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Archive for September, 2009

Talk Shop

Take a close look at this sign posted in the Whole Foods at Columbus Circle. I love it. And I love that I got yelled at for taking this picture. I am so guerilla!!!!!

whole foods sign

Why does shopping seem so difficult sometimes? As a food-type, aren’t I supposed to be turned on by the easy browse through the aisles as I listen for ingredients to “speak” to me? After which I lovingly toss them into my basket content with life and smugly looking forward to the great meal I’m about to whip up?

I’ve always been good at playing make-believe….I can pretend my name is Maxime and I live in Paris and I shop for food with as much easy style and un-efforted grace with which I throw together my just-right French lady outfits.

The reality is this: If I could arrange my life so I didn’t have to go to the store I would be more French! More stylish, more sexy, a better cook and much much more interesting. I just know it.

So, it’s either self-medicate before braving The Store or minimize those hectic trips. How much shopping can I accomplish without stepping foot in a supermarket?

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Bring on the chill.

Tell me.  Please tell me.  Why?  Why aren’t there wine chillers like this one in every self-respecting wine shop?  Maybe some shops are not self-respecting so, let me rephrase: Why aren’t there wine chillers like this one in every profit seeking-wine shop?  High end markets- you have no excuse!  That’s it, I’m calling Bristol Farms right now.  I don’t even recall seeing one at my local Whole Foods!

wine chiller

It’s not just about the wine.  My favorite neighborhood market in my previous life had this type of instant-gratification-cooler and I drank a lot of champagne during that time.  It was critical, if not essential for those spontaneous moments to have a variety of bottles at the ready for purchase.  The memory of which led me to think-  Isn’t that what wine is about?  Grabbing something from the cellar.  Picking up a bottle on the way to a friend’s house for dinner.  I don’t know many people who (outside of wedding planning) contemplate which bottle they are going to drink ahead of time.  Perhaps that’s because there is fine tuning that can occur when selecting- influenced by the temperature of the air, the smell in the kitchen, the humidity, the energy of the company…

Wine is about a moment.  If you sell these type of moments, I expect you to enable me to enjoy your full selection at optimum temperature.  Immediately.

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Late Summer Obsession

Blueberry Pancakes with Syrup
So.  I cannot lie.  Well, I can but I won’t:  there was a time I mourned the loss of flavored syrup in my life.  I had only had it in greasy spoon-IHOP sort of pancake parlors and it always seemed too good to be true.  As I became more aware of food quality and it’s contents… I thought that the red and blue flavored corn syrup “goodness” I had so enjoyed was a thing of my un-enlightened past.  (This is similar to a childhood experience where one of my new adult teeth felt loose.  Having no knowledge of modern dentistry, I cried for hours thinking I may, for no good reason, loose it and forever have a gap toothed smile.)  Back to the syrup.

There was no way my new I-only-eat-real-food self could walk into a supermarket and purchase a fruity flavored syrup-like substance.  Besides, my mother-in-law brings us gallons of lovely Massachusetts amber goodness every year.  Then, one day, thanks to Heidi’s blog 101cookbooks it hit me:  I can make this stuff!! 

The next thing I knew, Sunday was not Sunday without some type of berry syrup.  Blueberries were the first, raspberries, blackberries even frozen berries one week.  Make it to memorialize the last of summer.  Eat it to be reminded that real is always superior.  And for goodness sake, double the recipe because it will go fast.

Erin

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The Livin’ Is Easy

The Livin' Is Easy

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Easy, Sweet, Hot!

Direct from Bartlesville, Oklahoma via A’s grandmother, Mimi. Mimi used these sweet and fiery bites to gain social standing when she moved from Texas to California. Pickles as social capital, yup.

picklesThe best part of making these was standing in the aisle of Smart n’ Final (Mimi pointed out, “a weird name for a store?!”) holding the gallon jars to catch the light so we could pick the one with the BIGGEST PICKLES!!!

Sweet and Hot Pickles

1 gallon whole sour or dill pickles

4 lbs. sugar

1 2 oz. bottle hot sauce

A few cloves of garlic, sliced

1. Pour off the liquid from the pickles and cut pickles into 3/4 inch slices.

2. Return the pickles to the jar in layers, alternating until jar is full: pickles, sugar, hot sauce, garlic.

3. Let stand about 4 days, inverting the jar every day,  until all the sugar is dissolved.

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Cinnamon Bun Love

Cinnamon Bun LoveMade these cinnamon buns this morning from Carole Walter’s Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins and More. I wish my husband liked sweets other than brownies. Looks like the Mr. Rooter Man is going to enjoy these treats instead. It’s no fun working on clogged drains on Labor Day Saturday…he needed some love.

Amanda

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It is travel season. Disneyland. Grand Canyon. Monaco. Juno. Wichita. Anywhere you go, ultimately most return and upon returning there is always the first meal back at home.
This meal fills me with possibility- it is the one day when I go to the market with the thought of buying the most delicious and simple thing I can put my jet lagged fingers around. No rules. The decisions this day are not steered by the produce in the drawer (as if I could remember what I may or may not have left in the fridge, let alone if it will be edible) or by the guests who might pop up or by any other of the factors that make each day in the kitchen seem so specific. I cannot will myself to have an inventive evening with the pantry- it feels too risky. Nor can I face the freezer which is undoubtedly filled with frosty treasures but will take time to thaw…
What I want on this special day is to indulge in something true. Something that will not touch a cutting board. Something that will remind me that my jeans will soon button without constriction. Something that will require only a basket, not a shopping cart. Something so elemental that a recipe would be silly. Something that will make me grin and think ‘I am happy to be here’.

E

Verdict: Grilled salmon BLTs with avocado……… perhaps not meeting all the criteria but it was comforting and reminded me that I was in control.  Ready to be eating at home but not scrubbing pans, I grilled everything: the salmon, the bread and even the bacon (a first for me that may require more research before repeating).  Some leftover homemade mayo and heirloom tomatoes sealed the deal.

Bread and Matos

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