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nakji

One ingredient, two tastes, three dollars

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Boring but true -

cornmeal :

tamales

polenta

cheese grits.

Granted, the tamales have to be a bit thin on filling to keep things cheap.


"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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I've been doing some menu planning today, based on vegetables I bought at the super-cheap, warehouse-y produce market and on loss leader proteins at the supermarket this week.

Some examples:

Cucumbers were 4 for a $1 (about 1 lb each): 1 cucumber was made into a spicy szechwan pickle today (salted first, then vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, garlic, and spicy bean paste); 1 cucumber is going into a cantonese style pickle with daikon, carrots, and ginger (salted, then vinegar and sugar only); 1 cucumber is going into a salad with celery, bell peppers, and red onion with a cumin and mint vinaigrette; the last cucumber will be stir-fried with a little garlic and maybe chile paste. The other idea I had was to cut them into 2 inch rounds, hollow out the center and stuff with a ground pork mixture, and then steam them.

Daikon Radish was $0.54/lb. I picked up two small ones for .79 cents. One is going into an asian style beef stew with some carrots; about a third of the other one is going into the aforementioned cantonese style pickle; and the remaining two-thirds is going into a pork-y miso vegetable soup.

Savoy Cabbage was $0.29/lb. I picked up a big 3-lb head for .90 cents. Half of it will going into a side dish of smothered cabbage with pancetta (braised until completely, meltingly tender); the other half will going into soup (sort of french onion soup style, meaning with cheesy, crisp toasts on top)

Escarole was $0.99 for an enormous head. This thing is seriously threatening to take over a shelf of my refrigerator. Half of it is going into a pot of beans and greens (in this case chickpeas, braised with some onions, garlic, raisins, and such); the other half will become a salad with some of the cheap red navel oranges I picked up and a green olive vinaigrette.

Rutabaga and turnips were both about $0.50/lb. A huge rutabaga and a few turnips was less than $2. Half will be mashed with bacon, apple, and sage; the other half will be roasted.

In addition, I got a 3 lb bag of carrots for $1, a 10-lb bag of potatoes for $2.89, a head of celery for a $1... They'll last a while and end up going here and there, but I'm also thinking roasted under some chicken ($0.59/lb for leg quarters), and braised with some hoisin sauce.

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Cucumbers were 4 for a $1 (about 1 lb each): 1 cucumber was made into a spicy szechwan pickle today (salted first, then vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, garlic, and spicy bean paste); 1 cucumber is going into a cantonese style pickle with daikon, carrots, and ginger (salted, then vinegar and sugar only); 1 cucumber is going into a salad with celery, bell peppers, and red onion with a cumin and mint vinaigrette; the last cucumber will be stir-fried with a little garlic and maybe chile paste. The other idea I had was to cut them into 2 inch rounds, hollow out the center and stuff with a ground pork mixture, and then steam them.

A timely post indeed! I have a large pile of cucumbers sitting on my counter as I type. I was thinking that I had to pickle them, but was feeling very uninspired. Now, for the szechwan pickle you speak of, what spicy paste are you using? Can you post pictures of these pickles, or tell me how you cut up the vegetables?

I think quick-pickling is an over-looked area when it comes to dealing with bulk vegetables. And nothing picks up a meal like a small plate of pickles.

  Beets are a great two-for-one item. For about the same price, I can get a bunch of beets or a bunch of other greens. With the beets, I have the root for one use (I love them roasted then tossed with feta cheese), and the greens that I use as I would chard (wilted or sauteed if young, braised or shredded and tossed into a soup if older).

Beeeeeeeeetssss I wish I could find beets in my area. They are genius, aren't they? Beets greens are great wrappings for Korean barbecue as well.

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Boring but true -

cornmeal :

tamales

polenta

cheese grits.

Granted, the tamales have to be a bit thin on filling to keep things cheap.

Tamales is not quite in the same league, because you can't just take a bag of cornmeal and get masa for the tamales. It's a lot more involved than that.

Maybe polenta, cheese grits, and cornbread would be a better threesome.

I poached a chicken breast yesterday (on sale for Y79/100g--I paid about Y190 for one breast). Will use half for a chicken salad sandwich, and half for soup. Most of the broth from the poaching will be used for the soup, but a little will be used to add flavour to some steamed hakusai.


Edited by prasantrin (log)

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Nobody has mentioned eggs. Twelve for $2.50. What could possibly be more versatile and affordable than a chicken's egg?

In my neighborhood, eggs are between $4.50 and $5.75 a dozen :hmmm: Add another $1 for organic.


Karen Dar Woon

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Nobody has mentioned eggs. Twelve for $2.50. What could possibly be more versatile and affordable than a chicken's egg?

In my neighborhood, eggs are between $4.50 and $5.75 a dozen :hmmm: Add another $1 for organic.

