Saturday, November 21, 2009

Cooking "Naked" on The View from the Bay

A View from the Bay is a live, local talk show here in San Francisco. I was thrilled to be invited on to demonstrate a recipe from The Frugal Foodie cookbook

I let the boy play hooky to come to the studio with me - he had a ball and everyone at KGO was so super nice to him.

Here's the full recipe - and a lovely photo of the dish taken by Steve Aja

Green Goodness Naked Quiche

Save time and money by leaving the crust off your quiche, and spend your effort and dollars on yummy fillings. A thin coating of breadcrumbs helps the quiche release easily from the pie plate, and browns to an attractive golden color.

2 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, kale, or
collard greens, thawed and drained or 1 pound fresh greens such as spinach, kale, chard, escarole, arugula, chicory, or collard greens
tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup finely sliced
green onions
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
2 cups
shredded Swiss cheese
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground
black pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Butter a 9-inch glass pie plate and coat with the dry breadcrumbs. First, prepare the greens. If using frozen, thaw the greens completely. Place in a fine strainer and press with a wooden spoon to remove as much liquid as possible. If using fresh, soak the greens in cool water. Drain, and trim all tough stems and less-than-fresh leaves. Chop coarsely. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the greens for 1 minute. Drain in a fine strainer and press with a wooden spoon to remove as much liquid as possible. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and cook for 3–4 minutes. Stir in greens and continue cooking for 5–7 minutes until any remaining liquid has evaporated. In a large bowl, combine eggs and milk. Add cheese, greens, salt, and pepper, and stir to blend. Transfer to prepared pie plate. Bake until eggs have set, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Serves 6.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Crabby Patties - and a give away, kittens!

OK, they're not really Crabby Patties, but when you live with a 10 year old you can't help but think "Crabby Patties" when you've got round, fried seafood cakes. Squidward WISHES his were this good!

The fine folks at Safcol sent me samples of their canned salmon and tuna to try. Since Safcol comes in lots of tasty flavors - Lemon Pepper, Tomato Basil, Chipoltle, Spicy Chili, Cajun - I wanted to use it for something more than a run-of-the-mill sammi filler. My mind turned to crab cakes - which I love, but never make because good crab is so spendy. Subbing tuna or salmon is a yummy and frugal alternative. Are you ready, kids? Let's make:

Salmon Cakes with Aioli

1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
4 minced garlic cloves
1 cup olive oil
squeeze of lemon juice

1 egg
1/4 cup aioli
1/2 cup green onions*
1/2 teaspoon herbs de Provence
3 6oz. cans Safcol Lemon Pepper Salmon, drained (about 9 oz)
2 cups fresh bread crumbs (made from sturdy bread)**
1 teaspoon sea salt

Oil for frying

First, make the aioli:

Put all of the ingredients into the bottom of a 2-cup Pyrex measuring cup. Plunge a stick blender to the bottom of the cup. Turn on the blender, leaving it on the bottom while the mayo thickens. As it thickens, move it up a bit to incorporate all of the ingredients. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to taste.

Chick here for a video on this technique

(Don't have a stick blender? Get one! They're not expensive, will last you forever, and are indispensable in the kitchen. I'll never make mayo/aioli any other way. And they're the best for making quick & easy veggie soups)

To make the patties:

In a medium bowl, blend the egg, 1/4 cup of the aioli you just made, green onions, and herbs. Add the salmon and 1 cup of the bread crumbs. Blend until incorporated.

Using a tablespoon, form the mixture into flat patties. Chill for 1/2 and hour or overnight to make ahead.

Place the remaining 1 cup of bread crumbs on a plate and sprinkle in the sea salt. Drop a patty into the crumbs, cover with crumbs and press to coat. Place the covered patty back on the plate. Continue with the remaining patties. Chill for 1/2 an hour.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch covered skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 of the patties and cover the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Turn, cover and cook the other side for another 2-3 minutes. Remove to a plate covered with 2-3 layers of newspaper and 1 sheet of paper towel to drain (why? because its cheaper than 2-3 layers of paper towels!)

