Thursday, November 20, 2014

Zero Dollars Until December (ZDUD)- Day 1

(My apologies for lame pictures this time. Couldn't be bothered with the good camera today.)

My first food project was kale chips because I mean I got two big bunches of kale in the produce delivery and that seemed the obvious place to start. I put olive oil, salt, and nutritional yeast on them and it might be the fact that some health issues I'm having make pretty much no food seem appetizing but I've definitely made better kale chips before. I usually coat them in this tahini-peanut butter-garlic-nutritional yeast-soy sauce combo before I bake them and that's pretty magical. But here are my mediocre kale chips.

A bowl of slightly burned, not terribly flavorful kale chips and shame.

Then, I took some dried red beans I had laying around, soaked them, and later threw them in the crock pot with some white onion I had leftover from something, several garlic cloves, some of the grape tomatoes in my produce box, some parsley I picked when I threw away the last of my container garden, cumin, paprika, salt, a little cinnamon, ginger, and a tiny bit of smoked paprika (I'm not a big smoke fan) and cooked it on low for... kind of forever because I just didn't feel like eating until later in the day, but they probably cooked for 18 hours on low and came out perfectly. I was surprised these were actually really good because usually when I make "poverty beans, "they're never as good as I hoped. But I served these over some brown jasmine rice cooked with a couple of garlic cloves and a dash of cinnamon and they passed the test.

I promise I'll take better pictures and measure stuff next time...

Putting the impoverished in Impoverished Foodie

Produce box from Washington's Green Grocer

Ah well. That time not unfamiliar to freelancers everywhere has come and I'm completely broke until December 1st. I did, however, just receive my bi-weekly (is that twice a week or every other week? I can never remember. I mean every other week) produce box from Washington's Green Grocer before I realized my brokeness, so I do have some nice stuff to work with for this week. Anyway, I'm getting going to post my "whatever I have in the cabinet" combinations. Stay tuned.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Recycled Meals: Pan-seared Cod with Roasted Vegetables

 Welcome to part two of Recycled Meals. I got three meals out of this one!
 Meal 1: Pan-seared cod with (slightly overcooked... oops) roasted vegetables, tahini, and garlic yogurt sauce

Meal 2:  Poached eggs over roasted cauliflower and butternut squash

Meal 3: Fish tacos

This first dish made me think of Michael Kors' frequent comment on Project Runway: It's a lot of look. The individual components of this are great. Together? Meh. It was roasted cauliflower and butternut squash (which I burned a little) with tahini and a garlic lemon yogurt sauce. That's great and you should totally make it (recipe below), but I added fish because I've been going to the gym a lot and felt like I needed protein, and... I don't know. Somehow the light cod with the heavy, wintery vegetables, and then the light sauce. I'm not sure. But the yogurt sauce is amazing.

The next morning, I warmed up the leftover veggies and served them topped with two poached eggs.

And then for dinner that night, fish tacos! (Recipe below). This was my favorite of the three (I'm kind of a fish taco addict. I could possibly use an intervention).


Yogurt sauce

1 cup whole milk yogurt
Juice of 1 lemon
1 large clove of garlic, crushed

(I also decided to add dill this time)

Fish Tacos

Chunks of fish (any kind, really. I used cod)
juice of 3 lemons
3 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
Old Bay seasoning*
shredded cabbage
lime juice
cilantro (optional)
corn tortillas
salsa (I used Trader Joe's Serrano Salsa Fresca)

Marinate the fish in the lemon juice, garlic, Old Bay, and a couple of tbsp of olive oil overnight in the fridge.

You can cook the fish however you'd like. Grilled is best, but I have no grill, so I pan seared it.

Cut enough cabbage to put about 3 tbsp of slaw on each taco and mix it with 3 parts mayo to 1 part lime juice (I'm being vague here because... well I didn't measure. And it really depends on how many tacos you plan on serving, though the slaw is kind of nice on its own, as well). If using cilantro, add a bit of it, finely diced.

Brown the tortillas on a medium head, unoiled pan. Fill with the fish, and top with slaw and salsa.

*You can just use salt instead of Old Bay, but one time, my ex-boyfriend, who made kick-ass fish tacos, decided to make what we ended up calling Chesapeake Fish Tacos and throw the Old Bay in. It was so good, we never went back to doing it without.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Recycled Meals: Black Bean Soup

Yesterday, I made this delicious black bean soup which I've written about before. Super easy, cheap, make it in the crock pot, makes your whole house smell amazing soup. I shared some with a friend for dinner, had another bowl for breakfast (hey, I'm lazy and it was there), and then... I mean how many times can you eat the same soup before you get bored, right? I could have frozen the rest, but instead I recycled it into... ta daaaaa...


