We had, what we call a ‘grazing lunch’. Various things you can top a slice of baguette with: tomato, cheddar or liverwurst. Serve yourself as you want, what you want.
1/4 of the $2.69 baguette went to each serve or 68c
One tomato was divided in half for 40c a serve
We used about half the $4 block of cheese, or $1 a serve
We used about 1/3 of the $3.20 liverwurst, or 55c a serve
Lunch today cost $2.63 a serve. We rediscovered our love of liverwurst when in Munich last September.
The protein tonight is two small Lamb shoulder chops which were grilled outdoors. After last night’s large meat serve, tonight we have about 4.5 oz each. Almost ‘meat light!’ A fairly fast grill over high heat for lamb.
12 oz pork chop $9.50 each/per serve. Bone in so the meat is about 10 oz – a generous serve.
For the salad:
Celery 99c or 50c a serve
Apple $1.10 or 55c a serve
Walnut pieces $2.00 or $1.00 a serve
Mayo – let’s say 1/5 th of the container, 50c or 25c each
Labne – to mix with the mayo – again 1/5 of the container, 50c or 25c each
Dinner tonight cost $9.50 for a very generous serve of farm raised heritage pork and $2.55 for the salad each.
Without a doubt this was the best pork chop I’ve ever had. Way better cooked than at Gallagher’s New York New York in Las Vegas, where it would be $36 for the chop, plus sides. This is the benefit of cooking: the best quality food without breaking the bank.
About sous vide: The times we cook this way we use a very large cast iron pot filled with water. This provides enough thermal inertia to keep the temperature relatively stable. This time round, Greg tried the (to us new) induction cooktop. Temperature mode on the cooktop proved to be quite stable and excellent for the sous vide.
Another indulgent Friday: wild caught smoked salmon on an English muffin with a poached egg on top. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to fake a ‘hollandaise’ taste with the egg and it was delicious.
Smoked salmon – normally $6.99 but Greg bought it for $5.99 on special or $3.00 a serve
The English muffin is 50c a serve
Our organic eggs are 50c each, and we had two for $1 per serve.
Lunch cost $4.50 a serve for smoked salmon.
We went back to a recipe we haven’t had for about two years: Lemon soup with Lamb. Initially we tried this soup because of the unusual way it is thickened: with eggs.
Greg used meyer lemons – give to us by a friend – instead of regular lemons and they are perfect for this recipe. The slight sweetness and reduced tartness of the meyer lemon really works in the recipe. We also used spinach off the balcony garden which was sliced and placed in the bottom of the bowl. We also used orzo instead of larger pasta and dropped the cream. It’s not needed.
Lamb shoulder $8.57 or $4.29 a serve
Onion, carrot and celery about 30c a serve
Organic chicken stock $2.30 or $1.15 a serve
Lemons and spinach – zero
Orzo pasta is $2 a 16 oz box, and 1/4 was used or 25c a serve
Grabbing lunch between a Home Depot visit and going to do some yard work on our house, we picked up sushi again. $6.50 a serve, but convenient.
Filipino-style marinated steak, wild rice mix and bok choy. We’re starting with a cross-rib steak so marinating and a fast cook, will be the secret to getting the best from this piece of meat.
The interplay of salty, sweet, and sour is pure Filipino, and the lemon rind adds an intense blast of citrus flavor.
The cross-rib steaks are part of our monthly meat delivery: 10.4 oz each – $5.85 per serve
The bok choy cost $1.08 or 54c a serve
The country rice blend was $2.63 for the packet but that will make four serves, so 66c serve.
Dinner tonight cost $7.05. While that’s not the absolute best cut of beef, it is tasty, enhanced by the marinade and the beef we’re getting in our meat box has a more ‘beefy’ flavor than more conventional beef.
A repeat of yesterday’s roast chicken breast and salad wraps.
For lunch a breast was divided for 87c each serve.
Hummus adds around 30c;
Tabouli salad 79c a serve
A flatbread is 50c.
Today’s lunch wrap cost us $2.46 a serve.
We first encountered cioppino at Gordon Birsch, but it’s off the menu now! (That happens to pretty much all our favorites there.) It’s a simple seafood stew that’s extremely tasty but also very easy to make.
