14th/U farmers market (courtesy of Andrew Bossi)

Oh joyful day. My favorite time of the year is upon us. The first day of the 14/U farmers market is Saturday.

The market will be open from 9 am – 1 pm, with a lot of the usual vendors returning. A new vendor will be Whisked, a baking endeavor from local bloggers Modern Domestic and Shaw Girl. Make sure to stop by and pick up some of their classic American desserts or savory options. As a bonus, they will be accepting credit cards.

Fountains on (image from last year)

So that means it’s officially Spring in the neighborhood! I understand we might hit a cold snap this weekend, so go out and enjoy today.

Farfalle with asparagus, spring onions

So I’ve been derelict in my gourmet on a budget duties. I haven’t posted since January!  My bad. I struggle with what is “gourmet” enough for the blog. But here I have a lovely, lovely spring pasta dish (which I’ve adapted heavily from this recipe) that I made for friends and got rave reviews. It is super simple to make but tastes really wonderful. You can also make some of the components ahead of time. I’m using a lot of the stars of the farmers market this season, so make it soon!

Budget: $8, serves 6-8 ($1.33 to $1 a person)

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At the park

At the park

Hey, all of a sudden it’s summer! I spent the weekend chilling at Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park, drinking Delirium at the beer garden at Wonderland Ballroom, and got some good spring cleaning done in the apartment.  How did you enjoy the weather?

Shrimp ravioli with green curry sauce

Shrimp ravioli with green curry sauce

I had some leftover wonton wrappers from making potstickers last week. Kind of sick of making traditional ravioli with a cheese or butternut squash filling, I found this recipe that gave an Asian twist on a ravioli dish. Man, the green curry sauce that serves as a sauce over the ravioli, is SPICY. I might have thrown in a Thai chili pepper in there that I had leftover, but still, it was hot. So if you’re not up for that, I’d go for less rather than more jalapeno as listed in the recipe. This also becomes more affordable because I found shrimp on sale for $8/pound at Harris Teeter.

This is a nice spring dish, that is spicy and light. I served it with a dryer California Riesling, which worked well. I think a nice Belgian white beer would work as well.

Budget: $16 for 4, $4 a serving.

Recipe details after the jump.

A regular feature in which I cook cheap, gourmet dishes.

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Saffron mussels

Steamed mussels with saffron

It’s getting warmer, and while I love mussels anytime of the year, they seem like an especially spring dish to me for some reason. I don’t make mussels myself too often, just because you need to cook them and eat them all in one day, you can’t save some for leftovers. But, as mussels are actually a pretty cheap thing to cook for seafood, at about $5 for 1 pound, it’s a great ingredient for gourmet on a budget.

This recipe, from Epicurious, calls for saffron, which is the most expensive spice on the planet. But, as a little goes a long way, the price doesn’t end up being that much for this dish, making it fit within a reasonable budget.

Budget: $16 for 4 servings; or $4 a serving.

Recipe details after the jump.

A regular feature in which I cook cheap, gourmet dishes. (more…)