Monday, September 22, 2008

How far does $200.00 go?

Yesterday we made an overdue trip to our local supermarket. The refrigerator and cupboards were looking pretty sparse and my girlfriend, Taster 1 (who I'll refer to as T1) and I were having trouble coming up with anything decent to eat, so off to Albertson's it was to stock up on some much needed groceries and supplies.

We usually like to shop at several markets for variety and value. There's Trader Joe's for good, fresh, organic produce, Von's for staples, Whole Foods for special but pricey ingredients, Santa Monica Seafood, Mitsuwa and Marukai Japanese markets and on the rare occasion when we feel like indulging, Bristol Farms. The Santa Monica farmer's market is also a favorite for their seasonal produce and unique offerings. This time however, it was Albertson's. I guess you can say I'm a creature of habit but once in a while, shopping at a different market get's the creativity flowing in the kitchen which is just what we needed.

So what did we spend $200.00 on? The cart was brimming full of much needed fresh fruit and veg, canned tomatoes, pasta, bread, you name it, we picked it up. We stayed away from anything overly processed or prepared opting to take the whole food approach to cooking. Not only do we feel this is a better, healthier way to eat, (we have control over salt, sugar and fat content) it's also more economical. It amazes me that even an innocent looking jar of peanut butter has so many additives, some of which I can't even pronounce on the first try. I should add that the $200.00 also got us paper goods, drinks, and some cleaning products as well.

Here's the plan. To kick-off the Kitchen Forager Blog, I will attempt to cook as many meals as I can before having to do another shop. Not all of them will be winners I'm sure, but it will be fun to see what I can come up with.

Here's the first dish. After coming back from shopping we were pretty wiped out. Not feeling like cooking anything fancy, T1 suggested a simple vegetable soup and an open face tuna melt. Perfect. Tomorrow is the first day of fall and although it still averages eighty five degrees here in sunny Southern California, we can at least start to think about cooler weather meals.

My Grandfather used to refer to this kind of soup as Musgo soup because everything that "musgo" ends up in the pot. It's a great way to use up all the leftover bits and pieces in the fridge. This version had cauliflower, kidney beans, diced tomatoes, carrots, celery, onion, leeks and beef broth. It's an easy to prepare, old standby and as with most stewey or soupy things, tastes even better the next day as all the flavors have time to come together.

Musgo Soup

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