Friday, July 30, 2010

Financial Friday: Learn to Love Your Freezer

If you're sick of throwing away food that's gone bad before you've had a chance to eat it, it's time to make your freezer your best friend.

Let me start off my admitting that frozen food doesn't always taste 100 percent delicious after it's defrosted. Obviously, if you want your food to taste as fresh as possible, you need to eat it at its freshest. However, I also don't believe in wasting perfectly good leftovers - and that's where my freezer comes in.

When I go grocery shopping, I am usually only buying for one or two people. With that being said, I almost always end up with leftovers. Case in point: Last week, I picked up a loaf of sourdough bread from Russo's, and ate about half of it over the course of the week. Due to the humidity in Boston these last few days, I had put the bread in the fridge, and it turned rock hard - but is still useable. Now, it's in my freezer, and I'll be defrosting it next week and making something new out of it. For instance, I can cut it up into cubes and make croutons, by baking the cubes on a cookie sheet with some olive oil, salt and pepper. I could also cut the bread into slices, smear some marinara sauce on top, sprinkle with cheese, and bake it to make little, personal pizzas.

Leftover bread isn't the only thing my freezer saves, though. Soups, lasagna, chicken (cooked or raw), bananas, and many other items can also be frozen and re-used at another time. If you have grapes in your fridge that are days away from going bad, stick them in the freezer. The ice cold gems make an awesome summer time snack.

Using my freezer for leftovers not only acts as a "savings" account for future meals, but it also saves me from taking extra trips to the grocery store to replace rotten food that I recently bought. By consistently using my freezer, I'm saving about $10-20/month, I'd say, just by saving my excess food from going bad.

My only words of caution are that all different types of foods have different "shelf lives" when frozen. This is a good source to use to know how long you should keep certain foods in the freezer until they should be discarded.

Do you freeze leftovers? Why or why not?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Spicy Tuna Cakes

I am literally salivating as I write this post. That’s how good this meal was.

I, personally, have a love for crab cakes – but I am also highly critical of them. Some chefs just don’t have the bread crumb/seasoning/crab ratio down, and there is nothing like large, meaty chunks of crab versus the next-to-nonexistent crab “flakes” some crab cakes possess. I got a craving for crab cakes the other night, but really don’t have the money right now to be going out to eat. Between moving and saving for Italy, I need to cook more at home over the next few months. Similarly, I don’t have the extra money right now to be buying more expensive grocery items like crab meat. 

So, I came up with what I thought was a brilliant idea: Tuna cakes! I had a can of tuna already in my pantry, along with bread crumbs and plenty of spices. However, after Googling “tuna cakes” I discovered I’m way behind the times with this “brilliant idea.” But, after perusing some of the recipes, I wasn’t a fan of most of them (Dijon mustard with tuna? Not so sure about that…). So, I made up my own. And they were delicious.

Spicy Tuna Cakes
Yields: 3 large patties, or 4 medium patties

Tuna patties:
-1 12 oz. can tuna, drained and shredded with a fork
-1 dill pickle, diced
-3 tbsp. mayonnaise
-1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
-1 egg
-1 tsp. garlic
-1 tsp. seasoning salt
-1/2 tbsp. chili powder
-Squirt of lime juice (or lemon juice)
-Squirt of Tabasco sauce
-Salt and pepper, to taste
-2 tbsp. olive oil

-Plain bread crumbs
-Whole wheat flour

Directions: Add all of tuna patty ingredients to a big bowl (except for olive oil) and mix well with hands. Form mixture into 3 or 4 patties (I put some olive oil on my hands to make the patties more moist and malleable). On a plate, mix additional bread crumbs and some whole wheat flour (enough to dip the patties in). Coat both sides of each patty with the bread crumb and flour mixture. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in skillet on low to medium heat. When oil is hot, add patties. Cook until both sides of each patty are golden brown.

I served my tuna patties with a simple corn and jalapeno salad. I just heated up some frozen organic corn, added some chopped jalapenos, cilantro, salt and pepper - and my side dish was done.