Serve with the rest of the aioli

Makes 18 nibbly-sized patties

The gears of my brain are turning with other ways I can season and flavor seafood patties. But yours is too. And to get you started, I've got 10 sampler packs of Safcol Tuna and Salmon to give away - just leave a comment here or on Facebook and I'll randomly select winners next weekend.

*Don't forget you can re-grow green onions

**I forgot to buy a baguette and used English Muffins. I muffin = 1 cup of crumbs

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Frugal Fun for All - The KGO GNO!

Grab your girlfriends, mom, sisters and co-workers and join me and the women of KGO Newstalk 810 for an event like you've never seen - it's KGO Girls' Night Out!

The new Mission City Ballroom at the Santa Clara Convention Center will play host to a night full of food, wine, music and fun. It's a combination of informative classes and demonstrations, food and wine tasting on Friday, October 23.

All of the women who make KGO tick will be on hand to share their hobbies, interests and we'll take the party to midnight with live music and karaoke.

Don’t worry about finding a ride home, the adjacent Hyatt Regency Santa Clara has a specially priced Girls' Night Out rate of $81.00 per room, including breakfast and a tickets to the Saturday activities including a live broadcast poolside with KGO's own fitness and health guru Joanie Greggains. Joanie’s show will include live guests and experts on topics on everything from skin care to the latest fitness trends plus more classes and demonstrations throughout the morning! Check out some of things we have planned:

Morning News Anchor Jennifer Jones –"My Big Fat Napa Wedding." Jen teams up with her sister-in-law Brianne Jones and shares cost conscious tips on how to plan a party or wedding on a budget. Top Chef’s Ryan Scott chimes in with great food ideas for your next shindig!

Business Reporter and Author Lynn Jimenez - "Lynn’s 4K Theory of Investing and other useful things." Author of Se Habla Dinero will share her 4 basic principals of finance.

Afternoon News Anchor Rosie Allen and MindBody Wardrobes present - "Self-Confidence in Times of Transition." Personal style changes during transition... clues to help you find your style. Wardrobe tips focusing on projecting the authentic you and tips on clearing out the 'past lives' in your closet that no longer work for you.

South Bay Reporter Jennifer Hodges, color forecaster Lark Coryell, and designer/abstract artist Janet Gordon-Roberts - "Home Design on a Dime."

Weekend Host Pat Thurston - "Mommy Cubed." Pat will take you through the rollercoaster of parenting -- the exhaustion, fear and fun of triplets!

Reporter Jenna Lane - "Mom’s the Word!" Jenna is getting ready to welcome a baby into her life, and maybe you are too -- as a mom, grandmother or aunt. With a reporter's zeal she's been investigating the healthiest and most affordable baby products.

KGO Web Producer and Newswriter Jen Poole - "Byte Me!" Jen, the proudest of nerd girls, talks about "PurseTech." From apps to gadgets, she'll share mobile solutions for busy women that'll pique your inner geek.

KGO Jetcopter Traffic Reporter Michaelynn Meyers - "Changing Careers Mid Stream." Michaelynn Meyers in conversation with KGO’s Career Coach, Marty Nemko, about choosing or changing careers.

Dr. Dean Edell’s popular producer, Heather, and Bombshell Betty"Burlesque 101"- Learn techniques of burlesque performance and get in shape while shimmying and shaking your way through a fun dance routine! Internationally acclaimed burlesque star, Bombshell Betty, will show you how to strut your stuff in a lighthearted and sexy class atmosphere.

Demonstrations and Authors

  • Chef Ryan Scott - from Bravo’s "Top Chef"

  • Mind Body Wardrobe Expert - Nancy Korbet 650-678-3034

  • Author and Lecturer Dr. Lara Honos-Webb

  • Zumba lessons from David Dixon Jr. owner of Xtreme Fitness Silicon Valley.
    A fun, sexy workout. Simple, yet diverse choreography from many Latin cultures. You do not have to be a dancer to take this class. The moves are carefully chosen to give you a total body workout. The music is always exciting and includes: Salsa, Merenge, Bachata, Cumbia, Reggaton, Soca, Samba.

