Saturday, December 13, 2008
Mushroom Barley Stew with a Biscuit Crust
1 can chick-peas
2 tablespoons vegetable (or olive) oil
18 pearl onions (the frozen ones in the bag are perfect)
4 carrots, peeled and cut in half then in ½ inch pieces (use can use a bag of baby carrots cut in half)
2 celery stalks, cut like the carrots
2 tablespoons flour
6 cups vegetable stock
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
3 cloves garlic, minced (¼ teaspoon of jar garlic is fine too)
1/3 cup pearl barley
¾ pound red potatoes, cleaned and quartered
1 cup sugar snap peas (frozen box is ok too)
¾ pound sliced white mushrooms or baby bella's
salt and pepper to taste
For the Biscuits:
2 ½ cups flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ cup (4oz) cold unsalted butter, sliced into ½ tablespoon pieces
1 cup buttermilk (light is fine)
In a large pot over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the chick-peas, carrots, celery, pearl onions and stir to coat. Cook about 2 minutes, sift the flour over the vegetables and cook for another 2 minutes, but do not brown. Add the stock, herbes de Province, garlic and barley. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. The vegetables should be tender when pierced with a fork. Add the potatoes and cover, cook for an additional 30 minutes. While the potatoes cook, make the biscuits.
Sift the flour, salt, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles a coarse meal. Add the buttermilk and stir until the mixture forms a dough. Gather into a ball and transfer onto a floured surface. Roll out the dough to ¾ inch thick and fold over in half, roll out again and fold, roll out to ½ inch and using a 2 inch cutter (or a glass rim) cut out the biscuits. You can re-roll the leftover dough to make more biscuits. Put the biscuits aside. Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Check the stew. Add the snap peas and mushrooms cook for 5-8 minutes and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a round casserole dish (about 3qt 7-8 inch dia). Place the biscuits on top of the stew. It's ok if the overlap a bit. You can cook any extra biscuits on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Place the dish (and cookie sheet) into the oven and bake until the biscuits are golden and the stew is bubbling, about 20-25 minutes. Serve immediately.
Resist the urge to use store bought biscuits. I've done it and they just don't taste as good. This is a great meal to make a double batch of. It reheats well and even without the biscuits, it makes a very satisfying lunch.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Friday, October 3, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Asian Salmon with Bok Choy and Mushrooms
2 cloves garlic
¼ cup chopped green onions
¼ cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 ¼ inch cube of fresh ginger
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
¾ teaspoon roasted red chilli paste (Thai Village brand or similar)
1 ½ pound salmon filet
1 large head Bok Choy (or a few baby bok choy) sliced into ½ inch strips
4-8oz Shiitake mushrooms (or baby bella’s if you prefer the taste)
1 tablespoon peanut oil (or other high heat oil)
Mix 1 garlic clove and the next 7 items in a mini chopper or blender. Place salmon in a ziploc bag with the marinade. Seal and set aside for at least 10 minutes. Heat oven to 500 degrees. Remove fish from bag and place in a glass baking dish. Place marinade into a small sauce pan with ¼ cup of water and bring to a boil. Roast fish in oven for 8-10 minutes depending on thickness. Don’t over cook it. It should be just opaque in the center. While the fish is cooking, heat the oil in a wok or other large pan. Squeeze the garlic into the oil using a press. Add mushrooms and bok choy. Sauté until bok choy is wilted. Place the vegetables on a plate, top with salmon, and drizzle a spoonful of sauce over the fish. Serve with a scoop of rice if you want.
This was a great meal and there was plenty of left over for lunch the next day. I heated the plates in the oven for a minute or two so everything stayed piping hot. It went together very quick; just about 30 minutes. I might try this with tofu next time for a change. It would probably work really well.
After I cleaned up dinner, I quickly put the marinade together for Monday night’s hanger steak. I thought it would be a good night for a beef meal, since I was planning to work late. Recipe to follow. . . .
Hey, I got comments! Thanks for reading! Christine, you are right about the farmers markets. We have 2 local farms that i do buy stuff at. That does help. The meat issue Tex brought up is an interesting one. I became a vegetarian back in March. It was a multifaceted decision, but really an evolution of thought on my behalf. Carolynn decided to join me shortly thereafter. Katherine is 11 and has been brought up on a very meat oriented diet and she likes it. At her age, I'm willing to set a really good example, expand her dietary horizons, and find alternatives for her, but she will need to come to the veg thing on her own. So, I compromise. I'll cook an occasional beef or chicken meal for her and she promises to try different things on other nights. When she is ready, she'll get it.
So thanks for the comments and keep them coming!
Here is the shopping list week one
1 ½ lb salmon
1 ½ lb skirt steak
1 ¼ lb Mahi Mahi
1 lg Bok Choy
8 oz shiitake mushrooms
2 bunches green onions
1 red bell pepper
1 lg eggplant
1 ½ lbs red potatoes
1 bunch broccoli
1 bag onions
1 lb green grapes
1 qt strawberries
2in piece fresh ginger
1 lg clamshell mixed greens
1 box frozen corn
1 bag alexia sweet potato fries
1 box orzo
1 box taco shells
1 pack taco seasoning
1 jar salsa
1 bottle soy sauce
1 lg container light sour cream
1 loaf whole wheat bread
5oz log goat cheese
1 lb turkey breast
Total cost: $69.87
The woman behind the register of the first store looked at my hand with a $100.00 bill and said instinctively, "Debit or credit?" then said, "Oh, sorry, no one pays with cash anymore." It was kinda funny. I have to say I felt really good about shopping consciously. It took some time, but it was really satisfying.
