Chef on a Shoestring

June 2000

The ultimate cheap eat is really just eating in. But that doesn’t have to mean frozen pizza. We challenged Noel Cunningham, chef and owner of Strings restaurant, to develop two gourmet meals that won’t cost you gourmet prices. Cunningham created the following recipes for two three-course dinners and the best part is that most of the ingredients are already stashed in your kitchen. For those items requiring a trip to the grocery store, rest assured they won’t cost you an arm and a leg (we’ve even included shopping lists with approximate prices).

So enjoy dinner for two for about $10 a person, or invite your favorite couple over to indulge in a dinner that won’t cost you more than five bucks a head. And that includes the libations.

Dinner for Two

    Course One: File Greens with Champagne Vinaigrette
  • 1/4 cup champagne or white-wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 handfuls fresh mixed greens
  • 1 Roma tomato, sliced
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Instructions: Mix vinegar, brown sugar, and mustard in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil. Toss vinaigrette with mixed greens. Serve on cold plates and garnish with tomatoes.