Every January, I clean out so much around the house that the cats and the kids worry they may be next. It all starts with my refrigerator.

Tucked in the back, I typically find jars of jams and pickled foods, some we haven't even opened. So, rather than pack them back into the fridge or toss out still-good foods, I decided to make them a part of my lunch plans for the week.

Not all of the figs we put up last summer got eaten. Strangely, I’m the only one in my family who adores figs. Even though I truly do love them, it takes me a long time to get through jars of them on my own.

Since I love a sweet and salty combination, these sweet figs, a few slices of smoky bacon and a balsamic glaze drizzle made for a decadent collection of flavors on a flatbread. Crumbles of local goat cheese from the farmers market put this simple dish over the top.

The farmers market also was the source for the pickled beets that went into my salad. I cannot pass up beautifully colored gold beets at the market, so I buy them and pickle them and enjoy as cool summer evening appetizers. But when winter comes, they sit lonely in the back of the refrigerator.

The salad came together with some of my homegrown lettuce tossed with a basic vinaigrette. A few roasted pecans from the freezer on top gave a nice crunch.

In these days of waste not, want not, shop your fridge and, if it's still edible, find a way to bring it to the table. Just about anything can go in a salad or top a flatbread or pizza. Make it a game to take what’s available and come up with new ways to use it.


Teresa B. Day is a local food writer and author of the “I Eat BR” blog. Contact her at ieatbrla@gmail.com.