Foodie Hoarding

September 15, 2010

Fall is creeping into New York and I feel the urge to get back to this blog for a real start. This is New York and New England’s best season, I think and while it is only mid-September, winter squash, apples and pears are showing up from our CSA and at the Greenmarkets.

Winter will be here before we all know it and if you are anything like my family, you are feeling the pinch, more and more, as this “great” recession marches on. I spent a lot of the summer savoring the flavors but also planning to save some. I canned for the first time on my own, making fig preserves several times. I baked zucchini bread with the copious quantities of summer squash we received from the CSA in August (and September…) and while we ate most of it right away, I have a stash in the freezer for a mid-fall treat. I’ve cut up various sweet peppers and put small amounts in baggies in the freezer for stews and chili all late fall and winter. Along with peppers and various figs, I froze mini-tomatoes whole, to roast with bread crumbs and parmesan as a late fall comfort food, Roasted cherry tomato pasta sauce. We have diced okra for gumbo, eggplant slices for roasting or putting in eggplant parm, summer squash frozen with leeks and green beans, JUST because. A ridiculous amount of basil pesto fill out the freezer stash and various dried herbs in the pantry. This week I am drying dill and making dill butter, cilantro butter and cilantro pesto, adding them all to my freezer stash. I cannot wait for cilantro pesto over mussels and dill butter on pumpernickel with slices of smoked salmon and red onion. Yum!

This week has been fairly slim, grocery buying wise, as we got so much from the CSA. There is a blog called 30 bucks a week but the writers are vegetarian. I am strongly considering trying something like this but with meat. specifically meat/seafood that is produced in a sustainable manner. Wonder what the budget would look like? I find we spend about $40 every 1.5 weeks on meat but we also spend a LOT on things like cheese and yogurt and we don’t shop at a coop. The CSA haul ends up being about $15 for our veggie share, per week, and $3 per week for herbs. We then usually spend $30 to $50 every two weeks at the CSA Meat and Dairy and we spend about $100 a month at Costco. We insist on organic milk and go through a lot. We have a child (the blog above is just two people on the $30 a week budget). Could we keep our cost under $100 a week? Would that be a real challenge, even?

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September 4, 2010

I’ve been spending the summer with the CSA in our neighborhood doing volunteer work, largely copy for the website. We’ve been cooking up a storm and saving summer goods for Fall and Winter enjoyment.
I feel incredibly blessed for wonderful Astoria neighbors. Every friend and neighbor has shared our overload of CSA bounty but also given us some really amazing gifts as well. It is hard to pick a favorite gift but Astoria is a Greek neighborhood and we have truly treasured the outpouring of FIGS this year! I’ve received figs from 4 different neighbors and several times over. Fresh figs are AMAZING, of course, but we’ve canned them several times as well as freezing them whole and pureed. We’ve also been really lucky in that there are several types of fig trees prevalent here and so we’ve been offered a lot of green figs as well as the common purple fig. Thing is? I can not get enough of them. Figs with greens and cheese, figs roasted with meat, figs roasted and mixed with cheese and spread on bread, figs baked into baked goods, fig preserves…

I wandered by one of our neighborhood Italian specialty stores, Rosario’s today. It is a pretty friendly place carrying an interesting array of yummies. Good rose hip jam, lingonberry preserves, some French items, some local items (Beth’s jams!), quality canned tomatoes of varied brands, wide variety of olive oils, pastas, etc. The Mozz is NOT as good as Sorriso’s. It just is not. But they carry marinated anchovies (the sweet and savory, delicious kind you buy cold in sealed containers. These aren’t your normal anchovies in a JAR/CAN.) a good two dollars cheaper per container, though and they ARE just as good. They also carry taleggio which I haven’t seen anywhere else in the ‘hood. I had a little pile with the cheese and anchovies and a soda and woman grabs my taleggio and starts asking the guy attending ME how much the anchovies were…

Um. Rude from several angles.

That is the second time this month I’ve seen someone handle food that wasn’t THEIRS at a store I frequent. The first was way worse. NEVER buy olives from the bar. Anywhere… is all I will say, but this was kinda weird, too. Yeah, it was wrapped but REALLY? Hands on someone else’s purchases while they are right there obviously purchasing. Little weird.

