BrokeAss Gourmet

BrokeAss Gourmet

Watermelon Salad Pizza

  • Prep Time 20 minutes
  • Estimated Cost $9.50
  • 3 Comments

Watermelon feta salad is a favorite of mine. It may see weird to the uninitiated to combine creamy, salty feta cheese with juicy, sweet melon, but the stark contrast of the flavors works phenomenally well together. Just as watermelon is balanced gorgeously when served with savory grilled steak, the tang of the crumbled feta, plus some bright lemon juice for good measure and a good glug-glug of fruity extra virgin olive oil turns this classic summer snack into a positively savory salad. 

Even better, it's pretty fun to eat. 

It all starts with a seedless watermelon. You really only need half of one for this recipe, but I usually buy them whole anyway, since they're such a tasty, healthy snack to have on hand. Look for a spherical melon with a dark green rind (and make sure it's seedless--seeds are no fun to deal with in this preparation). 

This is a salad for 4 people, and each person gets his or her own "pizza," so slice the melon into 4 rounds (or more, obviously--this recipe is very easy to scale up or down).

Next, we turn our watermeolon rounds into "pizzas." This happens magically, by slicing each one into 6 triangular slices and placing it on a plate. See? It's basically a pizza.

Then a light layer of thinly sliced red onions gets scattered over each slice. Feel free to go extra-light on the onions if you're not a fan.

Then do the same with that creamy, crumbled feta cheese. Remember to get every slice so each bite has a little of everything.

Next, some mint leaves, for freshness.

 

And finally a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil, some black pepper, and a tiny touch of salt. 

It's pizza time.

 OK, fine, It's watermelon salad pizza time.

Still pretty damn good. 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 medium seedless watermelon (7-8 inches in diameter, end removed) sliced into 4 1 1/2-thick rounds $3.50
  • 1/6 medium red onion, thinly sliced $0.50 for a whole onion
  • 4 ounces creamy Greek, French, or Bulgarian feta cheese, crumbled $4
  • 1 handful fresh mint leaves $1 for a bunch
  • juice of 1/2 lemon $0.50 for a whole lemon
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil Pantry
  • freshly ground black pepper Pantry
  • salt Pantry

Recipe Serves 4

Directions

  1. Cut each watermelon round into 6 triangular slices, as if cutting a pizza.
  2. Arrange the slices in a circle on 4 dinner plates, so it looks like you have 4 pink pizzas.
  3. Top each "pizza" with the red onions, making sure to get some on each slice.
  4. Scatter the feta over each pizza, making sure it is is distributed evenly to each slice.
  5. Do the same with the mint, scatteing it over the slices, making sure there is at least one leaf on each slice.
  6. Drizzle the "pizzas" with the lemon juice and the olive oil.
  7. Top with cracked black pepper and the tiniest sprinkle of salt (the feta is quite salty, so it only needs the tiniest touch of salt).
  8. Serve immediately.

Seed Cracker Nachos

  • Prep Time 5 minutes
  • Cook Time 4 minutes
  • Estimated Cost $7
  • 1 Comment

I don't love the subject of diets. I firmly believe that moderation is the key to everything, including health and fitness, and that food is meant to be enjoyed. 

And yet, here I am, very, very excited about my latest culinary invention: a low-carb, primal-approved, gluten-free take on nachos. Maybe it's because I am passionate about seeds?

(More likely, it's because it's a way for me to eat nachos more frequently.)

Nachos are a favorite of mine. I have reinvented them before, and I'm sure I'll do it again. Today's version calls for a few of my Simple Seed Crackers, or any other prepared all-seed cracker.

I push 9 of them into a square in the middle of a parchment-lined baking sheet (the one I used to bake the crackers works just dandy).

I grate up a little cheese (in this case, I used some English Coastal Cheddar from Trader Joe's, since it's what I had on hand).

And sprinkled it on the crackers.

A quick trip under the broiler gets the cheese nice and melty (and only minimally toasts the crackers--baking it would be too much).

Then I go nuts with toppings. 

Cheesy, spicy, nacho-y goodness, that's seedy in all the right ways.

 

Ingredients

  • Simple Seed Crackers or other seed-only cracker (I've heard good things about these) $3.50
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar or jack cheese $3.50 for 8 ounces
  • your favorite nacho toppings (chopped tomato, cilantro, chopped red oinons, sliced scallions, sour cream, plain yogurt, black oilives, sliced jalapeños, red chili flakes, etc) optional

Recipe Serves 1

Directions

  1. Preheat the broiler to high.
  2. Make sure the crackers have had time to cool before assembling the nachos.
  3. Arrange the crackers in a square (3 rows of 3, as pictured) in the middle of a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  4. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the crackers, distributing evenly.
  5. Place the crackers and cheese under the broiler just until the cheese melts, 3-4 minutes (check after 2 minutes).
  6. Serve immediately, or top the cheesy crackers with the toppings of your choice and then serve. 

