Day 36–Starting Week 6–Budget and Menu

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Our farmer's markets are busy, thanks to the warmer weather!

This was a fairly good week, albeit a busy one! The boneless mini ham from Chinquapin was by far and away the best ham we have ever eaten. Oh. My. Goodness. We made it through the week following our menu and definitely appreciated some lighter dishes in the mix. I’m sure the scale will appreciate it as well.

We’re really starting to see a change in the seasons through our food. The apples available at the farmer’s market are not so beautiful and crisp as they were a month ago. Made an apple cake with them, so it wasn’t such a big deal, but they are clearly on their way out. We’re starting to see salad greens and that is a happy thing! It helps that we haven’t had a winter this year–not one flake of snow in our part of North Carolina. Well, yet, anyway. There is still time. Winter can be pretty fickle around here. The unseasonably warmer temperatures are definitely reflected in the early bounty at the farmer’s markets around town, so we’re not complaining.

Our budget this week ran high–mostly our Super Bowl dinner, which featured homemade crab cakes. Crab isn’t readily available here for another two months, so crab was $$$, but we decided to splurge and represent the Ravens at our Super Bowl dinner.Also, I lost my grocery list and had to “wing it” which is never good for the budget. Here’s the weekly rundown:

  • Farmhand Foods (skirt steak from meatbox): $15.00
  • Earps Seafood (NC catfish): $8.00
  • Whole Foods (lump crab meat): $25.00
  • Heaven on Earth Organics (broccoli, green peppers, red cabbage, tomatoes, mustard greens): $18.00
  • Farmer’s Market–various (apple butter, NC pecans): $10.00
  • Lowe’s Foods (pie crust, lemons, organic breakfast burritos, Coors Light): $16.96
  • Trader Joes (frozen fruit, organic sugar, parmesan cheese, avocado, Ezekiel bread, organic celery, half and half): $42.60

So, our total is a whopping $135.56. I think I just surpassed the savings we had last week, so will try to rein it in for next week!

Here is our menu for week 6. We are looking forward to trying the fish tacos, which I love, but have never made at home!

  • Sunday–marinated, grilled skirt steak, crab cakes, mustard green, homemade pralines
  • Monday–Fish tacos w/cabbage slaw, kale
  • Tuesday–Pasta w/roasted vegetables and leftover steak
  • Wednesday–leftovers
  • Thursday–Cheese quiche, greens
  • Friday–leftover quiche, cabbage slaw
  • Saturday–out for my birthday!

Here’s to week 6 and Super Bowl Sunday. Now, fire up that grill 🙂

 

Day 34–Sustainable Super Bowl Menu

Old Bay Seasoning

I am passionate about three things: my family, food, and football. Super Bowl weekend combines all three, and I love to cook a dinner that celebrates the team we pick to win. And we want that meal to be as sustainable as possible. This year, none of us have a dog in this fight, which throws a kink into my sustainable, thematic Super Bowl dinner plans.

We debated how to handle this–pizza (NY) and chowder (NE)? Lobster rolls (NE) and black & white cookies (NY)? Hot dogs (NY) and baked beans (NE)? None of these seemed fun and interesting and since none of us are in love with the ubiquitous chicken wing, we pondered the issue. Then, my husband came up with a brilliant idea: The “shoulda’, woulda’, coulda'” dinner. Celebrate our favorite teams that almost made it, but not quite.

Now we are pumped up for the game and for dinner. Our menu celebrates my favorite, the Broncos (so close!), my husband’s favorite, the Cowboys (ok, not so close, sorry baby), and our two playoff favs, the Saints and the Ravens (my home state). And it’s fairly high on sustainable, locally produced ingredients.

Shoulda’, Woulda’, Coulda’ Menu

  • Coors beer and hot pepper marinated, grilled  skirt steak (Cowboys & Broncos)
  • Baltimore crab cakes (Ravens)
  • Sautéed mustard greens w/pignoli nuts (no affiliation)
  • Homemade pralines (Saints)

The skirt steak is coming from our Farmhand Foods meat box and sources from Yadkin County, the crab I’m not sure of just yet, the greens came from New Bern and the pecans came from near Greenville. Not too bad!

Here is my version of a recipe for the crab cakes, taken from www.epicurious.com :

Delmarva Crab Cakes

  • 1/2 c. + 1/3 c. homemade bread crumbs
  • 1/4 c. organic mayonnaise
  • 1 large farm egg, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 organic scallion, white and green parts, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 lb. fresh lump crabmeat, cleaned of cartilage
  • vegetable oil for frying
  1. Mix the 1/2 c. bread crumbs, mayonnaise, egg, mustard, scallion, Worcestershire sauce, and Old Bay in a small bowl.
  2. Mix in the crabmeat and form into 6 cakes about 3″ wide
  3. Place remaining bread crumbs in a deep plate or pie plate.
  4. Coat the crab cakes in the crumbs and set aside.
  5. Line a baking sheet with a kitchen towel or paper towels. Top with a cooling rack.
  6. In a deep skillet, pour vegetable oil to a depth of 1/2 inch. Heat over high heat until very hot, but not smoking.
  7. Carefully add the crab cakes and cook, turning only once, until golden brown on each side (about 3 minutes).
  8. Using tongs or a slotted spatula (I like my Asian spider scoop for this), transfer cakes to the cooling rack to drain.
  9. Serve hot with lemon, tartar sauce or whatever makes you happy. 

Whatever you serve for Super Bowl Sunday, remember to visit your local farmer’s market or meat producer–I found this week, many of the vendors had Super Bowl specials for this weekend! I, for one, will be super happy if this dinner is half as good as it sounds to me.

And while I’ll be pulling for no team in particular, I will probably be wearing my John Elway jersey as I drink a Coors beer. And dreaming of next season 🙂