No Grocery Store DinnerPosted: October 22, 2009
I hate to brag, but I try to make every meal as grocery-store-free as possible. Like tonight’s dinner, for example, was an almost free feast which would have cost a bundle in a restaurant. The garden is the answer. Escarole….the chard froze last week…braised in homemade broth with garlic. Carrots, steamed and topped with a parsley salad, and some grilled lamb (sorry vegetarian readers, but we eat meat occasionally if it is raised nicely by people we like). The total cost of the meal, for 3, was $4 and that was for some incredible lamb chops. Everything else was from the garden, even the makings of the broth for the braised escarole. I bought half a lamb for our freezer a few weeks ago and tonight was the first time we tried it.
The rest of the day’s meals were eggs (from a neighbor’s hens) and toast (homemade bread with local wheat flour) $1.20 for 3 people. Lunch was homemade chicken soup (thanks to Wells Family Farm) with sliced shitake (this week’s store splurge), carrots, scallions, and nappa cabbage. I think a half gallon of soup cost about $5.00 if we factor in the fact that the chicken appeared in 3 different meals.
For those city dwellers without much room for a garden, you can still grow greens on your fire escape. A milk crate, lined with burlap or window screening, and filled with potting soil makes a perfect mini-garden for salad greens or herbs. If you have room for 3 milk crates, you can cut salad greens from one while the plants in the other 2 crates are growing back, and just keep rotating which you cut from. They will continue to grow back and should last a quite a few weeks. You can also do sprouts indoors and pea shoots and sunflower shoots. Just line a tray or rimmed cookie sheet with a 1/2 inch of potting soil, sprinkle on some seeds, cover with a quarter inch of soil, water, and in a week or two, snip the greens into a salad, a bowl of soup, or into a sandwich. Be your own farmer! Knowing where our food comes from and how it is grown is really a great way to create your own health insurance and keeps you out of the grocery store.