Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Beacon Line Cotton Blend Twine

How many chickens could I truss with more than a half-mile of twine? We'll find out, though I might be using the same bale when I'm 80.

Available at Smart & Final for $10.49. That's $0.003 a foot. I'm sure you could find a small ball of twine at a grocery store, possibly in the baking aisle where they sell the baking sheets and stuff, but you'll pay much more per foot, maybe a whole penny. 

Broccoflower: Green Cauliflower

When broccoli and cauliflower mate, you get green cauliflower.

It looks like cauliflower, and even comes with those thick leafy bits.

Peeling the leaves away leaves a stalk similar to broccoli, but with a cauliflower head.

It's the best of both worlds in one nice package.

I wish they were available at every store. Of those that I frequent, I can only find green cauliflower at Ralph's.

$3.71 for a 1.24 lb head. Note that after getting rid of the leaves and stem, there's about 12 oz of broccoflower.

Food Plan and Grocery List, 032011

Last weeks chow went over well. I even have two 2-cup bowls of the chili in the freezer.

This week I have another entire quantity of fixings for Spicy Korean Style Slaw, which made me think it was prime time to do some bulgogi for tacos. Because it's raining and generally junky outside, I'm going to roast me a bird, Thomas Keller style, though on top of a pile of vegetables. I like that one-pot action. Later when it gets sunny, I"ll have some Creamy Penne with Corn and Bacon, to use up that leftover ricotta from when I made lasagna.

To sum it up:
  • Thomas Keller's Roast Chicken on Garlic Butter Roast Chicken Vegetables
  • Bulgogi for Korean tacos
  • Creamy Penne with Corn and Bacon

I shopped:

  • scallions: $0.33/bunch
  • rice vinegar: $3.49
  • yellow onions: $0.41/1.67 lb (2)
  • honeydew: $2.39/4.83 lb
  • hot pepper powder (gochugalu): $3.99
  • thin-sliced beef rib eye: $9.89/lb
  • sliced kimchi: $3.08
  • mixed potatoes: $7.27/2.21 lb
  • gala apples: $1.49/2.16 lb (4)
  • dried persimmon: $4.18
  • TOTAL: $36.52
Grower's Direct:
  • fresh-cut pineapple: $1.54/1.95 lb
  • onions: $0.27/0.68 lb (1)
  • carrots: $1.00/1.45 lb (8)
  • corn-on-the-cob: $2.37/3 ears
  • garlic: $0.37/0.15 lb (1 bulb)
  • fresh basil: $1.54/bunch
  • TOTAL: $7.09
  • broccoflower: $3.71/1.24 lb
  • wheat French bread: $1.77/loaf
  • TOTAL: $5.48
Smart and Final:
  • twine: $10.49/1000+ yards
  • 9.5" tongs: $2.99
  • TOTAL: $14.66
Stater Bros.:
  • tortillas: $2.49/8-pk
  • penne rigate: $0.99/lb
  • bacon slices: $2.00/0.5 lb
  • TOTAL: $5.48
Grand Total: $54.47 on food (though I'm gifting the hot pepper and persimmon); $14.66 on gadgets.
Total for the year: $370.09.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Gina's Pizza House Special

I called Gina's Pizza to find out if they'd deliver to my end of town -- and yippee they do! Rodney and I tried Gina's once, but I think it was a slice after grocery shopping. And that's not really representative of what a pizza place can do, right?

About 45 minutes from ordering, my House Special from the pizza menu arrived in this box.

Looking at the House Special, I was sort of disappointed. The cheese doesn't even reach the crust edge. What's up with that?

Pulling a slice from the pie, I couldn't help but observe that the cheese wasn't ooey-gooey (as in it looked like it was once and had cooled before I received it) and there was no moisture in the box. Believe it or not, the crust was actually a little crusty as in crunchy. That was pleasantly surprising.

The sauce, a little tangy, was lacking. I found the pie to be leaning toward the dry side. The toppings, pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, roasted red and green bell peppers and red onion, were applied sparingly. The fact the peppers were roasted was a definite plus, but they didn't stand out as awesomely delicious as the marinated peppers on Massimo's Special.

Would I do Gina's again? Maybe for the delivery option, but I won't be going out of my way to have it again. Judging by price alone, this pizza should rank as one of the best I've had, but that's not the case. It is better than the high-priced, super skinny, salty-as-hell zpizza.

Large, 16" House Special, $27.73. A $5 toke for the driver makes it $32.73.

