After eating out or grabbing take out everyday last week (which I am not complaining about because every meal was delicious) I decided to get back into cooking.
I printed out the shrimp and grits recipe that Food & Wine sent me today and headed to Loblaws. I was a bit worried about finding grits since I once had someone at Whole Foods try and pass off corn meal as grits, but I figured that Bobby Flay has enough global presence to get a corn product wide distribution.
I checked every single aisle with possibilities – baking needs, cereal, international. There was every other type of ground corn product, but no grits.
I actually thought I was going to be writing about cooking on an electric stove (ack!). But instead I am curled up on the couch with delicious lamb korma from Agra Fine Indian Cuisine (corner of King and Peter if you have a craving).
One of my old boyfriends and his roommate used to make fun of me for the precision with which I would choose ingredients when I cooked for them. My excuses are 1) that I was young and not as confident in my cooking skills and 2) that when my old boyfriend would on occasion shop for groceries he would just bring home the wrong thing – a scallion is not a small leek.
Since that time many many years ago I have gotten more confident in my cooking and have a much better sense of how calling an audible on an ingredient at the grocery store might affect the recipe. I also broke up with said boyfriend (not because of the leek incident) and do my own grocery shopping.
Well I made Spicy Buffalo Chili (Cooking Light) chose to make a switch in meat format. It’s buffalo chili so obviously the recipe calls for buffalo steak, although it offers a substitute of beef sirloin. Whole Foods didn’t have buffalo steak, but did have ground buffalo. I went for it.
The second substitution was roasted minced garlic in place of plain minced. Mainly because knife skills are my worst skill and I have a bottle of minced roasted garlic in my fridge. I defense of my laziness I could have bought pre-diced onions and carrots, but I did those myself.
Now, since I haven’t made this particular recipe before I can’t compare to following the directions exactly. But this had a rich flavor to it and is especially enjoyable outside with a big glass of red.
Don’t be afraid to make shifts if the exact ingredient isn’t available, or if you have a possible substitute already in your pantry. And even if you’re cooking for one chili freezes very well.
I shop at Whole Foods a lot. It’s a convenient walk from my apartment, they have good produce, fish and meat and you can even get specialty items. Not so much anymore.
I have never been able to get a good shallot, maybe I should have taken that as a sign. Then the spice rack started to dwindle, seven types of salt but no cardamon pods.
Last night was a new low. No bone-in chicken breasts with skin. If I wanted a roast a dry ass piece of spa chicken I would totally buy a boneless, skinless chicken breast. But I have this thing about enjoying a juicy piece of chicken that has some taste (even if I do take the skin off before eating it). Oddly enough they had chicken feet.
It may be time to start shopping like my French ancestors and just head to the outdoor marché for my shopping.