Monday, October 19

Bargain Basement Lobster Risotto

8 servings
Total cost NY $19.59
Cost per serving NY $2.49

Yes, you read that right, LOBSTER! In the current economy, the price of lobster has fallen to a point it hasn’t seen since 1990. In Manhattan it’s currently running about $9.95 a pound, down from almost twice that a little over a year ago, back when the recession was just starting to get its groove on. The lobstermen/women/folk are suffering fiscally due to the lack of demand for their catch. So, yes it’s still a splurge, but by buying lobster you (1) enjoy a spectacular bargain*, (2) help fellow victims of the economy out and (3) get to eat lobster! Isn’t that worth $2.49 a serving?

Lobster Risotto
Now for some unpleasantness. Yes, this recipe calls for a live lobster. Yes, that means that you yourself will have to make it un-live.** If you’ve seen Julie & Julia***, you’ll know that this is when you start singing “Lobster Kill-ah! Qu’est que ce? Fa fa fa fa fa fa!” One can buy cooked lobster meat, but the price is sky high and the freshness is frequently in doubt, so I just can’t recommend that method. If you don’t have the stomach for this (and I feel you, I really do) perhaps you’d be interested in a nice vegetarian mac & cheese? Or some salmon cakes or clam chowder, both made with seafood that comes in nice little tins?

Lobster Risotto

(UPDATE: We've been Slashfooded! ("Lobster Risotto - Feast Your Eyes")

  • 1 1 ½ pound lobster ($14.93)
  • 1 onion (NY $0.37)
  • 2 bay leaves (staple)
  • 15 peppercorns (staple)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (staple)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (staple)
  • 2 shallots (NY $0.92)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (staple)
  • 1 cup white wine, at room temperature (NY $0.75)
  • ¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley (NY $0.79 for one bunch)
  • 2 cups arborio rice (NY $1.83)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (staple)
Chopped Onion

Bring just enough water to cover your lobster lengthwise to a boil in a large pot. Add the peeled, quartered onion along with 2 bay leaves and about 15 peppercorns. Pop the live lobster in the freezer for about 15 minutes to desensitize. (“Ah yi yi yi yi yi yiiiiiiiiii!!!!”) Once the water is boiling, plunge the lobster into the pop head first and cover. (“Run run run, run run run awaaaaaaay!!!”) Cook about 5 minutes, until bright red. (Be careful not to overcook at this point, as the lobster will continue to cook in the risotto later.) Remove lobster from pot ("Hey hey hey hey HHHHHHAAAAAAAA!"), but leave the pot on the heat. Rinse your lobster in cold water, then remove lobster meat from the shell.

Lobster Risotto
Since the LBUH is renowned far and wide as a master lobster sheller****, I’ll let him tell you himself exactly how it should be done:

Lobster Risotto
Since the Lobster is full of the lobster stock, start by dismantling the lobster over a lipped plate or a shallow bowl. Start by removing the claws. While holding the lobster’s main carapace in one hand, grab one of it’s claws and while gently twisting the limb, pull it away from the body. As the clawed limb comes off, the juice inside the body should start to pour out into the bowl. Repeat this action with the other clawed limb.

Next, while grasping the tail in one hand and the body in the other, twist your hands in opposite directions and gently crack and pull apart to separate the tail from the torso. Pour the rest of the liquid held in the torso back into the bowl of lobster stock.
Lobster Risotto
To remove the meat easily from the tail, start by snapping off the fanned end so that the flesh is exposed at either end of the tail. Next, insert a chopstick (or the handle of a fork or spoon if you don’t have a chopstick) into the smaller opening on the tail and gently push forward to coax the meat out in one lovely piece.

Now attack the claws. Start by removing the claws from small joined pieces. Don’t discard the joints as there is meat inside those that we will remove soon. Crack the claw vertically along the thickest part of one claw, breaking off the back shell exposing the flesh within. Twist and remove the lower pincer, and pour the liquid within the claw back into the broth (don’t want to lose that tasty lobster infused water!). Using your chopstick, prod the meat through the hole made by removing the lower pincer, pushing it out through the large hole in the rear of the claw. Repeat with the other claw.

Crack each joint to separate from the others and more easily coax the meat within out with your chopstick.

