Party Leftovers – Streamlining The Fridge

It’s that time of year again!

The fridge is groaning from the load of everything you’ve shoved in there like an advanced level of tetris – including all the tiny bits of leftovers from the party the night before that you fear are going to slowly go bad before you figure out what to do with them.  Your kitchen looks like a disaster zone after same party, and you are groaning because you’ve been running around in circles preparing food, then entertaining people, and then trying to clean up after the aforementioned (and possibly giving up after one dishwasher-load).

Yep.  We’ve all been there.

And the last thing you want to do after you have done all of the above, is to cook something complicated from scratch.  Or, at least that’s the last thing I want to do.  What I want to do, is, frankly, is lie down on the sofa, eat something fresh and something comforting, and hope that Disney was right, and if I just hum some stuff off-tune, my forks and dirty cutting boards will march into the dishwasher and/or sink and scrub themselves.

Leaving drug-induced sentient kitchenware hallucinations aside, I have found that party leftovers can and do make the easiest of comfort foods, provided that you have something to use as a vehicle.  What I mean is – what is usually left over after a party?  Well, I am not entirely sure about you,  actually, but after my parties, the refrigerator usually contains a selection which looks sort of like this:  a quarter-pack of dried ham and/or sliced cured salami of some sort, a large assortment of tiny bits of expensive cheese, half a loaf of random bread, and some fruit which was supposed to have been put on a fruit platter, and didn’t make it.

So what do you do with 2 tablespoons of one cheese and 3 slices of the other, and a few half-dried-out bits of Prosciutto di Parma?  You take that hunk of tough bread, slice it as thin as it’ll go, butter the buggers, and slap the cheeses and meat onto it in some semblance of order.  You know, so they don’t clash too much.

This here isn’t a recipe, because there just isn’t one.  You preheat the oven to about 225°C,  search the fridge, hope there is any butter (in a pinch, a drizzle of olive oil would do if the bread is too tough to go without), and put these together.  Then, you season them according to your taste.  In my case, the goat’s cheese bits got a drip of honey, and the slices of random cheese on parma ham got black pepper.  I didn’t even have any runny honey, so I improvised with a spoon warmed in a cup of tea, set honey and my finger to push it off the spoon.  Whatever works.

Then, you put the whole thing into a preheated oven and give it a few minutes – and I really mean “few”, not “many”.  As soon as the cheese is melted and bubbly, or in case of goat’s cheese, browned at edges and puffing up, out it comes.

Slice up that fruit which went forgotten when canapes were getting munched and booze was flowing, set it on the side of a platter, stick a napkin on the platter, and transfer these onto the napkin.  I used a pair of tongs, because sandwiches, when they come out of the oven, will be hot (personal experience here!).

Drag to your sofa/laptop setup, add a humongous mug of coffee, and look outside at the pitch-dark sky of 3:30 in the afternoon.  Feel good about the streamlined contents of your fridge.  Keep hoping the dishes will scrub themselves.  Or, if that fails, after being refreshed from having had something to eat and a bucket of coffee, attack them with a sponge.

Works every time!


9 thoughts on “Party Leftovers – Streamlining The Fridge

  1. Totally sounds like my fridge this time of year – especially the “tiny pieces of expensive cheese” that now look useless and sad compared to their former whole, glorious and pompous selves that now clog up all the corners! But this sort of meal – I have to confess – is always one of my favourites. You can never step wrong with meat, cheese and bread and its always good. It makes boxing day a breeze.

    1. I’d love to eat this sort of thing more often, but I try to avoid it’s lure unless it’s in the interests*cough*excuses*cough of cleaning up the fridge. It’s lovely any time of year though – and it makes the days you are recovering from parties or huge dinners sooo much nicer!

      And let’s face it – expensive cheese, even in tiny miserable-looking bits, is just too lovely to be allowed to dry out and be thrown away! We must rescue them before it is too late!

  2. I love finger foods like this. I could eat them for my meals. Only problem is, other half needs chunks of meat and substantial carbs… sigh. The things we sacrifice to make them happy.
    Well, my fridge is about to get stuffed in the next few days right up to Saturday and hopefully there’ll not be too much leftovers … altho I won’t really mind too much since that’ll be what I’m going to rely on when I’m totally collapsed the day after.

    1. Hah, when I made that, other half was out for a work lunch, so it was just me, the oven and the leftovers! It was glorious! He came in after the lunch stuffed full, and still sniffed after my plate appreciatively!

      I know what you mean about them needing substantial carbs though – I just supplement any of my salad-and-protein meals with a good piece of bread for him, and then he’s happy!

  3. This looks superb, V! I adore cheese and have several in the fridge at any given time. The downshot to this is, of course, those dried up little leftovers wrapped in clingfilm that hang about like a bad smell..

    I usually try to make a pasta incorporating any leftover charcuterie and then garnish with a mix of grated cheeses, or a welsh rarebit of sorts on toast, but I’ll be sure to try your idea next time!

    What could be more comforting that hot, melty cheese and a big glass of red wine?

    1. Thank you – and to answer your question, no,not much, other than perhaps same hot melty cheese and a glass of good white? Though charcuterie goes well with red, so you can’t lose here! We have only about a total of 6 hours sunrise to sunset now, so coffee is a big item as well. Spiked coffee is always, always a favorite!

      And hm, pasta with leftovers is another time-honored tradition, so I think I may do that with the next round of leftovers in the coming weeks!

  4. Been there, done that. Were you at my house two weeks ago? All kidding aside…a perfect and delicious way to deal with an overloaded fridge after a party.

    1. Hah! No, but it could have been anybody’s house, really! Or, any person who isn’t a horrid recluse house anyway! And thank you!

      Still slowly working my way through random stuff in refrigerator – Christmas Day, lazy indoors day with cocktails and random party foods, here we come!

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