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What is worth making from scratch to save money?

Thank you! I've been eager to make my own for a while now and think this recipe will be "the one".

Jul 24, 2015
sherrib in Home Cooking

What is worth making from scratch to save money?

I had the *most* time for cooking when I had babies at home. I couldn't be out with them the whole day anyway and we would be home for nap times and overall rest time. Now that they're older and need to be driven around all the time, it's much more difficult for me to get a meal together (everything has to be quickly prepared/cooked between carpools.) Relax and enjoy the time with your baby. Once he/she has a napping schedule, a lot of recipes won't seem so overwhelming and you will have time to experiment.

Going out to eat is the most expensive option. Then there's those frozen prepared meals in the supermarket that I find to be rather expensive for what they are. Even boxed cereal, to me, is expensive (compare the cereal to making rice pudding at home - you can even add some fresh fruit to it and it will still be cheaper than the boxed stuff.) The more you can rely on making your own food, the better off you are. And, of course, wherever possible, stock up when there's a sale.

Oh, and don't forget the coffee. Near me, I can't get a cup of coffee for under $1.25. But if I buy a one pound bag of the very best beans, it will cost me $10 and will easily last me a month. It adds up.

Jul 24, 2015
sherrib in Home Cooking

Your Waffle Iron--Use It!

I don't own a waffle iron. But now I'm thinking I **need** one.

Jul 24, 2015
sherrib in Cookware

July 2015 COTM: The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean, Chapters 1-4

I made so much of it, I STILL have leftovers. It's perfectly fine two weeks later. Maybe even a touch smokier (which is a good thing.) Taste and texture are both still top notch.

Jul 24, 2015
sherrib in Home Cooking

Whole turmeric

Yup, Bangkok Center Grocery on Mosco St. In the fridge. They also have the best canned coconut milk as well as the cheapest dried whole chiles (a big bag of it was a couple of dollars.)

Jul 21, 2015
sherrib in Manhattan

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Roll out those lazy crazy days of summer, July 2015 edition!

I envy the non-pasteurized dairy you're able to get too.

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Roll out those lazy crazy days of summer, July 2015 edition!

Ooops, I'm a little slow! Didn't realize VOTING is already taking place for August COTM! (ok so I'm very slow...)

Jul 19, 2015
sherrib in Home Cooking

July 2015 COTM: The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean, Chapters 1-4

So incredibly glad to hear you like it BC! It's definitely one of those things you wouldn't think to make at home. But wow oh wow is this ever superior to anything found pre-packaged in a fridge somewhere. One reason I reviewed it again was because the recipe was tripled with ease and was still amazing. Also, I'm very new to COTM and am so inspired by all of the beautiful presentations that I've vowed to work on (1) my presentation and (2) my photo taking skills. Beautiful Baba Ghanoush presentation and photo BC, and I already know it's delicious!

Jul 19, 2015
sherrib in Home Cooking
1

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Roll out those lazy crazy days of summer, July 2015 edition!

Hmmmmm, a grilling book such as this might be a great COTM for beating the heat of the kitchen in August, no?

Jul 19, 2015
sherrib in Home Cooking

July 2015 COTM: The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean, Chapters 5-8

The problem wasn't using the corer (or a sharp paring or utility knife for that matter.) The problem is that the recipe calls for coring the small eggplants to "within 1/4 inch of the end." I suppose you could simply core them all the way through, but you stand the chance of the filling spilling out all over the place. In any case, the dish will still turn out delicious, no matter how you decide to core the eggplants.

Jul 18, 2015
sherrib in Home Cooking
1

July 2015 COTM: The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean, Chapters 5-8

STUFFED EGGPLANT WITH TOMATO-POMEGRANATE SAUCE, p. 216

We loved loved loved this dish. So much so that I held myself back from eating the leftovers for breakfast this morning.

Small eggplants are cored by either using a vegetable reamer (never heard of this and am curious to know how it compares to a lemon reamer) or an apple corer and demitasse spoon. I ended up simply cutting the eggplants in half and coring them using a small melon baller. The cored eggplants are soaked in saltwater while onions are sautéed but not browned. Ground lamb is added to the onions and cooked for a bit (I used more than double the amount of lamb the recipe called for.) Spices are mixed in. Incidentally, Wolfert has the recipe for Syrian Mixed Spices on her website here: http://www.paula-wolfert.com/recipes/...) The heat is turned off and pine nuts are added in.

