Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cook it or Charge it?

For a large number of people in New York, St. Patrick's Day is not only a day of convivial carousing in a hideous green get-up, but also THE day to exercise excess- usually in the form of sloppy, binge drinking and consuming platters of tater skins. Even, little Filipino me got swept up in the infectious Irish spirit of revelry, spending a couple of hours at a pub clinking glasses of whiskey and beer with my friend, Jason, but around dinner-time, the little
under-employed me found it tough to to over-indulge on a day that applauds indulgence. It would have been so easy to order a couple of savory plates of corned beef and mash at the bar, but it was just as easy to cook at home, and less damage to the ole savings account.

According to the last Consumer Expenditure Report issued in October, by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average person in the U.S. spent $2694 on food away from home (either fast-food or full-service dining). Personally, I spent $7507.08, in restaurants alone, according to my 2008 Amex Year-End Summary (didn't know that until I did my taxes)! This is a lot of cashola that I'm dishing out for dishes! It wouldn't hurt to curtail the dining-out habit a tad. But when I'm out cocktailing and hungry, I will most likely google-map a hot-spot downtown and forgo cooking. I do like to cook, but it requires some effort and a few hours of kitchen (and mental) prep time. Factor in sobriety levels, it can seem like a supreme hassle!

Luckily, my friend offered to cook. He shot-gunned his beer, and I nursed the last few sips of mine and went back to his kitchen. He sorted out the menu of Beer-Braised Bratwurst with Mixed Green Salad, and Mashed Potatoes, which turned out to be incredibly satisfying, delicious and super cheap chow to boot. He had everything in his kitchen, minus an onion, easily solved by a quick trip to the street-corner deli shop.


Ingredients and Cost-Breakdown

1 pacakge of 5 Bratwurst Sausages from Trader Joe's = $4
1 Onion < $1 Mixed Greens < $2-3
1 Red Bell Pepper < $1
2 large potatoes < $1
Some Butter, oil, red-wine vinegar and 1 cup of Milk < $2-4
1 six-pack of Beer = $8-12
Total < $20 for 2 people, includes drinks.

Mouth-watering plate and well-worth the effort!!

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