Korean Tacos leftovers

For late breakfast/early lunch, I'm having what's left from dinner last night. Yep, Korean tacos!

Remember when I marinated all of that flank steak, froze a bunch of it, and then found a bag of flank in my freezer? I let that bag thaw in the fridge a couple days, broiled the marinated flank about 8 minutes until it was just medium rare, whipped out some Korean-style slaw and had tacos for dinner.

What's really cool is that one end of the flank steak was more toward rare so when I warmed up the leftovers for chow today, it was medium rare! Note: I didn't go crazy with the microwave time, keeping it to just a minute or so on lower power in order not to overcook it.

Having the tacos on the pillow-like Romero's flour tortillas was different, but still kick-ass.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Cost of Take-Out Lunch, Week Ending 031811

  • Monday: Knowlwood cheeseburger combo and Frisco burger combo: $16.62
  • Tuesday: Sushiplantation, Laguna Roll: on my boss
  • Thursday: Jack in the Box Southwest Chicken Salad: $5.39

Total: $22.01
Total for the year: $257.23

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Chipotle Shrimp Fajitas revisited

Chipotle Shrimp Fajitas
a little different than the first time
adapted from Cooking Club of America

1/2 large red or green bell pepper, julienned
1 small sweet or red onion, cut into thin wedges
2 tsp canola peanut oil
1 lb. shelled, deveined uncooked medium shrimp
1/2 c chipotle-flavored salsa
8 tbsp chopped cilantro, divided
8 (6-inch) corn tortillas, warmed
Lime wedges for garnish

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook bell pepper and onion in oil 3 minutes.

Add shrimp; cook 3 to 4 minutes or until shrimp just turn pink.

Add salsa; cook 1 minute. Stir in 4 tablespoons of the cilantro.

Spoon into warm tortillas spread with refried beans.

Top with guacamole and remaining cilantro.

I do have to say that I liked it better with the Herdez Chipotle salsa. Also, I could've reduced the pepper/onion saute time by a minute or cut the vegetables a little thicker. I realize that is pretty vague, but in general I thought the peppers and onions were a little too soft and limp.

This dish is really easy to make and would be a good one to try if you like Mexican-style food but are afraid to cook shrimp. What am I saying, it's a good one to make if you like Mexican-style food period.

Not including prep, cooking time is about 10 minutes. A few minutes to prep some beans and warm tortillas means dinner, enough for about 4 servings, is done in less than 30 minutes!

  • pepper: $1.17
  • onion: $0.23
  • shrimp: $8.99
  • salsa: $1.75
  • cilantro: $0.20
  • tortillas: $1.99

Total: $14.33 or $3.58 for each of four servings. Kinda pricy, but worth doing.

Click for the printable

Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce

Tabasco is good anyway, but the chipotle sauce is out of this world. It is so good, I could just about pop the little plastic flow inhibitor from the bottle top and guzzle the stuff. I highly recommend you try it.

Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce available at Smart & Final in a 5 oz bottle for $3.50.

Romero's Snack Size Flour Tortillas

Romero's flour tortillas are the softest-to-touch tortillas my fingers have ever had the experience of feeling. They are like 3000-count sheets, the tortillas are so pillow-soft.

As with any tortillas, it's easy to warm them by throwing a couple in a hot skillet, flipping them occasionally over 30 seconds or so, alternating which one is on top for even warming (and browning if you choose to do so).

And look, one of the tortillas actually ballooned up like a little pillow!

Romero's super soft, snack size* flour tortillas available in a resealable pack of 12 at Stater Bros. for $1.99.
*snack size is pretty big, about the size of a regular taco-sized tortilla

El Pinto Chipotle Salsa

Planning to do a revisit on an older recipe, I hunted for chipotle salsa. The brand I used last time, Herdez, was unavailable at two stores.

I picked this El Pinto brand up because it was one of the only chipotle salsas available and because the brand, according to the label, has won over 21 Scovie awards. El Pinto must be doing something right when it comes to the spicy heat.

I was also intrigued by how "El Pinto adds flavor to any cuisine".

Those hints would be handy since, right under the "refrigerate after opening" print, El Pinto suggests the salsa is used within 7 days.

FYI, the ingredients: tomatoes (peeled tomatoes with juice, calcium chloride, citric acid), roasted anaheim green chiles, salt, jalapeno pepper, chipotle chili powder, garlic, natural flavor.

Available at Ralph's in a 16 oz jar for $3.50.