The eggplants are dried and stuffed with the meat mixture. Then the stuffed whole eggplants are fried on all sides. Obviously, since I halved the eggplants, I couldn't fry them as they would have completely fallen apart with the filling inside. Also, the only reason I was able to put the eggplants back together after soaking was that in order to get the little produce stickers off the eggplants, I had to cut them off, so I had a little piece of the outside skinned. I cut the eggplants across that bit of skinned eggplant, so I simply put the two halves back together like a piece of a puzzle.

Water, tomato paste, pomegranate molasses and lemon juice are boiled together to make the sauce that goes on top. I do wish the final dish had just a bit more sauce as the acidity complemented the lamb and pine nuts very very nicely and a bit more of it would have been nice (although the final dish is spectacular as is.) I probably needed a bit more sauce not only because I used more lamb than the recipe called for but also because the ground lamb I used had a high fat content (Wolfert's recipe suggests using lean lamb.

)

Green pepper slices go between the stuffed eggplants and once the sauce goes on top, the dish is to be simmered stovetop. I put it in the oven instead. Really, truly delicious. We ate it last night and my husband and I can't wait to eat the leftovers today. He proclaimed it one of the best dishes ever (and I can't disagree.) And I'm still wondering what a vegetable reamer is as the apple corer did not work for me.

July 2015 COTM: The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean, Chapters 1-4

So I made this recipe again but tripled it because we had guests and we wanted to have plenty of leftovers. It was amazing once again!

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Roll out those lazy crazy days of summer, July 2015 edition!

I'm so glad I clicked on the link! I keep a kosher and gluten free home and never knew this book existed. It's on my wish list now. Thank you bundtlust! And I thoroughly enjoyed reading the article on EYB as well as your blog.

Post your second half 2015 cookware and kitchen deals and finds here.

Korin is offering a 15% discount until July 31st on all of their knives.

http://korin.com/site/home.html

Jul 15, 2015
sherrib in Cookware

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Roll out those lazy crazy days of summer, July 2015 edition!

So, I had a very stressful weekend. Got off the phone with the husband who directed me to go do something nice for myself (he's a keeper.) I walked into a cookware store and wasn't particularly inspired (very unusual for me!) Then I walked into a used book store and asked if they had a cookbook section. He told me to walk to the back until I couldn't walk any further and they would be on my right. I did. Didn't find anything interesting but there was a stool there so I sat down and just kept looking (it was quiet back there.) There were some books on the floor so I looked through those too. I found a copy of the current COTM, The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean by Paula Wolfert. I already own it but, out of curiosity, I looked inside to check the price. It was ten dollars. And, lo and behold, there was a signature! Hope it's really hers, I'm not sure if it really is, but for ten bucks, I bought it anyway. The copy is in pretty good condition and I figured I could always give away my other copy and keep this one. Also on the floor was a pristine copy of The Foods & Wines of Spain which I took as well. I feel better now.

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Roll out those lazy crazy days of summer, July 2015 edition!

I'm also lusting after your cookbooks, Pistachio! Nice to see you're settling in and that your books arrived safe!

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Roll out those lazy crazy days of summer, July 2015 edition!

Hi Siegal,

I think I have the old edition. Just looked through it. Does the rice above the tahdig come out ok? It should be plump, not mushy and the grains should be separate but not stiff.

Jul 13, 2015
sherrib in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Roll out those lazy crazy days of summer, July 2015 edition!

Siegal,

How are you making it? I can help troubleshoot.

Jul 07, 2015
sherrib in Home Cooking

Charring foods on a gas stove

Skewer the foods:

http://www.amazon.com/12-Inch-Stainle...

Protect your stove and surroundings with aluminum foil (my mother in law keeps used aluminum foil as long as it's not dirty or greasy and uses it to cover her stove when she fries.

)

Or, you can get these which can be found in different sizes:

http://www.amazon.com/Hanamal-Aluminu...

Jul 06, 2015
sherrib in Cookware

Learning to hand-sharpen knives - Jon Broida's YouTube videos

Wow, thank you so much for this detailed response. Yes, according to this, I'm better off with their youtube videos.

Jul 05, 2015
sherrib in Cookware

Learning to hand-sharpen knives - Jon Broida's YouTube videos

I agree with you about things clicking quicker with his videos. I took one on lessons as well, though not at Korin. I struggled for a bit until I spent some time with Jon's videos. He explains things very very well and goes through everything step by step. Also, I most definitely agree that the way he recommends to hold a knife while sharpening is by far the easiest and most intuitive that I've tried so far.

