Thursday, December 3, 2009

Rice Griddlecakes for Leftovers

As a frugal cook who hates to throw food away, I'm always looking for creative ways to use leftovers so they don't taste like leftovers. So I was pleased when this idea of incorporating goodies into rice griddlecakes worked out. They have now become a standard item in our household.

Even dedicated cooks "order out Chinese" sometimes. But what do you do with tiny amounts of leftovers - one shrimp, a couple of pieces of stir-fried Napa, two slices of beef? I've often stirred them into scrambled eggs or made up some fried rice (there is usually leftover rice too). But sometimes that just doesn't appeal.

I was given a copy of Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything for my birthday and found this griddlecake recipe, which I have modified to accept my leftovers. My changes are marked with an asterisk.

2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cup cooked rice
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, Gruyere, Swiss, or crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
salt, cayenne, and black pepper* to taste or whim
1/2-1 cup of leftover vegetables (relatively firm) and cooked meat, chopped fine*
2 scallions, chopped, or onion*
herbs to taste* (I favor cilantro or parsley)

Whisk eggs, milk, rice and cheese together. Add other ingredients except for vegetable/meat mixture and mix. Then add the vegetable/meat mixture.

Use a cast-iron skillet, griddle, or other nonstick surface. Add small amount of oil (I don't recommend butter because of smoking, though Bittman has it as an option). Use about one large spoonful for each griddlecake, baking several at once; turn and bake until nicely tan/brown. You'll have to add some oil between batches. You're not frying them, you're using a hot oiled surface to bake them.

Bittman recommends tomato sauce but we like these for breakfast with homemade applesauce on the side. They are nicely savory and don't really need much more, though sausage or bacon is never a problem. Note: we put the cakes onto a cookie sheet and into the oven so all are hot at once. This also guards against a gummy not-quite-done interior.


Anonymous said...

This is a great idea! Thank you! I often have leftover rice and it goes to the worm compost--well, it did before the f'in squirrels upended my crate (MF'ers)--or to the dog or the trash.

Ed Schenk said...

A great approach. Almost every cuisine has a version of fritter or pancake. In Italy it might be vegetable fritters(Gussoni Fritti).In Japan it's called Okonomiyaki (which means cook what you like). The point is not to waste food (whichis something Americans are very good at).