Return cleaned pieces of lobster shell to your pot as you go. Next, remove the carapace shell from the legs by holding the shell in one hand and the legs in the other, and pull apart. Return the shell to the broth, take the remaining legs and break into segmented pieces to allow the bits of meat within to be more easily absorbed into the broth and toss them in as well, and toss them in along with any other lobster bits you have left (but reserving the larger than tiny chunks of meat for the risotto).
Phew, got that? I promise it took you longer to read than it took the LBUH to execute. (Err, no pun intended.) OK, now continue boiling the lobster shells in the pot for about another ten minutes. Meanwhile, dice the shallot finely.

In a large sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon butter in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add diced shallots and tomato paste. Saute just until golden, about 5 minutes. Add Arborio rice and toast, stirring, about 1 minute until opaque. Begin adding lobster stock by ladlefuls: add a ladleful, then stir until absorbed. Repeat until you’ve added about 5 -6 cups of the lobster stock. Umm, yeah, that is a lot of stirring. Congratulations, you’ve squeezed in an upper body workout while you’re cooking! You’ll know when to stop when the risotto seems to resist adopting any more liquid. If it seems to be thinking to itself “no, stop, no more I can’t take AAAAHHH!”, that’s when you’re done.***** Stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter and reserved lobster meet, and warm for about 1 minute. Stir in chopped parsley, and season to taste.

Lobster Risotto
* And I will freely admit that I am a sucker for a deep discount.

** Sound of our vegetarian audience frantically closing out of their browser windows.

*** What do you mean you haven’t seen it yet? I’m sorry, I’m not sure we can still be friends.

**** We recently attended a rehearsal dinner clambake for some friends of ours, at which a crowd gathered to watch the LBUH extract the lobster from it shell. Of course, about half the attendees were vegetarian, so they were pretty easy to impress on this score. But still!

***** If you have stock left, discard the onion, peppercorns and lobster shell and freeze for another use.

Lobster Risotto
Nutritional Facts
Amount Per Serving
Calories 371.8Sugars 2.8 gFolate 5.2 %
Total Fat 8.5 gProtein 20.1 gIron 5.5 %
Saturated Fat 2.9 gVitamin A 8.3 %Magnesium 9.8 %
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.8 gVitamin B-12 40.5 %Manganese 10.3 %
Monounsaturated Fat 4.2 gVitamin B-6 8.9 %Niacin 16.8 %
Cholesterol 68.2 mgVitamin C 6.4 %Phosphorus 19.6 %
Sodium 559.9 mgVitamin D 0.5 %Riboflavin 11.1 %
Potassium 512.3 mgVitamin E 7.1 %Selenium 52.7 %
Total Carbohydrate 7.9 gCalcium 6.1 %Thiamin 4.3 %
Dietary Fiber 0.2 gCopper 80.8 %Zinc 17.1 %

Recipe and Nutritional Information after the jump

Monday, August 10

Zucchini, Potato and Scallion Pancakes with Chived Sour Cream

Makes about 15 pancakes with topping
Total cost: NY $6.81
Cost per pancake: NY $0.45

Zucchini, Potato and Scallion Pancakes with Chived Sour Cream
Now that zucchini season is in full swing, its time to take advantage of how cheap and tasty these veggies are right now. Enter zucchini-based pancakes. They’re a lot like the traditional potato latke, but using zucchini along with the potato gives them more interest, particularly when you also toss in a hefty portion of scallions to boot. These make a great side dish, or if the summer heat has zapped your appetite, make a lovely light supper all on their own. It you know latkes, you’ll probably figure out without me telling you that these can also be paired with applesauce instead of the sour cream and chives, or even with both if that’s how you happen to roll. But sour cream and chives are a classic combination for good reason, and that’s how we prefer to serve these crisp yet tender golden brown and green pancakes.

