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Oct 11, 2006 04:10 AM

tasty local cheats

My summer of lounging around cafes and lunches in the Mission has sadly ended. I'll be posting about food options near my new job as soon as I remember to actually leave the office for lunch.

In the mean time, I'm trying to stock up on delicious components for meals I can throw together with no effort or notice.

I don't mean takeout. I mean prepared foods that are a cut above Trader Joe's frozen foods or mac and cheese. Points for anything nutritious or with shelf life of at least 96 hours.

Here are a few I've enjoyed recently:

-homemade pesto from Jim & Sons produce on 24th Street in Noe Valley. It's in the refrigerator in the back. Add a few red pepper flakes. Their fresh OJ is also very good.

-spinach ravioli from Lucca. I've always loved their cheese ravioli too. I didn't love their fresh meatballs though.

-lemon quark from the farmer's market (either Ferry Plaza or Alemany).

-heavenly natilla (Peruvian nutella? caramel Bodega Goat Cheese) at Ferry Plaza or Whole Foods.

What are yours?

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  1. Freeze a few tamales and/or hom joong from your favorite places. Or they'll keep for 3 or 4 days in the frig.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      The problem with tamales is they are takeout. I'm trying to maintain some illusion that I can actually cook for myself :)

      1. re: Windy

        Reheating/steaming frozen tamales is an art in itself. You can perfect making your own "gravy" for them.

    2. Sausage. There are so many good sausages around these days you could have a different one every day for weeks. Make a big batch of sauteed onions and peppers and reheat them with the sausage and you have dinner in less than 10 minutes.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        Plus I love sauerkraut. And tend to stockpile mustard.

      2. I like to get sides from La Palma. A container of chile verde, a container of rice, a container of beans, and salsa from La Palma. Add a stack of tortillas and you have a couple meals.

        Do you have a place where you love the spaghetti and meatballs? A trick I learned from my mother is to ask for a side of meatballs and sauce to go, and then to take it home and cook the spaghetti. Makes for delicious quick meal(s). The last place I got a great meatball for this purpose was Nicky's Pizzeria. I think it was more meatball and less sauce, but great nonetheless.

        I know it's expensive, but the smoked salmon from the Ferry Plaza is delicious, lasts a while, and makes for simple elegant meals. And can be combined with so many things -- eggs, tossed with pasta, eaten with red onion and bread.

        Right now I'm eating Fra Mani salami, sliced up Mediterranean cucumbers (Happy Quail Farm, Ferry Plaza FM) and water crackers for breakfast. I'm all for the quick and delicious.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Fig Newton

          Who do you get smoked salmon at Ferry Plaza from? Not the $50 a pound people? I just can't do it.

          The advantage of that is Bi-Rite's excellent cured salmon at ~$30 a pound (or anything at Whole Foods) seems cheap by comparison. I like it with lavender salt and a little lemon on levain.

          Now to find out how late La Palma stays open...

          I wonder if meatballs freeze well. Thanks all!

          1. re: Windy

            Meatballs generally do freeze well. I think it's best to freeze them individually rather than in sauce, though, because the sauce defrosts at the different rate than the meatball.

            1. re: Windy

              I'm not the OP, but I've had great smoked salmon from a woman who sells all kinds of fish (in vacuum packs) at the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market. She's there on Saturdays near the people who sell wild salmon (and next to, I think, Noe Valley Bakery). She doesn't only carry salmon, but the smoked salmon that she sells is among the best I've found in the Bay Area.

          2. You already have a pesto source, but I really like the Genova Delicatessen pesto. It keeps well frozen; they have both fresh and already frozen in the freezer case.

            6 Replies
            1. re: Tom Simonson

              Genova also makes a quite good ravioli - spinach filled with ricot.

              I have a favorite quick dinner dish that most will probably find disgusting. It's Hebrew National reduced fat (yeah, right) franks in corn tortillas with sharp cheddar heated with a little veg oil to crisp the tortillas. Fill with salad mix (arugula, etc) and some chopped onion and serve with salsa and a dollop of yoghurt.
              Quick and surprisingly good.

              1. re: oakjoan

                They're like kosher chilequiles. With salad.

                1. re: Tom Simonson

                  Good to know, but aren't they in Oakland? Crossing a bridge (any bridge) is not a solution for someone with more money than time...

                  1. re: Windy

                    Genova ravioli are available frozen at supers...though I couldn't tell you where.

                2. Hong Kong Noodle Company fresh egg noodles (I buy mine at Orient Market in Oakland Ctown) and a can of Swanson's low sodium chicken broth. Cook the noodles, add the broth and whatever vegetables, meat, tofu, Asian leftovers you happen to have around and instant Chinese noodle soup. Especially good with leftover Korean bbq, panchan, kimchee. A staple at my house during the cold weather months. It doesn't get any easier and it's economical and usually healthy.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: chocolatetartguy

                    Problem is I don't have any leftovers because I don't eat at home. Sounds tasty though. Maybe it's time to hit the kim chee bar at Kukje and stock up on panchan.

                    Keep up all the good ideas. Thanks!