Monday, August 29, 2011

Slow Food USA's Take 5 Challenge! and a Recipe, too!

Recently in the news there has been a lot of discussion about the affordability of good, healthy food. Articles have reported that fruits and vegetables are too expensive, while others have suggest it is the unavailability of vegetables in the abounding food deserts of the USA and how it is advertised that cause quality produce and food to be expensive. Local, healthy food should be available to everyone, and it shouldn't have to come with a high ticket price. Slow Food USA has come up with a challenge for us to eat a meal on September 17th, 2011 of entirely slow, local foods at the cost of $5 per person (the cost of an average "fast-food" value meal). Across the nation people will be hosting dinners, attending dinners, exchanging ideas, recipes, sources and "mmms." Slow Food recognizes that $5 for a meal is not exactly inexpensive for many people, but the challenge is to show that for the same price of a McDonalds quarter pounder meal (or less) you can have a nutritious, delicious and local meal shared with friends. Will you be Taking the $5 Challenge? 

On September 17th I will be! I have yet to decide exactly how I will celebrate my meal, but hopefully it will be something to share with friends. Since I heard about it I've been brainstorming possible menus, venues, sources and dinner guests. To get us all rolling in the right direction here is a recipe for Eggs in a Nest of Zucchini (inspired by the recipe in Animal Vegetable Miracle) which I made for less than half of $5! This recipe would also make for a great Meatless Monday staple. And as we all know, cutting meat out of our diet one or more times a week is good for our bodies, our planet and our wallets as well! 

After the recipe you will also find some sources for ingredients and information in New York City and the Albany, NY area.


Eggs in a Nest of Zucchini
Serves 1 (may be multiplied)

2 tablespoons butter from Ronnybrook Farm Dairy (8 oz. = $4.00 / 4 = $1.00)
1/2 lb. zucchini from Migliorelli Farms, grated (1 lb. = $1.50 [or less] / 2 = $0.75)
2 chicken eggs from Quattro Farms (1 dozen eggs = $3.50 / 6 = $0.59)
Salt (Local if possible!) (nominal cost)

Total Cost: $2.34 per person

Melt the butter in a 10" or larger sized frying pan. Add the zucchini and a little salt, sauté for a minute or two until the zucchini heats up a bit. Make two depressions in the zucchini pile, one for each of the two eggs. Crack the eggs into the depressions (or if you're a rotten-egg-o-phobe into a bowl or cup first then pour into the depression). Cover the pan with a lid (preferably glass to watch the progress). Keep the pan on a low heat and cook until the whites of the eggs have set and are cooked to your desired doneness. (If you do not like a runny yolk, pierce the center of the eggs at the beginning of cooking.) Serve hot, enjoy!
And if this photo doesn't convince you that you will be full know that after eating one you'll want the second and be satiated all night!

Note: This is a verrry bare bones recipe to allow you to add your own flair to it, with a whole $2.66 worth of ingredients to add. You may wish to first sauté some onions or shallots, add a little garlic before the eggs, use spinach or other greens instead of zucchini, toss in some red peppers or jalepenos or corn with the zucchini, use lard instead of butter and sprinkle with crispy bacon pieces at the end, add a little cheese to the top, serve over toast or quinoa... The possibilities are wide open!

I really like the zucchini because it makes this recipe easy to use year round if you plan ahead in summer when zucchini is being practically (or literally, depending on who you know) given away-- just grate, freeze on a cookie sheet and portion into zip-top bags and pop in the freezer to use all winter. The frozen zucchini will be a bit watery when you use it, but you can always defrost it in a strainer and cook it a bit longer to evaporate the water.


Where to Shop

New York City

Albany/Capital District


Will you be taking the $5 Challenge? If so leave a comment to let me know! Please share any ideas you have or what your plans are for your $5 meal in the comments as well. 

Sign up to take the $5 Challenge!

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