Zucchini, Potato and Scallion Pancakes with Chived Sour Cream

(UPDATE: We've been Slashfooded! ("Loaded Latkes - Feast Your Eyes")


  • 1 large potato (NY $0.89)
  • 2 large zucchini (NY $1.78)
  • Salt (staple)
  • 1 bunch scallions (NY $0.59)
  • 2 eggs (NY $0.33)
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour* (NY $0.14)
  • Pepper (staple)
  • 4 tbsps canola or olive oil** (staple)
  • 1 cup lowfat sour cream (NY $1.09)
  • 1 bunch chives (NY $1.99)
Zucchini, Potato and Scallion Pancakes with Chived Sour Cream

Clean and scrub, but do not peel, the potato and zucchini. Using a box grater, grate potato and zucchini into a colander and toss with a teaspoon of salt. Let sit for about 10 minutes, then scoop up about a handful into a clean dishcloth. Wring out over the sink. Place dried grated vegetables into a large bowl. Repeat, switching to a clean dry dishtowel if need be, until you’ve dried all the grated vegetables. You want the potato and zucchini to be pretty dry at this point.

Zucchini, Potato and Scallion Pancakes with Chived Sour Cream
Slice the scallions into ¼ inch slices, and add to grated veggies in bowl. Add the flour, beaten eggs, and pepper to taste and stir to combine. Add in a few extra dashes of salt if you like.

Zucchini, Potato and Scallion Pancakes with Chived Sour Cream
Chop chives and combine with sour cream in a separate bowl.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in non-stick skillet over medium heat. Pick up about a handful of veggie mixture, and shape into a ball in your palm. Smoosh it into a cake by flattening it with your other hand, and add to skillet.

Zucchini, Potato and Scallion Pancakes with Chived Sour Cream
Repeat until you fill the pan, making sure not to crowd your pancakes. Cook about 3 minutes, until the bottoms are golden, and the cakes have set, being careful not to burn the bottoms. Then flip ‘em over, and continue cooking approx. another 2-3 minutes. Remove to a plate lined with a paper towel. Adding more oil to the pan as needed, repeat until all the pancakes are cooked. If not serving immediately, these keep very well in a warm oven. Serve topped with dollops of sour cream and chives.

* You can of course substitute regular flour if that’s what you have/keep on hand. Doing so will
drive the cost down even further, as regular flour is less expensive than whole wheat.

** I’d recommend using canola for this, if you have it. Healthwise, its pretty analagous to olive oil and a good deal cheaper.

Zucchini, Potato and Scallion Pancakes with Chived Sour Cream
Nutritional Facts
Amount Per pancake with topping
Calories 74.9Sugars 1.2 gFolate 6.3 %
Total Fat 2.8 gProtein 2.9 gIron 3.7 %
Saturated Fat 1.4 gVitamin A 13.9 %Magnesium 4.8 %
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2 gVitamin B-12 1.9 %Manganese 6.5 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0.8 gVitamin B-6 6.1 %Niacin 2.6 %
Cholesterol 34.6 mgVitamin C 16.4 %Phosphorus 6.2 %
Sodium 175.0 mgVitamin D 0.9 %Riboflavin 5.5 %
Potassium 266.7 mgVitamin E 1.0 %Selenium 3.8 %
Total Carbohydrate 10.5 gCalcium 3.9 %Thiamin 3.5 %
Fiber 1.9 gCopper 3.7 %Zinc 2.3 %

Recipe and Nutritional Information after the jump

Wednesday, August 5

Rotini with Corn and Tomatoes Cruda

Makes 6 servings
Total Price: NY $4.45
Price per serving: NY $0.74

Rotini with Corn and Tomatoes Cruda
This is a great recipe for the dog days of summer, when tomato and corn are at the ripest and the mere thought of having the stove on for more than a few minutes makes you want to whimper. As you can probably tell from the ingredient lists, this is one of those recipes that you’re only going to want to make when you can get burstingly fresh produce. I like this best with extremely young kernels that are pale and tiny. We prefer rotini or rotelle for this dish as the tiny corn kernels get caught in the grooves of the pasta. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Rotini with Corn and Tomatoes Cruda
  • 2 ears of corn (NY $1.00)
  • 3 tomatoes (NY $2.29)
  • 1 bunch scallions (NY $0.59 for one bunch)
  • 1 clove garlic (NY $0.24 for one head)
  • ½ lb. rotini (NY $0.33)
  • 4 tbsps olive oil (staple)
  • 2 tbsps balsamic vinegar (staple)
  • Salt (staple)
  • Pepper (staple)
Rotini with Corn and Tomatoes Cruda
Put a pot of salted water on to boil. Husk and silk the ears of corn. Wash under cold water to
remove any remaining silks and clean the cobs well, trimming if needed. When the water comes to a boil, add rotini and set a timer for five minutes. After 5 minutes, add the corn. After approx. 3 more minutes, both the corn and rotini should be done. Keep an eye on the corn though: if your ear is especially young and tender, use tongs to pull it out early if needed.

