Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Say what?

You discover all kinds of interesting things if you go to the grocery store without a list and just poke around.  I began my visit by picking up a wedge of parmesan cheese in the cooler by the deli counter.  Later I found myself in the back of the store with the low-rent cheese and what did I find but the apparently identical product.

Except they had different bar code numbers, and the one in the front of the store was $1.80 more expensive!

Guess which one I put back and which one I bought.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Great ideas in sommeliership

The waitress opened our bottle of wine, then cut the cap and flipped it over to hold the cork.  What a sharp presentation!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Gelato for old people?

Two weeks in Italy with teenagers meant a lot of gelato (for them; the grownups mainly watched). After lunch, after dinner, while walking around in the sun in the afternoon.

One night they each ordered gelato frozen into a hollowed-out lemon.  After the kids polished off the gelato, my sister and I each got a just-starting-to-thaw-out lemon peel to eat -- magnifico!

Even if you mainly watched, it was fun to see the different flavors and note how the cold stuff is piled into its containers in a different way than you would see ice cream on display at home.

The last night, Zoe pointed out a flavor that nobody, teens or grownups alike, wanted to even have a taste of.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Farm stand, British style

Cornwall, in the southeastern part of England, has a surprisingly balmy climate, washed by the Gulf Stream.  On our vacation this spring we visited two magnificent gardens, and found this tiny self-service market in the village nearby.  (I thought 1 pound -- $1.67 -- was a bit steep for a little bunch of green onions, considering the low overhead, but it's an expensive country.)

Monday, July 7, 2014

A passage to India

I'm not much on semi-prepared foods -- stuff like Ragu spaghetti sauce.  I have always figured if you're going to make good spaghetti you need to make your own sauce, and my record is clear: I've never used a jar of that stuff in my life.

But that's Italian, my adopted heritage cuisine.  When it comes to other, more exotic ethnicities I'm open to all the help I can get.  I've recently started buying Indian simmer sauces and find them an easy way to get dinner on the table with a minimum of work.  (Even though I think the name "simmer sauce" is way too marketing-adorable for ordinary people to utter.)

Take the skin off a pack of chicken thighs, brown them (optional, I guess), then pour the sauce over.  I had some fresh ginger, so I minced up a good chunk of it and added it for more pep.  It simmered for a half hour or so, then I added cauliflower, ubiquitous on Indian menus.  Made plain white rice in the rice cooker.

The best part was what happened to the cauliflower -- bright delicate orange on the flowers, paler gold on the stalks.  I don't know what a real Indian would think of this dish but we give it an A for fast, easy and good.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Duo desserts

At the fancy restaurant, I was struck by how many of the dessert options were really two desserts.

Wouldn't a slice of cherry pie be totally delicious?  (It was -- I got a taste -- actually I got two tastes because the two people who shared the dessert couldn't eat it all.)  Do you really need a bowl of ice cream too?  Of course, maybe then they couldn't charge $9.

My husband ordered the banana confection and gave me a taste.  I wished I could have tasted just the banana bread pudding, minus the chocolate sauce, or maybe just the pistachio short bread.  Too many ingredients for me.

 OK, so I'm just a sour cherry.  But if restaurants would offer small desserts with just one delicious flavor, I would probably order more of them.  As it is, I only watch.