These tuna cakes were perfectly seasoned with large chunks of tuna, and didn’t have that fishy flavor that canned tuna can sometimes possess. The exterior was also perfectly crunchy, and really helped to add some texture to the cake. I almost swapped out the chopped pickles for dill, but I am so glad I didn’t – the snap from the pickles added a necessary crunch to the cakes.

Although I really wish I had remembered to pick up fresh lemon for these cakes, the end result was still light, healthy, and fairly easy to make. And, I didn’t have to leave my house to buy ingredients for it. 

How have you re-created one of your favorite restaurant dishes to make it more affordable/original?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Recap: Budget-friendly Wine Tasting at The Urban Grape

Thursday night, I co-hosted a budget wine tasting event with TJ, owner of The Urban Grape. Quite a few talented writers, bloggers and foodies joined me for the event, including Lara, Jon, Katie, Melissa, and Emily. Over the course of the evening, we tasted four "budget-friendly" wines as well as two "splurge" bottles (and even some extra bottles, per TJ's recommendations).

Here was the line-up:

Economical bottles:
-Luna Vineyards Pinot Grigio, 2007 ($13)
-R Collection by Raymond Chardonnay, 2008 ($10)
-Chateau Jean Gassie Bordeaux Rouge, 2006 ($14)
-Vignamaggio “Il Morino” Sangiovese, 2008 ($13)

Splurge bottles:
-Calistoga Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006 ($22)
-Chateau D’Estoublon Red Blend, 2005 ($22)

While we sipped, TJ explained how The Urban Grape organizes their wines and why, and taught us a heck of a lot about vino. 

Some things I learned that evening (which some of you may already know):

-Red wine is red because it's made with the grapes skins; white wine is white because it is not.
-Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are made from the same grape.
-An easier way to determine the "weight" of a wine is to compare it to dairy products. For instance, "skim milk" wine is light and watery; "heavy cream" wine is thick and creamy.

All of the economical wines we tasted were delicious, and TJ picked a great variety for us to sample. My favorites of the evening included the Chardonnay and the Sangiovese. I even bought a bottle of the Sangiovese before I left that evening. I can't wait to break into it!

The splurge bottles were also indulgent, but I felt like the budget-friendly bottles had the same amount of quality and flavor (if not more). TJ did a great job explaining each of the wines, and reiterating the fact that affordable does not mean low quality. The wines he shared with us that evening proved his point.

What's the maximum amount of money that you'd willing to spend on a bottle of wine?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Best Deal This Week: The Biltmore's $1 Deals

Move over, Dollar Menu. Biltmore Bar and Grille's got the new (and much, much better for you) $1 deal.

Monday through Friday, from 4 to 6 p.m. in the bar only, Biltmore is shelling out oysters and flat top sliders for $1 at their Surf 'n Turf Happy Hour. In other words, you can eat (and drink) like it's Thanksgiving Day for under $10, assuming you have a few sliders, a couple oysters, and a brew. This $1 deal is pretty decent, too, considering oysters are normally $2 and a plate of Bistro Sliders are normally $11.75. Why pick up an artificial, flavorless cheeseburger for a buck at the McDonald's drive-thru when you can eat at the Biltmore?

Side note: Check out my post on the Boston Local Food Festival's blog on Don Otto's Market in the South End.

Another side note: Stay tuned for the recap of my Economical Drinkers' Wine Tasting at The Urban Grape. I'll be posting it tomorrow! In the meantime, check out Emily's recap on Beyond the Textbook.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Financial Friday: Snack Before Splurging

This tip for Financial Friday may seem obvious to some people - but trust me when I tell you, it will save you a bundle.

I've made a part-time living from eating at restaurants and writing about my experiences for about six years now. I clearly love food and love the experience of dining out. However, when I go out to eat for non-work related meals, I can't spend the money on an appetizer, entree, dessert and drinks. Sure, sometimes I want to splurge and gorge on calamari, a steak, some creme brulee and a cosmo, but that is a once (or twice) in a year kind of situation. When I dine out on a "regular" occasion, I need to watch my wallet.

