Monday’s starters

Easy bake

(Photo by Alison Ashton)

(Photo by Alison Ashton)

Years ago, my mate and I called Costco the “$200 club.” And when I say years ago, I mean decades, back when Costco was still Price Club and 200 clams was  chunk of change. The place is stocked with cheap temptation, so that’s why I only visit once every few months. Yesterday was day. Because I visit so infrequently, it’s always exciting to push my supersize cart through the wide warehouse aisles. The best deal I spotted was Cuisinart’s Electric Pressure Cooker for $70 (it normally retails for $100). But I exercised some discipline, for the most part, stocking up on pasta, satsuma tangerines, cheese, and lamb chops. The two-pack of 26.5-ounce jars of Nutella for $8.47, however, proved irresistible.

“I’ll make crepes, or cookies, or something….” I said to justify the purchase.

Of course, I neglected to pick up a two-pack of La Brea Bakery bread, also sold at the emporium, which would have been the most obvious way to enjoy the Nutella. So when we got home and wanted some bread, I felt obligated to rectify the situation. I’ve touted the ease of this pizza dough many times before and figured it could make a nice bread. It did. My only modifications: double the recipe, let it rise for an hour, punch it down and let it rest five minutes, shape it into a loaf, and let it rest for 30 minutes. Bake on a pizza stone for 15 minutes in a 475 F oven. (Thanks, Josh, for creating this nice recipe.) And, yes, it was tasty with the Nutella.

Vintage cookware


Elbow grease and patience restored a rusted-out vintage saucepan.

All things old-timey are chic these days, and that includes vintage cookware. The Food Section notes that kitchenware retailer Sur la Table now is selling antique pots, pans, and utensils via their Web site. This is the place to go for an antique copper jam pot ($650) or, say, a marzipan tulip mold ($99).  If old-school kitchenware is your thing, also check out P.O.S.H., the Chicago retailer that specializes in vintage china, glassware, and serving pieces. Of course, if you’re willing to invest a little time and elbow grease in restoring the old stuff yourself, you can pick up antique cast-iron and other kitchen items at garage sales and flea markets for a lot less.

Chicken breast, yay or nay?

In a moment of sheer stupidity the other day, I picked up a package of skinless, boneless chicken breast. Chicken tenders, no less–I really wasn’t paying attention. As I noted on Twitter (follow me at EatCheap) and Facebook, these things are a dull, tasteless ingredient that I could skip eating for the rest of my life. This met with much agreement among my friends, but what’s your opinion?