Let talk about Food Waste: Did you know that if global food waste could be represented as a country, it’s carbon emissions would be the third largest in the world (behind China and the USA). The resources needed to produce the food that becomes lost or wasted has a carbon footprint of about 3.3 billion (yes, billion with a B) tons of CO2. In fact, one-third of all food produced in the world – approximately 1.3 billion tonnes – is lost or wasted every year (see here and here if you want to read more).
This means that reducing food waste in your home is one of the most impactful things you can do to live a more sustainable life. If I were a super hero, I might call myself: Chief Leftover Engineer! And yes, I know I would be THE most nerdy super hero you’ve ever met, but seriously, figuring out a way to magically transform leftovers into a meal my family actually wants to eat, rather than throwing them into the compost/garbage, often feels like a heroic act. Robbie and I take turns, of course, but I get to take the credit for these magical Easter leftovers we ate last night.
I started with my favorite Corn Pudding Tart recipe, but to make up for all the Easter candy I ate this year, I’m going to be avoiding sugar and carbs for the rest of my life, so I went hunting for a stand-alone corn pudding that could handle the addition of Robbie’s absolutely delicious home-smoked ham and this recipe from Bon Appetit delivered the goods. Imagine my delight when I realized I could also use up some of the “bulk” eggs sitting in the fridge from Easter egg dyeing (we made the kind where you blow out the egg and dye the empty shell). We made two dozen eggs and have been eating them as scrambled eggs every morning, so this was a bonus leftover solution!
Corn Pudding with leftover Easter ham
(makes lunch/dinner for six to eight people)
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, plus more for pan
- 1 cup grated Parmesan
- 5 ears of corn (husked, blanched, cut off the cob last year and frozen, you can find my freezing instructions here, but I bet fresh or frozen corn would work just fine too)
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 Tablespoons flour (I used whole wheat and it was just fine)
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 2 cups, chopped
- 3 eggs, beaten to blend (note that each egg is about 1/4 cup if you’re using “bulk” eggs like I did)
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- Preheat to 350°. Generously butter an 8x8x2″ glass baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with 2 Tbsp. cheese.
- If you’re using fresh corn, use the large holes on a box grater to coarsely grate corn kernels from cobs into a large bowl (you should have about 2 cups).
- Melt 2 Tbsp. butter with oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion; cook, stirring often, until soft and translucent, 8–10 minutes. Stir in flour.
- Add grated corn; increase heat to medium. Cook, stirring often, until most of liquid evaporates and corn is bright yellow, 2–3 minutes.
- Add cream; cook, stirring frequently, until well blended and most of liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in milk, ham, 3/4 cup cheese, and reserved mushrooms. Cook, stirring often, until flavors begin to meld, 1–2 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Season eggs with salt and pepper. Add to corn mixture; stir gently to blend.
- Pour into prepared baking dish; sprinkle with 2 Tbsp. cheese. Set dish in a roasting pan; place in oven. Pour hot water into roasting pan to come halfway up sides of baking dish (this will prevent eggs from curdling).
- Bake until pudding is just set in the center (center will jiggle very slightly when dish is nudged), 40–45 minutes. Be careful when removing the pan from the oven. The water in the roasting pan will want to spill. You can remove some of the hot water with a turkey baster or remove the pans carefully.
- Let stand for at least 15 minutes and up to 30 minutes before serving.
The original recipe called for the addition of mushrooms and I bet this would be delicious. I plan to circle back and make this again with wild oyster mushrooms or morels, as soon as we find our first batch, but it’s still too cold here in Michigan for mushrooms. If you have some handy, the recipe says to cook them first, in 1 Tbsp. butter in a medium skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and skillet is dry, 5–7 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer mushrooms to a small bowl; set aside. Wipe skillet clean and then proceed to cooking the onions. Add the mushrooms back into the corn mixture with the milk, ham and cheese in step 6 above.
Please share your favorite ways to use Easter leftovers (or any leftovers, really) in the comments!