Since I am almost always hungry, my trick to not overspending (and thus, overeating) at a restaurant is to eat a snack before I go out. Not a huge, complex snack - just a serving of cashews or a banana or something small. Just by having a small snack before heading out to a restaurant prevents my eyes from being larger than my stomach, and thus resulting in me ordering way more food than I need. Whenever I have a snack beforehand, I also enjoy the experience more - I can relax and sip my first drink while I peruse the menu, instead of contemplating eating someone else's arm at the table while I frantically wait for my first course.

When I eat a snack, I usually only order an appetizer or a split an entree at the restaurant - saving me, on average, $5-10+ every time I go out. All those savings of $5-10 add up pretty quickly!

Bonus: By eating a snack beforehand, you're not only saving some money in your wallet - but your also saving your waistline. Most restaurants' entrees are at least two to three times the "normal" serving size.

How do you prevent yourself from overspending at restaurants?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Precinct in Somerville Offers Big Servings with Little Price Tags

I love restaurants that offer outdoor seating, live music, and delicious, comforting American food. So how have I not heard of Precinct before a few weeks ago?

Precinct in Union Square offers an outdoor beer garden/patio with live music every night and a basement-level restaurant - all housed in the former Somerville Police Department. The space is comfortable, inviting and relaxing.

I visited Precinct for the first time a few weeks ago with two of my cousins, and we enjoyed several brews on the patio while we enjoyed some delicious pub grub and listened to some live music. We started with the Homemade Potato Chips with Onion Dip ($5) for the table.

The portion of chips was generous, and the chips themselves were perfectly light and crispy, and moderately seasoned. The onion dip was nothing too special, but it did pack a mean onion flavor and tasted incredibly fresh.

For an entree, I ordered the Homemade Veggie Burger ($8), which came with my choice of hand cut fries, chips, sweet fries or a mixed green salad. Since I had already gorged on homemade potato chips, I opted for the salad as my side. I love how Precinct offers several different sides with each sandwich, and that not all side offerings are starches. 

The veggie burger itself was ginormous. So ginormous, that I got two servings out of this baby (and it reheated surprisingly well). The veggie patty was buttery and crispy on the outside, but soft, chewy, and full of well-seasoned protein on the inside. Precinct even offers Dijon mustard as a condiment; you just have to ask for it. In addition to the burger, the side salad was made with fresh vegetables, which were perfectly dressed.

Because of the good food, the affordable prices, the relaxing atmosphere, and the lively crowd, Precinct was a win-win in my book. I'm not sure how I would like eating dinner inside (the place is so dimly light, I could barely find my way to the restroom), but as long as outdoor seating is available - I plan to go back.

Reminder: Tonight is my wine tasting with the folks at The Urban Grape! The get together starts at 6:30 and goes until 8 p.m. Hope some/all of you can stop by!

Precinct on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Second Helping: Local Grape Tomato Tart with Goat Cheese & Onions

This week's Second Helping recipe is a little...backwards, let's say. I use the term "backwards" because the first part of this recipe can't be shown quite yet. I used grape tomatoes from Bart's Farm Stand in Leominster (which I picked up at the Waltham Farmer's Market this past weekend) for both recipes, and the original dish will be featured on Local in Season very soon. The Second Helping, however, can be shared here today - and I am definitely eager to share this one with you guys.

Local yellow grape tomatoes meet goat cheese, caramelized onions and pie crust. All cooked into one bubbling, elegant dish. Oh yeah.

When I made this dish, I only had a sparing amount of leftovers available, so I could only make the dish for one. However, you can obviously easily double or quadruple this dish if needed. Or, if you're home alone for the evening and want a different, simple, fancier dish for dinner - make this.

Local Grape Tomato Tart with Goat Cheese & Onions
Yields: 1 serving

-1/4 cup red onion, diced
-1/8 heaping cup yellow grape tomatoes, halved
-1/8 cup goat cheese
-1/2 tsp. butter
-2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
-Frozen pie crust, thawed
-Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Use a paper towel to rub butter on the bottom and sides of a ramekin (I also used a sprinkle of flour). Cut a large circle out of pie crust (I used a water glass), and place in a medium-sized ramekin. Press into bottom and sides of ramekin; use extra pie crust if needed. Poke small holes in bottom and sides of crust with a fork. Place ramekin on a cookie sheet, and put into oven at 375* for 15-20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. While crust is baking, heat 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil at medium to low heat in a saute pan. Add diced onions and season with some salt and pepper. Cook onions in oil for 10 to 15 minutes, or until onions are translucent and slightly browned.

