We’ve Been Nominated!

Hey folks! $30/Week has been nominated for a Homie Award for 2009. If you’ve got the time (we know it’s the holidays), we would love if our readers supported us by nominating us here.

I am now off to make some banana bread for a gift (from bananas that have been frozen in our fridge for a scary amount of months).


Spinach Strata

This strata has been in my brunch repertoire for a few years now and made an appearance on Christmas Eve because my aunt requested it.  I used 2 packages of spinach and added some garlic to the onion, but the recipe below is pretty much it.  The result was delicious on Christmas Eve and even better for brunching on.  I highly recommend making this the night before as the bread will sop up the egg/milk mixture and then it’s easy to pop it in the oven for breakfast, but you can still make it for dinner if you want.  In order to make this recipe even easier, I just tore apart stale bread with my hands – who needs cubes?  Perfect for New Year’s Day brunch when the last thing you want to do is cook.

Find the recipe here.

Scrambled Eggs Rui

We were up at Tina’s folks house this weekend for a little pre-holiday holiday party. Her brother cooked us up some of his special scrambled eggs the next morning. A highly recommended preparation for some simple, yet decadent breakfast fare. This recipe is not recommended if you are currently counting calories.

Scrambled Eggs Rui

6 eggs
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp sour cream or creme fraiche
salt and pepper

1. Heat the butter in a medium saucepan, cracking the eggs into the pan while it melts.
2. Stir the eggs slowly with a spatula, and as when they being to cook, take the pan off the heat and continue to stir. Keep stirring while alternating the pan on and off the heat, keeping it just hot enough to keep cooking.
3. When they’re getting close to done, stir in the sour cream. Then add salt and pepper to taste.

Tofu Korma Masala

As a Hanukkah present, Phil got a package of korma masala spices from Kalustyan’s.  Feeling the chill Monday night, I decided that some hot and spicy food was in order.  The recipe was right on the spice bag!

I first rinsed some brown rice (sadly, not basmati) with cold water and started it cooking in our rice cooker and then proceeded to follow the very simple instructions.  Since I don’t have the packet in front of me, I’m relying on my memory…hope it’s right!

Tofu Korma Masala


  • olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste (I just blended about 4 cloves of garlic with some peeled ginger to create the “pastes”)
  • 3-4 tablespoons korma masala
  • 1 package firm tofu, crumbled
  • 1 cup plain yogurt or low-fat sour cream
  • 1 onion, sliced thinly and cooked until golden brown (optional)
  • salt (to taste)
  • hot sauce & cilantro (optional)

To Do:

  1. Start cooking rice (if desired) and if you want to have the onion garnish (it’s good!), just put a splash of oil in a small frying pan and cook the onions until golden brown.  Reserve for later.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large pot and add the garlic and ginger paste.  Reduce heat to low and stir until they become golden brown.
  3. Add the tofu, yogurt/sour cream, and korma masala spice.  Raise the heat until the mixture bubbles and then turn down to a simmer.
  4. Add water or vegetable stock if the mixture looks to dry.  Cover the pot and let simmer for about 15 minutes.
  5. Taste, if it needs a little salt, add some.
  6. Serve over rice and add onion garnish, cilantro and hotsauce.

Only Missing an Open Fire

For a holiday party we hosted last night, we decided to try roasting chestnuts for the first time. What with NYC fire codes, we had to settle for the oven. Here’s a guide for how to do it – pretty simple.

Peeling and eating them straight away is pretty good, though I imagine that the flavor from wood smoke would add a lot. I’ve also heard that the roasted, cracked nuts can be sauteed in butter and salted for a richer flavor.

What I’m wondering is; does anybody have any recipes that incorporate roasted chestnuts? I was thinking maybe they could be thrown in with a brussels sprouts roast. Or I seem to remember that it’s traditional to stuff game fowl with chestnuts. Maybe we could find a veggie analogue. Roasted chestnut-stuffed peppers? Cabbage?

