My pack-rat little self is starting to feel secure again: I have food in the pantry.
For the 4 1/2 months we lived at Vlad's house, I had no stash.
I went shopping two or three times a week. There was simply no place to store anything. If I needed 2 potatoes, 3 carrots and an onion, that's exactly what I bought.
I bought a small jar of mustard (one kind); a small bottle of soy sauce.
I couldn't take advantage of any specials or sales.
I had to behave very unlike my normal self.
I've never lived within easy access of shops. A 45 minute round trip to the nearest grocery store taught me, early on, to be prepared. When one can get snowed in for days, one wants to know there is food in the house.
The last weeks before we moved we ate completely from the pantry and freezer.
Both have been empty since.
Yesterday, I put all of my shopping bags in the car, went to the hypermarket and started replenishing. I bought '2 for the price of 1' stuff; big boxes of chicken breasts; multiple cans of tomatoes; large bags of rice; 3 different kinds of mustard….
For the first time in months, even though I had my list, I could buy at will.
And I did.
My trolley was embarrassing.
People were looking.
One young man (knows me by sight from the local DIY store) actually came over and started counting…
I had to send mon mari for a second trolley.
It took me over 2 hours to put it all away when I got home, neatly filling the freezer and pantry shelves.
I was in heaven.
So was the store manager…. I spent almost 300 euros.
I know many people are quite happy with daily shopping, getting everything fresh (supposedly), but, while I like the fruit and veg to be fresh, and will go to the local markets for that, I also like to know that I don't have to… I can survive from my pantry.
What kind of shopper are you all?
Now, what shall we have for dinner?
Veal Parmesan. A classic on every Italian menu, and one that is easy to make at home. The veal is lightly breaded and quickly fried. I topped it with a slice of Mozzarella di Bufala, not traditional, but I was in a crazy mood. You can substitute turkey cutlets or chicken breasts, pounded thinly, for the veal.
4 thin veal cutlets, about 8oz (250gr) total weight
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
15oz (450gr) whole tomatoes
8oz (250ml) tomato sauce
1 tbs tomato paste
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 cup (2oz, 60ml) red wine
4 slice fresh mozzarella Di Bufala
freshly grated Parmesan for sprinkling
3oz (90gr) spaghetti
The pasta: Cook according to package directions. Drain.
The veal: Mix bread crumbs and Parmesan on a plate. Crack egg into a flattish bowl and lightly beat with a fork. Dip both sides of the veal cutlets in the egg, then in the crumbs/Parmesan. Lay on wax paper or a plate to rest for 5 minutes. In a medium nonstick skillet heat 1 tbs oil over medium-high heat. Add veal cutlets and brown well on both sides, 2 – 3 minutes. Remove, put on a large, heat-proof plate and keep warm in a 250F (125C) oven.
The sauce: Chop onion and finely chop garlic. Roughly chop tomatoes, reserving all juices. In same skillet add remaining tbs oil, onion and garlic and sauté 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, juices, sauce, paste, herbs, wine, and Worcestershire. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes.
To serve: Remove veal from oven and put into pan with the sauce. Top with sliced mozzarella and cover until the cheese stars to melt. Arrange the veal on the warm plate, spoon some sauce around and serve with the remaining sauce on the side for the pasta. The Parmesan is for sprinkling on the pasta.
In addition to the above, for the week of February 20 we have Lentil and Mozzarella Salad, Sole with Capers, Chicken with Tarragon Mustard, Pork Chops with Braised Cabbage….
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