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We are excited to take part in the Slow Food $5 Challenge, Saturday September 17, 2011.  So why are we taking part in this challenge?  We didn't know if we could do it.  We are more concerned with eating well than with eating cheap.  In this world of the Costco cheaper-by-the-ton mentality, how could we compete with that.  We typically buy small amounts for our weekly consumption; what's in season and what we like, irrespective of the "cost."  Sometimes organic, often "local" (and local is wide for us as we bi-locate), always what we like.

Our $4.91 Lunch

We shop at our regular farmer's markets in Templeton, Torrance and Redondo Beach, with trips to Nature's Touch in Templeton and Whole Foods in Torrance and Redondo Beach to fill in the staples.  Then, of course, there are the occassional visits to specialty markets for our ethnic fix.

So what to do for our "value meal."  Well it had to be something we would normally eat and it had to made the way we'd normally make it.  No cheater trips to a big box store, no off brands and no made in who-knows-where items.  Oh and it had to include our beverage of choice, wine.  Wow, could we do it?

So not being big on the "how much does that cost" for our food items, I had some research to do for the week leading up to the challenge.  For instance, we cannot live without our Pasolivo Olive Oil.  At $25.50 for our club price for the 500mls, what does that break down to?  $0.51 a tablespoon as it turns out.

Here is our $5 Value Meal:

Chickpea Burgers with Tahini Dressing and fixins', a green salad, glass of Spain Viura wine and almond macaroon.  Our actual cost per serving, $4.91.  It was bacon or the glass of wine and wine won out.

Menu Details and Photos after the jump.


So while I was fixing dinner for Friday night (a Veggie Curry, a Tomato Salad and a Roasted Eggplant Salad) I whipped up my batch of Almond Macaroons.  The French Macaroons are a bit of an obcession at the moment in our sphere.  Skating friends, Liz and Grace Goo had me over to watch cousin/niece Wendy Lee make us chocolate macaroons.  We have tried several batches ourselves (cherry, golden raspberry and peach) with varying degrees of success.  Tasty, but too fragile.  These non-nonsense macaroons from a Jewish friend work every time.

Details for Chickpea Burger with Tahini Dressing (courtesy Eating Well Magazine August/September 2006) 4 servings $6.48 or $1.62 per serving

Chickpeas, Eden Organics (25oz can but less for recipe, this was our buying in bulk) $1.90

Red Onion, Stehly Farm Organics in San Diego County purchased at Torrance FM, divided $0.25

Egg, Valley Center Growers in San Diego County purchased at RB FM, $0.32

WW Flour, Jack Creek Ranch purchased at ranch in Paso Robles and ground at home $0.05

Oregano, Uphill Battle Ranch (home) Templeton $0.10

Cumin, Simply Organic $0.11

Salt, Morton Kosher, divided $0.02

Avocado Oil, Morro Creek Ranch $0.32

WW Lavash, Int'l Pita Bread Inc in LA purchased at Shayan Market, Torrance $1.35

Plain Yogurt, Strausse Dairy nonfat organic $1.00

Tahini, Once Again Nut Butter organic $0.53

Sweet Lemon, Stehly Farm Organics in San Diego County purchased at Torrance FM, $0.20

Parsley Uphill Battle Ranch (home) Templeton $0.33

Tomato Stand at Torrance Famers' Market

Details for the Green Salad and fixins'.  2 servings $4.29 or $2.15 per serving

Heirloom Tomato, Elser's Country Farm, Yucaipa purchased at Torrance FM, $1.25

Cucumber,  Elser's Country Farm, Yucaipa purchased at Torrance FM, $0.50

Red onion (divided from above) $0.00

Spicy Lettuce Mix, Gourmet Specialties, Santa Paula purchased at RB FM, $1.17

Avocado (small), Stehly Farm Organics in San Diego County purchased at Torrance FM, $0.33

Toasted Walnuts, Haussler Orchard organic $0.25

EVOO, Pasolivo Paso Robles $0.51

Red Wine Vinegar, Napa Valley Organics $0.18

Salt and Pepper, $0.10


Details for the Almond Macaroons total cost for recipe $4.50 for 16 servings or $0.28 per serving

Almond Meal, Bob's Mill $3.25

Sugar, WF Organic 365 $0.83

Egg (white), Valley Center Growers in San Diego County purchased at RB FM, $0.32

Almond Extract, Simply Organic $0.10


The wine is a 2009 Marques de Montanana.  A Viura from Spain purchased at Trader Joe's in RB for $4.34 (including tax).

This is a light white wine we enjoyed a few weeks back with at home tapas.

A 5 ounce serving (about 5 per bottle) is $0.87.