Also, the prosciutto wasn’t sliced thinly…at ALL. It was tasty but not as tasty as it would be if sliced correctly. Sad.

No Great Shakes

June 2, 2010

I’m sharing some enthusiasm for good food, local food, greenmarkets, CSAs and a few recipes as they present themselves. MOSTLY? out of boredom. No Shakespeare here. I would venture to say I’m not even rivaling Danielle Steele so…yeahhhhh. The writing is no great shakes on Frugal Foodie in Astoria. As. You were.

That being said, here is a summer treat that is a great shake:

“The Mark”‘s Chocolate Shake

Ideally, you have a glass or metal blender attachment and can chill it prior to adding the following:

– 4 cups high quality vanilla ice cream (Mr. John’s is ideal but also VANILLA BEAN is really excellent. I think Aiden’s makes one and there are others.)
– 4 cups whole milk
– 1/3 cup of Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup

Blend until creamy but pourable. Do not liquify (highest setting on a Kitchenaid). It is supposed to be lightly chocolate flavored so if you want to add more syrup or shave on chocolate to top, go for it, but I think the genius in it is the simplicity.

Raining Babies

June 2, 2010

Three women I know have had babies this month and more are to follow SO this past week I’ve been cooking up a storm. I’ve made batches of the tabouli recipe, “Kick-A** Hummus” from Crunchy Chicken Cooks blog (which is EXCELLENT), two giant pans of vegetarian lasagna, two kinds of pesto, pumpkin applesauce muffins, banana muffins, warm lentil salad…yeah…it got out of hand. The warm lentil salad is great over a bed of spinach with some of the tabouli on the side and some roasted chicken, if you feel like it:

Warm French Lentil Salad

– 2 cups of french lentils
– 4 cups of broth (I used vegetable)
– 3 to 5 cloves of garlic
– 1 red onion, medium
– 5 carrots, roughly chopped
– 3 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
– sea salt
– 1/4 cup olive oil
– 1/4 cup tarragon white wine vinegar (or what you have…champagne and red wine are both fine)
– herbs on hand (I used fresh rosemary, dried herbs de provence and thyme)

Boil the lentils, herbs and chopped carrots for 35 minutes in the broth. Most liquid will be gone. Let cool slightly then add chopped celery, onion, olive oil and salt. Meanwhile, saute garlic and add to the mixture. After the mixture comes to room temperature, add the vinegar. Serve over a bed of baby spinach. Crumbled feta or goat cheese over this is lovely.

CSA

May 18, 2010

We are all signed up for the upcoming season, starting June 8th! Vegetable, herb, fruit and two basil shares! SO excited although the fruit is mostly being given over to our share partner. May’s order from the Meat/Dairy:

– Smoked ham steak
– Chicken breast
-Farmhouse Jack cheese
– lavender sheep’s milk crottin
-a dozen large eggs
– small packet of maple nut granola
– 1lb. jar of raw honey

The cheeses are almost all gone already and the chicken breast is for dinner tonight. Also, made the flank steak from last month this past week. Easy to pan sear, slice and serve with sauteed veggies, salad and some of the cheese muffins.

This and That

May 18, 2010

I have been cooking, I swear, but we’ve had a lot going on. I made the cheese muffins again and this time I put two cups of comte and one cup of cheddar in and they were pretty much perfect. Also, made the White Sandwich bread recipe from Joy of Cooking but used 1/3 white flour to 2/3 of the half-white/half-wheat flour we received from Cayuga farms this winter in a CSA order. The loaves came out not very high, rise wise, but really lovely tasting with a crunchy crust. I used a little sugar in the yeast proofing and also used a tip off of 30 Bucks a Week where one pre-heats the oven to 200 degrees and then lets the first rise happen in the warm, but not too warm, oven. I’ve eaten about half of the first loaf…a slice with butter and raw honey, one with olive paste, one with butter and grape jelly and then sent my hubbie off to work with a watercress and fennel,dried orange sopressata sandwich. I can’t think that it’d be bad…