Cauliflower Tortillas

  • Prep Time 15 minutes
  • Cook Time 22 minutes
  • Estimated Cost $6
  • 3 Comments

The cauliflower rice I posted last week has been a total gamechanger for my dinner-making. So far I've repurposed it as risotto and fried rice, and also eaten it raw, in a salad, as if it were a cold cooked grain. Starchy, yet miraculously low-carb, fiber-loaded cauliflower is such a versatile, tasty vegetable. 

I recently heard about cauliflower tortillas, and knew I had to try them. 3 perfect batches later, I can attest, this recipe is phenomenal.

Whether you're into eating paleo or primal, or you are just looking for a way to get more fiber and vegetables into your diet, these tortillas are a must-try.

The process does require a fair amount of steps, but they're all easy to do, and quick to clean up.

It starts with putting some chopped up cauliflower into a food processor, just as you would with the cauliflower rice (you could also use a food mill, or the finest edge of a cheese grater).

Next, you puree it until it looks like a crumbly dough -- even finer than you would for cauliflower rice. 

Then the cauliflower paste gets a quick steam in the microwave.

Let cool for a few minutes, then dump the steamed cauliflower puree onto a clean cheesecloth or a clean, thin dish towel.

Then, as if making ricotta, gather the cheesecloth or dish towel together into a bundle to squeeze out the cauliflower liquid (be very careful as it will likely still be hot. Use a second, dry dish towel to protect your hands if necessary).

 And then stirred together with 2 beaten eggs and a pinch of salt. 

With very wet hands, make a ball using 1/6 of the cauliflower mixture.

Then, it gets flattened into a 6-inch circle on a parchment-lined baking sheet (the parchment is VERY important!).

After repeating with the remainder of the dough, the cauliflower rounds get popped into the oven. 

After 12 minutes of baking, they get flipped and go back in for another 10.

Finally, after being twice-baked, the tortillas, which are pretty firm at this point, get pan-cooked in a dry frying pan, just to char them a bit, crisping their edges.

The resulting tortillas are soft with crisp edges, pliable, and sturdy enough to stand up to your favorite tortilla fillings.

They even bend, just like regular tortillas! 

I made a gorgeous quesadilla with two of them.

Utterly delicious. 

Ingredients

  • 1 small or 3/4 large cauliflower, chopped into small chunks $3.50
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten $2.50 for 6
  • pinch of salt Pantry

Recipe Serves 2-3

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Puree the cauliflower in a food processor until it resembles a crumbly dough (puree more than you would for cauliflower rice). If you don't have a food processor, use the finest side of a cheese grater.
  3. Scrape the pureed cauliflower into a bowl and microwave on high for 2 minutes.
  4. Remove from the microwave, stir well, and then return to the microwave for another 2 minutes. 
  5. Let cool for 5 minutes.
  6. Lay a clean, thin dishtowel or 2 layers of cheesecloth on a cutting board, and dump the pureed cauliflower into the middle of it.
  7. Carefully gather the cloth into a bundle and squeeze the excess liquid out (do this over the sink). Be very careful, as the cauliflower may still be very hot. Use a second dry towel or cloth to protect your hands if necessary.
  8. Dump the squeezed-out cauliflower into a bowl, and stir in the eggs and salt. Work quickly so you don't scramble the eggs.
  9. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (don't skip this step!).
  10. Wet your hands and form a ball with 1/6 of the cauliflower mixture (do this near a sink or keep a bowl of water nearby--you're going to keep wetting your hands as you make the tortillas).
  11. Press the ball of cauliflower mixture onto the parchment and use your wet hands to gently flatten it into a 6-inch circle. 
  12. Repeat with the remaining mixture to make 6 total circles.
  13. Bake for 12 minutes, unti somewhat firm.
  14. Gently flip the circles and return to the oven for 10 minutes.
  15. Heat a large nonstick or cast iron frying pan over medium-high heat. 
  16. Working in batches, cook the tortillas for 30 seconds per side to get them charred like traditional corn tortillas. 
  17. Store any cooled, unused tortillas in a zip-top plastic bag in the refrigerator. They will keep for up to a week. 

Salted Matzo Crack

  • Prep Time 0:15
  • Cook Time 0:10
  • Estimated Cost $8
  • 6 Comments

I guess matzo kind of stops being the bread of affliction after you drizzle it with gooey caramel, melted chocolate and flaky salt and serve it for dessert, but that is a risk I am willing to take.

