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Archive for the ‘Italian’ Category

This is one f*ing expensive city—and I earn barely above minimum wage. (I am not being ungrateful, God. I am grateful for the blessing of work in these economically harsh times—really I am!). Suffice to say, things are tight right now. I’m doing mental math with my salary all the time and wondering where I can cut back (even more) and still enjoy life.

So this is what I’ve come up with so far.

-Bag lunch it to work: WAS doing really good with this—lunching on wholesome fruit salad in a nearby park—but with SF’s temperamental weather moods, I end up buying. Actually, since I only ever order a single bagel+butter ($1.55), it feels more like I’m renting a table to sit and read at for 30 minutes.

-Go out less: I hate this one.

-$40 weekly grocery budget: I was even toying with cutting that to $30. I haven’t tested out $40 yet, but I think it’s going to be tough. Maybe I should go back to non-organic.

Why is eating organic so dang expensive? This is why I avoided all organic craziness for so long (I recently gave in after seeing Food, Inc.)—you can’t be a have-not if you want to enjoy non-genetically modified food. Nevertheless, I’m determined to try.

-Eat in and cook with what I have, not with what I want: Eating in is not the problem. Even if it’s just me, I really enjoy the effort that goes into making a warm, colorful, flavorful meal for myself. It’s the trips to the grocery store before cooking that are the problem. So, I’ve decided to try to be more resourceful with the food I have already at home.

Today I successfully avoided going to Trader Joe’s after work and came up with a pretty good go-to meal for myself.

Mushroom-Corn Frittata with Goat Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomatoes Served with a Tomato Salad with Balsamic-Olive Oil Vinaigrette

Sounds nice, right? It was!

I don’t have one of those oven-safe pans, so after pan-frying the veggies, I poured the whisked eggs/milk on top and covered the whole thing with a lid. A few minutes in, I sprinkled in the goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes and let it finish cooking. And when I removed the lid, I had a light, fluffy frittata—steamed on top and golden on the bottom.

Organic Mushroom-Corn Frittata with Goat Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomatoes Served with a Tomato Salad with Balsamic-Olive Oil Vinaigrette

Serves 1

INGREDIENTS

Frittata:

olive oil, for frying

1/2 small onion, sliced thinly

1 clove garlic, minced finely

3 mushrooms, sliced (I used brown cremini)

1/4 cup frozen corn kernels

2 large eggs

splash of milk (I used non-fat)

1 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes in oil, sliced

1 tbsp soft goat cheese, crumbled

salt & pepper

Tomato Salad

2 Roma Tomatoes, sliced

extra virgin olive oil

balsamic vinegar

salt & pepper

1 tbsp goat cheese, crumbled

DIRECTIONS

Tomato Salad:

1. Slice the tomatoes and layer them on a plate.

2. In a small bowl, mix together the extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Then, pour over the tomatoes. (Didn’t bother with the bowl and poured the individual ingredients directly over the tomatoes.)

3. Top with crumbled goat cheese. Set aside (to marinate) while you prepare the frittata.

Frittata:

1. Pre-heat a small (I think mine is 5″) non-stick pan on medium-high. In a little olive oil, fry the onion, garlic and mushrooms until softened and browned. (The higher heat is necessary because of the high water-content in mushrooms.) Sprinkle in a little salt and pepper to taste. (I always add salt later in the cooking process, as salt draws out water.)

2. While the mushrooms, onions and garlic are frying, whisk together 2 eggs, a splash of milk and salt & pepper in a small bowl.

3. Into the pan, stir in the corn, allowing to just heat through. Then, distribute the vegetables in the pan, so that the entire bottom is covered.

4. Pour in the egg/milk mixture, making sure to cover all the vegetables. Place a lid on top and allow to steam for 2 minutes.

5. Remove the lid. Sprinkle the sliced sun-dried tomates and crumbled goat cheese on top. Replace the cover and steam for another 3-4 minutes.

6. Fold the frittata onto the plate with your tomato salad and ENJOY!

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When I first moved in, I suppose I appreciated the simplicity of my living situation—we were roommates, not friends. At one point, however, it just felt weird to be sharing such an intimate space—home—with two people and not make an effort to know who they are.

I guess I wasn’t the only who felt this way.

Last Wednesday, my two roommates, L. and M., and I finally sat down together for a dinner at home. I’ve been living with these girls for 2 months and this is the first time we really had a chance to talk. Over wine, good cheese and a fish stew that I sort of just threw together (and inspired by this recipe from epicurious), we took turns talking about our work, families and relationships.

I’m glad we did it—L. and M. are amazing, independent, inspiring women. It may be more complex than before, but I think of that as a good thing.

So here’s the stew that brought us 3 girls together.

It’s loaded with vegetables, it’s healthy and it’s pescavegetarian (for L. and M.). Also, it’s completely flexible—as long as you make the basic tomato soup part, you can throw in whatever kind of veggies and seafood you want.

Blurry photo–I know. This is the only one I have…

P1060789

Italian Fish Stew (adapted from Epicurious)

INGREDIENTS

1 onion, finely chopped

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

3 carrots, peeled and cut at an angle into bite-sized pieces

splash of white wine

1 large handful fresh basil, including stocks, sliced chiffonade-style

1x 28-oz can plain stewed tomatoes

1-1 1/2 lbs. fish or seafood (I used 3 large tilapia fillets)

2 cups vegetables, cut into bite-sized pieces (I used about 1/2 c. frozen corn and 1 1/2 c. broccoli florets)

salt and pepper, to taste

juice of 1 fresh lemon (could use the zest as well)

DIRECTIONS

1. In a pre-heated non-stick pot, saute the onion, garlic and carrots in a little olive oil until golden in color.

2. Add in a splash of white wine and allow the liquid to reduce to about half.

3. Mix in the stewed tomatoes, chopped basil stocks and salt and pepper. Allow the stew to come to a boil; then, reduce the heat to low. Cover and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes (until the carrots are tender and the liquids have reduced enough to form a thicker stew).

4. Add the broccoli and allow to cook until al dente.

5. Pour about 1/2 the soup mixture into a blender or food processor and mix until smooth. Pour it back into the pot. (Cover the blender with a towel and not the top to avoid splattering.)

6. Add in the remaining vegetables (in my case, frozen corn) and seafood, allowing the soup to cover and cook the fish. Do not stir; otherwise, the fish with break up. Allow to stew for about 3-4 minutes—not longer.

7. Ladle the stew into the bowls. Then, top each bowl with a dollop of fresh, soft goat cheese, a squeeze of lemon and serve.

For dipping, we threw some fresh bread under the broiler, then coated the pieces with a drizzle of olive oil and a few strokes of fresh garlic.

Such an uncomplicated stew but absolutely delicious.

Oh, and of course, serve with lots of wine!



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  • Mama Leah: Well, my darling, I am extremely impressed and inspired. I, of course, don't have one iota of the culinary skills that you have (except for baking, b
  • saffronandbasil: Thanks for the recipe. By the way, LOVE LOVE your site.