Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tightwad tuedsay: DIY takeout

Way back in the day when Jim and I were still childless, in college, and both working full-time (read: rolling in cash but short on time to cook) we used to get takeout at least once a week from our favorite Chinese restaurant, Toy's Cafe in Bellevue. My favorite was their green beans sautéed with garlic--and every once in a while I'd spring for the extra couple bucks to get the beans with shrimp. Mmmm.

Don't worry; there is a tightwad tip at the end of this tale fraught with wanton outlay of cash!

Last Wednesday, we went out to lunch at the local Chinese buffet and I was heartbroken to find they no longer served green beans, which are still a favorite of mine, and which I've been craving lately in a big way. Fortunately, a while back, we asked the waiter how they make the beans, and he gave us a list of ingredients (fresh beans, chicken broth, soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, vegetable oil and cornstarch). It was easy to look up the technique online (cook the beans for 7-8 minutes in hot oil, until the skins start to pucker, then add the ingredients for the sauce).

The very next day I hit the supermarket and picked up all the ingredients and yes, I splurged on a pound of EZ-peel prawns to make it special. Worth every penny, and still far less expensive than ordering takeout!

So, if you're pregnant (or not) and craving one of your favorite restaurant dishes, save yourself some cash by taking a few minutes to research how to make it yourself. You may get lucky, like we did, and get tips from a helpful waiter or waitress. Or, if you fancy something from a big fast food chain, there are websites specializing in clones of "secret" recipes, such as Todd Wilbur's aptly titled Top Secret Recipes.

1 comment:

aubrey said...

toy's cafe!! i haven't been there in years. we went to their new location ONCE and have never been back. but yum.