If I weren't in medical school, I'd likely be living in a shoe. Or, more poignantly, a shelter made of old Bon Appetit issues. With some of my larger cookbooks being used as support beams.
(Writing that is strangely calming, actually. At least now I know I have a plan. And an excuse to keep all of those old issues that are skewed all over my bedroom floor and are likely in the midst of plotting some sort of mutiny.
Dear Bon Appetit mags. You keep up this kind of volatile behavior and you are going to be the rain gutter in my makeshift hut on Madison Avenue. Seriously.)
My point being that the cost of living in New York is high. And, I think we can all agree, food blogging is not an inexpensive hobby. And so if I did not have subsidized housing along with a nice little stipend from the NIH that they've so kindly agreed to give me in exchange for the next 7-8 years of my life and my sanity. I'd be screwed (excuse my French).
This week's Eat.Live.Be. is about how we budget for healthy food.
I had to look up the word "budget" in the dictionary.
I wish I were joking.
Okay, I am joking. A little. While I definitely think about ways in which I can cut costs, I don't let it govern my life or my supermarket purchases. The Eats Well With Others kitchen is all organic, all the time. It's all wild-caught fish, all the time. And, when it had meat in it, it was all cage-free, grass-fed, etc. (at least to the best of my knowledge. Although, I've heard rumors that "cage-free" and "grass-fed" may mean different things to Whole Foods than it does to the rest of us...which is why it does not appear in my kitchen any longer.)
So how do I do this while not spending an obscene amount of money on groceries every week?
(1) I try to buy the bulk of my produce at the farmer's market. Certain items are always cheaper there - potatoes, root veggies, winter squash, apples - and are of better quality!
(2) Try to plan my meals around what produce or fish is on sale at Whole Foods. Admittedly, this doesn't always happen but it's easier now that items such as asparagus have been on sale for weeks. Love that.
(3) Eat beans for protein. Beans are insanely cheap. And delicious. And filling. Especially when you buy dried beans from a bulk bin and then make them from scratch.
(4) Know when it's worth it to splurge. There are some things that I am just not willing to cut out of my life just because they're a bit more expensive. Good cheese, for instance. I'd rather have less of a good brie than more pre-shredded plastic-y mozzarella. It keeps me happy and makes me more willing to cut corners elsewhere.
So how do you guys keep your grocery bills in check? Leave a message in the comments or write a post about it! And be sure to check out the posts from these other Eat.Live.Be.-ers!
- Sarah Caron from Sarah’s Cucina Bella
- Cate from Sweetnicks
- Chris Arpante – Melecotte
- Patsy – Family, Friends and Food
- Claire – Cooking is Medicine
- Sarah Rogers – Sarah’s Sweet Creations
- Rivki from Healthy Eating for Ordinary People
- Claudia from Journey of an Italian Cook
- New Jersey Epicurean
Wild-caught salmon is an example of one of my splurge foods. My secret is to buy it frozen, which makes it a tad bit less expensive. And just as delicious. The good thing about salmon this tasty is that it doesn't need much to adorn it. Simple preparations are best, as they allow the natural flavor of the fish to shine through. A hint of lemon, some pesto and green beans are really all you need, as evidenced by this Jamie Oliver dish which is so laughably easy and so wonderfully tasty that you'll wonder why you hadn't thought of it yourself.
I meant to make this for last week's IHCC but time got away from me, so I'm hoping the ladies will let me submit it for this one even though the theme is pasta! Personally, I'd think it would be lovely served over some couscous!
Salmon Baked in a Foil Parcel with Green Beans and Pesto
Serves 2, adapted from Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution
2 handfuls green beans (I like to take LARGE handfuls of my veggies!)
2 (7 oz) chunky salmon fillets, skin on
2 heaped tbsp green pesto (I used homemade pesto from my freezer!)
2 tsp olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat your oven to 400. Trim the beans by cutting off the stalk ends and leaving the wispy tips on. Halve both of the lemons.
2. Pull out a sheet of aluminum foil, about a yard long, and fold it in half to give two layers. Put a handful of green beans in the middle of the foil. Lay a salmon fillet, skin side down, across the beans and spoon over a good tbsp of green pesto. Drizzle with 1 tsp olive oil. Squeeze over juice from one of the lemons, and season with salt and pepper. Pull the aluminum foil edges together and scrunch them up to seal the parcel. Repeat these steps to make the second parcel. Place both foil parcels on a sheet pan.
3. Put the baking sheet into your oven and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let it stand for a minute before carefully unwrapping it. Either serve the parcels on plates as they are or carefully unwrap them before serving.