A Dollar Dish Duel!!!

April 14th, 2008

In keeping with my motto of this blog, I decided to just go for it and start an event…So, I am announcing my DOLLAR DISH DUEL!!!!

As previously mentioned, inspired by an article in the New York Times entitled “5 Cooks, $40, 5 Dishes, 3 Desserts,” I want to challenge everyone to make a dish for $5 that must feed at least 2 people. So hit up a dollar store or be creative with what you can find at your local grocery store. Don’t live in the US? Convert to your currency here. In your post, please let us know the prices of your ingredients.

One exception: You may use 3 staples from your pantry (salt/pepper/oil or something like that).

Please email the entry to ginnygetsfloury AT gmail DOT com with “Dollar Dish Duel” in the subject line. Include the following information:

* Your name and location
* The name of your blog
* Your blog URL
* The URL for your post
* If you are not a blogger, please partcipate! Just email me the recipe, a description of how you came up with the dish and a picture if possible. (Mom, I think you should join in the fun!)

Deadline: May 5, 2008 (round-up soon afterwards)

UPDATE: The winner will receive The Improvisational Cook by Sally Schneider after my judges make their decision.

Ok, I refuse to never have a post without some food. I made this Fig and Walnut Tapenade with Goat Cheese last night for a dinner party. It was easy to make and a huge hit with my friends!

Fig and Walnut Tapenade with Goat Cheese
(adapted from epicurious.com)

1 cup chopped stemmed dried Calimyrna figs
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives or other brine-cured black olives
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon drained capers
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts

2 5.5-ounce logs soft fresh goat cheese, each cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
Assorted breads and/or crackers

1. Combine chopped figs and 1/3 cup water in heavy medium saucepan.
2. Cook over medium-high heat until liquid evaporates and figs are soft, about 7 minutes. Transfer to medium bowl.
3. In a food processor, chop figs olives, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, capers, walnuts and chopped thyme.
4. Season tapenade to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.)
5. Arrange overlapping cheese rounds in circle in center of medium platter. Serve with breads and/or crackers.

P.S. Please spread the word on my event. A cute logo will hopefully follow soon!

Crepes for a Crappy Day…

March 10th, 2008

Yesterday was miserable. The time change did not affect me at first. My problem yesterday was I had no inspiration of what to cook. Nothing? Nada? It was downright depressing. How does one make a grocery list when one has no cravings? ideas? inklings? So I went to Trader Joe’s, roamed the aisles- looking, searching and hoping to stumble across something. Later that night, I found myself at home staring at my purchases waiting for the lightbulb moment. I had some bread, goat cheese, cheddar, spinach and pretty red tulips (yes, the stand next to the check out counter got me, but they were just so pretty). So I had a peanut butter-honey sandwich for dinner…boring!

Today, like many others, I spent in a tired haze. I struggled to sleep last night and woke up exhausted. Why does losing one hour always mess me up this badly? I started to think of what I could make for dinner but same problem…no ideas? Came home, grouchy and hungry, walked through the apartment building door and…ahhhh!!!! the clouds parted, the sunlight shown through, the angels started singing, the cherubs sounded the trumpets…ok, you get the point…I HAD AN IDEA!!!!

My neighbors were making something that smelled like pancakes and I was hit by a sudden craving for crepes. I made Savory Crepes with a Goat Cheese-Spinach-Ham filling. Then, in another fit of inspiration, I threw together a Cheddar-Broccoli filling. My roommate and I agree that the goat cheese filling was better. When can you ever go wrong with goat cheese? It was a delicious!

(adapted from Betty Crocker’s New Cookbook)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
2 tablespoon butter, melted

2 large eggs

1. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
2. Stir in remaining ingredients. Beat with hand beater until smooth.
3. Lightly butter a 6 to 8 inch frying pan. Heat over medium heat until bubbly.
4. Pour about 1/4 cup batter into frying pan. Immediately rotate frying pan until thin film covers bottom.
5. Cook until light brown. Run wide spatula around edge to loosen; turn and cook other side until light brown.

6. Stack crepes, keep covered until ready to fill.

Goat Cheese-Spinach-Ham Filling

1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, chopped
4 cups chopped spinach
1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon whip cream
1 cup chopped ham

1. Heat a tablespoon of butter into another frying pan over medium heat.
2. Sauté garlic in the butter briefly and then add the spinach. Sauté until wilted.
3. Add the goat cheese and whip cream, stir until melted.
4. Add ham and heat through. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Fill crepes.

Cheddar-Broccoli Filling

1 cup broccoli, chopped
1/2 cup cheddar, shredded
1 tablespoon whip cream

1. Heat whip cream and cheddar over medium heat, until melted.
2. Stir in brocolli and heat through. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Fill crepes.

P.S. Have leftover crepes? Fill them with Nutella, jam, fresh fruit, whip cream or anything else yummy for a dessert crepes. If you want to make dessert crepes from the beginning, add 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla to the recipe.