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Get ‘Frugal Foodie’ Tips From St. Vincent Meals on Wheels

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(credit: St. Vincent Meals On Wheels)

(credit: St. Vincent Meals On Wheels)

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STUDIO CITY (CBSLA.com) — Daryl Twerdahl, executive director of St. Vincent Meals On Wheels Foundation and Chef Evan Kleiman stopped by the KCAL9 studios Wednesday to talk about the Meals On Wheels Foundation and their new Frugal Foodie program, which shows viewers how to make haute-cuisine results while maintaining a real world budget.

St. Vincent Meals on Wheels is the largest privately-funded organization of its kind in the country with no government funding.

St. Vincent Meals on Wheels serves over 4,700 meals a day, 365 days a year.

Each year over 1.1 million meals are prepared and delivered to people in Los Angeles, including homebound senior citizens, disabled and terminally ill patients and homeless adults and children.

Frugal Foodie Tips are produced by St. Vincent Meals on Wheels and Public Access Chanel 36.

Videos are 1-2 minute, mobile-friendly video segments. Each video features a top LA-based chef providing recipes and tips on how to create gourmet meals on even the most barebones of budgets.

With the money you save, you can feed a senior. Donations can be made to the Frugal Foodie Fund at www.stvincentmow.org

Evan Kleiman’s Tuscan White Bean Soup (Zuppa di Fagioli) Recipe
Serves 4 to 8 depending on serving size

1 pound navy beans, or other dry white bean, washed
Water to Cover
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher Salt to taste
1 small sprig fresh rosemary (optional)
1 – 1 ½ cups Tomato Sauce

Put beans in heavy pot big enough to hold triple their volume. Cover the beans with cold water by 4 inches and bring to a boil. As soon as the water boils, cover the pot and turn the heat off. Let beans sit in the hot water for an hour. This is the equivalent of letting them soak overnight, and let’s face it, more realistic.

After an hour of soaking, the beans should have nearly doubled in size and the tough outer skin should have softened. Now you have a choice. You can gently drain the beans of their initial soaking liquid and start with fresh water (which will give you a less flatulent result), or you can just continue with the original water. This will give you thicker bean liquor.

Add your kosher salt, the olive oil and the rosemary, if using.

The key to cooking the beans the rest of the way is to keep those skins in place, so you don’t want the beans to move a lot in the water. You will be keeping the fire adjusted so that the beans barely simmer. You won’t be measuring water or putting all the water in at once. You always want enough water for the beans to be completely covered plus a couple of inches, but you don’t want them to swim around in a ton of water. Your goal is absolutely soft, but intact beans with a thick bean liquor. You won’t get that by adding a lot of water at once. The water needs to reduce along with the starch of the beans, over and over to get proper texture. It’s not difficult. You just need to monitor the water level so the beans don’t go dry, and stir every 10-15 minutes or so.

When the beans are nearly completely cooked add the tomato sauce and stir gently. This isn’t a tomato soup with beans. You’re just adding enough tomato sauce to bump up the flavor and color. Adjust salt to taste and add a bit more olive oil if desired for a luscious mouth feel.

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