Quick Disclaimer: Some ingredients in the recipes I had in house, so they didn’t count against the 125.00. Over time staples like flour and butter will add to the weekly total, but I want to use up what I have. All in all I was pretty happy with my first outing. I went to 2 different stores. I knew I would need to buy milk, eggs and a few other essentials during the week, so the remainder of the cash went into a envelop on the fridge. I’ll post the recipes separately so you can search for them later.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Taking the Challenge.
My daughter thinks I’m weird and my partner is convinced it can’t be done, but my challenge is to feed my family of 3 for a week with healthful, gourmet meals, on 125.00 per week. That is less than half of what we spend now. It’s a cool challenge. I’m excited to use my financial brains alongside my creativity. It is September 22 and my challenge started 2 days ago.
Friday I got the special food store circulars in the mail. All nice and neatly packed in plastic, I open the package containing the sales flyer for every food store in a 5 mile radius. First I look at King Kullen and notice a $10.00 coupon right on the cover. I begin to cut it out when I realize that I have to spend $100.00 to get the $10 back. That won’t work for me, as $100.00 is all I have. I start to write down on a piece of paper all of main course items I might be interested in and what store had them. Salmon for 4.98/pound, mahi mahi for 3.99/ pound, Shell steak (for my daughter) 4.99/pound. These are items I could build a menu around. I also noted things like fruits and vegetables that were on sale and where. Part of my challenge was to open as few cans as possible, so fresh vegetables were a must. I sketched an outline of the week next to my list:
Sunday – Salmon
Monday – Beef (I would be working late)
Tuesday – white fish
Wednesday – Veggie meal
Thursday – Tacos
Friday – Beans/pasta
Saturday – shellfish
Ok so I knew salmon was on sale and Mahi Mahi. I found Eggplant on sale at another store and taco shells. Shell steaks were ok, but I know my daughter loves marinated skirt steak, so I would look for that cut at a reasonable price.
I collect recipes as a hobby and keep them in an accordion file. I pulled out the file and began to look for recipes that contained the items on sale and were relatively easy to cook. I selected a few and then narrowed it down by taste and list of ingredients.
Once I selected all of the week’s recipes, I added the ingredients to the shopping list and did a quick calculation in my head. Here is the menu:
Sunday – Korean style Salmon with bok choy and mushrooms, steamed rice
Monday – Grilled beer marinated hanger steak, with broccoli, and sweet potato fries
Tuesday – Mahi Mahi with sweet corn chowder gravy, smashed potatoes, and green salad
Wednesday – Over Stuffed eggplant with a garden salad (pizza night for my daughter)
Thursday – DIY tacos, meat or veggie
Friday – Orzo w/chickpeas and goat cheese, cucumber and tomato salad
Saturday - Grilled shrimp and citrus balsamic vegetables
I put a $100.00 bill in my pocket. I don’t usually shop with cash. I like the safety of a credit card. What if I get to the register and have $112.32 worth of groceries? With a credit card, it wouldn’t matter. I can be careless, overrun my budget, and not even notice until the bill is due. That stops today. I have a mission, a list, and a $100.00 bill in my pocket. That’s it. Stay tuned. I'll post the shopping list and the recipies for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
Maybe I’m just crazy.
I love to cook really elaborate fancy meals like the kind you see in Gourmet Magazine.
I work full time, sometimes more, and have a daughter in middle school.
I love to eat good food. To clarify, I like expensive food.
I’m an athlete with a propensity to eat the wrong things at the wrong times.
I need to drop 15 pounds, my partner a little more than that, and our daughter as little more than that.
I’m a vegetarian, my partner eats meat as a condiment, and my daughter is a decided carnivore loving only the finest cuts of prime beef.
I passed out when I realized that my little family of three spends over $300.00 per week in food.
Are you for real!!!!! $300.00 per week for food! That’s $15,600 per year or, for comparison, the amount equal to minimum wage in New York State for 40 hour per week before taxes! That’s NUTS!
I’m not a chef. I’m not a nutritionist. I am a smart businesswoman. I run a multimillion dollar assisted living community. I have a full kitchen in my place of business and maintain operating costs right around 6.00 per person per day for three meals. For my family of three that would be equal to 126.00 per week. Why can’t I run my home kitchen like that? What is wrong with me? This is my quest. Can I put together a menu that is:
- enjoyable for all members of the family
- healthful and conscious of our propensity to gain weight
- comparable to an excellent restaurant
- prepared within the confines on my work schedule
- costing less than 500.00 per month.
Here we go. The “Good Family Food” project. Follow along if you want, I’ll post my thoughts, menus, recipes, successes and failures. There is no reason I can’t do this.