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It is -7 degrees in Ithaca right now.  Negative seven.  With the windchill it’s -20 or something.  I know everyone who lives in Alaska and Canada is like, “Whatever, I wear a bathing suit in -7 degree weather,” but for this little Nashvillian this weather is basically apocalyptic.

Last 10 days of the month and about $70 left in the grocery budget.  Very doable, especially since I have a heap of potatoes.  Just this week the urge for a good stash of potatoes hit me, and most happily organic ones were on sale. There’s nothing like having an overabundance of potatoes during this kind of weather.

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Last night we ate a pot of black eyed peas with collard green stems (no ham hock or anything, but hot sauce was almost just as good).  A few nights ago we ate a red lentil soup that was made (only) of split red lentils cooked until mushy and then doused with Buffalo hot sauce (like this chicken buffalo soup, minus the chicken and all other ingredients except the buffalo sauce). Really elegant, right?  But it was the first time John has enjoyed lentils, so whatever.

The beauty of a slim grocery budget is learning to coax the least auspicious ingredients into a good meal: potatoes, dry beans, chicken bones, organ meat.

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At the butcher last week I bought 2 pounds of duck livers, about 2 pounds of a beef kidney, and several pounds each of chicken and duck bones.  I made stock out of the bones, and we ate half the liver and froze half, and let me tell you, a duck liver sautéed for about 3 minutes in olive oil and sprinkled with salt and fresh black pepper has got to be one of the more delicious things I have ever eaten.  Will loved it, too.  I’ve never done anything with kidneys before but today I’m cooking it up with sherry, rice, and an onion, according to a recipe from this gorgeous Spanish cookbook, which was given to me a few months ago by a very dear person.  A BBC article on the subject describes kidney as “an accessible offal.”  Accessible offal, indeed, BBC. (Short piece about why to eat organ meats in the first place, besides economy! Worth a read!)

I’m not sure how accessible this kidney will turn out, but we’ll see, I suppose.  (See here for a good kidney recipe, if you’re interested!)

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