The notion often occurs to me that I could both be saving a lot of money as well as buying healthier food. It’s not that I make a lot of expensive purchases (well…sometimes for parties). I don’t eat out a lot, lentils are a staple, and I am definitely not spending a lot of money on processed, nutritionally devoid crap. On the less-healthy side of money-saving, produce is organic only if it’s from the farmer’s market or if aftershocks of various documentaries are rippling through my mind, same for meat, and I still buy regular eggs.
I think with a little planning I can save money and buy better. Although I do have a well-stocked pantry which allows me not to run to the store all the time, often I’m just dropping in to Harris Teeter (expensive!) out of convenience instead of going to the right shops for the right things. I have a Costco membership where I know I can be buying organic chicken and grass-fed meat, but I rarely make the trek over there. I continuously allow HT to gouge me for avocados, coconut milk, and Bustelo when I don’t feel like making an extra trip to the Indian/Arabic/Spanish grocery. I think if I’m planning ahead, shopping at the right places, I can not only save money but buy organic all the time.
I was talking about planning with my sister and she said “Oh that sounds so depressing!” Does it? I was thinking it sounded fun, but I’m a nerd. She’s right in a way though, I do love to feel gloriously extravagant and go where I want when I want and buy whatever I want. The dichotomy of wanting to save money yet feel rich was on my mind as I flipped through BrokeAss Gourmet, a site I love with lots of delicious recipes you can make to feel fun and festive while saving your hard-earned cash.
I liked the idea of this Roasted Green Pepper Soup which uses the cheaper yet oft neglected green pepper. As I am obsessed with coconut oil/milk and Indian spices, I took this idea and made my own version, pondering the delicate balance between time, money, health, and festivity as I stirred the pot.
Roasted Green Pepper Soup
3 green bell peppers
1 heaping tsp cumin seeds
1 heaping tsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
salt & pepper
1/2 c coconut milk
1 1/2 c chicken or vegetable broth
Roast the green peppers exactly as you would red (I do mine at 450° right on the grate, turning occasionally, until they are blistered). Put in a glass bowl and cover with saran wrap, this will make them really easy to peel.
In a dry pan, gently toast cumin and coriander seeds until they are fragrant. Grind to a powder with a mortar and pestle (it’s ok if you don’t completely pulverize it).
Heat coconut oil and cook onions, garlic, salt, pepper, and spices until soft. Transfer to a blender, along with peeled, seeded, and sliced green peppers. Blend, adding a little broth if necessary.
If you are feeling fancy you can put this through a sieve before returning to the pot (but if you were feeling fancy, wouldn’t you have used red peppers?). Add coconut milk and chicken or vegetable broth, adjust seasoning if necessary, and heat through. Serve drizzled with sriracha.
This soup was the perfect balance of sweet to salty to spicy, and although hot it felt fresh and summery. As a red pepper worshiper, I did like the use of green peppers, and I really want to say I’m a green pepper believer, but…I couldn’t help but wonder how this would be with red peppers. Choose as you will.