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Oof, have I gotten behind on my blogging! Crazy life took over, but now I hope to be back much more often here. Stay tuned for upcoming blogs about canning, winemaking, brewing, and the usual ramblings about cooking and eating.
In the meantime, I am really fired up for Slow Food USA’s $5 Food Challenge on September 17. I love me some fancy food, but realistically I (and I’m sure lots of other people) don’t have the money to eat expensive meals regularly, especially in lovely NYC. I work hard to figure out how to plan good, affordable meals so this pledge is right up my alley.
It shouldn’t have to cost a lot or take a ton of effort to eat well! This I believe.
If you have always liked coleslaw, you’ll probably like this recipe. If you’re one of those people (and I used to include myself in this category) who hasn’t ever liked coleslaw before, I swear this is worth a shot.
If you’re a hater, your complaints about coleslaw probably go something like this: gloppy, mooshy, overly creamy, weirdly sweet, dreaded side garnish. This one, though, is none of those things. It’s a recipe courtesy of my mother-in-law, who frequently throws this together when people are coming over. For me, the key difference is the following: first, make sure the cabbage and other veggies are fresh so you get a really good CRUNCH factor, second, don’t overdo it on the mayo, and third, add in some vinegar so you get a bit of a bite to the flavor rather than the sweet creamy thing.
We just did an end of the summer (sigh) bbq with some friends the other night. Like always, we made the coleslaw, and like always, we had at least one person tell us they don’t usually like coleslaw but this stuff was surprisingly good.
Plus, with a lot less mayo in there, this actually becomes a pretty healthy way to get some cabbage into your diet! As an additional note, sometimes we shred the cabbage and grate the carrot from scratch, and sometimes, we buy a giant plastic package of pre-shredded coleslaw base. You can also choose to add in some red cabbage for a little color and flavor variety. Without further ado…..
Coleslaw for Non-Coleslaw People Recipe
3 c. shredded cabbage
1 c. shredded carrot
2 tbsp. mayo
1 tbsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. garlic powder
Salt + Pepper
Mix it all together in a bowl! Add salt and pepper to taste. My mother-in-law usually makes this the day before because it gives the mayo and vinegar some time to soak into the veggies, but since you’re working with fresh cabbage and carrot, it won’t get soggy. Great at bbqs or a sandwich.
Yield: 8 servings
A new lunch bag! After all that debate, I went for the Built version because I dig the pattern, plus it is made of SCUBA DIVING MATERIAL. Looking forward to putting together some fun lunches in my pretty new bag.
As Hurricane Irene made its way towards NYC, we did all the safety-oriented things the experts recommended. We moved plants inside, closed up the windows, cancelled our weekend plans, charged all cell phones and computers, and stocked up on water and batteries. And then we did something much more important: we cooked up a giant batch of one of our favorite comfort foods, pasta with tomato sauce.
I stopped buying prepared tomato sauce for pasta a few years ago when I was living in China and all the foreign brand prepared sauces were out of my budget. I then discovered that it doesn’t take too much time or effort to put your own sauce together, and you can adjust the [heat, salt content, GARLIC levels] according to preference, which is nice.
Like the fried rice, we have about seven hundred versions of this recipe and are very liberal about adding or subtracting whatever we have around in the sauce. Almost every version involves tomatoes, garlic, and onions, and all of them are tasty and easy to throw together. Sometimes if we have extra sauce we’ll freeze it for the future, but usually we just save it for leftovers for the next day. Also, with the NYC marathon rapidly approaching, carbs are in high demand and we’ve generally been eating almost everything no matter how much we make.
For this version, we used Italian sausage and kicked up the heat with some peppers from the garden. If you’re feeling in need of an extra dose of comfort, I recommend making some garlic bread to soak up the extra sauce!
Spicy Sausage & Tomato Pasta Recipe
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
1 hot pepper, minced (we used a jalapeno)
2 Italian sausages, casings removed
1 c. sliced mushrooms
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 tbsp. basil
1 tbsp. oregano
1 tbsp. parsley
Salt + Pepper
1 lb. penne
Heat oil in large, flat-bottomed pan over medium heat. Saute garlic, onions, and hot pepper together until onions are translucent, about 8 minutes. As an editorial note, I think that the garlic/onion duo is a match made in heaven. If you ever want your house to smell awesome in five minutes or less, these are your guys.
Add sausage the pan, breaking up into small pieces with spatula. Continue to stir over medium heat until sausage is no longer pink.
Add mushrooms and bell pepper. Saute for another 5-10 minutes until mushrooms have softened.
Combine crushed tomatoes and tomato paste with vegetable and sausage mixture. Add in spices. Heat until sauce starts to boil and then reduce heat and cover, simmering for an additional 15 minutes (the longer the better, so you can do this step as early as is convenient). This is usually when I start the pasta and cook according to the directions. We like penne most of the time but lots of other shapes work well, too!
Save about 1/2 c. of water used for cooking pasta and add to tomato mixture. Combine cooked pasta with sauce and you’re all set.
Yield: Makes 6 servings
I hope everyone survived the storm okay!
I put together this meal for lunch the other day and then realized that while none of the individual components are new for the blog, the combination of all of them together is.
As I’ve mentioned before, I sometimes worry about having ingredient or recipe overlaps (when I re-use parts of dishes in a meal the next day) or repeating combinations of things I’ve already covered, but you know what? That’s real life. It’s practical, cost effective, and in this case, it allows me to mix it up with things I already like to do in other styles or with different ingredients.
In this case I cut a baguette in half, spread this pesto on each side, and put in slices of this cheese and these tomatoes from our garden. If it hadn’t been in the summer, I think the whole thing could have toasted nicely for a melted cheese kind of situation, but since it’s hot outside (and inside, for those of us without central air), it was nice cold. For a side salad, I tossed some spring mix greens with this vinaigrette.
Voila! A tasty lunch is born.