The Grocery Store Bottleneck

November 26, 2008

It’s finals season, and that really poses a challenge to my eat-closer-to home cooking philosophy. Getting to the grocery store or farmers market seems to be the biggest problem when I am stressed and busy…and eating at home is really difficult when the cupboard is bare.

I can’t do anything about my bare cupboard today, as I’m about to leave town for Thanksgiving, but I have a plan of action for getting through the next month of exams, interviews, and deadlines.

My plan is to stock my pantry, freezer, and fridge with easy-to-cook items when I get home.

Here’s my list:


  • Pasta
  • Oatmeal
  • Rice
  • Black beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Tomato sauce


  • Frozen green peas
  • Frozen green beans
  • Frozen broccoli


  • Cheddar cheese
  • Gruyere cheese
  • Carrots
  • Green Peppers
  • Apples
  • Milk

From there, I can make pasta with pesto (already frozen), tomato sauce, or chickpeas, onions & garlic, black beans (with green pepper, onions, and garlic) and rice, lentils (already in pantry) and couscous (already in pantry), cheese toast (bread already in freezer), and eat it with carrots or a green vegetable.


Breakfast at J’s

November 23, 2008

Toasted whole wheat pita with almond butter and honey

Spaghetti squash with parmesan cheese

Hard-boiled eggs

Carrot juice

Rice milk


November 21, 2008

3 cups fresh basil leaves

3/4 cup fresh parsley

2 cloves garlic

1/2 cup walnuts

3/4 cup parmesan

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup melted butter

Put everything in a blender or a food processor and blend until smooth.

I like to make a few batches in the summer, when I can get fresh, locally grown basil and parsley from the farmers market. I freeze most of it for the winter – scoop it into a muffin tin, stick the tin in the freezer, then put all the little lumps of pesto into a ziplock bag once they’re frozen.

Recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook.

Breakfast at J’s

November 20, 2008

Pomegranate seeds

Kiwi slices

Yellow bell pepper

Goji berries

Greek yogurt with honey and cinnamon

Toasted whole-wheat pita bread

Hard-boiled eggs

Fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice

Pesto with Focaccia

November 20, 2008

Last night, I came home cold, tired, and glum. I needed something hot, so I made some focaccia, spread some homemade pesto* over the top, and stuck it in the oven. Fifteen minutes later, my whole apartment smelled like pesto and life was much, much better.

*I made a bunch of pesto this fall and froze it. Basil won’t be back in season until next summer, but I’ll post the recipe tomorrow so we can all bask in fragrant nostalgia.

Flatbread & Pizza Dough

November 17, 2008

1 cup warm water

1 tablespoon yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 1/2 cups flour

Dissolve yeast in water, stir in sugar and salt, add oil. Stir in flour. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding flour whenever the dough gets too sticky, for ten minutes. Flatten the dough onto a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Brush olive oil and rosemary over the top. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges.


Pizza: substitute tomato sauce, veggies and mozzarella for the olive oil and rosemary. Increase cooking time to about 25 minutes.

Calzones: divide the dough into 5-6 pieces, flatten them into disks, and spoon a mixture of veggies and cheese onto half of each disk, fold the other half of the disk over, and pinch the edges shut. Cook for 25-30 minutes.

Breakfast pizza: spread with butter, sugar, and cinnamon. Or, spread with butter and jam.

Wholewheat/spelt: Make the dough with whole wheat spelt flour, or with half whole wheat and half white flour.

Breakfast at J’s

November 14, 2008

The menu:

  • Fresh squeezed orange and grapefruit juice
  • Pomegranite seeds
  • Garlicky greens
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Walnuts
  • Hard boiled eggs

The technique:

Scrub and slice sweet potatoes into half-inch rounds. Put them on to boil. They’ll be done by the time everything else is ready.

Put eggs on to boil. Turn them off after they’ve been boiling about ten minutes.

Chop the pomegranate in half (be forewarned – the juice splatters everywhere) and pick out all the seeds.

Squeeze grapefruits and oranges. J just bought a juicer, which makes the whole process much faster.

Chop up garlic and greens. Saute garlic in olive oil, add the stemmy parts of the greens, then the leafy parts of the greens. Stir until wilted.

Find the walnuts.

This may be the most antioxidant rich meal I have ever eaten.