You may know Julia Turshen as the activist behind the Feed the Resistance cookbook, the co-author on a number of Gwyneth Paltrow’s books, or the cook you follow on Instagram for weeknight dinner inspiration (and pictures of snuggly dogs). But I know Julia as the woman who changed the way I think about leftovers.
In a world of recipes designed for four people, I’m almost always cooking for three (myself and two roommates) — consistently leaving me with an awkward amount left over. But I hate wasting food, so I’ll pack up that skimpy amount of rice, those three cubes of tofu, and the last bits of broccoli florets and promise to repurpose them. The furthest I ever get is the microwave.
In her new book, Now & Again: Go-To Recipes, Inspired Menus + Endless Ideas For Reinventing Leftovers, Julia has managed to make me excited about leftovers — a sentence I never thought I’d say. The book is organized into seasonal, stress-free, affordable menus, each with accompanying suggestions on how to prep the meal ahead of time and repurpose any extra food. Her recipes, as we’ve come to expect from her, are approachable and inspired, and the smart leftover ideas even more so.
Leftover salad, in my kitchen, becomes a sad, soggy pile of greens. In Julia’s, it’s processed into pesto, baked into an herby Persian frittata, or sandwiched between thick slices of bread for a gooey grilled cheese. Leftover twice-baked potatoes are cooked down into a super-rich potato soup, or mashed into patties and pan-fried until crisp. She includes tips on how to spark new life into leftover takeout (including what to do with all those soy sauce packets), suggestions for repurposing odds and ends of snacks, and fresh new ideas for not-so-new produce (banana bread milkshake, anyone?).
I talked with Julia about her favorite recipes in the book, the moment she first fell in love with leftovers, and her advice for taking the stress out of entertaining.
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