Thursday, June 26, 2008

Eat For A Week, Update 3: The Challenge Is Over :(

So I've run out of mystery ingredients. Not sure what direction I'll go next, but that's cool. I mean, that hasn't stopped me before.

I finally went to check out the 17th Street Farmers Market, which I've been meaning to do for some time.They specialize not only in locally grown produce, but also in all sorts of specialty and ethnic foods. I didn't manage to take my camera with me this time, but the next time I go I'l see if I can get permission to film in there.

We used the veggies, chicken & noodles that I picked up to make a pretty tasty stir-fry. Unfortunately, it's a bit of a drive from my place, so it won't become my regular store any time soon. However, they've got great deals on spices. I will be using them for all my spice needs whenever possible. Those of you in Tucson, if you haven't been, I highly suggest you check it out.

You can find their address and directions (it's kind of quirky to get to) at their website:

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Eat For A Week, Episode 13: Pasta, Polenta & Hummus

My secret ingredients this time were some prepared polenta and a can of chick peas. Given that this took place during the "no new food" challenge, I decided to make a couple of things just to give myself some variety. I did my good old fallback big pot o' pasta, parmesan crusted fried polenta, and hummus. I think my bill for this one was about $18. Unfortunately, because it's been so long since I filmed this episode, I can't recall exactly what I needed to purchase.


1 large pot
1 large sauce pan (or 2 smallish ones)
1 frying pan/skillet
some sort of blending device


For Spaghetti:

2 lbs dry spaghetti
1 lb ground beef
26 oz. jar of your favorite pasta sauce
1-2 bay leaves
1-2 tsps ground mustard
garlic salt (to taste)
celery salt (to taste)
onion salt (to taste)
allspice (just a dash)
black pepper
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
7 cloves garlic, chopped

For Polenta:

1 tube prepared polenta
pepper & garlic salt (to taste)
parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp butter

For Hummus:

1 can chick peas, drained (reserve liquid)
juice of 1 lemon
2-3 Tbsps olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1/3 C tahini
1 Tbsp parsley flakes
salt & pepper to taste


For Spaghetti:

Place large pot of well-salted water over high heat to boil. Once boiling, add pasta and cook according to directions on box. Drain.

Dump pasta sauce into a large sauce pan over low heat. (I use 2 smaller sauce pans because that's what I have.) Fill sauce jar about 1/2 way with water to rinse, and add that to the sauce. Add bay leaf, ground mustard, bell pepper, and salt & pepper to taste. Just let this go while you do everything else.

In skillet, heat 1-2 Tbsps olive oil. Add garlic and onion, cook until translucent. Add ground beef and other seasonings to taste. When the beef is cooked through, add to the sauce.

In a large bowl, mix pasta and sauce until everything is coated. Don't forget to take out the bay leaves!

For Polenta:

Cut into about 1/4 inch slices. Sprinkle one side with garlic salt & pepper.

Melt butter in skillet, and add polenta seasoned side down. Season top side of polenta, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Let cook until bottom side is golden, then flip and brown the other side.

For Hummus:

In a bowl, combine all ingredients. Blend well. If you're not fond of hunks of garlic, feel free to put it through a garlic press first. If the hummus is looking too thick, just add some of the reserved chick pea liquid to loosen it up. Don't worry if it gets too runny, since it'll thicken up a bit as it stands. Best if made a day in advance. Serve with breads, crackers, veggies... really, whatever you like to dip in hummus.

Music for this episode is "Everything Is A Toy" from The Hybiscus Journals' record, "Playtime". Visit for more information about this and other THJ records.