Tag Archives: Cheap

Recipe: Basil Salt

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Last week, my garden was overrun with basil.  I didn’t know what to do, as the space was competing with tomatoes, and the tomatoes were quickly winning.  It’s a massacre out there for all the other veggies.

my garden

I can hardly tell what is what over there.

I have been doing everything I can to preserve the beautiful basil my garden produced, and this recipe is no different.  Easy and super fast, you can add this salt from everything to tomato and corn salad or cheeses, to pasta dishes and desserts. Basil salt is awesome! It adds just that beautiful freshness to anything it touches, and is beautiful and bright green like the herb that produced it.

It lasts for six months too, so there is plenty of time to taste summer long into winter.

Ingredients

1/2 C tightly packed basil leaves

1/2 C kosher salt

Method

Preheat oven to 225 degrees F.  Pulse basil and salt in blender until incorporated.  Mixture will be clumpy.  Spread onto baking sheet lined with parchment or tin foil and bake until dried, about 30 minutes.

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basil salt after drying but before blending for a second time

Take dried salt and pulse again in blender until powder.  Store in airtight container for six months or more.

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Used the salt to top this dish of tomatoes and ricotta cheese. Perfect basil flavor and nice hit of salt

 

-L

 

Cheap Eats: Cutty’s

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Even though it’s unofficially summer, it’s still kinda cold and rainy this week. No matter, as soon picnic weather will be upon us, and what’s better for a picnic than a sandwich you don’t have to make? Not much guys, not much.

Cutty’s is an awesome sandwich shop in Brookline that has gotten rave reviews ranging from BU college kids to Food Network and Bon Appetit. I finally made my way over there after promising myself I would try something from their small but beautifully crafted sandwich menu at least once while living in Boston. I’ll for sure be back.
Let’s talk sandwiches.

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Let me introduce you to The Spukie, or my new obsession between bread. Salami, Capicola, Mortadella, Mozzarella, and a carrot-olive salad come together on pressed Ciabatta. Let me tell you, that carrot-olive salad takes the cake and makes that sandwich. The locally-sourced ingredients don’t hurt, either.
Their deli sandwiches are also bomb, by the way. Want just a simple roast beef? Of course they can do it for you. Everything is super fresh, delicious, and simply made.

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At around $5 to $8 a sandwich depending on size, it’s a great place to eat at a great price. All those rave reviews can’t be wrong, right?

Cutty’s
284 Washington Street
Brookline

Photo of exterior via BU

Recipe: Pork Schnitzel

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Being a food blogger sometimes has some major perks. Like opening my door to a box full of bags of free Pretzel Crips. Awesome.

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After mowing my way through a few of the packages, I decided it would be cool to cook with the pretzels in a different way. What’s a better way to use pretzels than to bread some thinly sliced pork cutlets? With a simple arugula salad, this is a quick and easy meal for any night (even cinco de mayo!). Using the mustard flavor compliments the pork and the pretzels are a nice crunch that can be hard to achieve with regular breadcrumbs.

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Ingredients
1 bag pretzel crips mustard flavor (or any flavor) [$4]
1 package thinly sliced pork cutlets [$3]
1 egg [$1]
Ap flour (in most pantries but runs about $3)
Arugula [$3]
Cherry tomatoes [$2]

Directions

Grind the Pretzel Crips in a food processor until crushed. Heat some oil in a pan over medium heat. Pound cutlets til nice and thin, the dip in the flour, then the egg (beaten), and then the Pretzel Crisps. Place cutlets in the hot oil in the pan and cook for about 3 minutes per side, being careful not to let the pretzels burn.
Meanwhile, take the cherry tomatoes and arugula and dress how you would like (personally, I like olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper).
When the cutlets are done, top with the salad and serve.

