Archive for the 'budget' Category


Watermelon Granita

Complain about the weather and watch me roll my eyes. But this summer, I get it. I am complaining, too. It’s been a million degrees every day this past month in St. Louis. When the sun isn’t blazing, rain is pouring. And before it got hot, we had tornadoes every other week.

Yes, I am tired of it.

How hot was it this week? I’ll spare you the triple-digit heat index. It was so hot that a colleague of mine baked two dozen cookies in her car outside the paper. It was so hot that the Tower Grove Farmer’s Market was packed before 8:30 a.m. It was so hot that Gabi hasn’t gotten to splash around in her wading pool since the beginning of July.

When it’s 100-plus degrees, it’s almost too hot for ice cream. Sorbet or granita is better. Both are lighter, cleaner, stronger. This weekend, watermelon granita fit the bill.

Granita is an Italian semi-frozen dessert made from water, sugar, and fruit. First you make a simple syrup. Then puree the fruit in a blender. Combine the two in a metal baking dish, freeze, stir with a fork after a few hours and sha-bam. You have granita. If you need to,  put it on the counter for a few minutes to thaw a bit before serving.

I love this recipe. If you love watermelon like my toddler and I do, then you will too.

For extra indulgence,  drizzle a half-teaspoon of Campari over your bowl of granita. The result is an adult icee that will make you feel better about the heat.

Watermelon Granita
adapted from Bon Appetit Fast Easy Fresh

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
3 1/2 cups watermelon,  cut into 1-inch cubes
4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 to 2 teaspoons Campari (optional)

Heat sugar and water in a heavy small saucepan over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Cool.

Puree the watermelon in a blender. Measure out two cups of puree. Stir in sugar syrups and lime juice. Pour into 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan. Freeze 2 hours. Stir with a fork, then freeze until solid, about 3 hours. Using for, scrape granita to form crystals. Spoon into bowls. Drizzle 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Campari over each.


Kale with Bulgur

Everyone needs some TLC at times, right? A foot massage? A back rub? Some comfort food?

Last week, when I longed desperately for all three, I  was searching for something new to do with kale. It appears a lot in our Fair Shares box. Baked kale chips have become a mainstay in our house this summer, but it was time for something else. Without batting an eye my friend Georgina gave me a recipe that she swore by.

First, I’ll tell you the effect it had on me. It made me want to stop looking for other ways to use kale. The next time I have kale, collards, chard or mustard greens, I’ll make this. It’s medicinal. I liked it after the first bite, loved it after the fourth, and was addicted by the fifth or sixth. An hour later, I craved more. It’s wonderful comfort food. Thanks Georgina!

Kale with Bulgur
adapted from Food & Wine

1 small head of garlic, or 10 cloves, peeled, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound yellow onions, finely chopped (about 3 onions)
1 pound mixed sweet and earthy greens, such as Tuscan Kale, Swiss
chard and beet greens, stemmed and finely shredded (chopped in chiffonade)
1 cup coarse bulgur (3 1/2 oz)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 teaspoon red pepper paste (such as sriracha or sambal oelek)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp  red pepper flakes

1/2 cup water
Juice from 1/2 lemon
Scallions, chopped, for serving
1/2 cup Feta cheese, crumbled

On a work surface, mash the chopped garlic with 1 teaspoon salt. In a large deep saucepan, combine the mashed garlic with the onions, mixed greens, bulgur, olive oil, red pepper paste, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Season with salt.

Using your hands, work the water into the bulgur until it’s absorbed. Cover the greens with a paper towel. Set the saucepan over low heat, cover and steam the greens and bulgur until they are very tender, about 30 minutes. Squeeze lemon juice into mixture. Serve the bulgur hot or cold, garnished with the scallions and topped with feta.

Serves 4


Meat and Grain Burgers

Jeff is about to start training for the Kansas City marathon. His 10-plus mile runs on the weekends — and my occasional 3-milers with Gabi in the jogging stroller — require more complex carbs and lean protein than we’ve been getting.

We found this recipe while leafing through Runner’s World, of all places. It came from Mark Bittman, a New York Times food writer and  fellow runner. We no sooner saw it than were trotting out to the deck with a plate full of burgers to grill. Cumin, cayenne and garlic kicked them up a notch. Onion, whole grain and spinach made them even more delicious, and can you get any healthier? We used beef, but ground turkey or lamb would be equally as delicious.

This meal was budget friendly, too. The addition of bulgur and spinach made six good sized burgers out of one pound of ground meat. We had these burgers two nights in a row, and then ate the leftovers for lunch Monday. Yum!

My only quibble: a couple of the burgers didn’t stick together well. Two fell apart when Jeff flipped them on the grill.  Maybe a larger egg would have helped? Fattier meat? Regardless, I highly recommend this one.

Continue reading ‘Meat and Grain Burgers’


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