From root to stalk: Chef shows you how to use every part of a vegetable

MILWAUKEE -- "Re-purposed,"  it's a buzz word you hear a lot lately. And today we're talking about re-purposing parts of food you normally throw away. Chef Alisa Malavenda with the Art Institute of Wisconsin joins Real Milwaukee to help put your food scraps to good use.

Here are 11 handy tips before your scraps hit the compost or garbage bin:

1. Don`t throw out you pickle juice when the pickles are gone- save the juice in the original jar and when you have left over veggies like green beans, brussels sprouts and carrots, blanch and shock them and pickle them in the juice for a few days and use in a bloody mary or vegetable tray. Speaking of pickles : Don`t throw away those watermelon rinds - they make a great pickle substitute - especially served with pork. ( recipe below )

2. Making Shrimp or Lobster? Save the shells, vegetable peelings like carrots, onions and the ends of the celery and the leftover tomato paste you didn`t need from the other recipe in the freezer in ziplock bags, roast them on a pan in a 400 degree oven and turn them into a good seafood stock for sauces, risotto , or seafood bisque.

3. Butter Wrappers: when you remove the butter from the wrapper - store it in a ziplock baggie in the freezer and use to grease the inside of baking or muffin pans

4. Don`t want to make citrus sugar - make some limoncello or use oranges( recipe below )
Still have some of those lemons after you juice and peel them - dip them in kosher salt and use them to scrub and degrease your dishes

5. If you peel the skins off peaches ( or tomatoes etc....) dry them out in the oven and make a peach or tomato salt

6. Don`t pour out the bacon grease - save it in a container in your fridge and rub the outside of you baked potatoes with it for a crispy flavorful potato. Feeling Naughty- use some of the grease for frying for a smoky flavor on your chicken, eggs or whatever ever else you are cooking.

7. Apple peels - make your own apple cider vinegar or make an apple cinnamon sugar for that hot cereal or to sprinkle on some toast.

8. Save all the heels and crust of your bread in the freezer. When you have enough -toast them and use them for bread crumbs by grinding in a food processor OR cut into cubes for a wonderful bread pudding dessert or savory bread pudding dinner casserole. You can do the same with day old bread like a ciabatta loaf or baguette - make a bread salad or Tuscan Bread soup (recipe below)

9. The Parmesan rind is the most magically item of all - save the rind and add to a number of soup or sauces for a velvety texture and natural savory umami flavor OR make a Parmesan quick broth( recipe below) to use in recipes or just add a grain, bean and some greens and enjoy a hearty soup.

10. Don't throw away those peels from the potatoes when making mashed - scrub your spuds, save the peels on a baking pan, drizzle with olive oil (or some of that leftover bacon grease) and season with salt and pepper - bake them until crisp in a 400 oven ( 15-20 min) and use them for a crunchy topping on your mashed potatoes or to nibble on like potato chips during the big game.

11. Tired of scraping that last bit of jam or having to store that last bit in the fridge. Make yourself a jelly or jam'atini' cocktail.( recipe below)

Pickled Watermelon Rind

    Make the brine with remaining ingredients and bring to a boil making sure all the sugar and salt are dissolved. Add the watermelon rind and bring back to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Let rind cool in brine for at least 1 hour.

    Add rinds to clean glass jars and then pour liquid to cover the rinds completely. Screw on lid and store them in the fridge overnight. The pickles will last for 3-4 weeks.

    Bread Soup ( An Italian Onion and Cheese Soup from Tuscany)

      Peel Onions and cut in half and then into thin sliced moons. Place in a bowl of water to remove some of the pungency.

      Heat enough olive oil in a 10-12” pan to cover bottom , add onions and cook them until transparent , stirring occasionally and not letting them brown. Add tomatoes and season with salt , pepper and cayenne.

      Cook the onions 5 minutes more and add enough stock to cover the onions so they look like onion soup ratio and cook onions are cooked through

      Preheat oven to 400 degrees or alternatively you could grill the bread. Slice the bread and toast it until golden brown- immediately rub the sliced with the peeled garlic cloves

      When the soup is ready , cover the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking pan with the soup , then place a layer of bread, handful of parmesan and a handful of fontina cheese

      Continue with another layer of each and if there are more onions left make sure you finish the top with onions and more cheese . Bake it in the oven for 20 minutes at 425 degrees – let it stand and rest for 10 minutes before serving. The next day this is great sautéed in a frying pan crispy.

      Parmesan Broth

        Sautee in a pan with olive oil add some fresh thyme, springs of parsley and bay peaf – black pepper corns – add 1 cup white wine deglaze- and ¾  # parm rinds and 8 cups water – simmer 2 hours

        Parmesan broth


          Silky Squash Soup with Celery Root with Green Apple Slaw


            Dice squash and celery into about 1 inch chunks.

            In large pot, heat olive oil and add diced onion; sweat onions until translucent, about 8 minutes.

            Add squash, celery root and shallots; cook until squash is a little golden brown around the edges.

            Add stock and nutmeg; bring to simmer and cook until squash/celery root is tender, about 30 minutes.

            Place mixture including stock in blender; puree until smooth.

            Return to pot over low heat; stir in butter and heavy cream for added “luxury”. Season to taste and keep warm.

            APPLE CELERY SLAW:

              For the salad:

                 Tips for hot soup:

                The large, dark green outer leaves of celery tend to be bitter.

                When pureeing hot soup proceed with caution so you don’t have soup on the ceiling. Always release a little steam. To get a great texture on your soup, puree when hot.

                Homemade Limoncello

                  Remove the yellow part of the lemon peel with a sharp peeler or fine grater, carefully avoiding the bitter white pith. If any pith remains on the back of a strip of peel, scrape it off.

                  Put the yellow peels in a jar or bottle, add 1 bottle vodka and seal tightly. Leave the bottle to steep until the peels lose their color, at least 2 weeks. Put the water and sugar in a saucepan and boil until it turns clear. Let the syrup cool.

                  Strain the vodka from the peels and mix it with the remaining bottle of vodka and the syrup. Put the liqueur in bottles, seal tightly and let the components marry for at least 1 week before using.  Store the limoncello in the freezer.

                  Chef Note: You can use the juice from the lemons for GRANITA AL LIMONE to use up the whole lemon

                  Blend 2 Cups of lemon juice, 1 Cup of water, and 2 T. Sugar, making sure that the sugar is dissolved.

                  Strain the syrup into a flat pan and place in the freezer.

                  Scrape occasionally with a fork and churn while freezing and before serving.

                  Chef’s Note: You can substitute the peel of 15 limes for the lemon peel or 12 oranges for a different spin on limoncello. Taste the liqueur for degree of sweetness you would like to use.

                  Chef Note: You can also add fresh sage or bay leaf to the bottle after the first week to give a herbal appeal.

                  The Jam”itini”