For a printable recipe of this Charred Chard Pizza, click here.
>I’m headed out of town tomorrow afternoon for FoodBlog South, so I thought I’d leave you with some food for thought before I go.
- There was an open letter to area chefs in our local paper’s food blog the other day. I thought it was interesting, but what I found especially interesting were the responses from a couple of local chefs. I think it’s fascinating that food has become such a point of contention in our society. As someone who has had visions of opening the next great restaurant or bakeshop, I can only imagine the struggles restaurateurs and chefs must face. Chefs are artists – their pallet composed of flavors and aromas and textures. They study and train for years to perfect techniques that yield some of the most decadent and divine dishes you’ll ever digest. Unfortunately, they also have businesses to run, and that sometimes means catering to the masses. Sometimes, the majority of a restaurant’s patrons aren’t going to order the sweetbreads or the butter-poached kidneys, or even the asian melon soup. I’m an adventurous eater, and offal intrigues me, but most restaurant goers are looking for something familiar with which to whet their appetites. I think there’s a healthy balance in today’s restaurant scene. Enough to satisfy the adventurous eater, while still appealing to those people who are just looking for a good burger. What do you think?
- I’ve been doing the Eat Right America 28-day challenge for three days now. So far I’ve lost about 3 pounds. My goal was not necessarily to lose weight, but I thought those of you who are interested in that sort of thing would like to know. There are some things that I really like about the plan, and there are some things that I have some concerns about. I plan to write more about this next week, but in the meantime, I wanted to share the following recipe.
Broiled Flounder with Soy Quinoa and Broccoli
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons dried minced onion
1/4 teaspoon dried minced garlic
6 flounder filets
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 cup broccoli florets
1 carrot, diced
vegetable oil spray
- Begin by mixing soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, vinegar, onion and garlic. You can certainly use fresh ginger, onion and garlic in this recipe – I would have had I had them on hand. I’m still in the midst of my pantry cleanse, and am trying to use up some of this stuff.
- Spray a foil-lined baking sheet with vegetable oil spray. Lay the flounder filets on the pan, and use a pastry brush to brush them with the soy sauce mixture. Place them in the oven under the broiler and broil for 8 minutes, or until edges begin to curl. Keep a close watch on them so they don’t burn.
- Cook the quinoa according to package instructions.
- Place a small amount (a couple of tablespoons) of water in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the broccoli and carrots. Allow to cook until broccoli is bright green and carrots begin to soften. Pour the remaining soy sauce mixture into the pan. Add the quinoa and stir to combine. Remove from the heat.
- Serve the cooked fish over the quinoa mixture.
- I’m going to be guesting over at Frosting for the Cause on Saturday. I’ll be in Birmingham that day (learning all about how to make this blog the best blog it can be), and I won’t be able to tell you about it then, so I’m telling you about it now. The idea is that 365 bloggers will come together over the course of 2011 to help raise funds and awareness for cancer research. I don’t know one person in my life who hasn’t been affected by cancer in some form or fashion, so it was a no-brainer for me to be a part of this great effort. If you’re a food blogger, I urge you to do the same. Cancer sucks.
While I did go to the store over the weekend for milk and eggs, I was determined to stick to my pantry clean-out plan. As such, I’ve gotten pretty creative over the last couple of days while we’ve been snowbound. Some of my experiments have been successful, while others have been less so. For instance, making dulce de leche with fat-free sweetened condensed milk? Success. Making cheese with powdered milk? Less so. I mean, you can do it, but you really shouldn’t.
- Empty cans into a heavy-bottomed saucepan
- Place pan over medium-low heat
- Cook, stirring constantly (for real – keep stirring, or it will burn) and scraping the corners of the pan periodically, until it becomes a light caramel color and has thickened significantly.
- Remove from heat and pour over brownie recipe of your choice.
>It has been an interesting and remarkable year.
I could use this post to talk about my favorite recipes from the past year. Like this Shepherd’s Pie.
Or my first attempt at making sausages at home.
- All of the Austin Food Bloggers who participated in the Hunger Awareness Blog Project. This was an eye-opening series, and I’m hoping we can do something similar here in the Atlanta area this spring.
- There are a number of real mamas out there writing about feeding their families real food. The one I’ve become most closely acquainted with recently writes For the Joy of Food and is married to one of my childhood friends. I’m looking forward to getting to know her better in the new year, and also picking her brain on baking bread from home-milled grains. Additionally, I’ve begun reading Modern Alternative Mama. I like her because she not only writes about what she feeds her family, she also gives meal plans and budget plans to help you on your way to achieving a realistic real food diet for your own family. I would also place Megan from Stetted in this same category. I found her when we were both participating in Foodbuzz’s Project Food Blog competition, and immediately felt a connection to the things she was writing about (she’s also one of those Austin Food Bloggers I mentioned up there in number one).
- I liked this post from Tomayto Tomaaahto. It was her third entry in the Project Food Blog competition, and it unfortunately resulted in her being eliminated. I thought it was very brave and ballsy to use an opportunity like this to make a statement about hunger – she even set up a donation website so that the rest of us can get involved.
