Tuesday, September 30, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Twelve for $40: Buy a little, save a lot

By
From page A5 | August 22, 2012 |

We were happy to host New York Times reporter Patricia Leigh Brown for lunch at the Davis Food Co-op when she visited Davis to write about Tour de Cluck this Spring. She loved everything about the Tour, our town and the Co-op, but the one thing she just couldn’t get over was that you can buy a single egg from the Co-op. According to Tour de Cluck founder Jacqueline Clemens, she mentioned it several times over the course of the afternoon and even brought her photographer back to shoot a picture of the bulk eggs.

Which reminds me once again how very lucky we are food-wise in Davis. Not only do we live in the middle of some of the best farms in the world, but we have the Davis Farmer’s Market and the Davis Food Co-op to ensure we get the best and freshest food possible, not to mention just the way we want it.

Nothing beats the Co-op when you’re shopping on a budget. Along with your 25 cent egg you can buy a single stick of butter for 80 cents and one really delicious house-made sausage (sold by weight, but one sausage usually runs under $2). In the bulk section, you can buy just the half cup of rice, teaspoon of oregano or scoop of breadcrumbs that your recipe calls for. And, of course, our produce department is happy to sell you a stalk of celery or three mushrooms if that’s all you want or need.

So, while counting our blessings and our pennies, on to a warm summer menu featuring an inexpensive wealth of summer produce and bulk bargains! We beat our usual $40 by a sizable margin this week, bringing home the bacon (and eggs) for just $36.59.

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Planning is everything in sticking to a food budget, and we aim to help you with six days worth of menus, which should feed two adults dinner six nights a week* for around $40.

These menus assume you already have some cooking skills, and own a basic reference cook book.

Below the menus are tips for cooking or for cooking ahead. If you see “in the fridge for future meals” then save those items from this meal for later in the week. That’s been included in the shopping list.

*(Everybody needs to go out, or share a potluck with friends, or otherwise enjoy life once a week!)

— A new “Twelve for Forty” menu is available free of charge every Friday afternoon at the Davis Food Co-op, 620 G St. Back issues also are available. Email Julie Cross at jcross@davisfood.coop

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Shopping 

Our shopping & recipes are scaled for two adults. Increase or decrease as needed to allow for your household.

We shopped this list at the Co-op on August 3, 2012. We chose organic wherever affordable (marked “OG” on our list), and picked what we’d use at home – the best value rather than the absolute cheapest. We also assumed you had a few things in the pantry, which were not included in the shopping total. Our total: $36.59

In the pantry:

oil
oregano
baking powder
salt
garlic
nutmeg
cumin
chile

Produce:
green beans, 1/2 lb.
onions, 3 medium
potato, 1 russet
corn, 3-4 ears/2 cups
summer squash, 3 small
limes, 1
melon
cilantro, 1 bunch
sweet potatoes, 1 lb.
tomatoes, 1 lb.

Dairy & cheese:
butter, 1 cube
parmesan cheese, 8 Tbsp./2 oz.
milk, 4 cups
cream, 1 cup
eggs, 3

Grocery:
baguette
pasta, 12 oz.

Meat:
sausage, 1 hot Italian
bacon, 4 slices

Bulk:
broth powder
flour, 2 1/2 cups/12 oz.
bread crumbs, 1/2 cup/1 oz.
basmati rice, 1 1/2 cups/10 oz.
lentils, 1 cup/7 oz.
golden raisins. 1/2 cup/4 oz.

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The Menu

Saturday
Sausage gravy and biscuits
sliced tomato

In the fridge for future meals:
milk

Tip: One sausage is plenty for this meal. We like a hot Italian for the extra flavor.

Veg option? Fake sausage will work, but diced mushrooms nicely fried with sage and red pepper flakes are much nicer.

