Do you have plans for the leftovers?

Such a simple question … yet one that has worked like a charm time and time again for this lady on a mission to save good food from a dumpster destiny.

I received a last-minute email yesterday afternoon inviting me to attend a fancy schmancy event featuring Chef Brad Steelman of Brooklyn’s famed River Cafe. (The spot opened up because poor HangryPants Heather was still too sick to attend, so go give her some love … after you read this post!)


Chef Steelman’s demonstration took place at the Desiron Gallery in SoHo using the Electrolux ICON line of dream-material kitchen appliances (think magnet-triggered stovetop ranges that reach your desired temperature in seconds — whether hotter or colder — and somehow stay cool to the touch).

When I arrived, I grabbed a goblet of sparkling water to keep me company as I took in the scene. Right off the bat, I met some fun new foodie friends — Michelle from Taste As You Go, Mike from Man Eat Food (no kidding, a rare male food blogger live and in person?!), and Elizabeth from The Kitchn — and we settled in at a table together to watch Chef Steelman work some culinary magic.


(I promise the sparkling water was not spiked. WordPress is the lush that won’t let my picture upload correctly.)

The event kicked off with a glorious round of hors d’oeuvres. I had two lentil wafers with lobster salad:


One giant spoonful of seared tuna on bed of avocado-sesame-wasabi puree:




(I also took the most hilarious photo series of Michelle in similar poses. I hope she posts a slideshow … but I think she might delete them all instead!)

And two pieces of roast duck with rhubard sauce (yesssssss, yum is right!):


But that was only the beginning! Before our very eyes, the chef whipped up a Spring Asparagus Risotto with mascarpone, parmigiana reggiano, and crispy trumpet mushrooms:


Which we enjoyed as first course (or 5th course if you live in expansion world like I do):


The main meal was Colorado Lamb Roast with carmelized spring onions, potato puree, and roasting juices. In process:


Moments pre-disappearance:


And finally, the classic gourmet dessert of classic gourmet desserts: Melt Away Cake (aka molten chocolate lava cake). Chocolate magic:




Topped with gold dust (told you it was magical!):


Just because:img_7089



(And if you are in the market for new kitchen appliances and have money to burn, the chef managed to cook all of this food in front of us and have it plated and served in what was likely less than a half hour. This kitchen was not messing around! And neither were the phenomenal sioux chefs …)

So, as I was savoring my cake, I noticed that some kitchen clean-up had begun and wondered aloud (as I am wont to do) where the leftovers were headed. My curiosity (or misplaced survival instinct) was so strong that I actually left the table mid-cake to go and ask the chef, Do you have a plan for the leftovers?

The following exchange ensued:

Chef: No, would you like to take some with you?

Me: That would be LOVELY!!!!! But I do not have any containers (sad face).

Chef: I’m sure we have something around (finds tupperwares and Ziplock baggies). What would you like? Lamb?

Me: Anything you’re willing to give me, really!

[Chef scurries around collecting. I follow behind.]

Me: Ummm, you can totally send me away if I’m being obnoxious … but what about your display asparagus and mushrooms?

Chef: Really? Of course! [tries to dispose of spinach and asparagus peelings to make room in a container for asparagus]

Me, intercepting spinach and peelings before they hit the trash can: No, really, I’ll use it all!!

Chef, doubtful: You’re sure?

Me: Absolutely.

Chef puts sioux chefs on the job. Sioux chefs help me pack up some of everything and even come and bring me more food as they find it while cleaning out the fridge … and give me tips for how to reheat and cook it all! Here they are at work, my new best friends:


Expandable bag out:


Inventory at home. Asparagus, portobello mushrooms, spinach, and veggie scraps:


(Scraps are for my frozen veggie broth bag.)

Seared tuna, carmelized spring onions (omgsogood), lamb, and risotto:


(I’ve got the risotto and the lamb at work today to share since we’re all having an April Fools lunch together. Gotta give back! I’m going to have to do some research on how best to store the tuna, aside from in the fridge, obviously. I wonder how it freezes?)

Two melt away cakes and … wait for it … the melt away cake batter left from the demo!!!!!!


The batter is in my freezer now, waiting for the perfect occasion.

Moral of the story? Always ask.

When were you glad you asked?

P.S. Enter my Bob’s Red Mill giveaway!!!

    36 thoughts on “Do you have plans for the leftovers?

    1. Gina Boland says:

      Um, can I come over for whatever you make with that batter? Free River Cafe Chef food is AWESOME esp considering how expensive the restaurant is. Also, next time you want a hair cut, I will take you to my new place in Brooklyn! It’s only $14!!!!


    2. fitforfree says:

      Amazing freebies!!! Especially that batter. Get me there.

      I don’t even remember the last time I asked. Clearly I need to be more opportunistic (especially with free veggies!!!)


    3. FoodsThatFit says:

      You are seriously awesome! I always wonder what chefs and restaurants do with the leftover food and seeing them throw it away seems like such a waste!

      BTW your haircut is gorgeous!!!


    4. joggerslife says:

      My eyes were as big as saucers reading this post!!! OMG…I’m so jealous! I NEVER ASK!!! I’m too scared that people will think I’m crazy!!! UGH! You totally hit the jackpot!! I can’t wait to see how you use all of it. I’m totally drooling over the asparagus, caramelized onions, and mushrooms!


    5. Missy Maintains says:

      Wow everything looks delicious! Especially the tuna and avacado and chocolate cakes! Now I wish I went! That is so great that you asked for leftovers! I would never have the balls to do that!


    6. marafaye says:

      I’m so incredibly jealous of you getting to go to this event! I would’ve LOVED to go πŸ™‚ Great that you got all those leftovers, bet those cakes will be STELLAR when you least think about them πŸ™‚


    7. Susan says:

      That has got to be one of the best hauls ever!!!! Definitely very nice of them to give you all of those delicious leftovers (and batter!!!) I work as a reporter, so my life is spent asking questions. Even when I get a bad reaction to a question, I never feel bad about asking it. Always better to ask than to wonder what the answer may have been…

      Also, I’m in love with the gold dust. That really is magical πŸ™‚


    8. Becca A says:

      I foresee some great meals with those!

      In the last two days I’ve taken extra chana dal from a class and today got some nuts from another. I immediately think of your blog when I do this πŸ™‚


    9. erinbee. says:

      that cake. oh my god. amazing.

      that sarah. oh my god. amazing.

      if cake = amazing and sarah = amazing
      then cake = sarah. yeah. i think so too.


    10. Lara says:

      Love it! I would totally worry about what was happening to the leftovers, too. I always wonder about that when they make food on cooking shows and stuff…(“I hope it’s not going to waste!”).


    11. Michelle says:

      I know not of these so-called “hilarious” pictures of me. Is it my fault my camera has a gremlin locked inside of it that likes to delete unflattering pictures? πŸ˜‰

      But, seriously, it was really great meeting you and I hope we’ll cross paths again! Enjoy all those leftovers!!


    Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

    You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

    Connecting to %s