Category Archives: cheese

Poor Girl Pizza

I really think summer ’12 is going to go down as one of the craziest of my life.  What’s my excuse now for not posting in a while?  Oh, you know, I got invited very last minute to attend my sister’s elopement (word?) in Nashville.  No big deal.  Then my niece ended up coming to Bloomington so I’ve been taking her out to eat instead of cooking.

I did,  however, make these pizzas for her after an especially exhausting day.

The great thing about using tortillas is that they can make the tortillas nice and crisp by preheating them in the oven while you prepare the other ingredients.  Oh, and a 12 pack of corn tortillas costs $0.59.  No joke (El Millagro from Chicago).

The other great thing about these pizzas is that any leftover ingredient in the fridge tastes great.  Got left over pasta sauce? great! Leftover salsa?  That works out perfectly, too.  You can literally do anything- alfredo, salad dressing, olive oil…at some point they become flat breads and not pizzas though 🙂  My other favorite thing about these is that sometimes I just don’t want leftovers.  I can make as many as I want and not worry about storing the rest in the fridge.

So, anyway, now that I’ve told you all the reasons I’m in love with these pizzas, I suppose I’ll tell you what I did.

Poor Girl Pizza

-preheat the oven to 400 degrees
-place as many tortillas as desired on a pizza pan and let the tortillas heat while the oven preheats
-chop whatever vegetables you would like (aka leftover CSA veggies) (I used zucchini, onion, garlic, and tomato)
-take the tortillas out of the oven, spread pasta sauce on tortillas
-top with slices of mozzarella cheese (or goat, or parmesan, or whatever strikes your fancy 🙂 )
-add your veggies
-season with salt, crushed red pepper, and fennel
-bake in oven for 5-10 minutes

Total Cost: $4.13 (or $0.59/pizza)
7 tortillas: $0.34
-1/2 organic zucchini: $0.50
-2 small organic onions: $1.00
-2 cloves of organic garlic: $0.30
-1/6 jar of pasta sauce: $0.33
-1/3 lb mozzarella: $1.67

7 were enough for 2, so I’d say you can’t beat that.


Black bean – kale – kohlrabi – garlic scape burgers

yikes, that’s a mouthful.

This really is the best part about the CSA- the opportunity to make bizarre meals.  My inspiration actually came from this blog, where there was a recipe for garlic scape and kale hummus.  I figured since I had garlic scapes and kale, but no chickpeas, I could make a black bean hummus.  I also have more kohlrabi than I know what to do with, so obviously I wanted to add that, too.  After I got everything in the food processor it dawned on me that I should just add some cornmeal, too, and make burgers!

Last night I topped the burgers with plain yogurt and chipotle chili powder.


Tonight I added my caliente goat cheese and a fried egg….DELICIOUS

I’m not the best at taking food pics haha

I definitely like the black bean burgers best with cheese and egg.

If I were my roommate, I would probably like this with olive tapenade.

CSA black bean burgers

chop 2 kohlrabi (root, stem, and leaves)

-steam in the microwave for 2 minutes
-add to the food processor, along with 5 chopped garlic scapes and a handful kale


-blend in the food processor
-add a 29 ounce can of blackbeans, continue to process
-add cornmeal, a 1/4 cup at a time, until the desired consistency is reached
-add cumin, taco seasoning, and crushed red pepper, blend
-form burgers and bake at 400 degrees until crispy or you lose patience

Total Price: $4.39 ($0.37/burger)

1 29 oz. can black beans: $0.99
-5 organic garlic scapes: $0.15
-2 organic kohlrabi: $2.00
-organic kale: $1.00
– 1/4 cup organic cornmeal: $0.25

-1 container organic plain yogurt: $0.80
-organic caliente goat cheese: $2.00


Omelettes are something that have taken me a long time to perfect.  They’re such a great meal in a pinch, though.  You can add any vegetable, any cheese, any sauce, and you’re good.  Here are some of the tricks I’ve learned along the way:

1.  If you think you’ve oiled/buttered/sprayed your pan enough, you haven’t.  don’t forget-  the sides of the skillet!!

2.  Use the smallest pan possible.  A smaller, thicker omelette is much easier to make than a thin one.

3.  This may be a no brainer, but it took me a long time to figure out this was key- whisk your eggs in a seperate bowl or glass first.  Add a little water or milk to give them extra fluff.

4.  Another no brainer, but again, I made a lot of gross omelettes before I figured this out- take the time to sautee all your vegetables before you add them to the omelette.  Sautee them first, THEN start your egg.  Then you’re not rushed and either undercooking your veggies or, even worse, overcooking your egg.

5.  If you want an omelette but are out of cheese, use salsa.  It adds the needed creamy-ness that makes an omelette good.

6.  There is no spice or vegetable combination that is bad in an omelette.

7.  Use the smallest spatula possible when flipping your omelette.  This will help you wield it best.

8.  Don’t let your pan get too hot, but if it’s not hot enough your omelette won’t cook well.  medium to medium low is best.

