Chat Leftovers: Summer-Fall Bridge, Vegan, Soy-Free Supper and Cheap Tricks
Downtown D.C.: The weather is starting to get a bit chilly around here. Any bridge-the-season ideas for summer produce, but fall weather?
With the autumnal equinox fast approaching (Sept. 22), there’s indeed a chill in the air after the sun says goodnight. This is the time of year when our thoughts turn to soup, stew and other warming potions, but as you mention, using the best of the summer harvest.
Have a look at the details for this roasted red pepper puree, a light-to-medium bodied potage that still has one foot in summer, with all those sun-kissed peppers. I’m also partial to this creamy tomato soup, a perfect companion for grilled cheese or a hunk of crusty bread. (I’ve also added cooked rice just before serving, and I feel like I’m back in kindergarten.)
Speaking of rice and companions, there’s no better time to whip up a pot of eggplant curry, when eggplants are having their swan song. Talk about warming up the bod -- this one’s a keeper -- plus you’ll use up end-of-season basil and have enough leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch. Giddyup.
I would be remiss, however, if I neglected to mention
ratatouille, the quintessential summer-fall transition dish. You’ve got all the jewels of the season: tomatoes, summer squash, eggplant, peppers, onion, garlic and plenty o’ leafy herbs.
Grad school, Midwest: It's my turn to host and make dinner for three fellow starving students this week. However, one of us is vegan, and one of us is allergic to soy. We're getting a little tired of curry, but there's still LOTS of good stuff at our local farmer's market. Any suggestions? (Bonus points for budget-friendly.)
Have you ever played with either quinoa or couscous? These should be part of your meatless repertoire, if they aren’t already, and they are decidedly curry-free. Best part of all: Couscous requires no cooking, just a little freshening up in boiling water, off heat. Both couscous and quinoa are flavor chameleons and can be seasoned however you wish with little chance of screwing up. Creative and improv cooks, please apply! These couscous guidelines will get you set up, then you can go wild with flavor.
Your vegan pal may appreciate the high protein content of quinoa, which also translates really well into salad, either hot or cold. Check out this variation, spritzed up with mango and black beans. Nice!
Annandale, Va.: I'm very poor and on my own for the first time, and I don't really know how to make small portioned, inexpensive meals. Can you recommend any recipes or recipe books?
Don’t get up hung up by small and portioned meals, dear; instead, think of one-pot numbers that will last for several days and can be reheated and edited over time. Earlier this year, I asked a handful of MA readers for their budget-stretching kitchen tricks, which spawned an amazing list in the comments section. Read it and feel your wallet expand: Getting Thrifty: Reader Tips and Tricks
The last word from LeDroit Park, Washington, D.C.:
Hey Kim! On the molcajete (Mexican mortar) -- my Mexican mom and cook extraordinaire, says it does have to be cured. Mexicans would typically do this by grinding lots of corn before using it for salsas. She suggested putting in some popcorn kernels or something. This will help to cure the bowl. Hope this helps!
This week's What's Cooking transcript in entirety.
By Kim ODonnel |
September 17, 2008; 6:00 AM ET
Cooking on a Budget
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