Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Chipotle Pulled Pork Leftovers & Risotto

Have you bought a to-go meal, not eaten it all, and then microwaved the leftovers for your next meal?

To me the beauty of leftovers is adding fresh ingredients at home to create a brand new meal.

And that's exactly what I did yesterday evening with my Chipotle lunch-leftovers.

Remember, Chipotle buys their pork from Niman Ranch and other ranchers who practice humane farming, and that's why I chose to go there for take-out, and why I asked for their pulled pork with my lunch.

Additionally, it's simple, yummy and healthy food that I can, in all good conscience, feel good about.

Chipotle Pulled Pork Leftovers
1) Toss a handful of corn chips on a plate.
2) Sprinkle chips with grated cheese. I used Parmesan.
3) In a skillet saute a handful of fresh veggies such as a spring onion, bell pepper, kale or chard or spinach or broccoli; add leftovers to your fresh veggies. (I had leftover pulled pork, rice, pinto beans, and tomato salsa).
4) While skillet contents are heating, microwave chips and cheese for 30-45 seconds.

To Serve: Top warmed chips with a heaping spoonful of warmed leftovers and veggies, and garnish with cilantro, avocado pieces, fresh tomato or your favorite salsa.

This morning I had an email from the Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) organization. As you're probably aware, I've been linking to their site in my recent posts on sourcing humanely-farmed meats.

The email was in response to my concern that it's difficult to trust meat labeling; fortunately it contained a link to a site that explains some of the Humane Food Labels.

The information therein certainly clarified that I have a number of good, better, and best choices at the grocery store when purchasing meat, eggs, and dairy. Check out the link and acquaint yourself with Humane Food Labels.

Last summer I wrote a post about helping a friend learn how to shop on a budget. Where I offered Bruce tips for shopping at Whole Foods for a family of four, he shared tips for buying sustainable seafood.

Two online resources he turned me onto are Seafood Watch Guide for Sustainable Seafood and Ocean Trust. When I picked up the "Certified Humane" eggs plus turkey bacon this weekend I also found "Ocean Trust" Sockeye Salmon in the freezer section.

At around $7.50 for two 4-oz pieces of frozen, wild and sustainably caught salmon, it was a budget-wise and good-conscience purchase.

The Ocean Trust label was clear and obvious on the front of the pack and I recognized it immediately as one I could trust (no pun intended).

Because frozen fish isn't quite as flavorful as fresh, I find it's great as a garnish rather than as the feature of a meal. So when I bought the salmon, I had in mind that it would top a risotto dish that a friend and I intended making to eat in front of the Academy Awards on Sunday night.

Here's that dish: creamy risotto full of chunky fresh veggies and wild caught salmon.

Spring Vegetable and Salmon Risotto
1) Add one cup risotto and two and half cups water to a saucepan.
2) Simmer rice for about 45 mins, stirring periodically so that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan, adding more water if it does begin to stick.
3) If you have an open bottle of white wine, you could add at least a cup during the cooking. The more liquid you add (whether it's wine or water), the creamier the risotto.
4) Meanwhile, chop a selection of spring vegetables, i.e. asparagus, leeks, squash, bell peppers -- whatever you have on hand.
5) At around the 30-min mark, add the chopped and washed veggies to the pot of risotto and continue cooking -- the veggies will essentially steam cook in the pot.
6) At the last minute, slice a fillet of salmon into pieces and sit it on top of the risotto. Squeeze the juice of one lemon over the salmon and rice and put the lid on the pot. The salmon will steam cook in about 5 mins.

To Serve: Toss a handful of roughly chopped parsley or cilantro over the risotto; spoon portions into bowls, adding salt and pepper plus finely grated Parmesan or Romano or your choice of a dry, yellow cheese.

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