Rotini with Corn and Tomatoes Cruda
Meanwhile, whisk together olive oil, vinegar and salt and pepper to taste if a large bowl. Mince garlic, add and stir. Chop and seed the tomatoes and thinly slice the white and pale green parts of the scallions.* Stir to combine.

Rotini with Corn and Tomatoes Cruda
Once rotini and corn are cooked, drain and add the pasta to tomato mixture in the bowl. Remove the corn from the cob by standing it upright on a cutting board, holding on to the cob with a towel as it will be hot, and slice off the kernels by running your knife vertically down the cob. Add the corn kernels to the pasta and tomato mixture, and toss well.
Adapted from Gourmet, August 1993

* Save the tougher dark green ends for making stock!

Rotini with Corn and Tomatoes Cruda
Nutritional Facts
Amount Per Serving
Calories 202.8Protein 8.9 gMagnesium 6.0 %
Total Fat 1.9 gVitamin A 13.7 %Manganese 8.2 %
Saturated Fat 0.1 gVitamin B-12 0.0 %Niacin 16.0 %
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3 gVitamin B-6 6.8 %Pantothenic Acid 2.9 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0.1 gVitamin C 21.5 %Phosphorus 5..8 %
Cholesterol 0.0 mgVitamin D 0.0 %Riboflavin 14.8 %
Sodium 416.7 mgVitamin E 1.3 %Selenium 1.0 %
Potassium 314.3 mgCalcium 3.3 %Thiamin 29.3 %
Total Carbohydrate 40.1 gCopper 4.2 %Zinc 2.8 %
Dietary Fiber 5.0 gFolate 36.3 %
Sugars 3.4 gIron 14.8 %

Recipe and Nutritional Information after the jump

Wednesday, July 29

Vegetarian Molasses Baked Beans

Makes 8 servings
Total Price: NY $4.20
Price per serving: NY $0.53

Vegetarian Molasses Baked Beans
Much like chowdah, baked beans are one of those recipes that can somehow be perfect both in the dead of winter and in the dog days of summer to boot. In the winter, I prefer my baked beans with some bacon for flavor, but in the summer I like them more barbecue-y. And in any season, I love them heavy on the molasses! This iteration is zesty but not heavy or goopy (as barbecue-type beans can sometimes get.) This recipe requires having the oven on for some time. If the fates align, the ideal time to prepare this is on a rainy afternoon a day or two before heading to a barbecue on a gorgeous sunshine-y summertime day.

Vegetarian Molasses Baked Beans
  • 1 lb.dried navy beans (NY $1.39)
  • 1 large onion (NY $0.85)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil (staple)
  • ½ cup molasses (NY $0.99)
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar (NY $0.28)
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar (NY $0.51)
  • ¼ cup ketchup (NY $ 0.18)
  • 2 tbsps dijon mustard (staple)
  • 1/8 tsp cloves (staple)
  • ½ tsp dried ginger (staple)
  • Pinch of allspice (staple)
  • Salt (staple)
  • Black pepper (staple)
Vegetarian Molasses Baked Beans

Soak beans overnight in cool water, covered by about an inch of water.* Drain soaked beans, discard soaking liquid, and rinse thoroughly in cold water. Place beans in a large ovenproof pot, and cover with plenty of cold water. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Cook, partially covered, for about 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours, or until beans are tender. Check the water level during cooking, adding more if the water nears the surface of the beans. Once beans are tender, drain and reserve cooking liquid.

Vegetarian Molasses Baked Beans
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In the same large ovenproof pot, heat the olive oil.. Add onion and cook, stirring occassionally, until beginning to color and soften, approx. 5 minutes. Add the molasses, sugar, vinegar, ketchup, mustard, cloves, ginger, all spice and 2 cups reserved cooking liquid. (If you don’t quite have 2 cups cooking liquid left, add some water until you do.) Stir and simmer for approx. 4 minutes. Add the beans, and season with several grinds of black pepper and a few dashes of salt. Simmer for another 2-3 minutes, then transfer to oven. Cook, uncovered, until bubbly, approx. 1 hour, adding more cooking liquid or water during cooking as needed.**

*Alternatively, beans can be quick soaked by again covering them in a pot in with the same amount of water, then bring to a boil on the stove. Boil for 3 minutes, remove from heat and let stand, covered, for at least 1 hour. (Longer is better if you have time to spare.)

