• erin

    Dumplings with my family
    A recent graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, I found myself with no money, no kitchen equipment, and an exceptionally huge appetite. Ideas, improvisations, and yummy meal solutions were discovered in the kitchen of my very first apartment.
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    I've been getting a lot of requests and suggestions for the apartment kitchen. I LOVE these suggestions, keep them coming!

    If you have anything you'd like me to consider (recipes to develop, shortcuts for recipes, great ingredients, or even blog formatting), shoot me an email and let me know!


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Pad See Ew, or Dinner and Wine for Under $10

I generally spend Mondays alone. After what seems like an incredibly long day and a seemingly short weekend all I want is to make something quick and easy. This week, I came up with a new idea.

The challenge: dinner for one with no leftovers and wine for under $10. The choice: a Thai-inspired dish that is healthy, fast to prepare, and incredibly satisfying. Take a bite: there’s nothing bargain about it. This is how the results broke down.  I didn’t include standard pantry items that I already had on hand.
1/4 package of tofu:  $0.75
1 head of broccoli crowns: $0.87
1/4 package rice noodles: $1.00
1 portobello mushroom cap: $0.99
1 bunch scallions: $0.69
1 bunch cilantro: $1.14
1 bottle Argentinian Torrontes: $3.99   

Total: $9.43
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Spicy Turkey Burgers

Being from cow country, I happily admit that I have frequent urges for burgers and steaks. I often forget how great it is to make burgers at home, since they tend to be bar/diner/pub food. Making a burger yourself allows you to make it just the way you like it – “Have it Your Way” takes on an entirely different meaning. Best of all, they are super simple.

But as much as I love red meat, burgers can be delicious when made with other ground meats – bison, chicken, turkey, lamb. This burger is a spicy turkey burger, so it’s very lean, healthy, and inexpensive to make. Three words that I live by. 

Black Bean and Corn Tacos with Avocado and Lime Cream

I’m having a busy week at work, so I wanted to make something quick, simple and multi-purpose. So I made something that could be both a taco filling and a salad for my lunch tomorrow. Served on warm tortillas and topped with a cool lime cream made from greek yogurt, it’s an easy and delicious dinner. Plus, I love leftovers that can be turned into a completely different meal the next day!

Creamy Sausage and Mushroom Sandwiches

Weekends are a great time for sandwiches. They’re quick to prepare, easy to assemble, and can be made multiple times and as needed. Since sandwiches are simple, it’s important to use great ingredients – fresh vegetables, good quality meats, and well made breads. I used inspiration from my mother for this sandwich – she made a delicious crostini over the holidays using mushrooms, herbs, and Boursin cheese. I thought I would add some meat to round out the sandwich, but it could easily be made without or with more vegetables to be vegetarian.

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Chicken Soup with Homemade Ravioli and Fresh Herbs

It’s the end of winter (hopefully) but it’s not the end of winter bugs. Just about everyone I know is suffering from a cold, the flu, or some combination of both. Not something to necessarily whet your appetite, but there is no better time for comfort foods – like hot soup.

I had planned this weekend to make fresh pasta – to see if I could do it without a pasta machine (another piece of equipment that the apartment kitchen lacks). I decided to make a brothy soup with some ravioli added for heartiness in an attempt to buck up any of my sick friends – and ideally to prevent me from getting sick as well.

The result was warm and comforting and relatively easy. The process of forming the ravioli was slightly time consuming, but well worth it to know that delicious, fresh pasta can be enjoyed without owning an expensive pasta machine!

Chili Coated Beef with Barley Cake and Tomato Sauce

I like the challenge of making good food for not a lot of money. I especially enjoy trying to make a seemingly fancy, well-composed dish on a budget. I got the basic idea for this dish from another blog and adapted it slightly.

This dish is great because it uses barley – a delicious and incredibly cheap whole grain that can make the perfect starch component to a meal. The author also gave me an interesting idea – running the barley through a food processor to give it a finer texture. That gives it a fluffy lightness that is not usually associated with barley. 

Tacos on Native American Frybread

One of my favorite memories of my hometown are art festivals. There’s a huge one in one of the biggest parks in town, and they shut down Mass Street between 18th and 19th street to allow for an avenue of fried foods, sweets, and all varieties of things on a stick. This, of course, is a different kind of culture than what can be found at the art show, but nevertheless an important, and tasty one.

But my favorite art festival was the Native American festival at Haskell Indian Nations University. It was so different from the other shows, and among the beautiful jewelry, paintings, pottery, and performances was another new treat: frybread.

There is not much in this world more delicious to a bread lover than fry bread. Light, airy, delicate, and yet mouth-wateringly delicious, frybread is the ultimate platform for what the fair calls Indian tacos: plentiful taco toppings atop crisp and tender frybread. This recipe is just as easy as any of the other flatbreads I’ve made so far – with the addition of oil to the pan where it is cooked. Try it – you will be anything but dissapointed.

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