When crust is done baking, take out of the oven and put the oven on broil. Pour onions into the bottom of the crust. Add most of the goat cheese, and top off with tomatoes and a little extra goat cheese. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Place back into oven on top rack for 3-4 minutes. Let cool for 2-3 minutes before eating.

The slightly roasted tomatoes were incredibly juicy and full of flavor. The sweetness from the onion and tomatoes worked beautifully with the tartness of the goat cheese. The crust also added a necessary, crispy texture to the dish. I will definitely be making this one again.

How have you incorporated locally-grown foods in your cooking lately?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Lillian's Banana Muffins with Chocolate Avocado Mousse

The other night, I had the honor of helping Lillian tape her latest cooking demo for Banana Muffins with Chocolate Avocado Mousse (yes...they were as good as they sound).

These aren't your ordinary banana muffins, though. Because she has Celiac disease, Lillian has a variety of dietary restrictions, one being that she can't digest gluten.

I wanted to share this video and recipe with you all because it's healthy, insanely delicious, and easy to make for those who have a hard time finding food to eat that's indulgent and tasty. The muffins were incredibly moist with large chunks of gooey banana throughout, and I literally could have eaten the chocolate avocado mousse with a spoon. Scratch that - I did eat the chocolate avocado mousse with a spoon. Several times.

Whether you have similar dietary restrictions to Lillian's or not, I encourage you to make the muffins by the recipe on her site. I promise you won't be disappointed.

Do you have any dietary restrictions? If so, what are they?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Best Deal This Week: 10 Wines for $25

$25 for 10 wines at The Capital Grille. Do I even need to go on?

Until July 25th, The Capital Grille in Chestnut Hill is holding their Master Wine Tasting Event where their Master Sommelier, George Miliotes, shares 10 hand-selected wines with diners for $25. Brought to you table-side, Miliotes is sharing samples of famous wines along with some lesser known varietals from California, Australia and Europe. Miliotes selected this summer's wines because they represent some of the greatest vintages from each region.

You can see a list of the wines offered here.

Diners can also purchase any of the 10, hand-selected wines at The Urban Grape in their Capital Grille section until July 25th.

Side note: Join me this Thursday at The Urban Grape - we'll be sampling several delicious wines that cost under $15, as well as a few $25 "splurge" bottles. For more information, shoot me an email. Hope to see you there!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Financial Friday: Iced Coffee Can Make You Bankrupt

Good morning! Sorry for the lack of blogging this week - I was away in Florida, exhibiting at a conference for my day job. However, now I am back and ready to share the second Financial Friday post with you. This week,  it's for the iced coffee drinkers.

Think about it: The average iced coffee at a cafe or Dunkin' Donuts costs about $2-3 (at least). If you go every weekday, that's about $10-15/week or $40-60/month or $480-720/year. You're spending almost $750 a year on iced coffee. That is ludicrous.

The solution: Make iced coffee at home that's just as delicious, if not more so, and much, much cheaper.

The average container or bag of coffee from the grocery store costs about $4-6. I buy for myself, so I probably go through one container a month - about $48-72/year. That's about $648 savings per year, just by making my iced coffee at home.

Here's how I do it: For me, I like semi strong coffee with a hint of flavor, so I usually buy hazelnut or vanilla flavored coffee, and add two cups extra water for the amount of coffee I add to my coffee machine. For instance, since I usually make enough for two generous cups of iced coffee, I add 4 scoops of coffee and 6 cups of cold water. I brew it before I go to bed, pour it into a pitcher, and place it into the fridge. In the morning, I have chilled iced coffee waiting for me.

Tip: Make a little extra iced coffee and pour it into ice cube trays. Using iced-coffee-ice-cubes in your iced coffee helps to prevent it from getting watered down in this humidity. When the iced-coffee-ice-cubes melt, all you have is more iced coffee - not water.

Are you spending too much money on coffee? Or tea? Or some other vice?