** If, in an effort to be helpful, your spouse/partner/roommate/passing stranger tosses out your cooking liquid in a misguided effort to clean up and help out, you can use water instead. Hypothetically speaking, of course.

Vegetarian Molasses Baked Beans
Nutritional Info
Amount Per serving

Calories 313.7Protein 11.4 gMagnesium 31.2 %
Total Fat 2.6 gVitamin A 0.0 %Manganese 56.7 %
Saturated Fat 0.3 gVitamin B-12 0.0 %Niacin 5.4 %
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.6 gVitamin B-6 16.3 %Pantothenic Acid 5.3 %
Monounsaturated Fat 1.4 gVitamin C 4.5 %Phosphorus 20.4 %
Cholesterol 0.0 mgVitamin D 0.0 %Riboflavin 5.3 %
Sodium 14,280.2 mgVitamin E 1.0 %Selenium 11.0 %
Potassium 846.2 mgCalcium 15.0 %Thiamin 22.1 %
Total Carbohydrate 63.3 gCopper 20.1 %Zinc 10.1 %
Dietary Fiber 14.7 gFolate 47.8 %
Sugars 23.3 gIron 24.7 %

Recipe and Nutritional Information after the jump

Tuesday, July 21

In the Pink Sangria

Makes about 24 servings
Total price: NY $18.73 / 19.77
Price per serving: NY $ 0.78 / 0.82

Rose Sangria
We made this pink sangria for our friend Blondie’s Birthday Potluck in Prospect Park.* We drink a lot of sangria around here and find that for outdoor picnics, a pretty diluted sangira is preferable and more refreshing on a hot day out in the sun. That’s why this recipe calls for 2 liters of seltzer. If you’re serving this at night at a party, drop the seltzer down to just one liter or less (you know, depending on what kind of party you’re having, nudge, nudge.) The raspberries and pineapple with the rose wine give this one a nice bright, fruity taste and the bright pink color, punctuated with the yellow pineapple, just screams “Birthday Party!” And, of course, blondes and pink always have gone together splendidly!

Rose Sangria
(UPDATE: We've been Slashfooded! ("Stunning Sangria - Feast Your Eyes")

  • 1.5 liter bottle Rose wine (NY $6.99)
  • 2 shots Crème de Cassis (NY $1.77)
  • 2 pints strawberries (NY $2.49)
  • 1/2 pint raspberries (NY $2.49)
  • 1 pineapple (NY $4.99)
  • 2 liters seltzer (Free or NY $1.04)

Rose Sangria
Pour wine and cassis into a large pitcher. Wash strawberries, remove leaves, quarter vertically and toss into pitcher. Wash raspberries and add to raspberries. Chop pineapple into approximately half inch chunks and add to wine/fruit mixture. Put into refrigerator and allow to chill for 3-6 hours. Immediately before serving, add seltzer. (Either pour into pitcher if yours is large enough, or top off individual glasses with the seltzer.) Be sure to scoop lots of fruit into each glass, digging down for the non-floating raspberries: picking out the boozy fruity flotsam** is half the fun!

Rose Sangria
* The economy being what it is, Blondie still hasn’t found employment, but she’s had some encouraging interviews. Keep your fingers crossed for her!

**Of course, since raspberries don't float, I guess we can't call them flotsam, can we? OK, then, jetsam it is!

Rose Sangria
Nutritional Facts
Amount Per Serving

Calories 81.6Protein 0.4 gMagnesium 3.3 %
Total Fat 0.2 gVitamin A 0.4 %Manganese 27.2 %
Saturated Fat 0.0 gVitamin B-12 0.1 %Niacin 1.3 %
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 gVitamin B-6 2.7 %Pantothenic Acid 1.7 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 gVitamin C 35.9 %Phosphorus 1.7 %
Cholesterol 0.0 mgVitamin D 0.0 %Riboflavin 2.5 %
Sodium 5.5 mgVitamin E 0.5 %Selenium 0.7 %
Potassium 143.4 mgCalcium 1.2 %Thiamin 1.9 %
Total Carbohydrate 7.9 gCopper 3.8 %Zinc 0.8 %
Dietary Fiber 1.4 gFolate 2.5 %
Sugars 1.7 gIron 2.6 %

Recipe and Nutritional Information after the jump

Wednesday, June 24

Poll: Animal, Vegetable, or . . . ?

