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September 07, 2017

Never Give Up on Leftovers

Have you been to Rosewood Market recently? They have a great selection of local food (and sweet personal care products, including Egyptian Magic, which is…pretty magical, but that’s another story for another day), including truly spectacular heirloom tomatoes, which sound fancy but are really just tomatoes that haven’t had personal training and plastic surgery to make them look good. They taste like the tomatoes your grandfather grew beside the garage, the ones your grandmother pretended weren’t the juiciest, most flavorful tomatoes ever grown, lest his head get too big. But I digress.

For the last little while, Rosewood has had the most gorgeous, juiciest blackberries I’ve ever tasted. Like, I bring those things home and I have to hide them or the kids will eat them all, like Skittles. And you hate to stop the kids from eating healthy things, but those blackberries aren’t free. (They aren’t overly expensive either, and they’re 20 percent off on 20 Percent Off Day!) But you know how children will eat all 87 blackberries and then leave just a handful of imperceptibly less sweet, slightly smaller ones at the bottom of the container?

So that happened the other night, and I decided to toss them into a salad with some greens, a little Parmesan, and some home-made Dijon vinaigrette (you know, when you make oil and vinegar dressing in the mustard jar to use the last of the mustard?). And the salad was good.

Lo and behold, not quite good enough, because they left just enough salad in the bottom of the bowl to…kidding. There wasn’t enough salad for anything, but I don’t quit when it comes to leftovers.

Once the dinner dishes were loaded, I pulled out the omelet pan and cooked that blackberry salad into a rolled omelet, which I cut into four pieces, one for each random leftover hotdog bun from the weekend. I put a thin layer of mayo on the inside of each bun to hold the omelet in place. Now I had breakfast sandwiches. But it was 10 pm on a Tuesday and I was still full from dinner.

Are you the kind of person who hates waking up in the morning but also wants a real breakfast? Not some silly piece of toast. Not a bowl of cereal, and most certainly not yogurt with some kind of fruit in it. You want something real, like a breakfast sandwich, but you’re a little too health-conscious and a lot too budget-conscious to succumb to the drive-through every morning.

So make yourself a breakfast sandwich from leftovers before bed and wrap it in tinfoil. In the morning, pop the wrapped sandwich in an oven set to 325ºF or so. Now jump in the shower, or go put on clothes or makeup or whatever it is you do. Your sandwich will be ready when you walk out the door. The sandwich will be ready so quickly, you may even have time to sit and eat it while reading half an article in a magazine instead of inhaling it in the car, though inhaling a breakfast sandwich in the car remains one of life’s greatest pleasures. Well, at least my life. I’m simple.

And, y’all? Those rejected blackberries and the wilted salad they rode in on took that sandwich to a whole new level. The omelet, which was slightly undercooked when I put it in the sandwich the night before, was heated to perfection, the slightly stale hotdog bun was soft again, and the blackberries added just enough sweetness to make my dang sandwich so much better than anything I could have scored on the way to work. Saving doomed leftovers and reducing waste? That was just a bonus.

So what’s the point? Waste not, want not, silly! Whether it’s a few rejected blackberries, the not-too-busted end table your neighbor put on the street, or the well-worn corduroy blazer you found at Goodwill, you can still put your own spin on it. The best things in life are (almost) free, if you know what to do with them.