Quick side note: I wrote a guest blog for PerkStreet Financial about drinking and buying wine on a budget. You can read it here

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My Birthday, in Photos

I have officially surpassed a quarter of a century, and am now the ripe age of 26. I was fortunate enough to celebrate my birthday this past Saturday with Z, great friends, and my amazing family. My mother even made quite the spread of food for the day's festivities - and I wanted to share this feast with you all through photos. Here is how I dined on my birthday.

Fresh, juicy watermelon.

Creamy potato salad.

Greek pasta salad, with crumbled feta on the side. 

Broccoli salad. 

Cheeseburgers, veggie burgers and hot dogs - straight from the grill (yes, I realize the veggie burgers are with the meat - but didn't at the time. Gah!).

Chocolate and strawberry Hoodsies! You're never too old for Hoodsies. 

Grand finale: Homemade orange pineapple cupcakes.

Can you tell I had great birthday? My 26th year got off to a wonderful start! Thanks again to everyone who made it special!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Best Deal This Week: Free Food (and Lots of it) at Splash

Most of the Best Deals featured on EE to date have been discounted food and drink at various Boston area restaurants. But today is different - today, the Best Deal features a local eatery that's giving their food away for free...several times a week.

Splash has several events during the week including Rush Hour on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, as well as Girls' Night Out on Wednesdays. Here's how the free food thing works at both events:

Rush Hour: The event runs from 5 to 10 p.m., and a free food buffet is available from 5 to 7 p.m. Menu items include King Crabmeat Lollipops, fresh pastas, and Spicy Buffalo Wings, to name a few. As if giving away food wasn't generous enough, complimentary billiards are also available on Splash's roof deck during Rush Hour.

Girls' Night Out: Three-course, complimentary dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. Five hours of free food. Ladies can organize a free party for up to 250 people by calling Splash and setting up the event. The event includes the free dinner along with specialty martinis at the cash bar (hey, they have to make money somehow). For more information, visit Splash's website or call 781-444-7771 to book your party.

All this free food leaves you with more cash in your pocket for the cash bar, too! it just my mind that thinks like that?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Financial Friday: The Power of a Piggy Bank

After receiving some great feedback from readers on this post, it's clear we all have some great tips and tricks when it comes to saving money. Because of this, I am introducing a new weekly feature here on The Economical Eater called Financial Fridays. Every Friday, I will post a money-saving tip that I implement in my own life, or that readers use in their own daily lives.

For the first Financial Friday post, I wanted to share a money-saving trick that I've used since I was 7 or 8 years old, at least. Does anyone remember the glass Skippy Peanut Butter jars that were in the shape of a teddy bear? Well, after we went through three jars of the stuff in my house, my mother saved the jars, washed them out, and cut a slit large enough for a coin on the top of the peanut butter jar. Three of my siblings and I then became responsible for saving any money we received and putting it in this jar. No lie: By the time I started babysitting for neighbors at the age of 11, my jar was full - and I already had my very own savings account.

To this day, I still use a piggy bank. Anytime I have loose change, I throw it into the piggy bank immediately. This way, the piggy bank acts as an additional savings account that I can't break into until it's full. Plus, this prevents my wallet from getting bogged down with loose, unnecessary change.

I cash in my coins about once every year, and I usually use the Coinstar machine at Shaw's. However, a reader recently told me that TD Banknorth branches have a similar machine that doesn't charge you the small fee that Coinstar does. I've been meaning to check this out on my own, but have yet to do so.

Do you still use a piggy bank?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins

It was 100 degrees in Boston yesterday. Kill me. With this intense summer heat, my produce has no chance - bananas especially. I usually store my blackened bananas in the freezer ( can freeze insanely ripe bananas for future recipes), but when new, extra ripened bananas came into my possession this past weekend, I decided to make something delicious right away: Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins. Oh yeah.

I worked off this original recipe from Recipe Zaar, but adapted it a little bit - for instance, instead of using white flour I used wheat, and I only made 6 muffins versus 12. Recipe Zaar has a cool feature, too, where you can revise the recipe for the number of servings you'd prefer to make. Awesome!