Granted, this is hardly the most healthy thing I have ever made, but I guess as far as nachos go, it could be worse. The soup thickens up overnight and takes on more of a refried bean-y texture. And I had cheese and chips and sour cream and stuff, so sure. Nachos. They were delicious. I probably could have given it a bit more bang with some diced tomatoes and avocado, but I didn't have any. My friend and I often refer to Poverty Nachos when we just melt cheese on chips. This is more of an Upper Working Class Nacho, according to that scale. It's a good scale. I hope it takes off.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Typical Week

I don't make much money. I would probably shock you if I told you how little I make and still manage to live in one of the most expensive areas of the country. But despite this, I rarely feel like I'm really suffering when it comes to food. (I once did. I call those the Black Beans for Every Meal years).

This summer has been a bit rough because literally half of my students have been on vacation. I've had to get pretty creative with resources. The past week or so I've been feeling pretty proud about my awesome repurposing of leftovers. I haven't felt like I've been eating the same thing over and over because I used the leftovers as ingredients in other meals and everything's been pretty tasty.

So this week, I'm going to document the large meals I make, and then the "reincarnations" of those leftovers. Hopefully it will give people ideas of how to make leftovers more appealing.*

*I didn't realize until fairly recently that "Not liking leftovers" was a thing. Over the course of a couple of weeks, I heard people say things like "Oh, he won't eat leftovers," or "I just don't like leftovers," and I was baffled. I mean... you liked it the first time, right? And it tastes the same (or even better!) the next day, right? I'm confused. It's like someone saying "Oh, I really hate the direction left," or "I'll only eat off triangular plates." Whatever. People are weird.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash with Brown Butter Sage Sauce and Toasted Pecans


1 lb Brussels sprouts, cut in quarters
1 butternut squash (or be smart and lazy and buy it pre-cut because those things are a giant pain)
2 tbsp finely diced fresh sage
3/4 stick of butter (really I guess you should use unsalted and then salt to taste but I just use salted)
1 clove garlic
roasted pecans


Preheat oven to 350. Cut the squash up into <1 inch square cubes (the squash cooks more slowly than the sprouts, so if the pieces are too big, the sprouts will burn before the squash is done). Put in a roasting pan with about 1 tbsp of butter and cook until everything's soft (about 30 minutes or so).

When the vegetables are almost done, put 3/4 stick of butter in a frying pan over medium-low heat. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the milk solids at the bottom of the pan turn a golden brown. Keep a close eye on it so it doesn't get too dark. When it's almost fully browned, add in the sage and 1 crushed garlic clove. Cook for about 1 more minute, being careful not to let the garlic brown, and remove from heat.

Pour the butter sauce over the roasted vegetables in a serving bowl and top with the pecans.

Now that's good eatin'... unless you're one of those weirdos who hates Brussels sprouts, in which case I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHO YOU ARE. But seriously, even if you're not a fan of the sprout, this might turn you around.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Brussels Sprouts au Gratin-ish

Au Gratin-ish? Yeah, well, I think technically it all needs to be baked together to be a gratin, and I wasn't convinced something as cruciferous as Brussels sprouts would cook before the cheese burned and I'm making this stuff up, you know.


About 25 Brussels sprouts
3/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 shallot, finely diced
1/4 cup cream or half and half (set it on the counter to warm slightly while you prepare)
pinch of nutmeg
white truffle oil (Not really cheap, and optional, I guess, but you really want this, I swear. No matter how poor I am, I always have this around)
2 tbsp of butter or olive oil
bread crumbs (I used Nabisco rice crackers with sea salt and black pepper. Super good! Why did I not know these existed?)


Pre-heat oven to 350. Cut the Brussels sprouts into 1/4 inch disks and roast with some butter or olive oil for about 30 minutes or so.

Toast the bread crumbs (or, if you're using cracker crumbs, roll them out with a rolling pin... or, um, vodka bottle. Hey, I'm not much of a baker, all right?) in a dry frying pan over low heat, stirring frequently, until they are a deep, golden brown. Set aside.

When the sprouts are almost done, saute the diced shallot in a tablespoon of butter or oil until they are translucent. Add the cream, cheese, nutmeg, and pepper and  heat on low, stirring constantly, until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth. Add a little truffle oil and the roasted Brussels sprouts. Stir to coat. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with the bread/cracker crumbs and a drizzle more truffle oil.

Eat and be happy.

(Stay tuned for another delicious Brussels sprouts recipe tomorrow. I bought a giant stalk of sprouts and have had to get creative before they turn to mush).