Cost of Living

Spicy Corn Salad

There are two things about my culinary habits that I hope my Husband finds endearing. First, I absolutely hate to waste food and often reinvent leftovers into a second meal or side dish. Consequently, our freezer, while organized is packed at all times. I’ll share my freezer tips and tricks in another post soon.

Secondly, I’m mad about growing my own herbs. At the grocery store, nothing irks me more than seeing fresh herb packs for $3, that only last a few days and give you just enough for one or two recipes. Even while living in my 200 square foot apartment in Gramercy Park, I grew herbs in my windows.

Growing Herbs and Plants on Jersey City Porch
Jersey City Porch

Now in a slightly larger apartment in Jersey City, I’m able to grow herbs and small plants as well on my beloved little balcony. It’s still a slight, wee space, but I always have fresh Basil, Rosemary, Mint, Thyme, Oregano, Sage and most recently, hot peppers.

I delight in starting my prep for each meal with a quick trip outside to snip a few fresh ingredients. Recently, while investigating the contents of our refrigerator for lunch, determined to not leave some grilled corn on the cob go to waste, I decided to get a little creative. I ended up with a delicious spicy corn, cilantro, goat cheese and mint salad.

In the tradition of my sort of recipes, here’s what I pulled together.

Spicy Corn, Cilantro, Goat Cheese and Mint Salad
Spicy Corn, Cilantro Salad Goat Cheese and Mint Salad
  • After oven roasting and cooling corn, cut off kernels (I had 2 ears left over for this dish)
  • Next mix in some:
    • Chopped Cilantro (1/4 cup or less if you’re not a Cilantro lover)
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
    • 1 tablespoon crumbed goat cheese (really any fresh crumbed cheese would do – queso fresco would be brilliant)
    • 1 chopped small spicy pepper
  • Drizzle with olive oil and the juice from half a lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Somehow it all came together delightfully and when I stepped back to snap a shot, I found myself smiling at the flecks of brilliant red from the tiny homegrown pepper pictured above. I wondered at that moment what it was about having fresh ingredients growing on my porch that delights me so.

It could be that lately I find grocery stores a bit scary. Each time I walk over to the nearest supermarket,  I find myself thinking… this isn’t so super. I never wander into the center aisles, I genuinely have zero interest in the bags of chips, boxes of cookies, jars and cans of who knows what that actually is. What I do like is spending a little effort to beat the system.

Growing herbs at home is not only easy, it yields delicious results and saves a bundle on grocery bills. Think about it, one small pack of grocery store basil, 2 meals and what an average of $3 spent. I prefer to pick up the $8 Basil plant that grows for months on end, thank you very much.

Even with daily plucking and snipping my grown ’em at home herb plants save me on average, $12 a week. Minus the investment cost of buying the plants that still nets out to about $600 a year in savings.

Growing herbs at home is another little thing I can do in life to shift more of the money we earn to travel. A thought I’ll take with me next month when my Husband and I celebrate our one year wedding anniversary in Cartagena.

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