BrokeAss Gourmet

BrokeAss Gourmet

Red Wine and Shallot, Reduction

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t really like to cook for men I am dating (or trying to date), at first, anyway. For most people, “let’s cook together” is code for “let me prove to you that I have mad care-taking, domestic skillz, and then let’s make out on my couch.” But I covered that part (the skillz part, anyway) when you asked me what I do for a living; you know I can cook—it says so on the business card I gave you when we met. And I totally do want to make out on your couch, but frankly, I have been cooking all day for work, and the last thing I want to do at night is attempt to keep my mascara from running while chopping onions and flirting with you. Let’s just go out instead.

That said, dating me (or any food professional) is not without benefits. Once you have proven that your interest in me extends beyond my kitchen abilities, I will gladly tie on an apron (I’ll wear a cute one, just for the occasion) and make you a meal that will blow your mind. No, I don’t need assistance—you just bring a bottle of wine and chat with me while I stir (also, I don’t want to blow my chances with you by revealing too early my teeny-tiny little tendency to totally micromanage the way you chop garlic—trust me, it’s better if you don’t help).

So here’s what’s going to happen. You’ll arrive at my house with the aforementioned bottle of wine. Upon entering, you will smell the most luxurious, intoxicatingly delicious fragrance ever. You are going to fall in love with me just a little bit before you even get halfway down the hallway leading to the kitchen because the scent is just going to be that good. You’ll come into the kitchen, where I will have some warm, crusty bread waiting (probably some Boucheron and a little fig jam as well), and farmers market-fresh veggies ready to saute in butter. I’ll have a couple of steaks grilling and on the stove, you’ll see the source of the heavenly aroma wafting throughout my apartment: a little saucepan of something magical. You will wonder what this aphrodisiac-in-a-pot is, and when we finally sit down for dinner and I spoon its contents over our perfectly-grilled steaks you’ll be blown away by my skills (skillz). You’ll want to go make out on the couch right away, but I’m classy and so I’ll at least insist we finish our dinner first.

And here’s the thing about that good-smelling concoction: it’s just a bunch of stuff dumped into a pot and cooked until it has reduced down to a thick, buttery, savory-sweet liquid. Also, it only cost me about 4 bucks.

Because, yeah, not only am I a really good cook, I’m awesomely clever too.

  • ingredients
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter $1 for a stick
  • 2 shallots, chopped finely $0.50
  • 1 bottle inexpensive red wine $2.50
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar Pantry
  • salt and pepper to taste Pantry
Total Cost of Ingredients $4


Melt the butter in a small pot over medium-low heat and add the chopped shallots. Cook for 7-8 minutes, allowing them to caramelize.

Pour in the wine and and continue to cook for 25-28 minutes, until the contents of the pot are about 1/4 what they were when you began. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook for another 5-6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and use (over grilled beef, pork or chicken) immediately.

Serves 2-3.

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Adam Ashworth, on Aug 26, 05:00 PM, wrote:

Not only compelling for the recipe, but a highly entertaining read. Thanks for sharing!

Lars Martin, on Aug 26, 06:11 PM, wrote:

Been following your blog for a while and I would like to thank you for some great recipes.

The reason I had to comment was to ask a question: Is it weird that this made me slightly aroused?

Andrew Kramer, on Aug 27, 04:39 PM, wrote:

So funny! Also, am picking up shallots on the way home from work now:)

Allison, on Dec 3, 10:02 PM, wrote:

I’ve been browsing your website for the past hour, but this is the post that clenched it. I can’t tell you how much this post sounded like my own thoughts! Thank you, thank you, thank you for understanding what it’s like to be “brokeass.” I think you saved my relationship.
You’re the best.

אלי גבאי, on Apr 19, 06:06 AM, wrote:

You are amazing.

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