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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Frugal Day Every Which Way: Library, Cabbage, Cookbook

As I think of my little adventures, I realize that frugality is woven into my life. This morning, I headed to the public library (very close) to return a few DVDs. While there I picked up a few books that were being held for me. I also perused the Cook's Illustrated that was on the shelf.

Hmmmm. II wonder if one can compute the savings from this one errand.

DVDS: save $7.50 on 3 rental fees.
Books: I requested two books on braising, and the accommodating book buyer, bought them! Let's see how much they are on Amazon: Molly Stevens: All About Braising.

I also picked up Jean Anderson's Falling Off the Bone.

As usual, I am drawn to the cheapest recipes. While I may make duck ragu one of these days, right now I am putting this cabbage recipe on the menu. Molly Stevens calls it World's Best Braised Green Cabbage.

Total time: 2 1/2 hours

1 medium head green cabbage (about 2 pounds)

1 large yellow onion, peeled and thickly sliced

1 large carrot, peeled and cut in 1/4-inch coins

1/4 cup chicken stock or water

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly oil a large gratin dish or baking dish (13-by-9-inch works well).

Peel off and discard any bruised or ragged outer leaves from the cabbage. Cut cabbage in half, then into 8 wedges. (Don't trim away the cabbage heart.) Arrange the wedges in the baking dish on their sides, overlapping a little but trying for a single layer. Scatter the onion and carrot over the cabbage. Drizzle with stock or water and oil. Season with salt, pepper and pepper flakes. Cover tightly with foil and transfer to the oven.

Braise for 1 hour. Uncover and gently turn the wedges with tongs, keeping them as intact as possible. Add a little water if pan is drying out. Cover pan and return to oven. Bake 1 hour.

Remove the foil, increase the heat to 400 and roast until vegetables begin to brown, about 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Not only is braised cabbage the cheapest of the cheap, but also I still have 4 cabbages that were thrown to us during the St Patrick's Day Parade.

I guess I saved a bunch on the cookbooks. My cabbage dish will be almost free. Molly Stevens is an eater after my own heart: she suggests serving the cabbage with mashed potatoes as "an appealing vegetarian supper."

The Cook's Illustrated had this on the cover: Is a toaster oven really worth $250.00? You may remember my toaster oven dilemma, followed by a toaster oven disappointment. According to the magazine, the desired-by-many Breville toaster oven is indeed a wonder. Can't wait till the death of my Black and Decker.

My little adventures, which involved less than $1.00 in gas, should, if I put the savings in a jar, add up to that expensive toaster oven in a year or so.


Duchesse said...

We were given a subscription to Cook's Illustrated for a gift and I suspect CI kind of forgot b/c we got it forever. Many of our enduring recipes were printed there, and my sons learned so much from reading the current copy, always on the kitchen counter.

Funny about Money said...

Uhm...two hunnert and fifty dollah for a toaster oven? {gasp!} It had better be as good as a nice convection wall oven, at that price!

Cabbage. Oh, it's SOOOO good. You've inspired me: next time I have to go to the grocery store, I'm grabbing a head of cabbage and trying this.

Shelley said...

Did I mention having tried your fried eggs and pasta recipe? Weird as it sounded at the time, it worked fine, though we had enough for 3 meals. Will have to try the cabbage recipe. We just finished the last of our savoy cabbage last night and they are now out of season until autumn.

Suzy said...

I think I'll try that cabbage recipe - sounds good! A bit more time consuming than I usually go for but someday when I'm hanging out at home doing my quilting I think I'll give it a try!

I bought a Cuisinart toaster convection oven that I like a lot. One of the weight watchers leaders I like recommended it and picked it up for me at Costco.