Many thanks to all who sent me their favorite recipes for low funds, empty cupboards, and hard times. When I set out to gather these goodies last month, I was a bit nervous about doing this wrap up, as I do not, in any way resemble a computer wizard. Please let me know if I have mistakenly left out or mis-linked your entry, and I will fix my mistakes. I hope didn't make too many.
I also hope that the starving students, hardup artistes, and all of us who are, from time to time, struggling a bit to make ends meet (yet somehow managing to wander the internet) will find sustainance and pleasure here. I, for one, intend to make use of these contributions. My earliest browsings lead me to believe that it would be a good idea to keep plenty of beans, tuna, rice, olive oil and pasta on hand. You certainly can make a lot of different things from these fine, not too costly pantry staples! There are a lot of other worthy ingredients and agile brains at work here too.
Note: Initially, I planned to divide the posts into many categories, to make the list handier. I found, however that some recipes fit in many categories, and others in none, really. So I have simplified the categories into 3 groups: 1. Vegetarian 2. Meat, Fish, Game or Poultry 3. Sweets. Be advised that the vegetarian category contains items which are not technically vegetarian (they call for meat stock, or some such) but could be adapted without much trouble, by vegetarians. I thought of having a pasta, noodles, rice category, but everything in it belonged somewhere else too. Have a good time browsing.
VEGETARIAN (OR ALMOST VEGETARIAN) FEASTS
From long ago, out of my own hippie past and the less distant past of my blog, I offer Digger's Cabbage soup (vegetarians can skip the pork chop), to feed a multitude for almost nothing, and another favorite:
Muhjadarrah, which I adore.
A number of submissions, not in the form of blog postings, offered some fine ideas in this general category. These included, and I quote:
From reader-friend Lynn D.:
Lentil Stew with Spinach and Potatoes
"I use water instead of stock, have successfully used whatever potatoes I have on hand (including yams), frozen spinach would do in a pinch or chard could be substituted (not kale, I think). I think the feta is essential, but you need very little; yogurt might do as well. I realize I'm not a blogger, but I can't help jumping in."
Lynn also sent a link to an excellent recipe for Pasta with Chickpea Sauce. She likes to top this with breadcrumbs toasted in olive oil.
From June, who has just now started her own blog (check it out), Risotto:
"I assume a store cupboard, with half used packets of things that have lost their labels. And may be past their sell-by dates. In which case risotto - if you have homemade chicken stock dilute it by half with water because otherwise it is too strong - and add anything you like. An onion certainly, some spring vegetables (Risotto Primavera), mushrooms (Ai Funghi), or some bacon ( I give up), or jerusalem artichokes ( oh yes - topinambours!), and all the way up the scale to scallops and lobster. But be sparing. Risotto is a minimal dish. Too much and it's a salad.
If you don't have homemade chicken stock use water, never a stock cube. Try to have it bubbling on another ring so you add the hot stock to the fried rice and onions, a ladleful at a time. Let the rice absorb the stock. Add another ladleful. Towards the end of the cooking time - about half an hour - it seems to take an age to get to the right al dente/creamy/soupy concentration. There is no right way, just the way you like it. Me, I like mine creamy."
or this solitary feast:
"... totally selfish, luxurious, toothsome, lipsmacking solitary dish fit for Lucullus, lash out on a bottle of Lea & Perrins ( keep the rest for Bloody Marys), grate enough cheese, mix in enough L&P, toast a slice of decent bread on one side only, turn it over, pile on the cheese mixture, and grill until bubbling. Eat all by yourself and swear you will never reveal the secret."
Cate, of Sweetnicks made both a macaroni salad and bean tostadas in this category. She rounded out the whole budget dinner with a Gorilla Bread. Catch a glimpse of that one in in the Sweets section below.
Denise of What I'm Cooking Now, submitted a Portabella Mushroom Stuffed with Warm Lentil Salad, a party dish.
MEAT, FISH, AND POULTRY DISHES
Pheasant does not usually appear among the poverty-stricken, but Emma, of the Laughing Gastronome has used leftover pheasant in her Pheasant Galette. And it could be made with leftover chicken, or any other roasted bird, if that's what you have on hand. I, however, am pleased to have a reasonable excuse to buy a pheasant, with my leftovers plan in place.
Another contribution from Stacey at Just Braise-some highly succulent-looking Pomegranate Molasses Shortribs with Broccoli Rabe.
This event coincided nicely with the Chocolate Lady's own annual using-everything-up-to-get-ready-for-Passover event. She literally emptied her cupboards and made these enviable"Bottom of the Bag Poppyseed Muffins"
Whew! I hope I got it all. Please let me know if I didn't. Enjoy.
Arriving just a wee bit late:
and wait...I somehow failed to post the second of zp's contributions, which belongs with the fish dishes, "We Could Call Her 'Tuna'" thankfully not named after her little sister.* see photo below
Sam's first email was lost. It would have been a great pity to miss his entry from sweet pleasure: plaisir sucre. His beautiful poached pears were made from from what he had in the kitchen already. And he even used the poaching liquid to make another treat-go see.
Better late than...you know. Spanish Roasted Potatoes are courtesy of the Culinary Muse, who also explains why she loves her cast iron skillet.
I couldn't resist adding one more. Madeleine Kamman's great grandmother's Scrambled Eggs with Dandelions are so elegant and delicious, and they are practically free. Marie Charlotte was a skilled practioner of cuisine de misere, or says Ms. Kamman, the art of making "something from nothing"!
*And here we have a photo from zp, 5 months later. It has both of zp's contributions, in one picture. Got to love an attention span this long. Follow the *s back up for the recipes.