How do you shop?
I was trying to decide this morning, as I drove to a second hypermarket after already having been to one, plus a local green grocer….
Am I becoming more picky about my purchases?
Or are the stores becoming less accommodating?
That second question was rhetorical… I know the answer.
There was a time when I stopped at the best (naturally) supermarket in the area, on my way home from work on a Friday, and, in a little over an hour, bought everything we needed to sustain mind, body and soul for the week.
The last time I was in Minneapolis I went to that very same supermarket, still considered rather top of the heap (they have/had Baccarat crystal in the gift shop!!!!), and couldn't believe that I could ever have shopped there. The fresh produce was abysmal, all pre-cut, pre-packaged; as was the meat. The dried foods were mostly 'just-add-water' convenience foods. I couldn't find brown rice, quinoa or plain Arborio.
I should digress here for a minute… The French are all about making life easier, as well. They just do it differently. My brown rice, for example, (Uncle Ben's brown basmati) cooks in 15 minutes, as does the barley I buy. But they are both plain, not 'flavored', having all the additives and other stuff that I found on the American shelves.
So, then, what is my current shopping dilema?
My tastes have expanded dramatically.
To get Scottish Highland Oatcakes, Spanish Pimientos, Alubias (white beans) and the Peruvian coffee I like, I have to go to one store.
The best butcher is at a different store, but I really like the sausages made by a third and the lamb is best at yet another.
One store has absolutely gorgeous produce, but never has anything 'exotic' like sunchokes.
The local market has the best carrots and asparagus, but for green garlic and globe artichokes, I have to go to the green grocer.
I like the paper towels at the local discount chain, which is where I also buy my Coke Light.
I try to organize my menus so I only go to one, possibly two places each week.
Naturally, I often fail.
I once read about a woman who was feeding her family of 100 on nothing… Clipping coupons and frantically driving all over town to get the best deals.
All I could think was what a waste of time – and how much was she spending on gas to save the grocery money.
Now I'm doing much the same but without the virtuous motives.
I'm doing it, not to save money, but merely to please my own taste buds.
I certainly can't take responsibility for this attitude!
I'll blame it on this blog!
Did I mention that the 'A's are in? (asparagus, artichokes, avocados)
Asparagus and Avocado Salad
8oz (250gr) green asparagus
6 large cherry tomatoes
Snap off ends of asparagus. Roll cut asparagus in 1 inch (2.5 cm) lengths. Fill large saucepan half full of water and bring to a boil over high heat. When boiling drop in asparagus and parboil for 2 minutes. Drain and immediately rinse with cold water. Spread them on paper towels and pat dry. Put the dried asparagus in a bowl, add the vinaigrette and toss lightly to combine. Let marinate for at least 15 minutes.
To Serve: Slice the tomatoes in half or thirds. Remove avocado from shell. Cut into cubes, Add tomatoes and avocado to asparagus and toss lightly.
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs Balsamic vinegar
1 tbs good olive oil
1 tsp walnut or sesame oil
Combine all ingredients and whisk well to combine.
In addition to the above, for the week of April 3 we have Scrambled Eggs with Green Garlic, Veal Paprika, Risotto with Avocado, Spinach with White Beans and Red Peppers….
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