  • Lara Starr, producer of "Consumer Talk with Michael Finney" and author of The Frugal Foodie Cookbook will demonstrate easy ways to decorate adorable cupcakes, and create soothing at-home spa treats for pennies. Make & Take you own mini cupcake and spa candy while supplies last!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Cheap Date with the Frugal Foodie: Doing the Math

Food + Drinks + Friends + Family + Music + Shopping + Money raised for a good cause = 1 Good Party!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Craft Corner: Bargain Bijoux Part Deux

I also stumbled upon some amazing necklaces created by Lauren Manoogian out of paperclips and vinyl tape. Now that I just HAD to try.

And I just happened to have two packs of vintage paperclips - cool boxes, no?

I'd love to know where Ms. Manoogian finds her great colors of tape - but until then I used what I had, which was primary colors and black:

The trick to making these its "link - then wrap" - and now I'm wondering what kind of earrings and bracelets I can make.

I whipped these out while catching up on True Blood on DVD (I'm still early in Season 1 - the library will only let me get one DVD at a time, so It'll be a while...) I just love crafting while I'm watching TV, and now everything I see these necklaces I hear Vampire Bill whispering "Suhkie..."

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Craft Corner: Bargain Bijoux

While looking for something else, I stumbled upon this super stylish update on the child hood classic: macaroni necklaces:

I'd had a lot of fun dying rice and small pasta for other projects, but was quite taken with the sophisticated colors and fun design of this piece, and wanted to make one for myself to wear to upcoming Frugal Foodie events. I'm not above looking a little silly to make an impression, but would like to keep a modicum of chic.

Luckily I've got lots of Wilton Icing Colors so I could achieve rich, interesting colors like Moss Green and Delphinium Blue that would be hard to get with your basic McCormick set of droppers.

To Dye The Noodles

Using water to die rice and very small pasta like orzo works fine, but for larger shapes use enough rubbing alcohol to soak the pasta, and enough food coloring to make a deep dye. Add about 1/3 cup alcohol and 1-2 toothpicks of paste food coloring into a zip-loc baggie for a large handful of pasta.

Mush the pasta around until its soaked, and let it rest for about 15 minutes. Turn and kneed it a couple of times.

Drain the dye from the bag, and spread the noodles on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Set in the sun to dry. Will take about 1/2 an hour depending on the weather.

Oodles of pretty noodles!

For the Necklace

3 strands of 18 Tortiglioni noodles (not easy to find -I got some at United Market)
3 x 30" lengths of of mono filament wire

Tie all of the strings of mono filament wire together at one end, leaving about 2-1/2 inches that you'll use to attach the clasp.

String 18 pieces of pasta on each of the strings - one color on each strand, or mix 'em up.

Tie-off the other strings into a knot. Tie on a toggle or spring-type clasp.

For the green one, I braided the strands before I tied them off

And because what separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize, I made matching bracelets:

To Make the Bracelet

30 Piccolino Rotelle a.k.a mini wagon wheels
12" stretchy elastic string

Clip a binder clip to one end of the string to keep the noodles from slipping off. String the "beads" onto the string. Tie off and voila!

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I Say Tomato (Sauce) and a Tool Tip!

The tomatillo sauce was so yummy, I decided to try the same technique with Simple Pleasures Farms sweet little cherry tomatoes. And oh I'm glad I did!

The "recipe" is very loosy-goosey:

Take a bunch of:

Cherry Tomatoes- I think I used about 2 lbs
Onion - 1 whole, peeled and cut into 8ths or so
Garlic - 3-4 whole cloves

Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar (which I didn't have, I so I used a mix of white balsamic and red wine, but I wish I'd had regular balsamic) Sprinkle on sea salt and pepper.

Roast in a 450-degree oven for about 45 minutes

Dump it all in the food processor and add a good amount of basil leaves (my Trader Joe's basil plant is nearing the end of its life. It has served me well)

Ta-da! A super yummy, fresh-tasting and healthy sauce. I poured it over TJ's tortellini and it made a lovely lunch.

Oh, and the tip? I'm lucky that I have the counter space to keep my food process or out on the counter (and yes, I keep it plugged in and no, I don't want any grief about fire hazards or energy) but storing the disc blades has always been a problem. They're too big to put in a drawer, and are awkward and take up a lot of spaced in a cabinet.

