My posting rate has dropped off since I started this little blog in July — but not for a lack of interest. At least a few times a week I’m inspired by something in the news or in the classroom (see: last entry) or in the grocery store and want to weigh in. But I have found a new way to walk the Frugal Foodie talk: in addition to my day job I’ve been working on the side since September as a kitchen assistant at a nearby cooking school. The decision to look for a second job was prompted by my sitting down and taking a clear-eyed look at my student debt. I calculated how much I would ultimately be paying in interest with my current ten-year payback plan and it’s a five figure number. Once I recovered from the initial outrage, I realized that in my already fairly frugal state (not counting Manhattan rents), short of moving out of the borough I couldn’t do a whole lot more cutting back. Since I love my neighborhood and my lease isn’t up for renewal another seven months anyway, it was time to look at increasing my income.
This cooking school gig has already revealed more benefits than the paycheck. I’m learning a lot on the job and can tell that my culinary literacy is expanding. Plus, I eat pretty well thanks to the leftover food at the end of whichever class I’m working. There’s usually enough for dinner as well as food to pack up. And in some cases, if we have cancellations or no-shows in class, there’s leftover food in the fridge that needs to be cleared out to make way for the next shopping trip. A few days ago I worked a class that took place right after a shopping trip, so all sorts of ingredients were cast out of the fridge. There wasn’t a lot of enthusiasm for the items but, even though I’m traveling for eight out of the next nine days, I just can’t in good conscience let perfectly edible food be tossed, so I took it home.
I had election day off and made good use of it (running through Central Park mid-morning and mid-week is great!, so is thrift store shopping; unfortunately, laundry is no fun regardless of the day of the week), including cooking up a big batch of soup. My original plan was to make potato leek soup, but couldn’t ignore all those other ingredients that were begging to be used.
I diced the potatoes and threw them into a big pot with some olive oil.
Then came the other ingredients.
After adding some chicken stock and letting everything simmer for about 20 minutes, I gave the pot a few whirs of my immersion blender and at the last minute added some mint.
The rest of the soup is in my freezer, waiting to be enjoyed when I get back to town.