A family pack of budget meals

Plus this week's Earth Day challenge: Granola!

Published April 20, 2010 12:20AM (EDT)

Every week, your challenge is to create an eye-opening dish within our capricious themes and parameters. Blog your submission on Open Salon under your real name by Monday 10 a.m. EST -- with photos and your story behind the dish -- and we'll republish the winners on Salon on Tuesday. (It takes only 30 seconds to start a blog.) And yes, mashed potato sculpture counts as a dish. Emphatically.


Lucy Mercer for a post that delves deep into tax-related biblical history, and emerges with a tribute to Caesar Cardini's now famous salad -- topped with delicious-looking lemon garlic shrimp.


In the Tax Day Celebration category:

Jenna Charlton gets us going in style with a classic tale of hubris, nemesis, and redemption. Basically: don't try to fight government tax officers, even if it was their typo that made everything screwy in the first place. She celebrates the end of the 7-year reign of audit terror by sharing a fabulous dish with us. (Recipe for Grilled Scallops with Olive New Potato Salad included.)

In the Shrimp and Grits and Hilarity category:

Fred Hallman, for a tour de force of one-liners, non-sequitors, hijinx and French-baiting in the form of a recipe of shrimp and grits. There are pot(s) involved.

In the Bread and Chocolate category:

Rebecca Farwell, for reminding us that a chocolate sandwich is sometimes all you need to make things better.

In the Feast for Peanuts category:

Linda Shiue, with a charming story of the first dinner she ever cooked for her future husband, and the way frugality can make or break a date. (Recipes for West African Peanut Stew, Ginger Beer, and Caramelized Plantains included.)

In the Turkey Weekend category:

Walter Blevins leads us through a weekend of turkey meals made from one breast, all the while dangling his dinner before the tax man.

In the Strawberry Pie category:

Kim Hartman, who takes her grandfather's berry-patch strawberries and, in a power move that would give Alice Waters a coronary, gives them the Shoney's treatment -- baking them in a pie that involves a can of Sprite.

In the Finger Foods and Self Reflection category:

Mamie Chen, for a heartrendingly hard look at herself and her spending and, relatedly, a tax-day dinner of surprises. (Recipe for Pumpkin-Feta Filo Triangles included.)

And finally, in the Iron Skillet Supper category:

Paul Hinrichs, in which an adventurous home cook revisits days of yore, when dinner in his home was made from boxes ... and comes up with a new, improved version. (Though still made from boxes, for authenticity's sake!) (Recipe for Beefy Iron Skillet Rotini included.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .


With Earth Day around the bend, my thoughts turn to the hippies, the poor hippies. So maligned! Why does everyone hate the hippies?

And you know what else gets a bad rap? Granola. "Hippie food," people call it with a sneer, cheeseburger in one hand and Hummer keys in the other.

But you know what? I love granola. I love the crunch, the sweetness, the toasted grains and the nuts. I love it so much, in fact, that I just got hungry for some while writing this and just stole a granola bar from my roommate. (Sorry, Rach.)

So this week, in honor of the poor hippies, in honor of our poor Earth, the challenge is to share with us your best granola recipes. But in the interest of peace, love and an open mind, recipes for other cold cereals count, too -- what's muesli, anyway? -- and so do ones that simply include granola.

Be sure to tag your posts: SKC granola

Scoring and winning

Scores will be very scientific, given for appealing photos, interesting stories behind your submissions, creativity, execution and love for the Earth Mother.

By Salon Staff

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