Stater Bros. Frozen Ready to Eat Shrimp

Frozen shrimp, especially when prepared "ready to eat" is so convenient. Note this is different than "cooked, ready to eat". Technically, if you want the freshest shrimp, you want it shell-on as it is flash frozen without any handling. But when there are 71-90 shrimp in a pound, going for ease isn't shameful. At least when my time is concerned. Buying it ready to eat means that the shrimp shells and even deveining is already finished.

While it's recommended that you thaw throw the bag in the fridge and let it thaw over a couple days, shrimp is flexible. You can thaw it in a colander under cold water. I try to utilize the thawing-in-the-fridge method as it saves on resources, but sometimes push comes to shove.

Stater Bros. frozen Ready to Eat shrimp, 71-90/lb available at Stater Bros for $8.99/lb. And if you catch the sale deal, you can get buy one get one free!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Following and Print Options

I recently discovered that Smells has a follower. How the heck Hot Mess Housewife was able to follow Smells Like Food in Here, I have no idea. I goofed around trying to figure it out and came up with nothing. To make it easier on anyone else interested, I've added the Follower do-hickey down there under the Labels. Seems I'd omitted it when I did the last face-lift.

As for printing, I've realized that I've always checked the link while signed into Blogger/Google, so it always worked for me. Tonight I tried the print links before signing in and was shocked to find they didn't work! That's been rectified, so give it a try and let me know what you think.

If you are into a one-pot meal with Moroccan flavor, give this dish a spin. Now you can even print the recipe, no foolin'.

Albers Corn Bread

Tortilla chips go great with chili. Add enough cheese it's like eating chili nachos and who doesn't love nachos? But if you are in the pickle of lacking chips you can pinch hit with corn bread.

Albers Corn Bread
from Albers

1 c Albers® White or Yellow Corn Meal
1 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c granulated sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 c milk
1/3 c vegetable oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease 8-inch square baking pan.

Combine meal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in medium bowl.

Combine milk, oil and egg in small bowl; mix well.

Add milk mixture to flour mixture; stir just until blended.

Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm.

The last time I made corn bread I made Albers Sweet Corn Bread and it was good and sweet, very much like the stuff in the baby blue box. This recipe has a texture very similar to the sweeter recipe. While still just slightly sweet, it turns out I prefer this recipe to accompany my chili. Next time though, I'm going to look for a recipe that isn't quite so cake-like in texture.

  • corn meal: $0.57
  • milk: $0.50
  • egg: $0.37

Total: $1.44 plus a 56 SWAG for flour, sugar, powder and oil makes it $2 total. That's 17 cents per each of 12 servings.

Click Albers Corn Bread to get a printable from their site

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Smoky Beef and Black Bean Chili

You know, I like chili. I like it a lot. And thus, I am willing to try new chilis, like this one from my Feb/March 2007 copy of Cooking Pleasures. I like that the recipe doesn't call for insanely lengthy cooking time and the ingredients are minimal. It doesn't hurt that I have a pound of ground beef found during my recent freezer clean-out.

FYI, the original recipe was for two but because chili freezes so well I doubled it. And I had a full pound of beef.

Smoky Beef and Black Bean Chili
adapted from Cooking Club of America

1 lb. ground beef chuck (80% lean)
1 large onion, chopped
1 large yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
2 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, finely chopped
4 tsp chile powder
2-4 tsp adobo sauce
2 tsp ground cumin
2 (15-oz.) can black beans, rinsed, drained
2 (14.5-oz.) Mexican-style diced tomatoes
1 1/2 c water
4 tbsp chopped cilantro

Cook beef, onion and bell pepper in medium saucepan over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until beef is browned and vegetables are softened, stirring frequently.

Drain off any excess fat.

Stir in chile, chile powder, adobo sauce and cumin; cook and stir 2 minutes.

Stir in beans, tomatoes and water; bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes to blend flavors, stirring occasionally.

Stir in cilantro.

A cinch to put together, the chili turned out to be pretty mild when it came to spicy-heat, but the smoky chipotle flavor was very nice. Next time, I'll maybe add a jalapeno pepper to crank up the heat a little bit.

  • ground beef: $1.99
  • onion: $0.23
  • bell pepper: $0.92
  • chipotle chiles: $0.25
  • black beans: $1.40
  • Mexican-style diced tomatoes: $1.76
  • cilantro: $0.20
Total: $6.75, or about $1.69 for each of four servings.

Click for the printable