9.  Let your omelette cook part way before adding your vegetables.  If you add too soon, you will end up with a mess.

10.  Some of my favorite combinations: onion, green pepper, colby jack; spinach, onion, black beans, salsa; spinach and goat cheese; potatoes, onion, fennel, gouda;

end of the week CSA omelette(this is the second Thursday night omelette I’ve made with the last few remnants of the week’s CSA)

sautee chopped turnip greens, beet greens, green onions, or kale, green onions, chives (or a combo of both!) in olive oil
-while sauteeing, whisk two eggs in a cup; add a tablespoon or two of milk
-remove veggies from pan, spray extra cooking oil in pan
-pour eggs in pan, let them cook for ~1 minute
-add veggies, salsa, cheese (I used gouda for the first omelette, bleu cheese for the second)
-flip one side over, creating a pocket
-if desired (I usually don’t), flip the omelette by rocking it over the spine (?) of the omelette. (what the heck do you call that part?)

okay, so it looks more like a taco than an omelette, but at least it stayed together!

Total Price:$1.24-$2.20

-2 eggs: $0.34
-whatever veggies are in your fridge: $0.20-$0.75
-bits of cheese: $0.50-$1.00
-1/8 of a cup of salsa: $0.20

Whine…and Cheese!

Okay, so my last post was me being mopey about the grocery store.

HOWEVER, I did make some fantastic cheese tonight.  It’s so freaking easy.  This recipe came from DIY Delicious by Vanessa Barrington.

Step 1: pour 1 gallon of milk into a large pot

I would cry if I spilled all of this

Step 2: Heat milk to 185 degrees F, while stirring.

Step 3: At 185 degrees, turn off heat and add 1/3 cup white vinegar.  Stir to distribute the vinegar, then let it sit for 5-8 minutes.

this effect is infinitely more disgusting when you are teaching the milk separation lab for general chemistry..

Step 4:  Remove clumps of cheese with a slotted spoon and place in a cheese cloth lined strainer.  If you want dry cheese, use less layers of cloth; soft cheese, use more.  (I used two layers)

starting to look less disgusting

Step 5: Once the cheese reaches the desired consistency, add salt (to taste), and store in a tupperware.

Cheese is obviously stored best in an old chop suey container

There you have it.  This whole process probably takes about an hour, but most of that time is waiting for the milk to reach the correct temperature.  It’s really nice if you have work in the kitchen that needs to be done, or if you can sit around and do homework or drink tea while you chat with your roommate and watch ridiculous videos on college humor.

Price?  Crazy cheap.  This was 3/4 of a gallon and 1/4 cup of vinegar so it ended up being $4.50 for ~1 lb?  1.5 lb?  of organic cheese.  A great bonus is that I also have A TON of whey left over.

Squash Part 2

Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures for this one.  We’ve been making a habit out of Friday night dinners with friends, and I was so excited to try my potato-squash-onion-ground beef pizza that I forgot to take a picture of it.  Actually, my roommate reminded me that I should have as I was taking my first big bite.  That’s okay, though, this post can be an exercise in imaginatory brain power.

I was a little bit nervous about my pizza because I have never had most of the ingredients I used on a pizza before.  I don’t mind making something and having it be bad if it’s just for me, but when other people are involved, I tend to care a little bit more 🙂

The pizza turned out fantastically, though.  If I were to change anything, I would utilize some advice that was given in a comment on a previous post and roast the potatoes a bit before putting them on the pizza.  I thought the garlic olive oil sauce was a great complement to the toppings.  I would maybe use a little bit less next time, though.  Here is what I did:

Potato-Squash-Onion-Ground Beef Pizza with Garlic-infused Olive Oil Sauce
-at least 3 hours ahead of time, make the pizza crust (mix 1-1/2 cups wheat flour, 1/4 tsp yeast, 3/8 cup warm water (I probably ended up using closer to 3/4 cups) in a food processor until a ball of dough forms, let rest for 3+ hours)
-prebake crust at 410 degrees C for 10 minutes
-while the crust is baking, put 3 tablespoons olive oil in a small sauce pan and crush or finely chop a clove of garlic into the oil.  Set stove-top to low and let sit while crust bakes, stirring occasionally.
-thinly slice 2 potatoes and 1/4 onion
-brown 1/4 lb ground beef, add salt/pepper
-pull pre-roasted butternut squash out of the fridge
-after crust is done baking, brush olive oil/garlic mixture over the crust.
-add fennel and italian seasoning
-add desired amount of cheese
-add potato slices, onions, ground beef, and squash on top.  I would suggest salting the potato slices
-pop in the oven for another 8-10 minutes

Total Price: $3.79

crust: $0.61
garlic: $0.10
cheese (not organic): $1.00 (old cheese from before this project began)
squash: $0.13
potatoes: $0.60
onion: $0.20
ground beef: $0.75

*insert clever status including words “quick”, “easy”, and “cheap”*

Another late night…another quick meal.

Didn’t get home until 9:30 and wanted to be eating by 10…JUST managed that.

Last night’s guacamole was looking a little brown, so that was my top priority to use.