Here in the midwest, generic store-brand eggs are $1.99 for 18. Organic store brand are $2.99 a dozen. My family, 5 adults or nearly so, go through two or more dozens a week. Mostly fried or scrambled, but all kinds of ways, really.


"Life is a combination of magic and pasta." - Frederico Fellini

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Nobody has mentioned eggs. Twelve for $2.50. What could possibly be more versatile and affordable than a chicken's egg?

In my neighborhood, eggs are between $4.50 and $5.75 a dozen :hmmm: Add another $1 for organic.

What? No way -- downtown Vancouver?


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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This one didn't go so well. Yes, there's big flavor and unctuous potential . . .

gallery_42214_6390_17278.jpg

I used the fish knife to excise the the meat and bone from under the pork skin. I braised the meat and cooked some splitpeas, then re-stuffed the above ankle volcano. The pork rind remained quite crappy.


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Cucumbers were 4 for a $1 (about 1 lb each): 1 cucumber was made into a spicy szechwan pickle today (salted first, then vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, garlic, and spicy bean paste); 1 cucumber is going into a cantonese style pickle with daikon, carrots, and ginger (salted, then vinegar and sugar only); 1 cucumber is going into a salad with celery, bell peppers, and red onion with a cumin and mint vinaigrette; the last cucumber will be stir-fried with a little garlic and maybe chile paste. The other idea I had was to cut them into 2 inch rounds, hollow out the center and stuff with a ground pork mixture, and then steam them.

A timely post indeed! I have a large pile of cucumbers sitting on my counter as I type. I was thinking that I had to pickle them, but was feeling very uninspired. Now, for the szechwan pickle you speak of, what spicy paste are you using? Can you post pictures of these pickles, or tell me how you cut up the vegetables?

I think quick-pickling is an over-looked area when it comes to dealing with bulk vegetables. And nothing picks up a meal like a small plate of pickles.

The spicy bean paste I use is the Chinese version; it is a mixture of chiles and fermented broad beans, more or less. The package may say hot bean paste, chili bean paste, bean paste with chili, etc. You get the idea. It is a deep reddish brown and a bit chunky looking. I've also seen Japanese versions, but they tend to look a little redder and have a smoother texture. Most of the time it is used as a cooking condiment in beef noodle soup or a meat sauce for noodles and rice, but I came across a Wei-Chuan recipe that used it in a quick pickle and decided to try it.

I don't have a picture; by the time I posted before we had already eaten them. This is the way I prep the cucumber: peel (opt depending on whether wax was used), slice lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, then cut each half lengthwise into 4 long spears, then cut into approx 2 in lengths. You end up with little "fingers" of cucumber (say, the width of a pinky).

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Here is a question. I have a package of pork tenderloin. They're 2 in a package and there are just two of us. If I defrost the package, I have to do something with both of them. What can I make?

We're doing weight watchers ( again) so I'd like it to be figure friendly. I'd probably like to freeze part of each recipe for future meals.

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Here is a question.  I have a package of pork tenderloin.  They're 2 in a package and there are just two of us.  If I defrost the package, I have to do something with both of them.  What can I make? 

We're doing weight watchers ( again) so I'd like it to be figure friendly.  I'd probably like to freeze part of each recipe for future meals.

I hope it was a $3 pork tenderloin. :biggrin:

Roasting can be healthy. You could slit lengthwise and stuff with some virtuous veg like spinach or chard. The other one could be flattened and rolled roulade style, with a colorful and low-cal filling. PT is so lean and tender, a tasty protein with minimal fat.

If you were to go over to the dark side, I have a recipe for stuffing a PT with peanuts and bacon, then it gets battered and deep fried in peanut oil. Yikes.


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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I did the beet thing this week, too. Bunch of beets w/beautiful tops $1.50 from my favorite farmer's market beet vendor (they can be had for $1 from others), roots roasted peeled cubed dressed w/walnut oil and balsamic, s & p, topped with crumbled gorgonzola and finely chopped toasted walnuts, side dish to steak. Then greens cooked chopped dressed with sesame sauce, served with teriyaki chicken and rice and those daikon/yuzu pickles from Erin's recipe mentioned up there.

ETA: Each preparation served 3+.


Edited by Priscilla (log)

Priscilla

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Here is a question.  I have a package of pork tenderloin.  They're 2 in a package and there are just two of us.  If I defrost the package, I have to do something with both of them.  What can I make? 

We're doing weight watchers ( again) so I'd like it to be figure friendly.  I'd probably like to freeze part of each recipe for future meals.