Happy cinco de mayo!
-L

Cheap Eats: @Union

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Who doesn’t love brunch? No one, that’s who. I personally love breakfast foods without having to wake up at breakfast times (read: before noon). That’s why I’m happy to live in a college town; I’m not alone in these beliefs. I’m also not alone in being frugal (read: broke), and when I heard about @Union, a great spot for breakfast foods that won’t break the bank, I was sold.
So The Russian and I rolled in around 1:30 and I was instantly giddy that they offer Earl Grey lattes. I love those (I’m not a big coffee drinker, which is probably why I sleep til noon).

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The menu @Union (at @Union?) is extensive. They offer so many options, I obviously have to go back and try more. For the time, however, I couldn’t decide, so I ordered the country Benedict, which is a Benedict with sausage patties, The Russian ordered the lobster Benedict, and we got some chocolate chip pancakes and bacon to share. It was a full table.

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So how was the food? It was glorious. I loved the country Benedict, how have I not seen this on more menus? It was genius and delicious and simple and so filling, I needed to be rolled home. It would be so embarrassing how much (and how fast) I ate if I wasn’t so shameless. Worth it.

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The Russian’s dish was equally as amazing. The lobster was delicate, the hollandaise rich, and the spinach was a nice touch.

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Just thinking about it makes my mouth water. We barely finished our food, took some pancakes home to snack on later, and when it was all said and done, the bill was $35. Impossible you say?
Go try this place for yourself.
-L
@Union
174 Harvard ave, Allston

Cheap Eats: Fried Scallop Sandwich @ Bento

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It’s a lazy Friday kinda day, at least for me, and I’ve needed one. I’ve been working myself crazy in the kitchen, and loving every second (not the same can be said for my feet, however). On my days off, I get a little lazy, because I’m pretty active on the days I work. Sometimes I don’t even set foot in my kitchen except to get chips (and maybe the wine opener). So what’s to eat? Well, The Russian and I moved recently, not too far from our old place but closer to a different set of stores and little eateries, and with new restaurants brings more opportunity to try more of what this city has to offer. I’ve found some of the best food in very unlikely places. Take Bento, this adorable little Asian fusion place down the street from my new place, and take their fried scallop sandwich, which isn’t adorable at all. It’s serious, and its seriously large and filling.

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It’s fresh scallops battered and fried, which may not be great for the arteries but this isn’t a health blog, with wasabi mayo and seaweed strips. Serious.
It was so simple and the bread was the perfect amount of crispy and chewy, I pretty much inhaled it. It’s under 9 bucks, so I seriously recommend this to anyone just walking by and in need of a filling but light seafood lunch.

Bento
160 Chestnut Hill Ave, Brighton
617 782 5800

Recipe: Classic Greek Salad with Steak

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Who doesn’t love a Greek salad? No one, that’s who. I personally like mine without lettuce, a simpler salad that lets the veggies shine (and the traditional salad is without lettuce also, so it’s more accurate). Thanks to Food Network for inspiring the dressing, but you can really use any dressing you choose (or just a simple oil and vinegar). You can also change up the protein to a healthier one, or none at all and use the salad as a starter for dinner. I used steak cause, well, I love steak. There’s no right way to have this salad, though. I just love Greek salads so much I had to share.

Ingredients
1 cucumber [$2]
3 tomatoes [$3]
1 small jar Kalamata olives (the most expensive on this list) [$6]
1 small package feta cheese [$3]
1 small red onion [$1]
1 lemon [.50 cents]
Fresh oregano [$2]
1 small package steak [$4]
Honey, olive oil, and red wine vinegar ( I had these on hand but they’ll run about $7 for everything, depending on how big of bottles you get)

Directions
Thinly slice the red onion and place in a bowl with ice and salt water. This will get rid of some of the onions aggressive bite.
Whisk 1/4 each cup vinegar and olive oil with a few teaspoons honey, fresh chopped oregano, and the zest and juice of the lemon in a bowl.
Chop the veggies and crumble the feta and place in the bowl. Add the red onion. Mix very well.
Heat a small pan over medium heat. Rub the steak with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and sear until medium rare (about 3 or 4 minutes per side). Let rest and slice meat and place on the salad.
It’s that simple.

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Enjoy!
-L