BrokeAss Gourmet

BrokeAss Gourmet

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.

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.

Tempeh Avocado Banh Mi

  • Prep Time 30 minutes
  • Cook Time 6 minutes
  • Estimated Cost $10
  • 0 Comments

I'm no stranger to the banh mi game. These delicious Vietnamese sandwiches are readily available in most cities, and are a long-time favorite of the broke-but-discerning foodie. Traditional banh mi are made on soft white French rolls, slathered with mayonnaise, and layered with thinly-sliced, marinated and grilled meats, and topped with fresh and pickled veggies.

Here, I break the rules a little bit. I made these on whole wheat rolls (though you are welcome to use any bread you like--I've even wrapped these up in tortillas), and I swapped out meat for yummy grilled tempeh. Have you had tempeh before? It's a little funny looking when you first take it out of package, but it's made from marinated soybeans and has a really pleasant, nutty flavor. Like tofu, it's happy to soak up the flavor or whatever you put on it, and plays nicely with whole grains and vegetables. The marinade and cooking method in this recipe transform this rather bland-looking block of soy into crispy, flavorful love nuggets.

And the key to this sandwich's cohesion and unbeatable flavor?

2-ingredient spicy mayo. It's just chili sauce and mayonnaise, but boy is it more than the sum of its parts. The chili sauce cuts through the mayo's creaminess, making it a perfectly balanced condiment for this perfectly balanced sandwich.

Feel free to get creative with the veggie toppings. Fresh chilies, kimchee, sliced jicama--even mango would all be good here.

And whatever you do, don't forget the napkins. This is one saucy bad boy.

Ingredients

  • 1/8 cup soy sauce or tamari Pantry
  • juice of 1 lime $0.50
  • 1 clove garlic, minced Pantry
  • 1 tablespoon honey or sugar Pantry
  • 1 1" piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced $0.50
  • 8 oz. tempeh, sliced into 3" strips $3
  • 4 tablespoons regular or vegan mayonnaise Pantry
  • 2 teaspoon Asian chili sauce (or more to taste) $1.50 for 8 oz. 
  • 4 6-inch rolls (whole wheat, sourdough, French--whatever. Buy in the bulk bakery section of the grocery store for the lowest price) $2
  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced $1.50
  • 1 carrot, shredded $0.50
  • 1 cucumber, sliced very thinly $0.50
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro $1 for a bunch

Recipe Serves 4

Directions

  1. Combine the soy sauce, lime juice, garlic, ginger and honey or sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk until incorporated.
  2. Add the sliced tempeh to the bowl and let marinate for at least 20 minutes (up to an hour).
  3. While the tempeh marinates, whisk together the mayonnaise and Asian chili sauce. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. To cook the tempeh, heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.
  5. Fry the tempeh for about 3 minutes on each side, until golden-brown and lightly crisp on the edges. Remove from heat.
  6. To assemble the sandwiches, split each roll lengthwise, leaving the seam intact, so it opens like a book.
  7. Divide the mayonnaise mixture between the 4 rolls, spreading it on both of the internal sides of each one.
  8. On each roll, layer tempeh, avocado, cucumber, carrot, and cilantro. 
  9. Serve sliced in half with more chili sauce on the side.

Matzo Kugel with Spinach and Goat Cheese

  • Prep Time 0:15
  • Cook Time 0:40
  • Estimated Cost $12
  • 3 Comments

I first made this for a Seder led by my friend Dana to rave reviews, but then went on to find myself craving it, even long after Passover had ended. It's kosher for Passover, but it's so delicious that I make it throughout the year, accompanied by a salad and maybe a roasted vegetable for a quick vegetarian dinner.

Fresh feta cheese, or even cream cheese can also work in place of the goat cheese.

If you keep kosher and you want to serve this with meat, simply skip the cheese, and use almond or soy milk in place of regular milk. It will still be delicious.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan Pantry
  • 1 medium onion, chopped $0.50
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped Pantry
  • 2 carrots, grated $0.50
  • 4 cups (packed) fresh baby spinach $2
  • 1 cup milk (any %) $1.50 for a pint
  • 4 eggs $1.50 for 6
  • 4 sheets plain matzo, crumbled into 1/2" pieces (or use matzo farfel) $2.50 for a 16-oz. box
  • 1 tsp each salt and pepper Pantry
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese $3.50

Recipe Serves 6

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. 
  2. Lightly oil a 9"x11" casserole pan and set aside.
  3. In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. 
  4. Add the chopped onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, allowing it to caramelize.
  5. Increase the heat to medium and add the garlic, carrots and spinach. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach has completely broken wilted. 
  6. Remove from heat.
  7. In a large mixing bowl, combine the milk and eggs. 
  8. Whisk until completely blended.
  9. Pour the crumbled matzo into the milk-egg mixture and stir well. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  10. Pour the cooked vegetables into the milk-egg mixture and stir a few times to incorporate. 
  11. Add the salt and pepper and stir again.
  12. Scrape the entire mixture into the prepared casserole pan. 
  13. Top with the crumbled goat cheese and push down slightly, allowing it to sink in.
  14. Bake for 24-28 minutes, or until set and golden-brown on top.
  15. Let cool slightly before cutting into squares and serving.