On The Hunt, with Greg Barbera
Ours is a community with a voracious appetite. But food comes at a cost. My goal here is to go on a food safari, setting my sights on the delicious and delectable options often overlooked around town. As a single dad of two growing boys, I consider myself a frugal foodie. I like to maximize my investment to get the most out of a dollar. Ten dollars will be my tipping point. The days of the $5 lunch are long gone but I believe there’s still affordable food—be it a sandwich or late night tapas—available to us. Outside of setting my sights on what’s out on the range, I also hope to tap into our other side. The gatherer. Armed with little more than a five-dollar bill, I will visit the area’s farmer’s markets scouring the booths for earthen bounty. I am not a trained chef; every thing I have learned is through observation and experimentation. But I have a will and a way and a limited budget, so let’s go hunting…
Rose with the sun on Saturday August 3rd in order to get to Carrboro’s Farmers’ Market before the masses. I took a quick peek in the fridge and cupboards before I left and made a mental note of what I had at home.
Tomatoes, peppers and eggplant were in large supply — so I couldn’t avoid picking up an “ugly ‘mater” and two small orange peppers. I browsed the stalls, then settled on two ears of corn, a cucumber and a roll of fresh baked bolillo bread.
I left with sixty cents change on a $5 bill.
Back in the kitchen, I boiled the ears of corn (after breaking them in half into smaller pieces). I tossed some butter and garlic on the roll and made toasted garlic bread. The tomato and cucumber I washed, then sliced thin. I had pita bread and hummus leftover from the previous night. I spread the hummus on the pita and then loaded it up with tomatoes and cucumber, then topped it with lettuce and Greek dressing. I stuffed the peppers with leftover taco meat (flavoring it up a bit with roasted corn, garlic and red onion). I christened them STP — short for “stuffed taco pepper” because I am clever like that, ya know?
*You can stretch out these simple ingredients but using the corn cobs to make soup stock. As for the tomato and cucumber, diced them up. Then mix with olive oil, red onion, lemon juice and mint for a refreshingly light Moroccan style salad.
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Rinse and core out peppers then place to the side
-In a skillet, I sautéed garlic (same clove from my recent trip to Chapel Hill’s Farmers’ Market), red onion and some kernels of corn I stripped off the tip of one of the cobs in sea salt, pepper and olive oil.
-Added last week’s leftover taco meat to the skillet and toss to mix.
-Grease up a baking dish
-Stuff peppers with meat mix then topped with parmesan cheese
-Bake for 30 minutes… then eat up. Yum.