BrokeAss Gourmet

BrokeAss Gourmet

Roasted Jalapeño Guacamole

  • Prep Time 15 minutes
  • Estimated Cost $5.25
  • 0 Comments

If you've been following along on Twitter and Facebook, you know I've been having a crazy Hollywood adventure the past few months.

Well, the show premiered and I'm still here. Back in my sweet city of San Francisco, in my tiny-but-perfectly-mine kitchen, thrilled to be cooking with the glorious bounty of summer produce that San Francisco's farmers markets have to offer right now. My kitchen table is currently overlfowing with ripe nectarines, heirloom tomatoes, Meyer lemons, apricots and white peaches. Every meal offers an opportunity to celebrate summer. Though I must say I surprised myself by developing a great fondness for Los Angeles, I am still quite happy to be home. 

Plus, I missed my writing coach.

And so, life goes on. The TV show is off and running (check it out Wednesdays at 8/7 Central on ABC Family!), and, save for a few trips back to LA for publicity, I am now returning to my regular life of cooking, writing and editing. 

But first, 4th of July weekend is upon us! Evan and I will spend the 4th in my hometown of Santa Rosa watching my dad's band play at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds (did I mention my father plays keyboard in a honky tonk band made up entirely of legal professionals, called Court 'n' Disaster? IS THAT NOT THE MOST AWESOME THING YOU HAVE EVER HEARD?). Whatever you have planned for this weekend, I implore you to include this guacamole.

Here, I kick my guac up one step further by fire-roasting the jalapeño, rather adding it in fresh. By holding the chile over a flame (or sticking it under a broiler), I'm able to impart a sweet, smoky flavor into the jalapeño, that adds a wonderful depth of flavor to fresh guacamole.

I don't typically add tomatoes to my guacamole, but if you wanted to, it would surely be delicious.

Finally, while canned green chiles aren't the same, they'll still do quite nicely if you prefer to skip the roasting step. 

Happy 4th of July! What are your plans for the holiday weekend?

Ingredients

  • 1 green jalapeño $0.25
  • 2 large or 3 medium-sized ripe avocados, pitted and peeled $3
  • 1 clove garlic, minced Pantry
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion (about 1/8 medium red onion) $0.50 for a whole onion
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro, finely chopped $1 for a bunch
  • juice of 1 lime $0.50 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt Pantry

Recipe Serves 4

Directions

  1. Use a metal skewer or tongs to hold the jalapeño over a gas stove flame, rotating until blackened (if you use a wooden skewer, make sure to soak it in water first so it doesn't catch fire). This can also be accomplished by putting the jalapeño under the broiler for a few minutes, then rotating to blacken it evenly.
  2. Rinse the jalapeño under cool running water and gently peel off the blackened part to reveal the soft flesh underneath.
  3. Slice off the stem and cut the jalapeño in half lengthwise. If you are sensitive to chile heat or are serving the guacamole to kids, carefully remove the seeds and discard. 
  4. Chop the chile finely and transfer to a mixing bowl.
  5. To the bowl, add the avocado, and mash roughly with the back of a fork. Don't go crazy though--the guacamole should be a little bit chunky.
  6. Stir in the garlic, onion, cilantro, and lime juice. Stir gently to combine.
  7. Add the salt and stir to incorporate.
  8. Serve immediately, or refrigerate, sprinkled with lemon or lime juice and covered, for up to 3 hours. 

Spiced Plantain Tacos

  • Prep Time 10 minutes
  • Cook Time 6 minutes
  • Estimated Cost $9
  • 0 Comments

Summer food should feature bright, bold flavors, capitalizing on the incredible bounty of produce available this time of year. 

Summer food should not be over-thought.

It should be light, so as not to weigh you down in the heat. It should feature bright, bold flavors, capitalizing on the incredible bounty of produce available this time of year. It should be portable and picnic-friendly. And, most importantly, it should come together quickly, so that you have more time to spend enjoying it with the people you love.

This recipe fulfills all of the above. Ripe plantains get coated with an addictive yet utterly simple spice mixture of Ancho chile powder, ground cumin, salt and pepper (which, by the way, is also the contents of those stupid packets of taco meat seasoning, so go ahead and stop buying those and make your own for a lot less money instead).

