. My first attempt used a vegan mayo, but I didn’t much like the texture, and it didn’t add anything to the flavor:


Next came the leftover kefta, which was really the point of the whole exercise. I crumbled the delicious little balls of red lentils and cracked wheat:


And finally a sautéed/roasted red cabbage “steak.”


You have the final result at the top of this page. OMG. It was really delicious! And it pleased some folks who aren’t the least bit interested in being vegan. Just a really good blend of tastes and textures.

And I felt really good about making it all from little bits of things that might otherwise have been thrown away, adding to the 35 million tons of food thrown out yearly by Americans (2012 estimate, most recent available).

Ideas? Would like to hear from you!