Monday, May 30, 2011

Puttanesca Pizza

I'm not sure exactly how this happened, but I managed to make too little pasta to go with the pot of Puttanesca sauce. I considered making more pasta (too lazy), tossing the last of the sauce in the freezer to use when I got around to it (meh), but then I decided that since I already had a thawed pizza dough in the fridge, I might as well just use that and have a nice briny pizza. Yum. Of all the weird pizzas I've subjected you guys to, I think this one was the easiest. Here's how it goes. Hope you enjoy!

1 pizza dough
3/4 cup Puttanesca sauce
handful of cheese (optional)

Pat out dough into a round. Top with sauce and cheese, if using. Bake 10 minutes at the hottest temperature your oven goes to (I rotate the pizza halfway through). Serves 1-2.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday Storage

This week I've used up some stuff I actually remember. So proud. :)

I used:

2 pounds pasta
2 chicken breasts
all but one batch of the pizza dough I'd frozen (huh. That means I need to make more dough, doesn't it?)
2 pounds mozarrella
lots of tomato sauce (homemade sauce for pizza/pasta, not the little cans of tomato sauce)
some canned tomatoes
a tin of anchovies
lots of pickles
most of the pesto

I guess I've mostly been eating pizza and puttanesca this week. I didn't actually realise that until I wrote out this list. Interestingly, I discovered a loaf of bread in the freezer that I didn't remember having, so probably this coming week will be a lot of french toast and grilled sandwiches. If any of them are interesting I'll be sure to let y'all know.

Saturday Spending

Once again, I didn't go to the store. I think at this point I really do need to go, since I'm very nearly out of produce. Down to one orange (again), an acorn squash, one onion, one tomato and a bell pepper; I'm out of both celery and carrots. I did discover I had a lime, too. I'll get them sometime this week if I remember.

I think there's something wrong with me that I'm kind of enjoying the fact that I haven't been to the store in a month. Aside from some produce, I probably could go just as easily a second month (probably longer, though I'd likely run out of meat at that point). We'll see what happens though, with that. It is saving me money, which is good. And it's also forcing me to use food storage which is another good thing.

Now that it's June, I'm ready to start figuring out my summer budget for food. I believe I'm going to do $10 per week again (or $40 a month) as I did last summer. I'll probably do the same thing as last summer where I have to count eating out as part of my weekly budget. Though maybe I'll allow myself one meal out per week with friends so I can keep having a social life that includes food (as opposed to my beer budget which does not appear to be open to reduction for the summer).

So there you go. Perhaps next week I'll actually have groceries to tell you about?

Food Waste Friday

My scheduling of posts didn't pan out this week; sorry for the delays in this!

This week, I wasted:

NOTHING!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Pea Shoots and Orange Salad

I had some pea shoots, which I normally like to use for garnishing things. But I had a lot of them, so it seemed good to make them into a salad since I generally think they're a bit too delicate for cooked applications. It's a good snack, and if you wanted you could still use this salad as a garnish. Hope you enjoy!

3 ounces pea shoots
1 orange, supremed
1/2 teaspoon whole grain mustard
salt to taste
1-2 tablespoons each: olive oil, burgundy vinegar (red wine vinegar is a fine substitute)

Whisk together the vinegar, salt and mustard, then stream in the oil while whisking. Fold into the orange segments and pea shoots. Chill and serve. Serves 2-4.

My camera still isn't participating in my life, so no pictures. Sorry guys.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday Storage

It looks like I've kind of blown off the Sunday Storage thing since like, April. That's not good, and I'm sorry. I don't have a 100% accurate count of what I've used over the last month, but I think I can approximate it for y'all.

I'm down to 48 pounds of pasta, so I think I've been blowing through it more rapidly than I originally thought. This is great, since it puts me on track to get through that at the conclusion of my lease. I've used piles of chick peas and some of the other beans, but I think I've still got a good 15 or so pounds of those left. I think I'm actually not on track for wrapping those up by the time my lease expires. And then there's the bin of dried mushrooms. To be honest, I usually forget they're in there, and as a result they rarely get incorporated into my cooking. I need to work on that. A friend mentioned that sometime we could do some kind of cook-out, and I can bring mushrooms to that so we can make all sorts of creative mushroom-y things. That seems like a lot of fun, and hopefully a way to get rid of at least a pound of the little guys. Slowly I'm running out of all my non-candy making baking supplies. Making very little dent in the candy making stuff though, which tells me I am not making my friends even remotely enough candy right now. Which I'll also work on. Rice I'm doing well with. I was off rice for a little while, but I'm back on it now and that's a good thing since I'm getting through it little by little.