When buying plantains, it's important to look for ones that look like a nearly-rotten banana. Pure yellow or green plantains will be too hard to work with. Using very ripe plantains will ensure that they are sweet enough to counterbalance the smoky spices and onion. That said, do keep an eye on them while they cook. It's fine for them to be soft, but you don't want them to turn to mush in the pan.

These are great on their own, but if you want to round them out into a fuller meal, add black beans and perhaps a crunchy slaw.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon Ancho chile powder $1.50 for 1 oz.
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin $1.50 for 1 oz.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt Pantry
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper Pantry
  • 2 ripe plantains, peeled and sliced on the bias, into 1/2-inch thick pieces $1.50
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil Pantry
  • 8 6-inch corn tortillas $2 for 12
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped finely $0.50 for a whole onion
  • 1 avocado, diced $1.50
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro leaves $1 for a bunch
  • sliced jalapeño Optional

Recipe Serves 3-4

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine the spices, salt and pepper. Mix well.
  2. Arrange the sliced plantains on a plate or cutting board and sprinkle half of the spice mixture over them, making sure each one gets lightly coated on one side.
  3. Heat the oil in a large nonstick pan or griddle over medium-high heat.
  4. Cook the plantains (working in batches or using 2 pans, if necessary), spiced-side-down for 2-3 minutes, until a brown crust develops. While the plantains cook, sprinkle the remaining half of the spice mixture on the tops of the plantains.
  5. Flip plantains, and cook on the other side for 2-3 minutes, until a brown crust develops.
  6. Once the plantains have cooked, turn the heat off, and leave the plantains in the pan.
  7. Toast the tortillas by either toasting them directly over a gas burner for 30 seconds to a minute, or in a dry frying pan. You want the edges to crisp up slightly, and the tortillas to be flexible.
  8. To assemble the tacos, divide the cooked plantains between the tortillas, and top with onion, avocado, cilantro, and jalapeño, if using.
  9. Serve immediately.

Honey Whole Wheat Challah

  • Prep Time 2 1/2 hours
  • Cook Time 30 minutes
  • Estimated Cost $5.50
  • 1 Comment

This challah is incredible on its own, but my favorite way to serve it is sliced and toasted, and topped with a generous layer of ripe avocado, a drizzle of olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper. 

The last 2 weeks have been insanely busy. As the premiere of Young & Hungry creeps closer (June 25 at 8/7 Central on ABC Family -- set your DVR!), there is so much to do to get ready. Most recently, that has included shooting a web series cooking with the cast.

Check it out: that's me cooking with Rex Lee, of Entourage fame

 

But all that excitement has also meant a lot of time spent away from my cozy little San Francisco kitchen, and whenever I've been away from home for an extended period of time, the first thing I want to do when I get back is make challah.

OK, that's not exactly true. The very first thing I want to do is see Evan. But after that, I want to make challah. Warm homemade challah for Shabbat dinner, to be repurposed the next day as French toast or panzanella. Making challah centers me. It takes some time, so it forces me to carve out at least a couple of hours to devote to this special task. As I mix the eggs and flour and oil, and knead the dough, my worries melt away and I shift my focus to the weekend ahead.

Tonight, I'm switching things up and, instead of my usual Olive Oil Challah, I'm making this heartier, healthier whole wheat challah, made with honey rather than sugar. I like to use dark amber honey to really emphasize that component of the flavor. The combination of the honey and nutty stone-ground whole wheat flour yields a rich brown dough.

Additionally, while most challah recipes call for canola or vegetable oil, I generally prefer the flavor of extra virgin olive oil. Not only is it a healthier fat, but the flavor survives the baking process and adds much depth to the finished product.

