Thursday, March 11, 2010

Hey--You Gotta Eat

Those of you who know me in real life know that I have been out of work for quite some time. Which sucks! I actually like to work, I like being around other people and I like to have a regular steady income.

None of which I've had lately.

I don't think I've been those broke in over 20 years but it amazes me what can be accomplished with very little. Especially when it comes to food. I love to cook and I love to experiment in my kitchen--sometimes with great results, sometimes with not so great--but my budget has really limited the ingredients I can choose. At first I was a little sulky about it but then I realized that Yonkers has great resources for food (another reason the Y.O. is a great place to live). We have a very diverse population which brings along with it some really amazing cuisines.

So I'm throwing a food challenge down to you today. Go to a market that is waaaaaay outside your normal. If you are African American and live in a predominantly African American neighborhood--head out to Chinatown. If you are hispanic (see the note above about the neighborhood), find your way to a community of Greek immigrants. If you are Irish American (like me), check out all of them.

Here are some of the ingredients that I have found that are dead cheap and are not readily available in my neighborhood.

  • Turkey Wings--Dude you are going to love these. Rub them with a little olive oil (the cheap stuff will do) and salt and pepper and roast them in the oven with some cut up onions (don't even bother to take the skin off the onions). Dump the whole thing into a big pot, cover with water and as it simmers add whatever veggies you want. Amazing turkey soup. That is if you can resist picking the meat off the roasted turkey wings before they make it into the soup pot. They're delicious.
  • Pork Shoulder--I can regularly get this for under a dollar a pound. I keep a container of garlic paste in my fridge at all times and I recommend that you do too. Take 50 peeled cloves of garlic (you can get the big jug of pre-peeled ones at Costco for a song and really, this is not the place to be a garlic snob--it's just not necessary). Put them in the blender with 1/2 cup of water and let her rip until they're all nicely pureed. You can use this on all sorts of things. I cut little slits in a pork shoulder, salt and pepper it and then rub it with puree. Into the roasting pan, cover it with foil and roast it very slowly (25o - 300 degrees). After about 3 or 4 hours, take the foil off so it crisps up. You now have several meals ready to rock and roll. Slice it and serve it with some of the pan juice over rice. Shred some and mix it with barbecue sauce and have it on a roll (or over noodles). Shred some more and add it to some sauteed onions, spread it on a tortilla, top with cheese and another tortilla, a few minutes on each side in a hot pan and, ta da, instant delicious quesadilla.
  • Save those condiments. New boy brought Mexican food over last week. There were delicious red and green sauces but they sent way too much. Seared some chicken thighs (they are always on sale somewhere), took them out of my trusty black skillet and then added in the green sauce with some chicken stock to thin it. I wanted to deglaze the pan with a few tablespoons of tequila but I didn't have any so I skipped that step. Put the chicken back in the pan and then popped the whole mess into the oven for 40 minutes or so. Delicious!!!!!!!! And elegant enough for company. I'm freezing some of the sauces to see how they hold up.
So what are you going to find (and remember--it has to be inexpensive) and how are you going to cook it? Life is an adventure and, just because I'm broke doesn't mean I can't enjoy the ride.

1 comment:

Joy Yagid said...

Refried beans - one diced onion - sauteed until brown, 4 cloves garlic - minced and thrown in with the onion - 2 cans of beans mashed in with the onions & garlic - and a bit of water to make the right consistancy.