I think overall, I've used up about half of the long-term storage I moved into this apartment with. My goal of course is to use it all up by November 8th, but I think that goal is pretty unrealistic at this point. Perhaps if I ate out a little less, or whatever, it'd be doable. I think it's more reasonable to accept that I am not going to stop eating out and that it'll take me a bit longer to get through all the food. Soon, I believe, I will be able to combine the beans bin with the pasta bin. That'll free up some space in my closet and I'll like that. The mushrooms and tea bins will be emptied eventually, but I understand both of those will take substantially longer to accomplish.

Once I get through it all, I think I'd just like to keep a month or three's worth of food in the house. Plenty for allowing me to skip shopping for a month here and there (like I have been this month), but not so much that it's overwhelming and hard to store in a one bedroom apartment. :)

So that's the update. Not very specific, but gives y'all a general sense of where things are on the storage front.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Saturday Spending

Y'all aren't going to believe this. Once again, I did not go to the store! I really, really, really intended to go this week. After all, I needed more oranges. But then, a friend very kindly brought me a gift of some oranges when he came over to hang out, and that quickly made all my good intentions fall by the wayside. So, ... well, yeah. I'm a little embarrassed that there's only a week left of May and the only time I've seen the inside of a grocery store this month was to teach someone else how to shop. But, we'll see what happens next week.

So, the totals:

Money spent: $0.
Weekly allotment: $20
Monthly allotment: $80
Amount over weekly allotment: $0
Amount over monthly allotment: $0
Remaining balance: $80

Friday, May 20, 2011

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Saturday Spending

Once again, I did not go to the grocery store. I drive by it often enough, and I know there's stuff I want in there. But I still have SO MUCH STUFF in my house that I just can't justify it, still. I have one orange left (the status of oranges being the mark of when I'll go to the store again). I am out of Triscuits (this makes me sad), but I could just make my own crackers if I really need to eat piles of banana peppers on crackers. Oh, and I'm nearly out of bread flour. However, I still have 3(?) bags of dough in the freezer and the one in the fridge that I need to bake this week. Plus lots of other types of flour. So... yeah. I do kind of wish I had a zucchini so I could stew it with some tomatoes I need to use, but again, there is SO MUCH FOOD in the house that the little things I want should take a backseat position to the ones I already have.

What's weirdest about this is that I've mostly been eating all my meals at home, but other than a pizza I made, I can't for the life of me remember what I've eaten. So I'm assuming it's stuff I'd already told you about in the past, otherwise I'd have posted something this week. :) It's also possible that my end of semester extreme sleep deprivation experiment just eliminated my short-term memory and that I did eat something interesting but lost it somewhere in the recesses of my brain. The semester is now over though, so I'm looking forward to doing more cooking and probably some more entertaining (though I've had people in and out studying and eating for the last week or two).

Anyway, that's a very long-winded, rambly (is that even a word?) explanation for why it's halfway through the month and I've yet to buy groceries.

The totals (upside: totals are super easy when you spend no money):

Money spent: $0.
Weekly allotment: $20
Monthly allotment: $80
Amount over weekly allotment: $0
Amount over monthly allotment: $0
Remaining balance: $80

Friday, May 13, 2011

Food Waste Friday

This week, I wasted:

2 tablespoons mushrooms topping. I'm not really sure how that happened, but I just forgot it was in there (even though it was on the leftovers shelf). Weird, isn't it? Next week I should be back to no waste.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Saturday Spending

So once again, I didn't make it to the store. I still have piles of food in the fridge (and pantry, of course, though that goes without saying). At this point I'm pretty much just doing what I can to not waste food. My freezer is stuffed (which is kind of sad, since I really would like to buy some ham while it's on sale), my fridge is packed (even if you disregard the fullness of the "pickles" shelf), the pantry is still full and of course I've still got bins of food in my closet. There's so much I'm actually a little overwhelmed by it all. Now, it probably wouldn't be this packed if I wasn't living alone again, but I am. And I am just one woman with too much food. Hence I can't justify grocery shopping. Well, unless I run out of oranges. Then I can, of course.

Now that I've said this, I want to say something else. I lied. I have been to the store. I just didn't go to the store to do my own grocery shopping. I went with my friend so I could show her where the food was, at the grocery store. We went through and looked at things she buys (and what's in them). The one that threw me off was the bread section. I expected white bread to be full of unpronouncables. I didn't expect the "good" breads to be full of non-food. Interestingly enough, the only bread we found that actually was food was the rye bread. All the rest were non-food. I just didn't know about all this, since as you know I've bought bread like, once in the past year. Maybe even longer. If you want to keep up with her adventures in purging processed food from her life and putting real food in, check out her blog, Is It Real Food?

