Right, so I know it’s Thursday and technically, Hobo Mondays are supposed to take place on, um, Monday, but I’m sick so give me a break. Plus we’ve been out of town for the past two weekends in a row and I’ve had other things to do. Bitch and moan, bitch and moan.
Ok really, I feel like such complete ass that I wasn’t sure I was gonna partake in this month’s Hobo showdown, but at around 4:30 I got semi ambitious and rose from my position on the couch to make dinner. Mostly cause I knew I had a really, really cheap recipe up my sleeve and I couldn’t resist the challenge.
This month the goal was to make dinner for two people for $3. “Too hard! It cannot be done!” you say. Well, I’m here to say it certainly can. Especially if you have a pantry stocked with staples. So take that!
Today I made spaetzle outta my pantry. Well, the intention was to make it out of my pantry cause the ingredients list said “milk and flour” and I said, check and check! But when I whipped it together…
Things I hate? Shitty recipes that obviously have not been tested
I started with a spaetzle recipe out of Simple to Spectacular: How to Take One Basic Recipe to Four Levels of Sophistication by Jean-Georges Vongerichtan and Mark Bittman. Ingredient list said 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup milk. THEN when I got to the directions, somehow the recipe had changed to only 1/4 cup milk. Lets just think about it for a sec. Mix 2 cups flour with 1/4 cup milk. What do YOU think would happen?? Hmmmm…
Right, so then I added 1/2 cup like the recipe said in the ingredients section. Still not enough you say? Yeah, you’d be quite right. So off to Google and it appears that MOST PEOPLE make spaetzle with egg in it. Thank God I just happened to have 4 eggs in the fridge. Nevermind that the expiration date was in April and it’s…June. Yes, I did the egg float test and all four passed, albeit just barely. Alright, so first crisis averted (yes, there were more).
Next up – the making the spaetzle part.
I looked at my colander – the holes seemed too small. But the holes on the steamer insert of my pasta pot seemed just right. I threw the steamer over the pasta pot, tossed in the batter and forced it through with a spoon. This, of course, was not going fast enough for my liking so I threw the spoon aside and used my hand. I can certainly understand why older German ladies have a lot of upper body strength – this was a royal PITA. But I persevered and continued to push the batter through the holes. I gave up when there was a thin layer of batter left in the steamer – my hand started to get hot.
At that time, I figured the spaetzle had cooked enough – it had taken a few minutes to get all the batter through the holes. So I dumped the spaetzle into the colander in the sink. But the water wouldn’t drain out of my colander. Some sort of accident ensued (I don’t want to talk about it) and half my spaetzle went down the drain. In a mad panic to save it, I tried scooping it with my bare hands back into the colander.
Ever tried picking up hot pasta right out of the pot with your bare hands? Yeah, it’s not a bright idea.
So now I have burns on my fingers and the majority of my dinner is in the disposal. Did I mention that I’m sick and I have no patience??
Oh yeah, and ever tried to wash things in hot water when you’ve got a burn on your hand? That would be crisis number three of the evening.
Arghhh…anyway, so then I made the sauce part. And of course cause my patience was waning, I didn’t quite make it the way I had originally intended (it was supposed to be a sage BROWN butter, but I didn’t want to wait. In retrospect…).
Without further ado, and cause I’m tired and need to go back to being fully horizontal, the breakdown:
Flour – pantry (thus free)
Milk – $0.16 for half a cup
Eggs – $1.04 (I really have no idea since they were bought so long ago – but I used 4 out of a pack of organic, cage free, happy chicken eggs. Cost will be MUCH LESS if you use the regular factory farm eggs. But that’s on YOUR CONSCIENCE my friend).
Corn – $1.10 for a small can
Sage – I’m growing it so it’s free
Onion – $0.20 for half a cup diced
Butter – I could say this is a pantry item too, but I’m being nice and I’ll include it. I used about 2.5 oz (I’m working on a block of Plugra right now – so hard to tell tablespoons and whatnot). $0.50
Total = $3.00. And would have been less than $2 if the stupid spaetzle recipe hadn’t required eggs!
Spaetzle with corn and sage
Ingredients (spaetzle part):
2 cups flour
1/2 cup milk
1 t kosher salt
pinch freshly ground nutmeg
1. In a bowl, mix together the flour, milk, eggs, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.
2. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
3. Place your colander, spaetzle maker, steamer insert (basically – whatever you’ve got that has pretty decent sized holes – you need that batter to go THROUGH the holes here – so use your best judgement) over the pot of boiling water. Pour the batter in your colander and force through the holes. Use a spoon, spatula, your hands, whatever it takes but just get that stuff through the holes.
4. Let spaetzle boil for a few minutes (it probably already has by the time you get it through the colander).
5. Drain and rinse with cold water until spaetzle is cool to the touch. Set aside.
Ingredients – Brown Butter with Corn and Sage part:
1 T canola or veg oil
1/2 cup minced onion
small can of corn (11 oz)
3/4 stick of butter (let your conscience dictate here – but it’s gotta be enough for a sauce)
8 sage leaves
salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat 1 T of oil over medium – medium-high heat in a saute pan.
2. Add onions and saute till soft – about 5 minutes
3. Add butter. Continue to cook till it turns light golden brown.
4. Add sage and corn and heat till warmed.
5. Remove from the heat if the butter starts to get too brown and add the spaetzle (otherwise, leave on the heat and add spaetzle). Stir to coat and cook till spaetzle is warm.
6. Remove from the heat if you haven’t already. Salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Ms. Pantry Raid