Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Thai Fried Eggplant with Basil

First, let me apologize ... I hate setting the challenge and then not participating. I had inlaws in town for most of the month of April and it was hard to venture out and try something new let alone keep track of a budget. But, you all did great and proved to me that I should quit griping about my grocery bills!

I wanted to, at least, get one post in this month to share a couple of things ... even though I wasn't posting recipes I did do a couple of things this month to cut back on grocery bills now and in the future. First, with the help of my father-in-law, I started composting. It is amazing how much you can cut down on your trash by composting ... after only 1 month my bin is full and I can't wait to use that liquid gold soil on my garden this fall. In Arizona, you get 2 growing seasons in fall/winter/spring and unfortunately, I didn't take advantage of it last fall ... but I'm hoping to this next fall.

Second, my inlaws gifted us a small lemon tree when they left, which we planted in our backyard alongside our grapefruit and orange trees this past weekend. I'm hoping this provides lots of culinary inspiration in a few months.

Thirdly, I planted a strawberry pot full of culinary herbs that I have been using all month and has been a great thing to have especially if you only use a dab of this or that. I've tried this several times in the past without success and the trick I have found is to install a root watering stem in the center of the pot and it will keep everything watered nicely and hopefully provide several months of culinary enjoyment.

And, finally here is a link to a new recipe I tried last night. I haven't been able to get past the Basil Eggplant and Tofu dish at a local Thai restaurant here so I set out to try to recreate the dish using this recipe and I have to admit it came out pretty darn close to the restaurant version. I did not use the bell pepper nor the cornstarch mixture but added tofu. Here is the cost breakdown:

3 medium japanese eggplants = $3.50
12 oz. tofu = $.86
1 medium onion = $.50
3 Thai or serrano chiles = $.25
Thai basil leaves - had some thai basil in my garden
Jasmine rice - $1.00

Total $6.11

The sauce ingredients I had on hand since I cook a lot of thai dishes. I was shocked to see we could make a restaurant quality meal for a little over $5.00. I admit you have to be into Thai vegetarian dishes to appreciate this one but if you are, it's a keeper.


KAJ said...

We understand! Right girls!

This is a pretty impressive post! You really came through in the clutch! I am loving your herb pot!! Did you use one of those watering globes I have seen on TV?

Robin said...

The white stake in the middle of the pot is the watering stem - it's actually meant for trees. It works exactly like those globes would work, except I suspect it can hold a lot more water at one time than the globe ...but it's the same idea. When you use the strawberry pot you have to have a way to get at the bottom plants and this seemed to solve the issue ... the pot has been continually producing new growth and I think it looks nicer than having a bunch of pots around.