BrokeAss Gourmet

BrokeAss Gourmet

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.

Of all reasons I've heard from people for why they don't cook, perhaps the the most common one is that they're a party of one.

"It's just me," they'll say. "Why should I bother when there's no one else eating with me? I can get takeout delivered to my door, and not have to do any prep or wash any dishes." Or worse, they'll make the case for a microwaved frozen dinner.

There is, of course, a litany of reasons why cooking for oneself is a good thing to do: it's healthier and more cost-effective than the aforementioned options; when you control what goes into your food, you control what goes into your body. Fresh ingredients are not only healthier, but also usually cheaper than take-out or frozen meals. Those are valid points. But they're not the main reason I do it.

For me, cooking for myself is one of the most deliciously indulgent, deeply satisfying pleasures available. It's "me time" in the best possible sense: I get to cook exactly what I feel like eating. I can season my food precisely to my liking. I get to take my time chopping, basting and roasting, not worrying about anyone else's schedule or level of hangry-ness. I can sip wine while I stir, and listen to whatever music I please. I can set a beautiful table and enjoy my dinner formally, or I can eat on the couch, while I watch Law & Order: SVU--it's totally up to me. After dinner, I can sit at the table and read for an hour, or, if I feel like it, I can abandon the dishes and go take a bath.

Don't get me wrong, I love cooking for others. Most nights, I cook dinner for Evan, and it's my favorite part of the day. But, on the nights we don't eat together, I relish my time in the kitchen alone. The importance of the quality of my dinner doesn't diminish because I'm the only one eating it.

I hope to have a family someday, and I hope to cook them incredible food every night. But I also hope that, occasionally, I'll find myself on my own for dinner. I'll pour myself a glass of Pinot, turn on some Smokey Robinson, and chop, stir, and nurture my body and soul with a special meal made just for me.

Why wouldn't I bother?

Category: Articles

Tags: ,

Share this Recipe: Share on Facebook Tweet This! Pin it on Pinterest

White Cheddar Queso Dip

  • Prep Time 0:05
  • Cook Time 0:10
  • Estimated Cost $7.50
  • 10 Comments

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Let's explore a May Fifth classic, shall we?

See, I love the idea of queso dip (essentially melted cheese), save for the fact that it's typically made with uber-processed cheese (think Velveeta), which gives it its super-creamy texture. Well, I think uber-processed cheese tastes like melted plastic and I refuse to eat it.

So, I decided to make it better. I make a simple roux, and then stired in creamy, nutty, delicious white cheddar.

I also swirled in a little chili powder and salt. You could certainly customize yours by adding things like chopped chipotle chilies, cumin, or a little fresh jalapeño.

The resulting dip: thick, creamy, cheesy queso that totally beats the fake stuff. Try it on tortilla chips for ballpark-style nachos, drizzled over grilled beef and corn tortillas for Southwest-ified tacos, or even atop a bowl of hot chili. And the best part? It reheats like a dream.

Note: Feel free to use regular yellow cheddar if you prefer.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter $1 for a stick
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour Pantry
  • 1 cup whole milk or half-and-half $1.50 for a pint
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese 3.50 for 12 oz.
  • 1/2 teaspoon (or more to taste) chili powder $1.50 for 1 oz.
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (or more to taste) Pantry

Recipe Serves 6-8

Directions

  1. Melt butter in a medium pot over medium heat.
  2. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking throughout, for 1 minute.
  3. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly, until a thick sauce forms (this should take 6-7 minutes).
  4. Melt in the cheese, whisking constantly, for 1-2 minutes and season with the chili powder and salt.
  5. Let cool for 5 minutes, then serve warm, garnished with more chili powder if desired.

 

IPA Baja Fish Tacos with Mango-Avocado Salsa

  • Prep Time 0:30
  • Cook Time 0:06
  • Estimated Cost $16.50
  • 9 Comments

Beer-battered fish tacos are a classic. They’re typically made with a light beer, such as Corona, but I’m a much bigger fan of darker, hop-ier IPA’s. My IPA batter resulted in crisp, flavorful pieces of firm red snapper, which I nestled into soft corn tortillas with a bright, delicious salsa. Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb red snapper fillets (2-3 small fillets) $3
  • 1/2 cup i.p.a. beer (I like Big Daddy or Lagunitas) $3 for 32-40 oz.
  • 2/3 cup flour plus more for dusting fish Pantry
  • salt Pantry
  • vegetable oil for frying Pantry
  • 1 avocado, diced $1.50
  • 1/2 red onion, diced $0.50
  • juice of 1/2 lime $0.50
  • 1 mango, diced $1
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced $1
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, chopped $1
  • 1/2 jalapeño, seeded and diced finely $0.50
  • 6 corn tortillas $1.50 for 30
  • 2 tbsp crumbled cotija cheese $3 for 4 oz.

Directions

  1. Combine beer, flour and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Whisk until a smooth batter is achieved. Set aside.
  2. Cut fish into 3" pieces, removing small bones if possible. Pour a little flour onto a plate. Lightly dredge fish pieces in flour, shaking off excess. Set aside.
  3. Heat about 1" vegetable oil in a deep skillet over high heat. Move floured fish and batter near the stove. Dip the floured fish pieces into the batter, ensuring each piece is fully coated and excess drips off. Fry fish pieces, a few at a time, until golden brown and crisp on one side. Use metal tongs or a metal spatula to flip them and cook on the other side. Remove carefully and drain on paper towels.
  4. Combine avocado, mango, onion, lime, jalapeño, cilantro, tomato and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine.
  5. To assemble tacos, top each corn tortilla with a few pieces of fish, a couple of large spoonfuls of salsa and a sprinkle of cotija.

Makes 6 tacos.