This challah is incredible on its own, but my favorite way to serve it is sliced and toasted, and topped with a generous layer of ripe avocado, a drizzle of olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper. 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 packet instant yeast $1.50 for 3 packets
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoons honey Pantry
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for the bowl Pantry
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten, divided $1.50 for 6
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour $2.50 for 32 oz.
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour Pantry
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt Pantry
  • sesame seeds Optional

Recipe Serves 8-10

Directions

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or dust with flour, or grease with olive oil). Set aside.
  2. Combine the water, yeast and 1 tablespoon of the honey in a mixing bowl. Stir well to combine.
  3. Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel, and let rest for 5-7 minutes, until bubbles appear on the surface.
  4. Gently whisk in the remaining 1/4 cup of honey, olive oil, and 2 of the beaten eggs. 
  5. Stir in the flours and salt until you have a cohesive dough.
  6. Knead dough on a floured surface (or in a standing mixer) until it becomes somewhat elastic (2-3 minutes in the mixer, 5-6 minutes by hand). Please note: the dough will not be springy and soft like regular challah--it will be somewhat dense. This is okay.
  7. Gather the kneaded dough into a ball and put it back in the bowl you mixed it in with enough oil to coat it well. 
  8. Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and let rise in a warm spot (like an oven that has been brought to temperature and then turned off so it's warm, not hot).
  9. Let the dough rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until doubled in size.
  10. Once risen, gently punch down the dough to deflate, and transfer it to a lightly floured surface.
  11. As I've stated before, there are a few ways to go about weaving the challah. You can do it the Deb (of SmittenKitchen) way, the Tori of The Shiksa in the Kitchen way, or you can do it the Gabi Moskowitz, 1989 Graduate of Beth Ami Hebrew School Sunday Challah-Making Class way, which is to sort of braid it like you would hair, and then tuck the messy bits under so no one can see them. You can find my step-by-step tutorial for this approach with photos here. You can make 1 large braid or 2 smaller ones. 
  12. Once the dough is braided, place it on the parchment-lined or floured/greased baking sheet. Cover the braid gently with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let rise in the turned-off oven for 1 hour.
  13. Take the dough out of the oven, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  14. Once the braided dough has risen, use a pastry brush to coat the top with the one remaining beaten egg. Give it 2 or 3 coats.
  15. If desired, top the egg-washed dough with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
  16. Bake the challah(s) for about 30 minutes, until deep golden brown. 
  17. Serve warm or at room temperature.

BrokeAss Vegetarian Noodles

  • Prep Time 20 minutes
  • Cook Time 20 minutes
  • Estimated Cost $9.50
  • 2 Comments

I really think that noodles may be the key to world peace...or, at least, dietary restriction peace. There is a pasta or noodle dish for everyone.

Big-time carnivore? You need this spaghetti and meatballs recipe. Vegan? Go for linguine with creamy avocado pesto. Low carb? Shirataki noodles for you. Oh, you're paleo? Better whip up up some zucchini noodles! Gluten-free but desperately missing wheat noodles? Try some brown rice pasta. I'm fond of this brand, which is almost indistinguishable from regular wheat pasta when cooked according to package directions.

These days there are so many different dietary restrictions to be aware of when you're cooking for others, it can feel impossible to please everyone. But, I'll tell ya, this recipe comes pretty darn close. Inspired by San Francisco cult favorite Burma Superstar's outrageoulsy delicious Superstar Vegetarian Noodles, it's a toothsome noodle dish with a plethora of flavors that meld together in harmony, bound together by an ultra-simple sauce, made only from Asian chili sauce and a little oil. See how gorgeously it coats the noodles?

It's not low-carb (though it can be, if you use shirataki noodles and omit the potatoes), but it is vegan, gluten-free (if you use GF noodles), has no added sugar, and is loaded with tons of delicious, flavorful toppings. Meat lovers can feel free to add a bit of grilled chicken or shrimp (though it doesn't need it), and it's substantial enough to qualify as a main dish for vegetarians.

Even better, the flavors improve if the dish sits for a bit, so you can feel free to make it in advance. If I know I am going to have a busy couple of days, I'll make a batch and keep it in the fridge so I can grab a quick bowl when time allows.

I like to make it with the brown rice pasta above--the delicately nutty flavor it imparts to the dish is fantastic. But I've made it with rice vermicelli, Shirataki, wheat noodles, even soba, and it's always been addictively delicious.

If you're picnicking or BBQ-ing this holiday weekend, add this noodle dish in! It's delicious at room temperature, and will provide something for everyone.