I slice them in 3/4" pieces, marinade, and then grill. Stove-top grilling is fine in the winter. By the time they look nice, they are done. You can do 2 different marinades for variety. They are great as is with a nice portion of vegetables, salad, and a touch of carb. Freeze leftovers for future similar meal- just bring out of freezer the night before and nuke gently before serving. Leftovers also work in a salad similar to the Chinese chicken salad model. A little sweetness from fruit is nice. Crunch can be had from baked wonton skins crumbled or toasted nuts if they fit in the plan.

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This one didn't go so well. Yes, there's big flavor and unctuous potential . . .

Peter- my favorite multi meal from pork hock is as follows. First I crock pot them (or slow low simmer) with aromatics and dry beans. I used limas the last time. By the time the pork hock is tender the beans are also tender. About half way to done I add handfuls of cabbage or sturdy greens like collard or kale. That becomes a tasty bean soup. The hocks are then dried, cooled and the next day or later that day scored, rubbed if you like, and roasted. I love them "roasted" on the Weber with the fire off to the side. I get melting tender meat and crispy skin. If the skin is not completely wonderful and crunchy I remove it and return it to the Weber for additional crisping. The meat can be used to enrich the bean soup for re-runs, or used however you enjoy tender shredded pork. By the time I munch on the crispy skin I am too full to enjoy much meat. I have had it go into pasta sauce and also steamed buns.

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heidih and prasantrin, thanks for the tips. This was my first time with a hock and I've a bunch more in the freezer. I was reading about Zampone -- the Italian stuffed pork leg -- and deluded myself I could pull something like it off, on the fly. The only real problem was the skin, I imagined it would crisp up and keep its shape. Instead it shrunk dramatically and turned a sweaty pink-brown color. I even took my torch to piece, which only made things worse -- it smelt like there was a fire at the hair salon.


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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heidih and prasantrin, thanks for the tips. This was my first time with a hock and I've a bunch more in the freezer. I was reading about Zampone -- the Italian stuffed pork leg -- and deluded myself I could pull something like it off, on the fly. The only real problem was the skin, I imagined it would crisp up and keep its shape. Instead it shrunk dramatically and turned a sweaty pink-brown color. I even took my torch to piece, which only made things worse -- it smelt like there was a fire at the hair salon.

If you like pork hocks, you might also want to try an old French Canadian recipe: ragout de pattes de cochon. There's a recipe translated into English on that blog.

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Nobody has mentioned eggs. Twelve for $2.50. What could possibly be more versatile and affordable than a chicken's egg?

In my neighborhood, eggs are between $4.50 and $5.75 a dozen :hmmm: Add another $1 for organic.

We have an Amish woman who sell her eggs for $1/dozen. Not certified organic, but better since they are truly free-range. Bug eating hens make the best ones.

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heidih and prasantrin, thanks for the tips. This was my first time with a hock and I've a bunch more in the freezer. I was reading about Zampone -- the Italian stuffed pork leg -- and deluded myself I could pull something like it off, on the fly. The only real problem was the skin, I imagined it would crisp up and keep its shape. Instead it shrunk dramatically and turned a sweaty pink-brown color. I even took my torch to piece, which only made things worse -- it smelt like there was a fire at the hair salon.

If you like pork hocks, you might also want to try an old French Canadian recipe: ragout de pattes de cochon. There's a recipe translated into English on that blog.

Since I didn't get two dishes from my one ingredient that cost three bucks, I'm going down to the freezer and trying again. An ingredient such as a pork hock has a lot to give. There's a great line from The Joy of Cooking, something like: "What's the definition of eternity? Two people and a ham bone."

Magictofu, a sincere thanks for that traditional québécois recipe. I'll do my best to channel my inner Madame Benoit.


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Has no-one mentioned cabbage? Very very cheap, very very tasty, very very nutritious, very very versatile. (You can see I am a fan). Cabbage is so cheap where I live, it's almost free.

Almost every culture has a great cabbage recipe, here are some just off the top of my header which use cabbage as a main ingredient:

1. Finely shred and make cabbage poriyal.

2. Chop small and make cabbage sabzi with potatoes (i.e. aloo gobhi with bandha-gobhi = cabbage instead of phool-gobhi = cauliflower).

2. Chop large and make kimchi

3. Chop smaller, and make a yummy stew with chick peas, tomatoes, other veggies.

4. Finely shred and make coleslaw or salad

5. Finely shred and stir fry or saute with star anise, Szechuan peppercorn and a few other spices (my Chinese college mate used to make this, I don't know the name or region of the dish).

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Nobody has mentioned eggs. Twelve for $2.50. What could possibly be more versatile and affordable than a chicken's egg?

In my neighborhood, eggs are between $4.50 and $5.75 a dozen :hmmm: Add another $1 for organic.

What? No way -- downtown Vancouver?

Sad to say, yes. Price is about the same at the Farmers' Markets, too. Direct from the farm (in Richmond, 18-20 km away), $5. But that DOES make at least 2 meals for 2 people :-)


Karen Dar Woon

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