Animal, Vegetable, or . . .
After reading a recent article about Americans decreasing their meat consumption in response to the current pathetic economy, we wanted to ask all of you about your own carnivorous tendencies!

Animal, Vegetable, or . . .
Has the recession inspired any change in your meat-eating habits?

Animal, Vegetable, or . . .
Recipe and Nutritional Information after the jump

Sunday, June 21

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 4 dozen
Total Cost: NY $4.42
Cost per cookie: NY $0.09

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
As you’ve probably heard by now, Nestle has recalled all of its refrigerated cookie dough products, including Toll House. And. . . all this talk of chocolate chip cookie dough has made me crave cookies. Because yes, I am weird like that. So, no time like the present to make our own cookie dough!*

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
This recipe includes a neat trick that the LBUH picked up from a college roommate about how to keep your cookies chewy. Another great thing about this recipe is that it lets you satisfy your cravings for fresh chocolate cookies both now, and later. We always make a baking sheet (or two if we’re being honest . . . .) immediately, and store the rest of the batter in the freezer for later on in the week.** Later, just put frozen chunks of cookie dough on a baking sheet, and increase the first cooking time slightly.

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter at room temperature (NY $1.50)
  • ¾ cup white sugar (NY $0.26)
  • ¾ cup dark brown sugar (NY $0.35)
  • 2 eggs (NY $0.33)
  • 1 tbsp milk (staple)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (staple)
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (staple)
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour (NY $0.49)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (staple)
  • ½ teaspoon salt (staple)
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (NY $1.49)

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Preheat oven to 375 degress. Using an electric mixer or by hand if you prefer, cream together the butter and the sugars. Add eggs one at a time along with the milk and the almond and vanilla extracts and beat until well-blended. (If doing this by hand, whisk the eggs just to blend in a separate bowl before incorporating into the butter mixture.)

In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. When thoroughly mixed, slowly stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Once combined, stir in the chocolate chips.

Place teaspoon-sized drops of cookie dough onto an ungreased baking sheet, and bake. After the cookies have been baking for about 5-7 minutes, remove the tray, and quickly slap the tray down on your counter. This should cause the bubbly cookies to quickly deflate and flatten. This is a good thing! Deflating the cookies helps them stay chewy after they have cooled.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Place the tray back in the oven and bake until the cookies are beginning to brown, approx. another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheets until they start to harden slightly (approx. 2-5 minutes), and then transfer cookies to a baking rack to finish cooling.

* So, you may be wondering, what’s the “healthy” angle on this recipe? Ummm, not loaded down with E. Coli? That’s sounds healthy to us! Not good enough? Then we’re going to have to go with “all things in moderation”.

**Or later in the month or season if you, unlike us, possess some of that “willpower” stuff they’re always babbling about.

*** Our oven unfortunately has a draft, alas, so it usually takes longer.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Nutritional Facts
Amount Per Cookie
Calories 108.5Vitamin A 2.9 %Iron 3.1 %
Total Fat 5.7 gVitamin B-12 0.5 %Magnesium 2.5 %
Cholesterol 17.8 mgVitamin B-6 0.4 %Manganese 5.0 %
Sodium 74.1 mgVitamin C 0.0 %Niacin 1.8 %
Potassium 44.8 mgVitamin D 0.3 %Phosphorus 2.0 %
Total Carbohydrate 14.2 gVitamin E 0.8 %Riboflavin 2.7 %
Fiber 0.5 gCalcium 0.8 %Selenium 4.0 %
Sugars 6.5 gCopper 3.2 %Thiamin 3.2 %
Protein 1.1 gFolate 2.8 %Zinc 1.2 %

Recipe and Nutritional Information after the jump

Thursday, June 18

Asparagus and Cannellini Bean Salad

Makes about 8 servings
Total price: NY $7.01/NY $ 7.60
Price per serving: NY $0.87/NY $0.95