I'm curious to know about the Korin DVDs. I was there the other day and inquired about it, but the salesperson recommended I watch their sharpening tutorials on youtube instead.

Jul 04, 2015
sherrib in Cookware

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Roll out those lazy crazy days of summer, July 2015 edition!

Looks delicious pistachio! Enjoy their home cooking. I've been to Toronto and know that they have a very large Persian community there with an equally large Persian district with anything and everything you could ever want. But there's still nothing like the home cooking one grows up with.

Those books look great. I wish I knew how to read Farsi. My Mom has a whole bunch of cookbooks I will, sadly, never be able to read.

July 2015 COTM: The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean, Chapters 1-4

Hi rasputina and pistachio,

Yes! It's the raw, meatless, dip version of fesenjan!

July 2015 COTM: The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean, Chapters 1-4

You're welcome LulusMom. I linked to it because one of the recipes I want to try calls for Syrian Mixed Spices and Wolfert points to a page in the back of the book when she mentions them. When I finally checked it out, I was disappointed to see that she references sources where the Syrian Mixed Spices can be purchased, not what's in them. Happily, I found that she gives the recipe on her website.

Jul 03, 2015
sherrib in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Roll out those lazy crazy days of summer, July 2015 edition!

Hi AudreyFromNe,

It's the same format as "Jacques Pepin's Techniques" or "Jacques Pepin's New Complete Techniques". Black and white photographs demonstrate each recipe, step by step. I love him too.

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Roll out those lazy crazy days of summer, July 2015 edition!

hi beetlebug,

You have a lot of discipline and self restraint. I have NO space left on my bookshelves. It is still a mystery to me where these books are going to find a home in my home.

oh, and I didn't walk to the subway. I walked to Penn Station.

July 2015 COTM: The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean, Chapters 1-4

BABA GHANOUSH, p. 26

An eggplant is pierced then grilled dry. It is then peeled and left in a colander to drain. In a food processor, tahini, garlic and lemon juice is processed. Water is added. The eggplant is then added with some olive oil and the mixture is processed further.

This recipe is outstanding! Grilling the eggplant yielded a smoky flavor that is out of this world. Honestly, I've never made my own baba ghanoush before but I can't imagine ever needing another recipe. Ever. This puts any mayonnaise laden, smokeless supermarket variety to shame. It came together quickly as grilling the eggplant and processing the ingredients all together didn't take much time. If baba ghanoush is your thing, I highly recommend this one! If it's not, make it anyway, you will most likely be converted.

July 2015 COTM: The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean, Chapters 1-4

CREAMY WALNUT AND POMEGRANATE SAUCE, p. 15

Walnuts are crushed in a mortar then added to a food processor with aleppo pepper (which I did not have so I used cayenne and sweet paprika which is suggested by Wolfert as a substitute both in the book as well as on her website here http://www.paula-wolfert.com/recipes/...). Garlic, coriander seeds and powdered saffron are also added to the food processor (powdered saffron is what I had on hand as opposed to marigold petals or powdered safflower.) The ingredients are processed until a smooth sauce is formed. After that, diluted pomegranate molasses are added and then fresh coriander that has been crushed in a mortar is mixed into the sauce.

The one issue I had is that I couldn't form a smooth sauce until AFTER the diluted pomegranate molasses had been added in. Other than that, though a bit involved, this yielded a deliciously pungent and exotic dip. We like our foods very very flavorful around here so I ended up using a bit more pomegranate molasses, salt and pepper than what the recipe called for. Wolfert suggests using as a dip or for fish kabobs. We had some pan fried flounder and roasted eggplant tonight and I spread some on the finished fish and eggplant. I preferred it more on the eggplant than on the fish but, honestly, I like it most as a dip. In fact, I could just spoon it straight from the bowl into my mouth and be very very happy.

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Roll out those lazy crazy days of summer, July 2015 edition!

Do it LLM! It's very very obvious that she loves what she does. She's a wealth of knowledge and will happily share whatever she knows. She works limited hours (check the website and call ahead.) I should have asked for a job, oh well. A chow hound meet up in that store could be a lot of fun!

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Roll out those lazy crazy days of summer, July 2015 edition!

Her shop is charming and sweet - a direct representation of her spirit. No car. I walked to the train station. A long long walk. It was my workout for the day. The month, actually.