Any ideas?

What Am I?

This past weekend was chock full of pre-holiday merriment, which for us meant a lot of cooking in both the Christmas and Hanukkah traditions. Of the several new recipes we tried out over the course of two dinner parties and a party party, my favorite may have been the vegetarian chopped liver I threw together for the first night of Hanukkah.

I worked in the middle of Manhattan’s garment district (ahem…”Fashion Center”…makes it sound less sweatshoppy) for several years and would often get mock chopped liver on a bagel from the kosher dairy restaurant around the corner from my office. It was delicious, but not cheap. Little did I know how easy it is to make at home. I found several recipes on line that recommended a range of ingredients, but here’s what I cobbled together:

Mock Chopped Liver
3 onions, chopped
3 cups raw cashews
2 eggs, hard boiled
olive oil
salt & pepper

1. Caramelize the onion in an appropriate pan, then blot (relatively) dry.
2. Put the onions, cashews, and eggs in the food processor, blend until smooth.
3. Add salt and pepper to taste. If the mixture is too thick (i.e., as thick as peanut butter), try adding a little olive oil to thin it out a bit. The chopped liver should be fairly dense, but still easy to spread.
4. Serve!

$30/Week Participates in Menu for Hope 6

Menu for Hope is a project started by Chez Pim that raises money via food bloggers for UN World Food Programme.  This year, $30/Week is participating by offering an awesome bid item package of three (yes 3!) food related goodness.  If you bid on our package (bid item #UE38) you could win:

You can click here to read more about Menu for Hope and Friends of the World Food Program and if you want to bid, here are the steps:

  1. Choose a bid item or bid items of your choice from our Menu for Hope main bid item list.
  2. Go to the donation site at Firstgiving and make a donation.
  3. Please specify which bid item you’d like in the ‘Personal Message’ section in the donation form when confirming your donation. You must write-in how many tickets per bid item, and please use the bid item code ($30/Week’s code is: UE38)
  4. Each $10 you donate will give you one raffle ticket toward a bid item of your choice. For example, a donation of $50 can be 2 tickets for EU01 and 3 tickets for EU02 – 2xEU01, 3xEU02.
  5. If your company matches your charity donation, please check the box and fill in the information so we could claim the corporate match.  Please check the box to allow us to see your email address so that we can contact you in case you win. Your email address will not be shared with anyone.
  6. Check back on Chez Pim on Monday, January 18  for the results of the raffle (if you win, you will also be notified via email)

There are a lot of amazing prizes from different places, so be sure to check everything out!  Of course, $30/Week would love for you to win our prize!

It’s the Most Wonderful Time….

$30/Week has been very busy with holiday parties lately and apologizes for the lack of postings.  We have been busy spending our money on latkes and various holiday items.  Take a look at these gift ideas for the year:

Pear Upside Down Cake

Thank you Mark Bittman.  Again.  I recently recommended his “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian” to a friend who wanted to ask for a thick, comprehensive and vegetarian-friendly cookbook for the holidays.  This recipe comes from the NYT’s though and it worked beautifully.

I didn’t have maple syrup though.  Instead, I used syrup that I had reduced from a friend’s gift of canned peaches and pears a few months back.  We finished the pears and peaches in record time (soooo good) and I decided the juice it was packed in was too good to waste so I reduced it down until it became an even thicker syrup and kept it in the fridge.  I used it in this pear cake and it tasted divine.  Score another one for the food recyclers of the world!

The pear topping was soft and sweet, but not cloying.  The underlying cake layer had a great vanilla cake and an excellent crumb.  Our dinner party guests brought some vanilla ice-cream and the two paired extremely well.  I baked it in a cast iron skillet and I thought it baked better there than in a normal cake pan.  Something about cast iron…

Anyways, go here for the recipe.  Easy and great for the holidays!

This Week’s Receipt

Here it is so far folks:

I made a very amazing upside down pear cake last night with some of the whole wheat flour from above.  Pic to come later!