 

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. dried fettucine (gluten-free pasta or rice noodles will also work) $2 for 16 oz.
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and diced $0.50
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable, coconut or olive oil, divided Pantry
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced Pantry
  • 12 oz. extra firm tofu, drained and cubed $1.50 
  • salt to taste Pantry
  • 1/8 cup Asian chili sauce $2.50 for 8 oz.
  • 1 cup thinly sliced green cabbage (about 1/4 medium cabbage) $1.50 for half of a cabbage
  • 1 carrot, shredded $0.50
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro, roughly chopped $1 for a bunch

Recipe Serves 4

Directions

  1. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water according to package directions. Drain, rinse, and set aside.
  2. In a small pot, bring some salted water to a light boil. Add the diced potato and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Rinse, drain and set aside.
  3. Heat 2 tablspoons of the oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the sliced garlic and cook until very lightly golden brown and crisp (watch to ensure it doesn't burn). 
  4. Fish the garlic out of the hot oil and drain it on a paper towel.
  5. Add the cubed tofu to the hot oil, turn up the heat to medium-high, and cook until the tofu is lightly crisp, tossing in the pan a few times.
  6. Once the tofu has finished cooking, drain it on a paper towel and salt lightly.
  7. In a small bowl, combine the remaining tablespoon of oil with the Asian chili sauce (add more if you want it to be super-spicy).
  8. Return the cooked noodles to their cooking pot and toss thoroughly with the chili sauce-oil mixture.
  9. To the noodles, add the potatoes, garlic, tofu, carrot and cabbage. Toss gently a few times to incorporate.
  10. Serve the noodles topped with the cilantro and pass extra chili sauce at the table, for those who clamor for heat.

Health Freak Sushi

  • Prep Time 15 minutes
  • Cook Time 45 minutes
  • Estimated Cost $7.50
  • 0 Comments

My life has been pretty crazy these last few weeks.

In addition to the usual freelance writing, photo editing, and recipe testing and development, I've been back and forth between San Francisco and L.A. so much that my head is starting to spin!

But last weekend, we took a super fun trip to Seattle for Evan's cousin's Bar Mitzvah! 

Oh, and also, Young & Hungry is premiering in a month (June 25th at 8/7 Central on ABC Family, to be precise)! In a few days, we start taping the first half of a web series to go along with it, starring yours truly. The scariness awesomeness of this is overwhelming and, well, awesome. I'll be cooking with the cast, showing viewers the gloriousness of my city, San Francisco, and grinning like a complete idiot because I still can't believe this is all actually happening.

As things get more and more hectic, I'm finding myself gravitating more and more toward simple, fresh, healthy foods at the end of the day. These sushi rolls are made with nutty brown rice, which is better for you than white rice, but also better tasting, as far as I'm concerned. I used creamy avocado and cooked sweet potatoes, but you could certainly use some high-quality raw or seared fish, fresh or cooked tofu, and/or any other vegetables you like.

These make a great brown bag lunch, or a lovely simple dinner, especially when served with a kale salad and a cup of miso soup.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup short-grain brown rice (buy in the bulk section for the best price) $1.50
  • pinch of salt Pantry
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar $2 for 12 oz.
  • 1 medium garnet yam or other sweet potato, cooked until tender and cut into 3-inch by 1/2-inch pieces $1
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced $1.50
  • 4-5 sheets sushi nori, raw or toasted $1.50 for about 12
  • soy sauce, wasabi paste and lemon slices for serving Optional

Recipe Serves 2

Directions

  1. In a medium pot with a fitted lid, combine the rice with 2 cups of water and the salt.
  2. Stir, then cover and place over high heat to bring to a boil.
  3. Once the rice comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low, keep covered, and cook for 35-40 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed and the rice is somewhat sticky.
  4. Remove the rice from the heat and drizzle with the rice vinegar. 
  5. Stir gently, transfer to a bowl, and let cool for 20 minutes (I usually stick it in the fridge), until warm but not hot.
  6. To assemble the sushi rolls, lay a piece of nori on a clean, dry surface lengthwise and shiny side down. 
  7. Wet your hands with cool water and spread 1/4 of the rice over the bottom 1/2 of the nori sheet.
  8. Place  a few pieces of sweet potato and avocado on top of the rice. 
  9. Roll up tightly, starting at the bottom. 
  10. Use a finger dipped in water to seal the end of the nori to the rest of the roll. 
  11. Cut into 1-inch pieces (using a serrated knife helps). 
  12. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
  13. Serve the sushi rolls promptly, with soy sauce, wasabi paste and lemon slices if desired.