Sunday, September 20, 2009


Dinner tonight was a new festival--must use up, rather than toss of leftovers. I had some cauliflower, tomatoes, peppers, potato, and onions from my farm share this week. I found some chicken thighs in the freezer that were on the edge of the toss date (do not worry they were on the edge of must use, not must get out the house). I did a quick check in the pantry and I found Korma Simmer Sauce from Trader Joe's and Harvest Blend Grains (couscous, red quinoa, baby garbanzo beans, and orzo). I had a side of tamarind chutney and yogurt. I ended up with dinner and 3 lunches in the freezer. The bread I bought, I must have bread with my Indian dinners. Cost per meal.....$2.69

Friday, September 18, 2009

Contest--Cheese Sandwich

Are you ready for a friendly contest? When my friend Brett sang the praises of the simple cheese sandwich I had to raise my own 1/2 lunch to toast the unsung hero of the middle of day energy giver. So here is the 1st Susan's Kitchen Mixer contest. The down and dirty:

Submit your best cheese sandwich idea by Thursday, October 1 st 9 pm (EST). You can post on the blog or email dancingsusan12 at Entries will be judged by Susan, Brett and his family (note young children will have a say) and one judge to be named. Winners will receive a small token from the Susan's Kitchen Mixer prize department. Winners will have their sandwiches made and enjoyed by many, but results are final and the Susan's Kitchen Mixer group is not responsible for bad bread choice or cheese gone bad. Please original entries only and no grilling allowed. Toasting of bread is okay.

On your mark.....get set.....go.......

Sofra Cambridge--Important Update

So, when I was traveling with my friend Ben (who was 10 at the time) to NYC (for one of the best vacations ever). I found that he would listen better if I started every sentence with the word...booger. Okay before you run away, I now know that if you want me to do anything, all you have to do is say, Sofra Earthquake Cookie. I will do anything, except clean my mom's office, well maybe that for three cookies. I had a long week and was driving by, a parking space opened up, so I took advantage. It was a thing of beauty, rich dark chocolate, soft, almost like cake, with a heavy dusting of confectioners sugar. I had two, that way it counts for dinner right? No really I'm stuffed, it was so rich. I think I'll just have one for breakfast. If this isn't clear how good a cookie it was, let me know, I'll eat another for you and try to explain better. I'm pretty sure I'll have to go back to compare the other desserts with this one. Thanks Sarah!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sofra Cambridge

Tonight, I wanted to walk around Cambridge and have nice bite to eat. After driving around Harvard Square for 30 minutes, none of my usually parking spots panned out, so I went back towards Watertown where I had seen Sofra (in the old package store on the boarder of Cambridge and Watertown).

I started with the Green Apple and Rose water beverage. This was a bright green delight that tickled your taste-buds. I then had a heirloom tomato soup with cream. You could taste and see the fresh tomatoes in this simple but hearty soup. The freshly made thin crisps were a super compliment to the soup. I also had the three cheese spinach flat bread sandwich. This had great sweet spinach and a tangy cheese flavor combo. My only challenge was the spinach was in big pieces so there was a little biting and pulling action that could have a problem if I wasn’t trying very hard not to spill.

This cafe is part of the larger family of formal dinning, CSA farming, bakery, a book with the talented Ana Sortun. I will making a trip to the restaurant and checking out the book very soon.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I must confess, I'm not a huge fan of Kale. This summer has been a challenge since I've had weekly deliveries of the green curly veggie. I've tried it sauteed with garlic, then cooked with chicken broth with some lemon and honey. But, since it is getting a little cool, I took my sister's recommendation to have it in Miso soup. I even had some frozen tofu to add to the mix. It was pretty good, but I think I'll try a Portuguese Kale Soup if (or when) I get my Kale this week.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fresh is Best

The farm share is definitely slowing down, but last week more fresh green bean came. I had to wash them very well, but eating these was like being outside with a cool breeze kissing your check. I blanched them (cook in boiling water 3 minutes, then plunge in ice cold water immediately), then browned some red onion (I also like shallots) in olive oil, added the beans and some kosher salt. I ate most of them on the way to table with my hands (shhhhh don't tell the manner's police).

