Cooking

Dough…

I read an article in this Sunday’s paper about a woman and her family who are going on a ‘spending diet’ for the month of February. They are not spending money besides paying their monthly bills, putting gas in their cars (but limiting their reliance on the cars) and so on. They are limited to spending ten dollars a week for fresh produce and milk. Last night I googled spending diet and found that the woman is writing a blog. Click here to check it out.

The ‘spending diet’ got me to thinking about how much people (including myself) spend on non-essentials. I can spend a good amount on groceries, especially produce and speciality food. This week I have only been to the market once – and I purchased one thing, .6 pounds of wild salmon for a V-day dinner for my mom. I am determined to get through the week without going to the store again. We have gotten FIVE servings out of the salmon because I paired it with salad and my vegetable cous cous. I was thinking of Bittman when I designed the meal – using the fish as more of a garnish than the main component of the meal.

I created a meal plan for the week in my head.

Monday – salmon, veggie cous cous and spinach salad with tomatoes and cucumbers (I had mom’s onion soup for lunch and cereal for breakfast)

Tuesday – oatmeal for breakfast, sandwich with things in the refrigerator for lunch, and left overs for dinner (salmon, etc.)

Wednesday – ok, fine. I’m at Starbucks having a 1% latte and a petite scone right now. But I have a gift card, so I did not spend any money 🙂 For dinner tonight we are having homemade pizza. I started the dough this morning, it was the second thing I did – after pouring myself a cup of coffee.

I knew the dough had to sit for a while, anywhere from 6 – 10 hours. So I got started while I was still in my robe…

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For meals like this it is really helpful to have a meal plan for the week because it helps you think ahead. I knew the first thing (well, second, coffee is always first!) I had to do this morning was put together the dough…

Flour (whole wheat and AP), yeast, a smidge of salt… this is a Bittman recipe from Cooking Like Food Matters – yes, I found the missing cookbook a couple of days ago, I was elated!

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Add water, mix…

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Cover and let sit for a few hours in a ‘warm’ place (umm, it’s February in New England – good luck in finding a warm place) But I figured this might do:

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We have the sauce, cheese and pepperoni already at home, so we are buying nothing for this dinner. We have spinach, so we will also have another salad. I have carrots and red peppers to put on it. I ran out of cucumber last night and I think we have about five grape tomatoes left…

I am hoping we’ll have pizza left overs Thursday night, too. If not we’ll have veggie omelets and toast!

The problems with my plan? I’m out of apples (my daily afternoon snack with peanut butter!) and nearly out of milk. I’m also on a mission / cookbook search for two rare cookbooks. If I find them what will I do? Honestly, I will probably buy at least one of them. But I guess I’ll try to resist.

I am going to see this ‘spending diet’ as sort of a side project for myself. Normally I go food shopping several times a week. Usually because I am making a meal in which I need a certain ingredient and I have time to go to the market. Then I usually see something that I don’t need but want, and that is when I end up spending more money than I need to and coming home with more things than I planned on. Unlike most people, I don’t have a problem shopping for shoes, clothes, jewelry (my mom and sister once had to force me to buy clothes because I was in need but just did not feel like going through the torture). My weaknesses are kitchen gadgets, cookbooks, healthy food, and… make up. [I have to stay out of Nordstrom, it’s sort of a thing…]

As a sort of reward to myself, I’m doing either Thai food or roasted chicken on Friday. For those of you who live near a Whole Foods – they are having a massive sale on free range chickens Friday only. It’s less than two dollars a pound, and a limit of ten chickens per person (can you imagine?) so make room in your freezer. Normally I would count Friday as part of the week and not go to the store – but I’m not going to pass this sale up. I’m going to get a chicken on Friday for the weekend (probably cook it on Saturday) and I know we will get days of food out of it. My only quandary is which recipe to follow when making the chicken. I’m thinking of going with a Thomas Keller recipe… stay tuned for the final decision.

Happy Hump Day everyone – see you tonight for a report on how the pizza turns out. (My fingers are crossed)

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