I also pulled out of my ‘fridge (aside: I once knew a guy who legitimately thought the proper spelling for refrigerator was ‘fridgerator’) some chopped onions, a frozen pork chop, and leftover home made cheese.

Here’s what I did:

– sauteed onions in olive oil until they were just becoming translucent
-seasoned the (microwave defrosted) pork chop with salt, pepper, dry mustard, crushed red pepper flakes, and garlic powder
-browned the pork in the pan with the onions on both sides, ~3 minutes each side
-topped the pork chop with a thick layer of guacamole
-topped the guacamole with a layer of cheese
-placed the entire pan in the oven at 410 degrees F for 15 minutes

I actually tried to take a picture of this goodness, but my camera batteries died mid shot 😦

To be honest, I was a little bit leery of the pork/guac/cheese combo, but it was really good.  The cheese didn’t melt, but got nice and cripsy brown on top.  I also really enjoyed the warm guac.  Word of caution: I think I undercooked it…so maybe pork isn’t the best thing to try and be super quick with…

It’s okay, though, because I’m now drinking a hot glass of tea in hopes of killing any bacteria from the pork that may be plotting my demise..

Total Cost: $1.70

pork: $0.75 (not organic) (paid $2.00/lb)
guacamole: $0.75 (used ~1/4 of the original amount of guac)
cheese: $0.20 (probably used 1/4 of the 1/4 that was left)


By the whey…

So, yesterday I shared my cheese-making experience for the pizza.  The cheese that I made was extra crumbly, so there was a TON of whey left over.  We’re talking probably 10-12 cups worth.  Being the frugalista that I am, I didn’t really want it to go to waste, so I’ve been using it for everything.  I’ve heard that it’s really good for watering plants with, but I’m selfish (and don’t have any plants…) so I’ve been using it for myself.

This is a pretty amazing deal because 1.  I already factored the price of the whey into the cost of making the cheese, so this is essentially free, 2.  there are a ton of nutrients (including lots of protein) in the whey, so it’s like I’m cooking with a supplement…for free, 3.  I’m not using water, which makes me feel like I’m conserving..and not spending those .2 cents out of the faucet (hey, it doesn’t sound like much, but I know when my bank account gets down to the last $5.00 I always look back to places I could have saved haha).  4.  You can also substitute it for milk..which saves you a lot more money than substituing water!

Here are some of my uses, with the results:


I have this amazing multigrain pancake mix that I buy in bulk from Bloomingfoods.  I substitued the whey for the milk..I made 2 batches of pancakes which saved me 1 cup and 4 tablespoons of milk.  Considering organic  milk is expensive, I didn’t think that was too shabby.  The result?  Pancakes fluffier beyond my wildest dreams with a fuller flavor than usual.  Bonus: I drizzled the top with my homemade creme fraiche that I’ll post about later.


Like I said earlier, barley is my new love.  It also soaks up tons and tons of water.  I filled a pot half full with whey protein and added some barley.  Now, if you haven’t noticed yet, when I’m cooking I don’t really believe in measurements.  You can’t really mess these things up, and if you do, there’s always a fix for it.  So anyway, I put a bunch of barley in and started it cooking.  When the liquid got low, I just added more whey.  I also added chopped up potatos and diced acorn squash I had roasted a few days ago.  Interestingly, the whey imparted an amazing flavor to the potatoes.  Perhaps it has something to do with the protein breaking down the starch?  I’m not really sure..  I would be interested to try making mashed potatoes by coooking the potatoes in whey and substituing it for milk.  Other ingredients I added to this barley:

pressed garlic, salt, red pepper flakes, pepper

The overall taste was very home-y.  It had a subtle milky flavor to it, and the potatoes and squash made it feel comforting.  If you don’t like squash, I would definitely recommend adding something with a little color, because I think it might be a little bland otherwise.

Other add-ins I would like to try:

grainy mustard, spinach, sweet potato, chunks of beef, fennel

I feel like barley possibilities are pretty endless

Boxed Rice

I found an old box of Nature’s Way whole grain chicken and herb rice.  Again, I substitued whey for water.  Doing so in this recipe was pretty analogous to substituting chicken stock for water in rice recipes.  It added a little extra flavor.  In the future, I wouldn’t do a 1:1 substitution.  You definitely need about twice as much whey than the called for amount of water.

So, overall, I think you can do just about anything with whey.  I tasted a little bit and it probably wouldn’t be bad to drink by itself – in fact, a lot of cultures have carbonated drinks they make from it.  You could add it to a smoothie or a milk shake, bake with it, or even make more cheese.  If you do the same process as before – heating it to 185 degrees and adding vinegar, you can make ricotta.  This didn’t seem advantageous to me, though, because I heard you only get about a cup’s worth of cheese.

I still have quite a bit left, so I’m excited to see what other possibilities I can think of.

edit: (1/24/2012)


I honestly didn’t really like this combination.  The whey gave it a gummy texture very reminscent of instant oatmeal.  Definitely not my favorite.

Mashed potatoes

I really liked this.  I think the whey actually made the potatoes cook faster, which was certainly a plus.  As with most of the food I have cooked in whey, I think the potatoes had a “fuller” flavor than those cooked in water.