We left our the shrimp because our dinner guest is allergic. Tonight’s meal served three with several cups of the stock left as a snack or the basis of something else later.
Olive oil – less than 5c serve
Fennel bulb at $2 makes for 67c serve
Onion at 50c makes it 17c serve
Four large garlic cloves are about 1/4 of the 50c garlic – 17c serve
Tomato paste 90c can but only half was used, for 15c serve
Diced tomatoes in juice – $3.99 or $1.33 serve
1.5 cups dry white wine – about $1 or 33c serve
5 cups fish stock $6.20 or $2.07 serve
16 oz of White Wine and Garlic Mussels are $4 or $1.33 serve
For the firm fleshed fish, Greg used Kroger Wild Caught Pacific Cod. The 40z pack costs $16.89 but only 8 oz was used (two filets). $1.13 a serve.
Served with Simple Truth Ready to bake garlic bread – $3.99 for the loaf (expensive for bread but delicious) or $1.33 per serve.
Total for tonight’s dinner: $8.60. When it was at Gordon Birsch it was $16.99 but with tax and tip that would be closer to a $22 meal out.
The other article that caught our eye was In Defense of Food and the Rise of ‘Healthy-ish’ which summarizes a new PBS documentary and Bon Appetit’s January issue which tackle the question of “healthy eating.” That’s essentially our approach: real food (minimally processed), a good variety of food and not worrying too much.
Even after four serves there was Scotch Broth left over: enough for two very large cups today. So, because I’d apportioned all the cost to four serves, today’s lunch is free!
Is it a Quesadilla? Is it a grilled cheese sandwich? Not really Huevos Rancheros… Here’s the original recipe, and here’s what we did:
Take a flatbread and spread with refried black beans. Cover with grated cheese: ours is a mix of about 3 oz gouda and 1 oz of parmesan. A little organic salsa – frontera chipotle salsa – and fry in a little bacon fat (or oil if you don’t keep bacon fat.)
When in the pan lay another flatbread across and wait until the bottom flatbread is cooked, and the cheese has started to soft.
Flip – I find getting the flipper under the long axis of the flatbread and flipping sideways works for me.
While it rests for five minutes, fry two eggs a serve and top with a little more salsa.
Not every day has to be a gourmet adventure, but it does have to taste good.
One flatbread (half of two) costs 50c a serve
Half a can of refried beans, shared across two halves: 33c
Fontera salsa is expensive (and tasty) at $4.69 a jar, but it breaks down to 16c a serve inside, and the same drizzled on top
On the way to do some work on our newly purchased home, we stopped in at the Country Deli in Chatsworth for lunch. With coffee, tax and tip my $14.50 marinated skirt steak was just over $20. But it was very good. 10 oz of really good skirt steak cooked perfectly, three good eggs and crisp home fries. And a bagel. A hearty feed before heading off to dig a channel for a box drain!
Fortunately Greg planned a much lighter dinner: Pan seared scallops with butter ponzu sauce; mango, avocado and arugula salad with meyer lemon vinaigrette. The sharpness of the meyer lemon against the avocado is a perfect balance.
The scallops need to be dried before pan searing in a hot pan. One minute 30 seconds per side. And serve.
Ponzu is a citrus-based sauce commonly used in Japanese cuisine. It is tart, with a thin, watery consistency and a dark brown color. Like soy or tamari (a gluten free soy) it pair beautifully with butter in a simple, but delicious sauce. Three tablespoons of butter and one tablespoon of butter. Mix over heat.
Chop the ripe Mango and avocado toss in meyer lemon juice. That also prevents the avocado growing. Dress the arugula with a generous amount of olive oil (to taste). Toss together and serve.
The Kroger Wild-caught Scallops cost $14.99 or $7.50 a serve
Mango cost $1.49 or 75c a serve
The Hass avocado was $2.99 or $1.50 a serve
The pack of baby arugula cost $3 and we used less than 1/3 in total, or 50c each serve.
It’s hard to quantify the small amount of butter and ponzu sauce but let’s say 25c serve.
That’s $10.50 a serve: easily 2-3 times that in a restaurant. Good scallops are beyond delicious and the slightly sharp salad is a perfect balance for the butter ponzu sauce.