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Archive for the ‘Cheap’ Category

100_1824

Oh, just shut up and try it.

Kale with Peanut Butter
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 bunch kale, rinsed and chopped
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup water

Saute garlic in olive oil. (Add chili flakes if you’d like a little heat.) Add in remaining ingredients and cook until kale is tender. Serve over rice and the objections of the uninitiated.

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popsicle

How are today’s recipe and Pablo Neruda different? Though the fruitful handicraft of both Latin American pops can be enjoyed on a beach this summer, one is a poeta and the other’s a paleta. (http://www.instantrimshot.com)

This version of the popular Mexican popsicle contains only three ingredients: milk, sugar, and blackberries.

The handful of blackberries (read: 20) leftover from snacking in my fridge yielded only a single popsicle, but the recipe below should make five or six.
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coleslaw

Coleslaw is one of those dishes that evaded my understanding for a long time. A pile of shredded cabbage drenched (sopping, in fact) in mayonnaise, flavorless, textureless, and mushy? Mm, sign me up. No wait, keep that as far away from me as possible. No, I don’t want it on the side of my sandwich, or my fried chicken, or anywhere in my immediate or not-so-immediate vicinity.

I’ve increasingly been suspecting, though, that not all coleslaws are created equal, and that coleslaw can, in fact, be not only palatable, but delicious — crispy, refreshing, bursting with flavor. I’ve been seeing it on a lot of sandwiches lately, in its not so mayonnaisy, greasy form. And so, recently, I have decided to give coleslaw a second chance. And it has been revelatory. (more…)

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Breakfast salad of Champions

Fact: 1780294 out of 1780294 American Gladiator contestants who ate this for breakfast kicked the patooties of contestants who ate Wheaties or Kurt Vonnegut’s 1973 novel for breakfast. You just can’t argue with those numbers.

For a long time, I always skewed to the “-unch” side of “brunch,” taking the non-breakfast savory route out whenever possible. In college, that usually meant settling for last night’s tofu parmigiana over danishes or “Eli’s Breakfast Sandwiches.” And I was one of roughly two people I can remember who could fathom touching the salad bar, even if brunch ran from 11 to 1h30. But now, in this post-mandatory meal plan age, I can create a happy compromise between my palate and gastronomic acceptability norms. It’s a breakfast salad. And it’s so freaking nutrient-packed that dietitians should shed low-sodium tears of hushed awe upon beholding its calcium-rich glory. And it tastes like sweet, nutty victory.

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corn muffins

There are certain packaged foods that are simply the Platonic ideal of their kind, never to be bested by homemade versions: Oreos, Heinz ketchup, and Coca-Cola being my top three. Is the taste of these foodstuffs so perfectly irreplaceable because they are actually perfectly formulated? Or is it just that we are so used to those flavors that nothing else will quite do? If I had grown up eating Newman-O’s and Hunt’s ketchup, and drinking Pepsi, would I now be just as insistent on those brands as the apotheosis of sandwich cookies, tomato-based condiments, and corn-syrupy carbonated beverages?

I have one more to add to the list, but this one I feel guilty about: JIFFY Corn Muffin Mix. I felt way more guilty about it until my recent realization that EVERYONE loves Jiffy, or at least everyone who wasn’t born and/or raised in the South (and here, “everyone” mostly means my Gossip-Girl-dinner-party-club and Deb at Smitten Kitchen, which is a large and varied enough sample size for me).

Still, while I have no need for homemade Oreos, ketchup (Heinz or otherwise), or Coke, I would actually like to make cornbread from scratch. I’ve made it a couple times in the last year, always with recipes from Southern cookbooks and always in a cast-iron skillet. And it always came out great, but as an entirely different species of cornbread than I am used to — crunchy on the outside, very bready, and extremely savory. What I want is soft, cakey, and sweet. There, I said it. All Southerners can now crucify me. (more…)

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Salad

I’d noticed a big box of Belgian endives on the shelf in the produce section of the Park Slope Food Coop every time I shopped for the past few weeks.  I’d had a really delicious endive salad in France in March, and so, with visions of Vieux Lyon and andouillette dancing in my head, I decided to find an endive salad recipe of my own.  This one — featuring endives and apples, topped with toasted walnuts and a shallot vinagrette — is what I came up with.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind about this salad.  First, a nice variation is to add some radicchio — it adds color (as you can see from the photo, it’s a pretty pale salad otherwise) and spicy flavor.  Plus, radicchio and Belgian endive are both varieties of chicory (thanks, Wikipedia), so you’re basically eating a family reunion. (more…)

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Tortilla española with a side of purple kale
Tortilla española with a side of purple kale

Last night I had a few friends over to bid bon voyage to a friend who is leaving town for the summer. Fired up the grill, slapped on some steaks, potatoes au gratin, wine, dessert – the works. However, this morning one thing became clear – my graduate student “income” handles treating friends to a steak dinner just about as well as my head handles a bottle and a half of wine. In situations like this, I turn to my go-to, budget-easing, good-for-what-ails-ya, all-purpose meal solution – tortilla española.

Despite what my friends always think, tortilla española is not a type of burrito (so stop bringing salsa!). Rather, it is the hearty potato-and-egg concoction that Spaniards eat pretty much constantly. I learned how to make tortilla when I spent a semester abroad in Spain, where I ate tortilla at least four times a week (best on Sunday at about 2PM after a long sangria-filled night). I knew I needed the recipe.

In Spain I lived with a host family, and it was my host mother Josefa (jet black eyes, fiery dyed red hair, even more fiery temper) who taught me everything I know about tortilla. Josefa imparted the technique to me as if she were revealing a secret magic spell with apocalyptic power. Each step came with a grave warning (e.g. You can add zucchini, but NEVER EVER EVER anything else!). Yet despite Josefa’s stern admonitions I have found the recipe to be rather malleable, and I encourage you to experiment once you’ve got the basic technique.

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