In the midst of mixing, I also realized I didn't have any baking powder - so I replaced it with an additional 1/4 tsp. baking soda. The muffins still came out moist and delicious, but slightly chewy - I couldn't tell if that was from this replacement or the oats, though.

The final revision I made was I added leftover chocolate chips to half of the batch. The muffins with the chocolate chips in them were purely decadent, but a little too sweet for breakfast. They were perfect for an afternoon snack, though, with a thick smear of chunky peanut butter on top.

Side note: Speaking of banana muffins, I helped Lillian of Lillian's Test Kitchen make her banana muffins with chocolate avocado mousse "frosting" last night. Holy moly were they delicious! I will be sure to link you guys to her cooking video and recipe as soon as they're up on her blog.

What's your favorite dish to make out of over-ripe produce?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

June Recap: Saving for Italy

OK, folks - today is the big day. We're booking our trip to Tuscany!!!

The only downer? We're taking separate flights.

Due to several circumstances, Z realized that we could save at least $500 if we took separate flights to and from Tuscany. The situation's not the most ideal, but saving such a large chunk of money will benefit us both - and provide us with more money to spend once we're in Italy together!

For the readers who have been following my "Save for Italy" plan these last few months, you know I've been trying to stick to a pretty limited budget when it comes to groceries, meals out, and purchasing at-home wine/beer/liquor. For any new readers, here's a recap of the last few months' savings:


In the beginning, my ultimate goal was to save $720. Now that we are booking our trip for the end of September/early October (versus August), I thankfully have an extra month or so to save. So - let's see how close I am to my goal!

Groceries: Spent $145.30 within $100/month new budget (old budget = $120/month)
Overspent: $25.30 from old budget
Total saved to date: $26.10

Wine/Beer for home: Spent $8.49 within $40/month new budget (old budget = $80/month)
Saved $71.51 from old budget
Total saved to date: $150.23

Dining out (not for work): Spent $49.23 within $100/month new budget (old budget = $160/month)
Saved $110.77
Total saved to date: $237.58

Grand total of savings: $413.91
Ultimate goal: $720
Amount left to save: $306.09

As you can see, my grocery bills went haywire this month. Between cookouts, birthdays, and testing out new recipes, I overspent in a bad way. I think in the month of July, I am going to bring $25 cash to the grocery store every week, which will force me to keep better track of my spending. Thankfully, though, I stayed well within my new budgets when it came to buying wine and beer for home and dining out.

Are you saving for an upcoming trip/purchase? If so, have you been successful in setting aside some money? What are some of your tips/tricks?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Easy Curry Chickpeas with Vegetables

You may not think that a spicy curry dish on a hot humid night would be satisfying. But trust me when I tell you - it sure as hell can be.

The other night, it was ungodly hot in the Boston area. So hot, I almost didn't even want to eat dinner, let alone cook it (and that never happens). After a long drive home from work, though, my mind began wandering to the food I had available in my kitchen and what I could make out of it. What came to mind? Curry and crushed red pepper. Don't ask me why.

I only had a few bucks handy, so I swung into the grocery store to pick up a few ingredients to complete the meal. Going off of the curry, I opted for some naan, a can of chickpeas, and this vibrant medley of frozen vegetables, chocked full of mushrooms, water chestnuts, red peppers, celery, onions and broccoli:

When I came home, I cooked about 3/4 of the vegetables in some olive oil, along with the entire can of chickpeas. I added some salt, pepper, curry, crushed red pepper, and garlic, and cooked until the vegetables were tender. 

Right before the vegetables and chickpeas were done cooking, I brushed the naan with some olive oil, placed it on a cookie sheet, and stuck it in the oven for about 2 minutes. Once the naan was done, the vegetable mixture was fragrant and ready to devour. The mixture was really, really spicy and smoky (just the way I like it), so I served the dish with a dollop of plain, organic yogurt to help cut the spice and add some needed coolness to the hot dish (it was almost 100 degrees outside, remember).

I rarely go back for seconds - mainly to help portion my food and thus spend money at the grocery store less - but for this dish I did. As an added bonus, the entire dish cost me a grand total of about $4, and I got a generous 4 servings out of it. 

What's your favorite dish to make when it's insanely humid outside?