Recession Chic

a down economy does not = ugly shoes

Dining In: Tofu and Green Bean Stir Fry September 28, 2009

Filed under: Food & Drink — karakrautter @ 3:42 PM
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This dinner was from another great find from the food blogs earlier this year.

The sauce is light, yet flavorful, and does a great job seasoning the tofu (a challenging task). The whole process only took me 30 minutes, and I just added some brown rice to make the meal complete. The recipe makes three generous servings, but it is really good leftover.


  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 package (14-ounce) firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon Canola oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 3/4 pound French green beans, ends removed
  • 1 red bell pepper, stem removed and thinly sliced


1. Whisk together the vegetable broth, fish sauce, chili garlic sauce, and sugar in a large bowl.

2. Heat a large skillet and then add the oil and the onion. Cook, stirring constantly, until the onion begins to soften. Then dump in the beans and cook, continuing to stir, for about 2 1/2 minutes.

3. Pour in the sauce, the red pepper, and the tofu. Stir occasionally, and cook for 3 minutes. Cover for a quick steam to make sure the beans are fully cooked.



Classic Cocktail: Moscow Mule September 23, 2009

Filed under: Food & Drink — karakrautter @ 4:15 PM
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For a lot of people (myself included), this recession has influenced and changed how we live our lives.  Cooking more at home, eating out less. Updating and redoing instead of buying new. However, my favorite thing may be the throw back to classic cocktails. My love affair with the imbibes of our country’s depressed and prohibited past started just a few months after the recession began.

I haven’t shared a cocktail recipe in quite some time, but when I saw this one for a Moscow Mule, I knew I should.


  • Ice cubes
  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) vodka
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/3 cups chilled ginger beer (ale)
  • Lime slices for garnish


Fill two tall 12-ounce glasses three-quarters full with ice cubes. Add 3 tablespoons vodka, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and 2/3 cup ginger beer to each glass. Garnish with lime slices.

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Dining In: Tortellini with brown butter and sage September 22, 2009

Filed under: Food & Drink — karakrautter @ 10:09 AM
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After a very long Monday, I was craving something simple and savory for dinner. I knew there wasn’t much left in my fridge, so a trip to Central Market was in order after work. Since February, I’ve been flagging recipes I find on food blogs that sound tasty. However, I have so many set aside that the ones from the beginning of the year rarely catch my attention. This week I decided to start my search at the end of my list, and quickly found this recipe from Serious Eats for tortellini (one of my favorite pastas!). This was beyond delicious and such a comfort after a long day.


  • 1/2 pound dry pasta or two servings of frozen tortellini (I used Central Market’s frozen porcini mushroom tortellini)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup sage leaves, about 10 to 15, left whole or thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, or to taste
  • Freshly grated black pepper and sea salt
  • Freshly grated Parmesan


  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil; add salt. Cook the pasta or tortellini according to package instructions, then drain.
  2. In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Continue cooking until the butter begins to brown, keeping a very close watch to ensure it doesn’t burn.
  3. When the butter is nearing completion, add the sage leaves to crisp in the butter. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice to halt the cooking, plus some salt.
  4. Toss the drained pasta into the skillet, coating well with the sauce. Finish with black pepper and Parmesan. Serve immediately.

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Dining In: Ginger Sea Bass with Jasmine Rice September 10, 2009

Filed under: Food & Drink — karakrautter @ 6:23 PM
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Finally my bathroom tile project is finished! I finished sealing all the grout and over Labor Day weekend my dad put caulk around the edges and replaced all the doors. As a thank you, I wanted to cook a nice meal for my parents on Labor Day — but it needed to be something simple since I was returning that afternoon from my weekend in San Antonio.

Several weeks ago, I decided to comb threw the Food Network site to find some good fish recipes. I came across this one from my girl Giada that sounded like a simply perfect way to cook and serve sea bass – one of the greatest of all the fishes.


  • 1/2 bag fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 3 (5-ounce) sea bass fillets
  • fresh ginger, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup dry Marsala wine
  • 8 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 lime
  • thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
  • 1.5 cups of uncooked jasmine rice
  • 1 bottle of ginger ale


  1. Preheat the oven or grill to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place  spinach in the center of a foil sheet that will hold three fillets. Top with a sea bass fillet.
  3. Sprinkle with ginger and garlic, then drizzle Marsala, soy sauce, and sesame oil over the fish and spinach.
  4. Gather the foil sheet over the fish. Fold in the foil edges and pinch tightly to seal.
  5. Set foil package aside until ready to cook.
  6. Prepare the rice according to the directions on the box, leaving out a little of the water. Halfway through cooking, add some ginger ale, lime juice and basil leaves to season.
  7. Then, cook the fish for about 10 minutes. Open package and fold down to reveal fish, being careful of hot steam. Squeeze the lime juice over the fish.
  8. Sprinkle the basil over and serve over the rice.



Dining In: Avocado Spring Rolls September 2, 2009

Filed under: Food & Drink — karakrautter @ 10:33 AM
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I love spring rolls! I mean real spring rolls with rice paper, light fillings and NOT fried. Years ago in Missouri, I mistakenly assumed that ‘spring rolls’ on the menu at an Asian restaurant would all be the same — oh, so wrong. They were just veggie fried egg rolls. Any who…

This week I decided it was time to make some spring rolls at home. This recipe from Broke Ass Gourmet makes the perfect simple, light spring rolls that I will totally make again for an appetizer.


  • 1 package rice paper spring roll wrappers
  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced
  • 1/2 ripe mango, sliced
  • 1 bag of shredded cabbage (I used a mix of red cabbage, carrots and squash)
  • 3 tbsp sweet chili sauce
  • 1 small bunch cilantro
  • several slices of ginger


  1. Slice avocado and mango.
  2. Wet a wrapper and shake gently to remove excess liquid. Lay wrapper on a clean, dry surface. Arrange an avocado slice, a mango slice, and a few pieces of cabbage mix in the center of the wrapper, so that they are all facing in the same direction.
  3. Once the wrapper is pliable enough to work with, tuck in the ends and roll up tightly.
  4. Repeat until all ingredients are used up.

For the sauce:

  • Combine the cilantro (chopped) with the chili sauce and ginger in a food processor or blender until completely blended.



A new purple netbook! September 1, 2009

Filed under: Purple — karakrautter @ 8:53 AM
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Wow. It’s already September. I’ve had this blog for right over 9 months, which qualifies it as the only New Year’s resolution I have actually kept up with. As a kid, I tried keeping a diary, several journals, but nothing ever stuck (maybe because my life never seemed that interesting). With this blog, I seek out great recipes to cook, document all the work I’ve done on my condo, and share little oddities I stumble upon.

In honor of all my ‘hard work,’ I treated myself to a new personal computer. My old one from grad school was fine (a bit slow with rapidly decreasing battery life), but I was ready for something newer and simpler. Since I spend so much time with technology during the day, I knew I only wanted a system for email, blogging, surfing the web and storing all my documents from high school through grad school (yeah, I still believe that I will one day need a paper I wrote at 15). So, a netbook was the perfect upgrade for me. And, of course, I had to get it in purple 😉