BrokeAss Gourmet

BrokeAss Gourmet

Reuse Roundup: Maria Lipkina

Today's Reuse Roundup post comes from Maria Lipkina of Santa Cruz, CA. Maria is a pastry chef and baker, but her culinary prowess clearly doesn't end with with bread and muffins. Read on for this truly kitchen-savvy reader's tips (that's right, plural tips--she had a lot of 'em!). Hopefully they will inspire you to send me your best kitchen tip(s) for waste minimizing--you could win a Google Nexus 7 tablet and signed copies of both of my cookbooks! Email tips to

Maria says:

I saw your call for waste-reducing tips and tricks on Facebook, and thought I'd just use it as an opportunity to brag shamelessly about my waste-reduction projects. Yes, that would be plural. I can't pick just one! This is your official warning that this list is long. So hey, bear with me, and I hope you like some of these. :)

First off, here's my "umbrella" waste-reduction philosophy: If there's an ingredient sitting around in my house with no designated purpose, I'll think of a recipe that centers on that ingredient.

Here's a photo of some apricot thumbprint cookies I made because the apricot jam had spent a few too many weeks on the fridge door.

And here's a blueberry cheesecake, because what was the intended purpose of those frozen blueberries again?

I pretty much try to save whatever I can. I had a brunch party a few months ago, and we made a HUGE batch of bacon in the oven. It seemed like a big waste to throw away all the bacon grease, so I saved it in a little bowl. Now I use it to cook eggs or add richness to other dishes!

My passion for eliminating food waste even extends beyond my own kitchen. I currently work in a bakery as a bread and pastry baker, and I try to do everything I can to save the scraps that are sometimes left at the end of the day.

One way that this manifests is with croissant dough. As we put the sheets of dough through our roller, bits and scraps sometimes need to be cut off to make the sheets of dough more even. As the day goes on, I collect all the scraps in a pile and take them home. I use it to make super-easy cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting at home!

I try to take home whatever would be otherwise tossed at the busy bakeshop, and invent whatever I can feed to my friends, as long as the dough's not going in the trash!

Here are some broccoli/garlic/cheese hand pies that I made at home out of rescued galette dough scraps.

Alright, I think that's the end of my tirade! In general, I just hate seeing food go in the trash, and do whatever I can think of to make sure it goes into people's mouths instead. My grandmother, who grew up in the Soviet Union and can't STAND waste, is my inspiration for that. Here's one last photo-- my babushka's matzah balls!

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