Today's lunch came together well. Let me tell you its story:
On Saturday, Angela and I were at the grocery store. We decided to pick up something for dinner. Burgers? Sure. We had a jar of pickled beetroot in the cupboard, and we'd been planning on finding out if Australians (who we heard put beets on burgers) are crazy or geniuses. We both like our burgers on the rare side, but I'm wary of pre-ground beef, so I picked up a cheap steak to grind at home.
We needed a side dish. Beet+beef led me to think cabbage. I think it was some sort of weird mental borscht-association.
So, for dinner, we had burgers topped with beets (verdict: better than expected) with some rice (cooked in my electric wok) and red cabbage and onion with soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil.
We had a ton of leftover rice/cabbage stuff - not to mention half a head of raw cabbage.
Last night, I tossed some beef bones (from my freezer, bought at our local Asian grocery) and some vegetable scraps into a pot and made some stock. I used a slotted spoon to pull out the veggie scraps and stuck the pot in the refrigerator.
Today, when I came home for lunch, I pulled out the pot of stock and skimmed the beef fat off the top. I put the fat into a little bowl - no sense in wasting it. I chopped up a bit more cabbage and a carrot and sauteed them in some of the fat in my cast iron frying pan while I heated up the stock. I added the leftover rice and cabbage, and poured some of the stock into it, letting it absorb like a risotto. I repeated this a couple of times (tasted it... added a bit of fish sauce...) then I cracked an egg into the pan. I finished it off with a bit of sweet chili sauce. The result was some sort of mutant cross between bibimbop, fried rice, and risotto. It was really, really good. The flavored rice and cabbage added some depth that contrasted nicely with the fresher taste of the carrot, and the beefy goodness of the broth brought it all together.
I still have about half a head of cabbage and most of the beef broth in my refrigerator. That will probably turn into dinner tomorrow or Wednesday. Oh, I also saved the beef fat. It will keep for a bit and should be good for flavor reinforcement.
Sometimes I love the way that efficiency can flow in the kitchen. It is something I need to work on more. I have a bad tendency to forget about leftovers that I should be thinking of as ingredients for future meals.