Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Two real time savers: Cooking ahead and leftovers

A 10-inch frittata with smoked wild salmon and sun-dried tomatoes is enough for several meals, especially when you serve it with such leftovers as brown rice and pasta.

Here, a wedge of the frittata made a filling breakfast with leftover brown rice and garlic-sauteed Black Tiger Shrimp.

For dinner, I enjoyed a wedge of another frittata, with reduced-fat cheese and homemade pesto, above, over leftover whole-wheat fusilli and sardines, below.

For the frittata, I used a mixture of 8 ounces of Kirkland Signature Egg Whites, 4 Organic Brown Eggs, grated Pecorino-Romano Cheese and low-fat organic milk, all available from Costco Wholesale. I added slices of reduced-fat cheese and spoons of pesto once the mixture had set in a 10-inch non-stick pan on the stove, then finished the frittata under a low broiler setting in the oven.

Editor's note: Today, I discuss real time savers in the kitchen, Costco Wholesale's Greek Yogurt, the Summer Can Can Sale at ShopRite and other food-related matters.

By Victor E. Sasson

I buy good ingredients -- including organic eggs, brown rice and pasta -- and I cook them in quantity, ensuring leftovers.

Those leftovers cut down on meal-preparation time, allowing me to plate them and reheat them in a microwave in just 2 or 3 minutes.

I use 2 full cups when I prepare brown rice in an electric cooker, and 1 pound of pasta when I make whole-wheat spirals with sardines.

If I'm making mashed sweet potatoes with extra-virgin olive oil, I use 2 pounds or one bag from Trader Joe's.

Then, I can enjoy rice, pasta or sweet potatoes at breakfast or dinner in the next week with a main dish I prepare fresh -- such as wild salmon with ripe peaches and tomato.

My wife and teenage son nag me about many things, but I nag them about only one thing: Eat the leftovers.

My wife bought six fresh, wild-caught sea bass at H Mart in Englewood for $4.99 a pound, and we enjoyed the leftovers over the next couple of days.
When boiling 1 pound of Trader Joe's Organic Whole Wheat Fusilli or other pasta, use  only enough water to cover. It isn't necessary to salt the water, because bottled sauce and other ingredients already contain plenty of sodium.

A 24-ounce bottle of vodka sauce, an 8-ounce can of tomato sauce, a drained and rinsed can of anchovies; and four plump Moroccan sardines, from 2 cans, also drained and rinsed, go into the preparation of fusilli with sardines. I chop the sardines with a wooden spatula, and also use a few ounces of extra-virgin olive oil, a little red-pepper flakes and dried Italian herbs.

The selection of vinegars and olive oils at Jerry's Gourmet and More in Englewood, above, and part of the dried pasta section, below.

Garofalo 100% Whole Wheat farfalle, left, and pappardelle, right, are more expensive than the organic whole-wheat pasta available at Trader Joe's, but the latter is available in only three shapes.The farfalle was $1.99 a pound at Jerry's and the mouth-filling papardelle was $2.59. Trader Joe's spaghetti, fusilli and penne are $1.39 a pound.

Imported clementines in July? These 5-pound boxes I saw at H Mart in Little Ferry were from South Africa, not Spain or Morocco.

I bought a 3-pound bag of salt-free, raw almonds at Costco Wholesale in Hackensack on Monday ($12.99), and roasted them at 275 degrees on parchment paper for 1 hour and 20 minutes. After they cooled, I dusted them with Saigon Ground Cinnamon, also from Costco. The warehouse store now offers plastic jars of roasted mixed nuts without sodium.

Also at Costco, a 6-pound box of large California peaches was $8.99, and a 5-pound box of Beefsteak Tomatoes was $6.29. When they are ripe, I'll use them to prepare wild sockeye salmon with cinnamon (suggested by my teenage son), capers and garden herbs. A 1-pound package of Earthbound Farm Organic Spring Mix was $4.79, little to pay for the best-tasting, store-bought salad in the world.

On Saturday, 11-ounce dry pints of New Jersey blueberries were 2 for $4 at a D'Agostino in Manhattan, the same price I paid at H Mart in Little Ferry on Sunday ($1.99 a pint) and ShopRite in Paramus on Monday (2 for $4).

Pricey Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt is strained -- so it's thicker and more concentrated than other yogurts, and has more protein. 

Is that why it's so expensive? 

Does a 6-ounce cup of Greek yogurt have "more" yogurt and less whey than a 6-ounce cup of ShopRite yogurt, which is about half the price?

At Costco Wholesale on Monday, I picked up 15 6-ounce cups of non-fat Chobani Greek Yogurt with peaches, blueberries or strawberries for $13.69 after an instant coupon of $4.20.

That's about 91 cents each.

Costco also sells its own Kirkland Signature  plain non-fat Greek Yogurt in a 32-ounce size (2 for $6.99) that I use in smoothies with bananas, frozen strawberries and juice, all from Costco.

Four boxes of Ziploc Gallon Freezer Bags at Costco contain 152 bags for a total of $11.99 or less than 8 cents each. They also are BPA-free.

A poster inside a Starbucks at Spring and Crosby streets in the SoHo section of Manhattan.

Three men hunched over their fast-food meals appear to be ignoring the suggestion they "Savor Each Moment" on the idealized photos inside a Burger King near the New Jersey entrance to the Holland Tunnel. I had stopped for coffee.

Summer Can Can Sale

The Can Can Sales aren't what they used to be at ShopRite, the dominant chain in North Jersey and the acknowledged low-price leader.

Manufacturers aren't subsidizing the sale as they did in the past, and that's reflected in higher prices.

The Summer Can Can Sale, which began on Sunday, is offering 12-can packs of Adirondack Seltzer at 2 for $5 or $2.50 each, compared to $1.99 in the past.

But 33.8-ounce bottles of Adirondack Seltzer are 5 for $2, a better buy than packs of 12-ounce cans.

Buying the bottles also addresses my chief complaint about the cans -- 12 ounces really isn't enough for one meal and 2 cans are too much. Half a 33.8-ounce bottle is just right.

I stopped drinking teeth-corroding Coke and Pepsi in the early 1970s, and lost a lot of weight.

My waist size dropped to 34 inches, and I recall buying the last two bathing suits in that size at Bloomingdale's in Manhattan, as two other customers who flanked me at the counter waited in vain.

Poland Seltzer

At the Paramus ShopRite, I saw 33.8-ounce bottles of Polar Seltzer for 80 cents each -- twice the sale price of the Adirondack Seltzer.

I also noticed Polar Quinine Water contains high-fructose corn syrup.

Also at the Summer Can Can Sale, red grapes were 99 cents a pound, a discount of 50 cents a pound.

Pure Instant Tea

But I searched in vain for ShopRite Pure Instant Tea, a black powder I've been using for years to make iced tea, adding water, fresh lime juice and mint from the garden.

A 3-ounce jar makes 30 quarts of unsweetened tea, according to the label on a half-empty bottle I have left from last year.

A ShopRite employee said the item has been discontinued, which I confirmed today in a call to Wakefern Food Corp., an Elizabeth-based, retailer-owned cooperative that supplies many ShopRites.

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