Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Holy Trinity of Sauces

In an economic crisis, people who may have never known the concept of "budget" are forced to confront it. What can you do to really stretch your food budget without sacrificing flavour and nutrition? Answer: sauces!

Whether you live solo or have a brood, money issues today will take a hit on your food budget so now is the time to make a real effort to use what the world of food and cuisine have offered up for generations. Sauces in every cuisine are essential and you can use them to liven up a tight food budget and give yourself a morale boost simultaneously. In the humble opinion of PovertyFood, these three basic sauce recipes are the holy trinity of sauces. Used wonderfully on pasta, rice and cooked vegetables, each can be made for roughly one dollar per six ounces of sauce.

PovertyFood pays homage to the American classic, Martha White flour!

                                                                         Basic White Sauce                                     
                                                                           2 tbsp. butter
                                                                           1.5 tbsp. flour
                                                                           1/4 tsp. salt
                                                                           1 cup milk

Melt butter in saucepan then simply stir in flour and salt. Add milk and whisk together. Allow to simmer until nice and creamy in consistency. Only takes a few minutes to cook fully. For variety, you can cook grated onions in the butter before adding flour. Or, add a few dashes of grated parmegian, your favorite herbs like dill or even course prepared mustard for a fabulous creamed mustard sauce that is delicious on chicken or potatoes.  The basic recipe is your foundation.

           20 Minute Tomato Sauce
           2-3 ripe tomatoes
           One scallion onion, chopped
           salt and pepper
           1 tbsp.olive or other vegetable oil

Simple. Heat oil in pan. Add chopped tomatoes and chopped scallion, salt and pepper to taste. Allow to simmer and cook down until tomatoes are essentially dissolved. Stir frequently to avoid caramelising.  ** Of course, you can add a dash of white wine and your favourite herbs. I add a slice of lemon to mine to give it a zing! But really, if the tomatoes are nice and very ripe, their flavour is all you need! And there is no reason you can not use canned tomatoes, but fresh is best if your budget allows it.

                                           Garlic Spread
                                            One head of garlic
                                            One tbsp. olive oil
                                            One tbsp. mayonnaise             
                                            salt and pepper


This one I picked up in France. It is a typical southern French spread or dip. Simple. Place the garlic head on a cookie sheet or tinfoil and bake in oven at about 350 for about 30 minutes. The garlic is done when it comes out the consistency of mashed potato. Once cooked, squeeze all the garlic into a bowl and add oil. Blend with fork. Now add mayo and salt and pepper. Done! Again, you can really experiment with this one! Hot sauce, lemon, curry...virtually anything can be used to vary this sauce. Use as a dip, on bread....spread onto uncooked pork, chicken or beef. Delicious!

Pinch those pennies and enjoy it!






Monday, January 14, 2013

Focus on: 19th Century France!

While much of America still takes part in the seasonal joy of gardening, many have abandoned this practice for the ease of the supermarket. While we here at PovertyFood are also modern food shoppers, we still hope to encourage everyone to do at least a little gardening, to bring back that joy of savouring the fruits of our own labour.  To inspire us, let's go back to 19th century France and the "potager"!

If you were lucky enough to live in even the near countryside, your home in 19th century France would not have been complete without a "potager". That is, literally, a "soup garden", where you would grow your staple and favourite vegetables as well as herbs and even flowers that would add to your table throughout the seasons. As we  make our way through the long month of January, the snows, the ice and those feelings of potential that the new year brings, consider planning and planting your own "soup garden" for spring. Your harvest will be fabulous even if small, and you will get a wonderful sense of satisfaction, particularly when you savour those dishes that YOU made possible with a little help from the soil and the sun.

If you plant a soup garden, consider what would have been typical of a 19th century French "potager". For inspiration, PovertyFood HIGHLY recommends the book, Vilmorin, The Vegetable Garden. While more of a collection of drawings from the Vilmorin Seed Company which was popular in 19th century France, this collection of drawings will surely inspire the gardener and the cook in anyone. Actually founded in 1742, Vilmorin is today the fourth largest seed company in the world!

Get yourself started with a "potager" of any size, whether a few window sill herbs or a full blown, multi-crop garden... just PLANT! And consider some of the herbs and vegetables which would have been in every "potager" in France, courtesy of Amazon.com and the book Vilmorin, The Vegetable Garden.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone around the world from PovertyFood!
I hope you enjoy a happy and healthy year!

Please consider sending your favorite PovertyFood recipe to be included
on the site. Or perhaps a fond childhood story about a cherished food memory.

Whatever you do, enjoy simply food with loved ones. There is nothing better in life!

Happy New Year!