- This post by Linda over at Salty Seattle that explores the slaughter and processing of chickens at a small sustainable farm in Washington State made me want to go out and kill and eat some chickens. And I mean that in the least creepy way. If that’s even possible.
- And finally, on a non-food related note, the Salwen Family, who wrote The Power of Half, based on their decision to sell their house and give away half the proceeds to charity. I know these folks personally, and they are remarkable. What I like especially about the book is that they don’t expect that everyone will sell their house and give up half the proceeds. They simply ask that we look at what we have or what we do and think about something that we could give up half of. I mean, I could certainly redirect half the time I spend online, or half the money I spend on lunches out during the week toward other more worthy endeavors. Couldn’t we all?
This is the first in a series of posts that explores cooking healthfully on a restricted budget. The hope is to show that even people who have limited funds can afford to feed their families quality food without relying on overly processed mixes or fast-food restaurants. The cost breakdowns are based on what my local grocery store is currently charging for a particular ingredient. For instance, below you’ll see whole-wheat flour as an ingredient. A 5 lb. bag of whole-wheat flour costs approximately $3 at my grocery store. There are about 20 cups of flour in a 5 lb. bag, so to figure out how much 2 3/4 cups of flour would cost I divided 20 by 2.75, which was about 7.3. I then divided 3 by 7.3, and came up with about .4, or 40 cents for 2 3/4 cups flour.
I know that this is more trouble than many people are going to want to go to on a Friday night after a busy week. The point is to show that it can be done, if you choose to take the time. I managed this after a full day at work, with two small children playing at my feet. My husband was stuck in typical Friday afternoon rush-hour traffic, so it was just me and the kids until he got home around 6:45. At that point, we all piled in the car and ate pizza and then drank hot chocolate while we drove around and looked at Christmas lights. It was an inexpensive evening, but it was quality family time and I felt good about what we were eating (well, except maybe for the hot chocolate).
As we drove around, eating our pizza and happily pointing out the twinkling light displays, I couldn’t help but notice that there were fewer this year than in years past. Whether it’s because people are trying to conserve energy or funds, I don’t know, but I suspect it’s more the latter. We did pass a number of houses with lines of cars out front, evidence of holiday parties in full swing. And we glimpsed quite a few lit Christmas trees peeking through parted drapes. The celebration and the true meaning of the season continue, even if the lavish light displays have been downsized. What I thought about most as we traveled the neighborhood streets was that couple, and the displays of generosity I’d witnessed sitting in my car in front of a different set of lights earlier in the day. And I was thankful.
yields: 2 12-inch crusts
1 teaspoon salt ($.01)
1 Tablespoon oil ($.10)
1 cup warm water ($.0)
Total cost: $1.02
- Preheat oven to 425F
- Combine 1/4 cup warm water and yeast and set aside for 5 minutes or so.
- Combine Flour, sugar and salt
- Add 1 cup water, oil and yeast mixture. Stir to combine.
- Turn dough out on floured surface and knead until dough forms a smooth, elastic ball
- Divide dough in half, form two balls, and cover with a damp cloth.
- Let rest for 15 minutes or so while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.
- Roll dough out on a floured surface until it is 12-inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thick
- Bake for 5 minutes on a lightly greased cookie sheet, just until crust starts to bubble
- Top with sauce and toppings of your choice, and bake directly on oven rack for 10 minutes more.
prep time: 0 minutes
cook time: 10 minutes
1/2 pint grape tomatoes ($1.50)
1 carrot, grated ($.30)
1/4 medium onion, diced ($.25)
1/4 cup water ($.0)
Total cost: $2.05
- Combine tomatoes, carrot, onion and salt in a saucepan over medium heat
- With a fork or a potato masher, crush the tomatoes
- Cook mixture until tomatoes start to release their liquid
- Add water. Using the fork or masher, mash the mixture until it is well combined and relatively homogeneous
- Remove from the heat
To assemble the pizza
- Spread thin layer of sauce on par-baked crusts
- Top each crust with 1 oz. of parmesan cheese ($.50 per pizza, total $1.00)
- Slice 8 oz. mozzarella cheese very thin, and space evenly on pizzas ($3.50)
- Top with 17 slices of turkey pepperoni (I actually used some homemade pepperoni that I had in my freezer, but turkey pepperoni works just as well – cost for turkey pepperoni: $.75).
- Thinly slice 4 mushrooms and spread evenly over top of the pizza ($.30)
- I added thinly sliced red pepper to my pizza, which would add another dollar or so to the cost if you chose to do that.
- Bake at 425F for 10 minutes, or until cheese is brown and bubbly and edges of crust are brown and crisp.
|Lights draped over base of storage box, before the addition of the freezer paper backdrop|
|Box on window seat with freezer-paper backdrop|
|Fresh whole-wheat pasta waiting to be incorporated into chicken-noodle soup|
|Testing out a vertical orientation|
|Chicken-noodle soup and crusty bread|