Monday, January 31, 2011

The Bare Necessities

There are a few things that I think are necessities so I created the "must haves" list.
  • Brown Rice
  • Fresh Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Lemons
  • Lentils
  • Oats
  • Onions
These are the things that I try to always keep on hand and that I use in most recipes.
The fresh ginger I break of about a 4 inch piece from the bins at the spice shops in the shuk.
Brown rice, lentils, and oats I buy from the bulk bins at one of the halth food stores, I have found them to be about a shekel or 2 cheaper and better quality than the pre-packaged from the supermarket.
Garlic, onions and lemons are easy to come by and are usually the same price everywhere.
When choosing lemons get the squishy juicy ones and keep your eyes peeled for the less textured skin they tend to be juicier

I also tend to use a lot of cumin but I don't know if its a necessity.

Herbs & Spices

Fresh Herbs and spices are always better but many people are worried about wasting, that they won't use up what they bought and they will end up throwing it away.
Many herbs like coriander I tend to always have on hand, but basil and parsley tend to go bad so quickly and I don't always have time to use them up. my mother-in-law showed me that I can wash and dry the greens and then separate them in to ziplocks and freeze them. I don't use parsley so often but every so often I have a recipe that calls for fresh parsley, so all I need to do is go in to the freezer and there it is!
I've never tried it, but my friend Hayley mentioned on an other post that she learned from Rachel Ray that you can peel fresh ginger, freeze it and then grate off what you need when you need it. I am excited to try this. I tend to use up my ginger because I cook a lot of things with ginger, but I am very curious to see how freezing it works. If you try it please let me know how it goes.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lemony Lentil Soup

Where to start, where to start?
I have so many ideas to get this blog started. So here it goes, why not start with one of my favorites!

As you will come to see lentils are one of my favorite things to cook with. They are so versatile and extremely healthy!
In a search for a new fun lentil soup I came across this Lemony Lentil Soup with Cilantro on, one of my favorite recipe websites.

Epicurious is great because you can type in ingredients that you have and want to use and search for recipes with those ingredients. It is even possible to refine your search to course or dietary restrictions.

Ok so back to the soup. As you will also come to see I almost never follow recipes, I use them as guidelines to make my own scrumptious recipes. This recipe in particular is pretty easy and super quick, 2 of my favorite attributes for a recipe!
It is great recipe as is and is great with the many variations I've tried.

The following is what I've done to make it my own, not to mention, way faster!
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger (fresh chopped ginger is even better!)
  • 1 cup brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth (or 1 teaspoon seasoned salt and 3 cups of water)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Saute onion in heated oil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute an other 1-2 minutes. Add salt and cook, stirring frequently, 1 minute. Add lentils, pepper, ginger, broth, and water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until lentils are very soft, about 30 minutes. Add lemon juice and cilantro.

Try adding coconut milk for a more Thai flavor!

Monday, January 24, 2011

How to eat in Nachlaot when you're not a trust fund baby!

Ok so just kidding. But all of us no matter where we live or what our backgrounds are, we are all looking for ways to save money, and saving money on food is a great place to start.

People are always shocked when I tell them how little I spend on food a month and always want to know how I do it. I had many ideas on how to share my ideas, recipes, and cooking with others. I thought about cooking up lunch once a week to serve for very inexpensive, then I thought maybe a cooking class, and then a friend suggested writing a book. I thought a blog was a better idea for me, at least for now. So my hope is that each week I will be able to share an idea, a recipe, a thought, just some sort of tasty morsel to help others cook for themselves their family and their friends and not empty their wallets or bank accounts at the same time. Some of the things that I share will be specifically for those who live in Jerusalem and go to the shuk and others are definitely geared towards kosher cooking in Israel but many of the things I do can be used anywhere in the world. If you like something I do, or have a question, have a suggestion or improvement on something or just want to share what you have done, please please please share so that who ever reads "Healthy Cheap Eats" will benefit.
Get your aprons on and head to the pantry and lets get cooking!

And so it begins!