Asparagus and Cannellini Bean Salad
Now that its summertime, we’re all about the picnics in the park. Grab a couple of blankets, some snacks, a good book, a ball and the doggie and loll about in the sun for a lazy afternoon. It’s a terrific way to while away a summer day, even if you’re not watching your pennies. This recipe is one of my favorites for a picnic. The lemon is bright and zingy, the beans are creamy, the asparagus is crisp and bursting with freshness this time of year, the croutons crunchy and garlicky, and a little parmesan adds some dimension and salty snap. Its also unusual and not the same tired salad you end up seeing on every picnic table and at every barbecue. Make this one quick, as asparagus season is drawing to a close!

Asparagus and Cannellini Bean Salad
  • 1 bunch asparagus (NY $1.99)
  • 5 tbsps olive oil (staple)
  • Zest of one lemon (NY $0.25)
  • Juice of one lemon (same lemon as above)
  • Salt (staple)
  • Pepper (staple)
  • 2 15 oz. cans cannellini bean (NY $1.90)
  • One large roll (NY $0.50)
  • ¼ lb. piece of parmesan (NY $1.98)
  • ¼ cup parsley (staple or NY $0.59 for one bunch)
  • 2 cloves garlic (NY $0.39 for one head)
Asparagus and Cannellini Bean Salad

Trim off the ends of the asparagus by feeling along the stalk until you find the spot where the woody root end gives way to the springy stalk. Snap off the ends.* Slice the asparagus on the diagonal into cuts about half an inch long.

Asparagus and Cannellini Bean Salad
Cube the roll. In a skillet, heat 2 tbsps olive oil over medium low. Peel the garlic cloves and add to skillet. Heat until golden, stirring occasionally. Remove garlic cloves and reserve. Add the bread cubes and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned. Remove from heat.

Asparagus and Cannellini Bean Salad
Bring remaining 3 tbsps olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, a few dashes salt and several grinds pepper to a simmer in a large saucepan. Stir in beans and asparagus and let stand. Mince the reserved garlic and grate the parmesan and combine both with asparagus mixture. Store salad and croutons separately until ready to serve, then toss to combine.

Adapted from Gourmet, April 2006

Asparagus and Cannellini Bean Salad
* Don’t discard the ends, but save for stock!

Amount per Serving
Calories 230.3Sugars 0.3 gFolate 12.5 %
Total Fat 13.1 gProtein 11.4 gIron 9.4 %
Fat 3.9 gVitamin A 8.7 %Magnesium 4.0 %
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.0 gVitamin B-12 3.3 %Manganese 6.5 %
Monounsaturated Fat 7.5 gVitamin B-6 3.5 %Niacin 3.7 %
Cholesterol 11.2 mgVitamin C 15.7 %Phosphorus 14.1 %
Sodium 434.5 mgVitamin D 0.0 %Riboflavin 7.1 %
Potassium 125.4 mgVitamin E 9.1 %Selenium 10.4 %
Total Carbohydrate 17.0 gCalcium 26.2 %Thiamin 5.8 %
Fiber 5.9 gCopper 3.8 % Zinc 4.6 %

Recipe and Nutritional Information after the jump

Saturday, June 13

Grilled and Dilled Chicken Veggie Pasta Salad

Makes 12 servings
Total price: NY $15.66
Price per serving: NY $1.30

Grilled and Dilled Chicken Veggie Pasta Salad
This pasta salad is amazing. Before you snort skeptically and hit your back button in disdain, I should emphasize that I fully realize that a pasta salad is not one of those dishes you would normally think capable of being “amazing”. Double chocolate, seafood trio, quattro formaggio, these are the kinds of words that spring to mind when one thinks of recipes that “amaze”. But, hand to heart, this one does too. I once brought this to a rooftop barbecue and nearly had to arm wrestle some late-lingering guests to get my Tupperware back. I wasn’t allowed to depart until after we’d scrounged up the last clean plate in the apartment to dump the remaining pasta salad out onto. As I exited in a snit, tightly clutching my storage container to my chest, I could hear them behind me, digging in with drunken gusto. Yes, to a pasta salad.*

Grilled and Dilled Chicken Veggie Pasta Salad
This recipe makes enough to feed a small army. Its best slightly cool, not cold. You’ll want to make this not too much in advance: its best freshly made and cooled in the fridge for a bit or eaten within a few hours of preparation.

