Friday, February 19, 2010

Day 27 - Value Eating on 02/18/2010

When I have too much on my mind, I desert to the kitchen. “Cooking relaxes me” is a quote I have heard often. I wonder why that is the case? Does cooking remind you of your childhood days, the smell of home cooked meals dancing through the house? Or is it the warmth of the kitchen stove and oven that makes one feel protected? Or is it the creative part? The fact that you have to concentrate on getting things right? The feeling of achieving something? It would be interesting to see if there is any research on this issue…. Anyways, I love cooking to get my mind of things, and I love baking. So yesterday’s evening ended with me baking a very simple pear cake: 2 sticks of butter, ½ lb. cane sugar, 4 eggs, a tsp. baking powder, a tsp. cinnamon and a little less than a lb. of whole wheat flour. One sliced pear and 45 min later I had my all-organic cake that makes 12 nice big pieces for total cost of 7.24$, that is ca. 60c a piece. Not only is it much cheaper than most of the mass-produced “cakes” in the various café chains, it actually tastes like real food. It certainly made a great breakfast with a glass of Castle Rock Farm’s milk (50c). = 1.10$

Late morning snack was an organic blood orange for 50c.

For lunch I wanted to stay on the light side, cause I had guests coming for dinner and I wanted to be hungry! Nothing worse than a dinner party where no one is eating, right? The quintessence of food is to enjoy company and spend time together. So better have a healthy appetite (which does not mean one has to be starved). I enjoyed another of the yummy multigrain rolls from Cook Au Vin with a simple salad of three shredded carrots (3x20c) and 1 shredded beet (60c) = 1.30$.

As often, I was only drinking hot water. I like tea in between meals, but with my food I like plain tasting drinks. As you can guess, I am not the girl that drinks sodas with her food. Wine is another story, as it allows you to elevate the taste of the food. Just as you can ruin a great meal with the wrong wine (and a great wine with the wrong food). Often, I am asked what my favorite wine is. In my opinion, there is no such thing. Almost every wine has a perfect food match out there, waiting to create a brilliant unison. It is the STYLE of wine, that I might personally disagree with (think over-oaked, jam-like wines that do not speak of the terroir in which the vines were grown, but of some new & fancy winemaking technique in the laboratory (oops, did I just write that? Of course, I meant to say “cellar” Better drink a great wine once in a while than something cheap)….

Anyways, dinner was a delicious fish that was local (fished in Lake Superior). Shoot me, but I forgot the name. Will call Dirk’s Fish tomorrow and find out (also because my dinner guests loved it and want to know what they ate). I briefly turned the fillets in a mix of organic flour and Roberta’s “insanely aromatic” (quoting Daily Candy here) Roasting & Grilling salt. Off it went to be briefly pan-seared in olive oil to form a delicious crust. As a side I had prepared a rice pilaf with Fabio’s & Nicoletta’s Fragrance rice, broccoli, slithered almonds, a pinch of chili peppers and some onion. Finished off with a drizzle of Cosimo’s Extra-Virgin Olive Oil premium blend it was perfect (btw, I paired it with a Chardonnay from a small vineyard in California called Girasole). Cost for one person (all sustainable/organic ingredients): 2$ (fish), 0.2$ (flour, roasting & grilling salt, EVOO), almonds (0.13$), 0.8c (rice), broccoli (0.18c – it was a lot of broccoli, but it was also really inexpensive when I bought it on sale at the Green Grocer: 99c a bunch!), 0.06c for spices, 0.15 for finishing oil = 3.51$. The wine was 3.5$ per person.

For dessert, I served ½ slice of the pear cake topped off with a tablespoon of organic greek style yoghurt in which I had blended a hint of cinnamon. Drizzled with a teaspoon of local honey and sprinkled with roasted pumpkin seed it was the perfect finishing to a perfect dinner (which, as already pointed out in other posts, does rely as much on the company and conversation as it does on the quality of the food!) = 0.3$ (cake), 0.1$ (yoghurt & cinnamon), 0.1$ (honey), 0.15$ pumpkin seeds = 0.65$

Total Food Cost for a Very Happy Day of Eating: 10.56$ including wine

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