My sincerest apologies to all four readers for the nearly two month-long lapse. In between finishing my master's and looking for a real job, I've been subsisting mostly on granola bars, coffee, and the occasional fried egg. Despite this blog's claims to be economical, it also aspires to epicureanism -- and, clearly, the past month and a half's diet does not meet both criteria. Of course, now that I seem to have some free time, Washington area temperatures are topping 100 degrees and all culinary inspirations have melted away like the chocolates I accidentally left in my car over the weekend. What are the unemployed (me) to do in times of such dire heat and dire food prices?
I shall first list what the abject SHOULD NOT eat or drink in such conditions, despite how appealing these options may sound:
-Homemade lemonade: when lemons are almost a dollar each, you're looking at $6 or $7 for a medium sized pitcher. Who do you think you are, Dean & Deluca?
-Meat: it's expensive and you have to cook it. Do you really want to sweat both dollars and bullets?
-Ice cream: it's expensive, even if homemade, and it makes you fat. You can't afford to be fat!
And here is a brief list of what you SHOULD eat, in my alarmist opinion. The fresh fruit and vegetables in these recipes are available now, which is why you don't see any tomatoes. I will probably post a similar but more tomato-heavy list come August -- the DC area's most infamous month.
-Black bean and corn salad/dip: click here for full recipe
-Black-eyed pea salad: click here for full recipe
-Strawberry salad: toss 1 C or so of strawberries with a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and pepper, add to 2 C of spinach, arugula, or some leafy mix, drizzle with olive oil and goat or feta cheese (for a small splurge). Serves 2 as main course.
-Cilantro-garlic yogurt sauce: combine 1 C plain yogurt, 3/4 C finely chopped cilantro, 1 finely chopped clove garlic, 1/2 t cayenne pepper; chill, covered, at least 30 minutes. Serve in a pita with chickpeas, or use as a dip for chopped raw vegetables.
-Chicken salad: DO NOT MAKE THIS YOURSELF. STEAL IT. It's very easy to get it for free this time of year at a graduation party or wedding shower from hosts who don't have enough room in their refrigerators. Serve in a whole wheat pita for added nutrition.
-Best caesar salad: for dressing, whisk together 3 minced cloves garlic, 3 chopped anchovies, 1 t salt, 1 t pepper, 1 T lemon juice, 1 t Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 t dijon mustard, 1 egg yolk, and 1/3 C olive oil. Add to 2 chopped heads of Romaine. Sprinkle with 1 C grated Parmesan. If you want croutons, cut up whatever stale bread you have left in the house into 1/2 in cubes; toss with 2 T melted butter, 2 T olive oil, 2 t salt, 1/2 t cayenne, and 1 t ground pepper. Toast in an oven preheated to 450 degrees until golden, about 10 minutes. Add chickpeas or white beans for nutritional value, if desired. Serves 4 as main course.
-Best smoothie for the buck: you have two options here; both begin with a banana.
1) Combine banana, 6 oz. lime yogurt (trust me, it's the best), 1 C orange juice, and 1 C ice in
2) Combine banana, 6 oz. chocolate yogurt, 1 C milk, 1 T sugar, and 1 C ice in blender.