Grilled and Dilled Chicken Veggie Pasta Salad
  • 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breasts (NY $4.42) **
  • 1 lemon (NY $0..25)
  • 1 pound penne (NY $0.66)***
  • 1 red pepper (NY $1.75)
  • 1 green pepper (NY $0.87)
  • 3 cups celery (NY $1.39 for a bunch)
  • 1 red onion (NY $0.54)
  • 1 ¼ cups Kalamata Olives (NY $4.49)
  • ¼ cup fresh dill (NY $1.29 for one bunch)
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar (staple)
  • 2 tbsps mayonnaise (staple)
  • 2 tbsps Dijon mustard (staple)
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp olive oil (staple)
  • Salt (staple)
  • Pepper (staple)

Grilled and Dilled Chicken Veggie Pasta Salad
Cook the penne in boiling, salted water until al dente. Strain into a colander and refresh the pasta under cold water.

Grilled and Dilled Chicken Veggie Pasta Salad
Meanwhile, heat a grill pan on a burner, and brush the chicken with approx. 1 tbsp olive oil. Grill the chicken breasts for about 8 minutes, then use tongs to flip over. Continue grilling on the reverse side for about another 6-8 minutes, until cooked through but still moist. Remove from heat and transfer to a shallow dish. Pour the lemon juice over, and allow the chicken to cool.

Grilled and Dilled Chicken Veggie Pasta Salad
While the chicken and pasta are cooking, chop the peppers , onion, olives and dill, thinly slice the celery, and combine in a large**** bowl. Toss together with the cooked pasta. Remove the chicken from the dish, making sure to reserve the juices. Slice the chicken thinly, and add the slices to the penne mixture.

Grilled and Dilled Chicken Veggie Pasta Salad
In a small bowl, combine the reserved chicken and lemon juices with the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, a few grinds of black pepper and a few dashes salt, to taste. Whisk well, them stream in the olive oil as you continue whisking. Pour the dressing over the penne mixture and toss well. (Go ahead and lean over the bowl and smell the fragrant dill, the bright lemon . . . . ) Check seasoning and add more salt and pepper as needed.

Grilled and Dilled Chicken Veggie Pasta Salad
Adapted from Gourmet, June 1990

*Hmm, OK, now I’m a little worried I’m ratcheting your expectations up a wee bit *too* high. OK, maybe this can’t compete with, say, a seared filet mignon with caramelized shallots and red wine reduction, BUT it is the best darn pasta salad I’ve ever had. And this is the internet. I can’t just stand next to you modestly and say with eyes downcast “Oh, this is just a little something I threw together”, while slipping a little on to your plate. If you’re ever to taste this, I have to be convincing enough to get you off the couch, out to the store, shelling out some cash on the groceries, then heading back home for some time in the kitchen . . . So! Most amazing pasta salad ever! Now, grab your keys, switch off the Desperate Housewives of Wherever, and off you go!

** If you feel like spending a bit more, this is excellent with more chicken.

*** Hooray for sales on dried pasta!

****Really, you’re probably going to want to drag out your most humongous bowl for this. I at first got out my only moderately monstrous dish, and found myself looking down into it apprehensively half way through: “Uh-oh, I think I’m going to need a bigger bowl . . . “ And I did.

Grilled and Dilled Chicken Veggie Pasta Salad
Nutritional Facts
Amount Per Serving
Calories 308.7Vitamin A 12.9 %Iron 8.5 %
Total Fat 16.0 gVitamin B-12 0.5 %Magnesium 2.3 %
Cholesterol 4.1 mgVitamin B-6 5.8 %Manganese 3.9 %
Sodium 583.4 mgVitamin C 49.7 %Niacin 4.3 %
Potassium 157.9 mgVitamin D 0.0 %Phosphorus 2.7 %
Total Carbohydrate 35.7 gVitamin E 5.4 %Riboflavin 1.6 %
Fiber 2.3 gCalcium 1.7 %Selenium 2.1 %
Sugars 1.3 gCopper 1.7 %Thiamin 2.3 %
Protein 6.6 gFolate 3.7 %Zinc 0.9 %

Recipe and Nutritional Information after the jump
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