Friday, July 11, 2014

A Sophisticated Cook Book for People on Limited Incomes

Kitchen skill, not budget, is the key to great food. This cookbook is a celebration of the many delicious meals available to those on even the most strict of budgets....Cooking on a limited budget is not easy, and there are times when a tough week can turn eating into a chore. I hope the recipes and techniques in this book help make those times rare and tough choices a little more bearable.. Good cooking alone can’t solve hunger in America, but it can make life happier—and that is worth every effort.   -Leeanne Brown

Leeanne Brown is an avid home-studies scholar and a home cook in New York City. She developed this wonderful cookbook as part of her Masters Degree thesis project at New York University.In addition to recipes, the cookbook gives you tips for eating and shopping well, pantry basics. The cookbook finds ways to help low-income people learn how to prepare low-cost, healthy meals. These recipes are designed for the budget of people on SNAP. Good and Cheap is available via free PDF link or for a low-cost bulk purchase or donations to the Kickstarter campaign to anyone who wants a copy. (See links at the bottom of this post
"The meals are generally healthy and use ingredients common to most low-income New York City neighborhoods...My intent was to create satisfying food that doesn’t require you to supplement your meals with cheap carbohydrates to stave off hunger. I strove to create recipes that use money carefully , without being purely slavish to the bottom line."  (excerpts from the introduction)
Some of Ms. Brown's preparations sound downright sophisticated, and yet they are very simple to prepare. Each recipe is accompanied by enticing food photographs. 'To encourage people to eat fruits and vegetables, these recipes do not feature large amounts of meat," said Ms. Brown.

You probably agree that this is a great concept, but you want some examples. I won't give you the actual recipes, but I'll reprint what she says about each creation. 

Lightly Curried Butternut Squash Soup: Squash is almost the perfect vegetable for soup: it’s flavorful and has a divinely smooth texture when cooked and pureed. Serve this soup to people who think they don’t like squash or curry, and you’ll change some minds. You can substitute any winter squash for the butternut; I just like butternut because it’s faster to peel and chop than its many cousins.

Banana Pancakes: With the creamy texture and delicious flavor of bananas, these pancakes are stunningly good. You will be seriously popular if you feed these to your family or friends. Another plus: this is a great way to get rid of mushy bananas (that doesn’t involve making banana bread).

Broiled Grapefruit: If your oven has a broiler, this is a fast and fun way to liven up a standard, healthy breakfast of grapefruit. This method produces a hot and sticky treat.

Broccoli Apple Salad (with two options of dressing) The texture of thinly sliced apple and broccoli is wonderfully crunchy, and the bitterness of the broccoli with the sweet and tart apples is delicious.

Mexican Street Corn: This recipe takes fresh, sweet summer corn— already amazing—and adds salt, tang, and spice to the experience. If you have an outdoor grill, prepare the corn that way, but for those without, a broiler is a great shortcut!

Potato Leek Pizza: Obviously you should just make all kinds of pizza. Seriously, do it. Make it a Thursday- night tradition and an excuse to use up leftovers. This pizza, for one, is a fun variation that confounds expectations—proof that, indeed, anything is good on pizza!

Creamy Zucchini Fettucine: Zucchini and summer squash are so abundant in the summer months. This simple pasta is like a lighter, brighter fettuccine alfredo. It also comes together in no time—the veggies will be ready by the time your pasta is cooked. You’ll love it, I promise.

Chana Masala This Indian chickpea dish is a staple in my home. If you don’t have cooked chickpeas around, you can use canned, but it will cost about $1 more.:

Vegetable Jambalaya: I don’t make jambalaya exactly the way they do down south, but this vegetable- heavy version is faster and just as good—a great, throw-everything-in- the-pot kind of meal. It’s spicy, savory and deeply satisfying. The leftovers are great for making burritos or warmed up with a fried egg on top.

Here are a few more examples of recipes contained in the cookbook:  Black-Eyed Peas and Collars, Savory Summer Cobbler, Cauliflower Cheese, Shrimp and Grits, Spicy Pulled Pork, Cauliflower Tacos, Jacket Sweet Potatoes, Beet and Chickpea Salad, Whole-Wheat Jalapeño Cheddar Scones, and MUCH MORE.

Options to Obtain the Cookbook

Back the Kickstarter project for printed copies!

Non-profits: apply for donations, or buy bulk for $4

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