Gabi Moskowitz

Are you feeling a little short on cash this week?  Yes, the deadline for filing those pesky tax forms is looming,  which means that most of us are tightening our belts and looking for relief in the form of cheap, comfort food.

For some fresh ideas, check out Santa Rosa native Gabi Moskowitz ‘s  popular food blog,,   The former kindergarten teacher started the food blog as a way to educate her thirtysomething peers about eating well on a budget after the economy tanked  in 2008.

In both the blog and soon-to-be-published   “The Brokeass Gourmet Cookbook,”  Moskowitz features daily recipes that cost less than $20 for four servings, plus  suggestions for  affordable adult beverages and  grocery shopping tips.

Although she now lives in the Mission district of San Francisco, Moskowitz comes back to Sonoma County often to visit her parents, Larry Moskowitz and Ouisue Packard of Santa Rosa.   This Friday, she will teach a Passover cooking class at 5 p.m. for the 20s and 30s group at Shomrei Torah in Santa Rosa, then speak during the Shabbat Evening Service, which starts  at 7:30 p.m. (

Here are a couple of recipes from her new cookbook, due to be released on May 8. The pasta dish costs just $8.50,  or a little over $2 a serving. The Brown Sugar-Banana Spring Rolls are  just $1.25 a serving.  Such a deal! Throw in a green salad, and you can still dine in style  for under $5 a person.

Pantry Spaghetti

Serves 4

8 ounces spaghetti

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic, chopped

½ cup bread crumbs

2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

1/3 cup grated Parmesan

Salt and pepper to taste

1 small bunch fresh, flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Cook the pasta according to directions in salted water. While the pasta cooks, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute, stirring frequently to avoid burning. Add the bread crumbs and stir to combine well with garlic and oil.   Allow the crumbs to toast for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.

When the pasta has finished cooking, drain it and return it to its pot. Toss with the garlic-breadcrumb mixture, the red pepper flakes, Parmesan, parsley and salt and pepper.

Brown Sugar- Banana Spring Rolls

Serves 4

1 banana

4 large egg roll wrappers

4 tablespoons shredded coconut

4 tablespoons brown sugar


Vegetable oil

Slice the banana into fourths lengthwise so you have four long pieces of banana. Slice the long pieces in half so you have eight short, thin pieces of banana.

Lay a wonton wrapper on a clean, dry surface. Make a little mound with 1 tablespoon of coconut and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar in the center of the wrap. Lay 2 banana slices on top of the mound, sprinkle a dash of cinnamon on the banana and roll up, tucking in the ends of the wrappers, as though making a little burrito. Repeat with the remaining wontons.

Heat about an inch of oil in a medium frying pan over high heat. Cook the spring rolls for 1-2 minutes on each side until golden brown and crisp. Drain on paper towels.

Serve sliced on the bias, garnished with a little more cinnamon.


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