I woke up this morning (yesterday), the start of my second week of unemployment, to a few inches of snow and the sun beaming onto my bed. Is there not anything better than waking up to the sun? I got up, made some breakfast, took the pup for a walk, and planned my attempt at being an extreme couponer. I realized I am not as good as I thought; I paid $75 for 4 bags of groceries and toilet paper (recycled of course). My total was about $145 before everything… so that is pretty good right? Granted I did get mostly organic produce and dairy. It kills me to buy non-sustainable rice, but I had to. Boo. Someday, I will have a giant chunk of land and be able to grow everything. Then when I do need rice or flour, I can splurge and buy the good-for-the-Earth stuff. Yay!
On my scenic drive back from the grocery store, I noticed that it was snowing up the hill, no, the mountain, from my home. I was always putting down the mountains of Vermont, saying things like “You think THESE are Mountains?!?!” and “Please, you should see the mountains in Alaska!!” Now that I have the highest peak in Vermont in my back yard, I have realized that in this locale, it really is pretty big and it does create its own weather. Point of the story… in 12 hours, we went from intense thundersnow, to morning sun, to early morning snow showers, to hopefully a significant accumulation. Typical New England… from my balcony, I can see the sun miles away, but here, it snows. I’ll take it J
So on a poor-woman’s budget, I stocked the fridge with some fresh winter veggies (carrots, turnips, leeks, parsnips, Brussel sprouts, and potatoes), filled the shelves with some basics (mac and cheese, tortellini), and stocked the freezer (fresh ‘super-sale’ pizza dough, a few pork chops and some ground chicken). Luckily my freezer is filled with plenty of venison and frozen veggies from the garden!
I’ve decided to cook. I turned up some music (the Eagles) and pulled out my 10 lb bag of organic russet potatoes and my 5 lb bag of organic onions (both for a total of $10!!). I took out a recipe my mom had given me when she gave me a recipe box for Christmas a few years ago… Potato-Onion Tart. This is an atypical tart. It has no crust and the onions are not caramelized. Again, I get to utilize my AMAZING food processor (Christmas gift this year from my Mom) to slice the potatoes and onions. I highly recommend this recipe. It is easy and simple, yet full of flavor and CHEAP! It goes great with pork or some roast chicken. It is a great change to the good-ol’ mashed potato!
2 lbs (about 5 decent sized) russet potatoes (unpeeled is healthier, peeled looks prettier)
3 cloves of garlic
1 cup half and half (whole milk works well for the on-the-budget folk)
2 tbsp olive oil
Pinch of nutmeg
1 medium onion, sliced as thin as possible
2 tbsp fresh parmesan
1 tbsp chopped chives (or parsley since it is all I have ready to pick in my kitchen sink garden!)
– Put two of the potatoes and the whole garlic cloves into a pot. Cover with salted water. Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes (or until tender). Retain ½ cup of the cooking liquid. Drain the remaining and mash the garlic and potatoes. Add ¼ cup of the retained liquid, 2 tbsp of the half and half, olive oil, and nutmeg. Mix again and season with S&P if needed.
– Preheat your oven to 400°F. Butter (tastes better) or spray (tastes blah) a pie plate.
– Thinly slice the remaining potatoes (I used my food processor slicing attachment… LOVE) and layer into the pie plate, alternating with the sliced onions.
-Drizzle with the remaining ¼ cup half and half. Bring the liquid level up to the top of the potatoes with the remaining potato liquid (if needed). Top the pie plate with the mashed mixture and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
– Bake for 45 minutes. Garnish with chives or parsley. Slice like a pie and enjoy!