Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How to eat cheap and alone

The past two weeks, and hopefully the next couple of months, are an experiment in just how cheaply I can cook and eat healthy, wholesome meals for one. Mr. Ripe is off in the bay, and I am alone at home in our awesome new apartment.

I love to peruse other people's food blogs for inspiration, but there is one in particular that has been extremely helpful in laying out exactly how possible it is to cook at home using great ingredients (yes to farmers market produce!) for cheap. Not Eating Out In New York, a blog based in (of all places) Brooklyn (what what) provides readers with healthy, cheap, green meals in very simple terms. Cathy Erway's writing style and food ideas are simple (I find them quite comparable to my own) and accessible. I had her blog on my mind tonight when I made my super simple leftovers dinner from last night's dal atop two slices of whole wheat bread spread with Vermont Butter and Cheese company's original chevre. It may sound yucky, and my apartment may smell like an Indian restaurant, but this meal was super satisfying, tasty, and definitely cheap.

Here's the recipe from last night's dal. And think of this post as one of many to come in the series of How to Eat Cheap and Alone!

3/4 c split yellow lentils (or mung dal)
2 1/2 c water
2 whole cloves garlic
1/8 t cumin
1/8 t turmeric
3 T vegetable oil
pinch black mustard seeds (like really maybe 8 individual seeds)
pinch asafoetida

Rinse lentils. Place in pot with water and bring to boil. Add garlic cloves, cumin, and turmeric. Reduce heat so lentils simmer and almost cover the pot with the lid (leave it open a crack if possible). Simmer about 1 hour, or until lentils are soft and resemble lumpy mush. Remove from heat. In a small saucepan, heat vegetable oil. When hot, add mustard seeds and asafoetida powder. Cook until mustard seeds begin to make popping sounds, then pour spice oil over lentil mush. You now have dal! Enjoy over rice with freshly squeezed lemon and charred onions.

Enjoy again the next day atop a piece of toast slathered with chevre!

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