The solution? I tipped the chopper blade to the side...

...and can keep both it and the shredder blade in the bowl of the processor - kewl!

I honestly have no idea where the slicer disk is, I don't think I've ever used it....

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Frugal Foodie Freebie - It's a Contest, kittens!

Fan me on Facebook to learn how you can win a set of nifty Grill Charms™!

Grill Charms™ are dime-sized charms placed in food before grilling so you can easily ID everyone's meat - neat!

These adorable charms are usually $19.95. There's still plenty of sunny weekends left for grilling - enter the contest so your next BBQ can be totally charming!

And, if you'd like to buy some more, just enter the code "GRILLING" at check out for $5.00 off - sweet!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Worth Its Salt!

The very cool folks at the Epsom Salt Council have sent out a press release promoting The Frugal Foodie Cookbook and the chapter on "Frugal Beauty Tips" using Epsom Salts.

AND they have a contest running on their Facebook page to win a signed copy of The Frugal Foodie Cookbook - check it out!

The fabulous Deb at the blog Kahakai Kitchen recently made one of the recipes for Epsom Salt-based Tub Tea and posted these lovely pix:

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Craft Corner: For Eyes

I turned 40 this year - and like clockwork the gray hairs sprang forth from my scalp with a vengeance, and my heretofore 20/20 peepers began to fail me. After one particularly eye-opening book club meeting there was no denying that I, Lara Starr, needed reading glasses.

The plus sides of both of these signs of mortality is that they are opportunities to accessorize. Hence the somewhat saucy shade of red I'm currently sporting on my tresses, and the 1/2 a dozen pair of readers strategically placed in my purse, at my desk, on my nightstand, etc.... (FYI, those of you in Marin and on the right side of 40 can get readers for $5 a pair at Craig's Warehouse)

To protect these specs, I knew I needed glasses cases, but didn't want to spend more $$ - so I decided to make my own.

First, I got myself a sheet of 12" x 18" craft foam, and measured it into six 6" x 6" squares

Then I drew a swirly design with a pencil

Then I embroidered over the design with what I now know is called a stem stitch

Then I folded it in half and sewed it closed

Abracadabra! Right before your eyes, a nifty eyeglass case that cost less than $.25 to make

And so easy a child could do it. In fact - my child did! The kid made cases for me, his dad and his grandma.

I'm thinking if you didn't want to embroider you could do a cool design or pattern with a sharpie - and even staple the case closed. Let me know if you give it a try.


I made one with with the Staples & Sharpie technique - too cute!

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cookin' Good in the Hood

I love farmers markets - in theory. But in reality, I don't often make the effort to go. I don't have the time, and the offerings can be overwhelming. And when you go with the kid - especially when he's little - you have to deal with the clown. And in Marin you it's not just any clown, it's Twee Twee the creepy mute-except-for-a-siren-whistle clown with the byzantine system of stool placement that guarantees you're in for at least a 45-minute wait in 95-degree heat before junior gets a Blues Clues balloon animal.

Lucky for me, just down the street, there's sort of a freelance farmers market set up. A family on Broadmoor owns Simple Pleasures Farm in the Delta. They pack subscription farm boxes (more than I can take on) for pickup and delivery, and sell the leftovers from their driveway on Thursdays.

Tammy and her kids have yummy little cherry tomatoes, luscious pears, watermelons, peppers, peaches, onions, and even fresh eggs!

I stopped today and got the fixin's for a tomatillo salsa. Tammy said, "I'm so glad you're buying these - so many people don't even know what they are."

What they are is yummy! Tart, sweet and fun to release from their little papery outer leaves.

I don't have a tested & measured recipe, but here's what you do

Take a bunch of:

Tomatillos - 10 or 12 (remove paper and rinse. Or don't rinse, I'm not looking)
Onion - 1 whole, peeled and cut into 8ths or so
Jalapenos - 1 or 2, remove the stem
Garlic - 2-3 whole cloves

Arrange them on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with oil (olive or veggie) and sprinkle with salt & pepper.

Roast at 450 degrees for about 45 minutes (I use a toaster oven)

Pour it all into a food processor and Ole! Salsa Verde!

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