So on to the totals for May:

Money spent: $0.
Weekly allotment: $20
Monthly allotment: $80
Amount over weekly allotment: $0
Amount over monthly allotment: $0
Remaining balance: $80

Friday, May 06, 2011

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Mixed Berry Preserves

Another thing K and I made while I was with her over the "weekend" was jam. Through our process of learning what is food and what is not food (but which often tastes great), we wanted to cover the idea that you can often make things, very easily and cheaply, that you can buy premade in the store. Except they taste better when you make them at home. Jam seemed like a great example of this. For convenience, we used frozen fruit to make the jam instead of buying fruit from the produce aisle (and having to spend time cutting it up). This worked out really well. I'd never tried to make jam with frozen fruit before, but I'm pretty sure I'll be doing it again in the future.

This is an added pectin-free recipe. My general thoughts on buying pectin are that it can be a really great idea if that's the way you like to can, but that it's not necessary. I actually own a couple packets of pectin, but I've never used them and wouldn't really even know how (unless I read the directions, of course). Mostly I just like to let the fruit release its own pectin and work its magic au natural. So that's how K and I did it. Hope you enjoy!

1 pound bag frozen mixed berries (this had raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and blueberries), thawed
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon (ish - I eyeballed it) lemon juice

Put a small plate and a spoon in the freezer. Combine the ingredients in a pot (larger than you think you need) and stir well. Let them hang out somewhere between 30 minutes and 2 hours, and stir every so often. This should release loads of extra juices from the fruit, which is nice because then you need no extra water. Over medium-low to medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil, stirring periodically (make sure to scrape the bottom of the pot with your spoon while you stir), then let it simmer, stirring occasionally, until it starts to thicken up. When you think it's reached the gelling point, put a little jam with your frozen spoon onto your frozen plate. Put the jam plate back into the freezer for one minute. When it comes out, push on the jam with your finger. If it wrinkles or kind of maintains its shape, it's done. If it doesn't, keep cooking the jam and try again. I think we cooked the jam for maybe 15 minutes before it gelled. Ladle the jam into a sterilized 12-ounce or 1 pint jar and cool on the counter for a bit. Pop the lid on and refrigerate. Use within a couple weeks. Or, if you don't want to use it immediately, can in a water bath for 10 minutes.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

White Pepper Shrimp

I'm "out of town" right now (read: an hour or so from my house, in an area of the metroplex where you can actually see some stars at night) visiting with friends. K isn't much on the whole cooking thing, but she's decided to learn. So we've had entirely too much fun in the kitchen, teaching her some new recipes that she can expand on and tweak to fit her preferences. We made a tomato and spinach soup, apple pie/cake, quinoa, and this peppered shrimp thing I thought of while we were learning how to find the real food in the grocery store. It was pretty good. K and I loved how spicy the pepper made it, but J thought it was a touch too spicy. So I'll just write it out as I did it and y'all can decide how much pepper you want. 

1-2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp
1 teaspoon white pepper
salt to taste
pinch cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice
spoonful of yogurt (we used a regular eating soup spoon, but use as much as you like)
pinch oregano

Heat the oil and garlic, frying the garlic until golden. Add shrimp, white pepper, salt, cayenne and lemon juice. Cook until the shrimp are pink. Remove the shrimp and whisk in the oregano, another pinch of salt, and the yogurt. Cook to desired level of thickness (thin with water or broth if needed). Serves 2-4.

No picture again. Still no camera.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Mushroom Bread Topping

To say that I have a lot of bread in the house is a serious understatement. I have like, five pizza's worth of dough frozen, a loaf of challah that's made it into the freezer and a full loaf of sourdough. It's a lot of bread. Since sometimes when I have bread, I kind of just want to rip off chunks of it and eat it as is, I figured I should make something that would be conducive to eating bread like this but without eating ONLY bread.

Leftover from the study party, there were some mushrooms and I of course had a lot of onions lying around, since they're nature's perfect flavouring for... well, everything. Adding some mint to it seemed like a good idea. This is a really simple recipe. You could eat it by itself, top a steak or fish with it, put it on mashed potatoes or slather it onto hunks of bread, as I did. Hope you enjoy!

1/4 large onion, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt to taste
1/4 pound (ish) sliced button mushrooms
1/8 - 1/4 cup ripped mint leaves
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Heat the olive oil over medium heat, then add the onion and salt. Fry lightly for 2-3 minutes, then add mushroom and turn the heat to low. Cook about 5 minutes, then add the mint and lemon juice. With the heat now on the lowest setting, cook until everything is golden, slightly mushy looking and fragrant.

As an aside, my camera has decided it doesn't feel like participating in my life right now, so no pictures. Whenever I figure out what's wrong with it, I'll start having pictures again.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Sunday Storage

I don't think I went through a lot of storage this week. I know I went through most of my bread flour, but I believe that's it. Perhaps some pasta I've forgotten too?