Sunday
Corn chowder
garlic bread

In the fridge for future meals:
cream
bread
Parmesan cheese

Tip: Mix butter, parmesan cheese and a smashed clove of garlic. Spread in between cut slices of baguette, wrap in foil and warm in the oven until soft and melty.

Monday
Zucchini fritters
lime cilantro rice

In the fridge for future meals:
cilantro
onion
rice

Tip: Save half the rice without dressing for tomorrow

Tuesday
California dal
rice

Tip: Reheat rice with a little broth in a covered skillet.

Wednesday
Pasta with fresh tomato alfredo
green beans

Tip: In the winter you can replace the fresh tomatoes with canned diced.

Thursday
Poached eggs
toasted bread
bacon
sliced melon

Tip: Serve a poached or fried egg with crispy bacon, toast and half a melon each.

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The Recipes

Biscuits
3 tablespoons cold butter
1-3/4 cup flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk

Putting it together: Preheat oven to 350. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together. Cut the butter into the flour until it has the consistency of cornmeal. Add the smaller amount of milk and stir; add more milk if needed to get a firm but slightly wet dough.

Turn the dough out onto a floured cloth and need just until it sticks together. Roll out to desired thickness and cut out with a round cutter. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet about 12 minutes.

Gravy
1 Co-op hot Italian sausage
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups or more milk
salt, pepper & red pepper flakes to taste

Putting it together: Crumble and cook sausage until lightly browned. Remove from pan. Do not scrape up any bits stuck to the skillet! With the pan over medium-low heat, add the oil. Add the flour, stirring, to form a paste. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Pour milk into skillet, stirring to prevent any lumps. Cook until gravy thickens, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat and return meat to pan. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Fresh corn chowder
1 medium onion, diced
2 teaspoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 russet potato, cubed
2 cups broth
2 cups corn
1/2 cup cream
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Putting it together: Cut corn from ears with a sharp knife. Run back of knife over cut cobs and capture milk. Set aside. Sauté onion in oil until soft, 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and stir. Add potatoes, salt, and broth. Cook until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Add corn and let stand 5 minutes. Taste and add half and half, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Summer squash fritter
2 cups grated summer squash (3 little squash or 2 big ones)
1/2 an onion, minced
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fine bread crumbs
1 egg
6 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cream

2-4 tablespoons olive oil

Putting it together: Wash and grate summer squash. Mince onion. Mix all the ingredients except the oil. Heat half of the oil in a big frying pan over medium heat. When oil is hot, drop in fritter batter by the teaspoonful, flattening mounds slightly. Cook over medium heat until golden brown (about 4 minutes). Turn and cook other side until brown, 2-3 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more oil to the pan if needed.

Refrigerate half the cooked rice undressed for tomorrow.

Rice with lime and cilantro
1 1/2 cups uncooked basmati rice
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped

Putting it together: Cook rice in according to your favorite method. Let stand 10 minutes after cooking. Whisk olive oil into lime juice until emulsified. Stir in cilantro. Pour dressing over rice and serve.

California dal
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup dried lentils
1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground chile
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup golden raisins

Putting it together: Heat a large, heavy pan over medium heat. Add oil and onion. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is limp, about 5 minutes. Add garlic. Add cumin, salt and chile to onions and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add veggie broth, lentils and sweet potatoes. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer. Cook until lentils are tender to the bite and sweet potatoes are tender when pierced, another 25-30 minutes. Stir in raisins. Top with fresh cilantro.

Fresh Tomato Alfredo
12 oz. pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 an onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 lb. ripe tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup cream
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Putting it together: Cook onion in oil until soft, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute.. Add tomatoes and oregano and cook until hot through and tomatoes start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Push tomatoes to the side of the pan and add half and half. Sprinkle parmesan over top. Simmer without stirring until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Cook pasta according to package directions until almost done. Drain, reserving a bit of pasta water, and add to pasta to sauce. Let simmer 2-3 minutes, covered, until pasta is tender. Add a little pasta water to sauce if needed to loosen.

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