Monday, September 14, 2009

Potato Leek Soup

Fall is creeping up in New England. I'm not sure where summer went, since it sort of slunk in like a teenager avoiding helping make dinner. It rained most the entire morning today, so lunch was potato leek soup. I just sauted the leeks in a little butter, added peeled and dices potatoes, chicken stock and boiled until tender. I used the hand blender, seasoned with white pepper, salt and parsley, and voila lunch. I made toast with herbed goat cheese and roasted red and yellow peppers. Very yummy.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Festival of Leftovers

In my efforts to save money and use up the stray items in my pantry, refridgerator, and/or freezer, I have a festival of leftovers. The frequency of the festival depends on how well I have managed my food allocation. Sometimes it is the small container of that great dish from last night. Others it is a freestyle cook, I take a main item, like Thai Green Curry Simmer Sauce (from Trader Joe's). I took a fresh tomato, onion, garlic, frozen shrimp, peas, garbanzo beans and Japanese spinach noodles. I calculated the cost of the dinner $1.24. This includes the meal I ate, plus I had enough for two frozen lunches for work. It was great! More on the cost of lunch soon.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Home Made Tomato Soup

When I picked up my CSA share, I had a bounty of tomatoes, so you could guess what was on the menu.

I had some chicken stock in the freezer, so I got to work. I cut up the goods, added some lovely red onions also from the CSA, a few cloves of garlic, dressed it with oil olive and roasted the bunch for about an hour. Next time, I would seed the tomatoes first, then roast. I put all the ingredients in a stock pot and pureed with the hand blender. Since I had not seeded the tomatoes, I had to seed them now, by pushing the pulp through a sieve. Let's just say, not something that I enjoyed. I ended up with two small size batches, one I added basamic vinegar to one and the other some chicken demi glace.

Here is the final result with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil. I have to confess I'm not sold on this--it is wonderful but the work:result ratio was too high. I'm still on the hunt.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Waste Not Want Not

I try so hard not to waste food, but it is not always easy. Who has not bought a pack of fresh herbs and had it turn to brown sludge in the crisper drawer since you only needed two teaspoons of it for the great dish. Here are my favorite tips to try and save on food (cooked and uncooked):
  • Buy only what you are going to use, I might spend a little more per pound for fresh meat, but I don't need the Osmond Family size chicken package for just me.
  • Save all old chicken bones and left over cooked chicken in the freezer then make stock out it. (Fresh chicken stock is like gold).
  • Save veggies going over the edge in the freezer for stock.
  • Wash lettuce when you get it and keep in a storage container, it will last longer
  • Group dishes by the fresh items that you buy (I make chicken spinach soup with 1/2 bunch of spinach day one and spinach raspberry salad day two).
  • Cook dishes in smaller containers, eat one and freeze the other.
  • If the item in the store is sold by the pound, only take what you need, you don't have to buy the huge bunch of mustard greens
  • If you buy in bulk, divide the product when you bring it home to manageable sizes. I do this for cheese, tomato puree, tomato paste, pasta, nuts, and milk.
  • Package leftovers so you can use them, I made the lunch portions while I made dinner if I can. I also save little containers of stray items that I use in soups or sauces.
  • Check the fridge and pantry before you shop, use what you have first.
  • Find a buddy to share with if you can't use it, let someone else enjoy it.
Do you have a tip that works for you? Please share with the group.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Raspberry Vinaigrette Salad Dressing-even a six-year old will like!

I made this dressing to eat with my salad and it was yummy, I served it to my favorite salad hater and even she ate it (but on the cucumber only, she is a master of avoiding green things). I am going to try this with other fruit and on spinach (you can heat in the microwave for 30 seconds then pour over spinach).

Here is the recipe:

Raspberry Vinaigrette
3 oz Fresh Raspberries
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup orange juice
2 Tbsp. canola oil
Salt and pepper

Place all ingredients in a blender or food process and mix until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. If you want to go the extra step, push through sieve to remove seeds.