Just melt semisweet or dark chocolate chips in a microwave or double boiler.

Make a quick caramel with butter and brown sugar (margarine, if you're cooking pareve)

 

Then drizzle away.

When the matzos are completely covered, top with coarse salt. I like the pink kind.

Passover dessert or Jackson Pollock piece? You decide.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter $3
  • 1 cup brown sugar Pantry
  • 1 tsp vanilla optional
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips $2.50 for 12 oz.
  • 6 sheets plain matzo, broken into 3" pieces $2.50 for a 16-oz. box
  • coarse salt for sprinkling Pantry

Recipe Serves 8-10

Directions

  1. Combine the butter and and brown sugar (and vanilla, if using) in a medium pot over medium heat, stirring constantly until it boils. Let it boil for 3 minutes, stirring the entire time. It will begin to thicken at this point. Turn the heat off, but leave the caramel on the stove.
  2. Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler or in the microwave. Remove from heat.
  3. Line a baking sheet or a couple of large plates with wax or parchment paper. Arrange the matzo pieces on top of the paper, very close together (it's fine for them to touch--just make sure they are not stacked on top of each other).
  4. Dip a teaspoon (one you would use to stir tea--not a measuring spoon) in the chocolate and move it back and forth over the matzo pieces to scatter the chocolate over them. Continue dipping the spoon into the chocolate and scattering it over the matzo, until each piece is nicely drizzled with chocolate. Now repeat the same process with the caramel. This will get messy--just accept that you will be wiping chocolate and caramel up later. I promise it will be worth it.
  5. Once all the matzo has been nicely scattered with chocolate and caramel, sprinkle generously with the salt.
  6. Let the matzo crack harden in the fridge for 20-30 minutes (or 10-15 in the freezer), then let come to room temperature for a few minutes before serving.
  7. Store the uneaten matzo crack in an airtight container for up to a week.

Truffled Grilled Cheese

  • Prep Time 5 minutes
  • Cook Time 4 minutes
  • Estimated Cost $10
  • 2 Comments

Grilled cheese has played a bigger role in my life in the past year than it ever did before. 

I've always been a fan, but it wasn't until the production of the first episode of Young & Hungry, wherein Gabi Diamond scores her dream job by cooking her would-be employer, Josh Kaminski a killer grilled cheese that I began to see what a magical sandwich it really is. In an instant, that grilled cheese changed both of their lives, kind of like how the show has changed mine. Now halfway through filming season two, I am in disbelief that things made it this far. And so, so happy.

Tonight, I'm excited to tell you, the premiere of season two airs on ABC Family at 8/7 Central

To honor the humble comfort food, and celebrate this exciting night, I'm making grilled cheese.

But of course, I can't make just any grilled cheese. This one is fancy.

Behold: Trader Joe's Italian Truffle Cheese.

 When you want black truffle flavor for as little money as possible, don't reach for truffle oil (which rarely contains actual truffles). Instead, go for this delicious cheese, studded with real black truffle pieces.

Since the cheese is so sublime, my goal with this sandwich was to celebrate it and not try to add any other flavors that might overdominate it. Just good bread and butter.

I decided to use sliced sourdough, since it get so gorgeously crispy when buttered and heated.

It's always good to get your ingredients together before you begin assembly. Make sure your butter is at room temperature so it spreads easily (just leave it on the counter for 20 minutes or so).

Also, it's so important to shred your cheese. This ensures that it will melt evenly and quickly.

 Assemble the sandwiches.

And don't be afraid to be generous with the butter. If you put enough on the sandwiches themselves, you don't need any for the pan.

A quick pan-fry on both sides yields a beautifully golden-brown and crisp exterior.

Then slice, eat, an seriously contemplate making another one.

 

Ingredients

  • 8 slices sandwich bread, preferably sourdough $2.50 for a loaf
  • 6 ounces Italian Truffle Cheese, or another creamy cheese with truffles, shredded $6.50 for 8 ounces
  • salted butter, brought to room temperature $1 for a stick

Recipe Serves 4

Directions

  1. Heat a nonstick frying pan or a cast iron griddle over medium heat.
  2. While the pan gets hot, divide the shredded cheese between the slices of bread, making sure to distribute evenly.
  3. Top each slice of bread with a second slice of bread, to make four sandwiches.
  4. Butter the top and bottom of each sandwich generously.
  5. Cook the sandwiches, one or two at a time if neccessary, on the hot pan for 1-2 minutes per side, until the cheese melts and the bottoms become golden-brown and crisp.
  6. Flip and cook for another minute or two, until the second side is browned and crisp.
  7. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches.
  8. Slice in half if desired, and serve immediately.