June 2010

This past week has been very tiring.  Summer vacation is around the corner but it seems like it’s taking way too long to get here. The fact that I’m dealing with a house renovation and consequently driving upstate every weekend has left me with a fridge and cupboards that are pretty bare.  Luckily, knowing I had to bring food upstate inspired my weekend shopping.  Knowing I could get three, possibly four meals for $101.88 that would feed two people was even better. 

Strawberries, blueberries, grape tomatoes and green beans are on sale.  I grab two containers of strawberries, one each of the blueberries and tomatoes, and a handful of beans.  The price of baguette has fallen to $.99; I grab two loaves.  A small disk of Spanish goat cheese coated with paprika goes for $2.37 and an interesting looking sheeps milk cheese from Switzerland (albeit for $6.00) are also purchased.  Then I remember Rachel likes Gouda so pick up some for $3.29 and then realize we’ve run out of freshly grated parmesan so for $2.28 that goes in the basket, too.  Wow, is that French feta?  Can’t resist a nice chunk of French feta for $3.33.  What am I going to make for dinner tonight by the way? 

I head over to the fish counter.  What with the Gulf Coast oil spill, shrimp from the U.S. has been replaced by shrimp from Thailand and Vietnam.  I think I’ll pass.  Swordfish however is on sale so I pick up a generous piece for $20.15 which I’m thinking we’ll cook on the grill once we get up to the house.  It being Father’s Day weekend, I also pick up some filet steaks (although I prefer ribeyes better) for $8.74 (albeit four small ones)  and two packages of ground pork.  Near the pork I see a package of duck hot dogs.  Duck what? For $5.99 I can’t resist thinking maybe I’ll do a mixed grill for Father’s Day.  Now, however, I need to pick up a package of hot dog buns ($3.19).  Next to the buns I see a package of pita.  Maybe I can do a pita pork feta thing for dinner?   

Some fresh herbs, butter, a case of bottled water (for the very friendly price of $2.78) plus a bag of potato chips go into the cart as well.  Then I see flour is on sale (5 lbs for $2.00) which I know I will always use, and Barilla pasta (80 cents a box!).  I realize I forgot to get some lemons to spritz over the swordfish which leads me to think about my pita dinner and should I get some chick peas to make a lemony version of hummus? 

Shopping done I finally have a three day plus lineup of dishes:

Friday night’s pita dinner goes according to plan.  I wrap the pita in tinfoil and warm them up in the oven.  I open the can of chick peas, rinse and toss them in the food processor along with some garlic, freshly squeezed lemon and fresh dill and parsley.  I trickle in some olive oil to give it a smooth texture then put it in a bowl to chill in the fridge.  I chop up more dill, find some homemade breadcrumbs in the fridge and to this I add an egg and the ground pork and proceed to form croquette-like shapes.  I fry up the pork croquettes adding a little water to the pan to steam them when they start drying out a bit.  I take out the wedge of French feta and put it in a bowl but not until I sprinkle some freshly ground pepper on the top and drizzle a little olive oil over the whole thing.  Should I saute some onions?  Absolutely.

Saturday morning I wake up and think about what I’m carting upstate.  Tired of eggs for breakfast I decide to make a pound cake but add the blueberries to the batter.  Problem is I bake the cake in a glass loaf pan I don’t normally use and halfway through the baking time, the batter starts oozing out of the pan onto the oven bottom.  The kitchen fills up with smoke rather quickly until I clean up the mess and put a pizza pan underneath the loaf pan to catch the rest of the batter still spilling forth.  Needless to say the blueberry pound cake doesn’t come out as planned but when it finally cools and I flip it over the blueberries are now on the top of the cake and it actually looks quite presentable. 

Besides the swordfish I think about making a quick green bean and tomato salad to take up with me.  Yet, I’m not happy.  The meal well, looks a little boring.  Could I possibly pull together a tuna tonnato sauce?  I do and it’s a lovely accompaniment to both the salad and the grilled fish. 

Sunday we eat the pound cake for breakfast along with some of the cheese and baguette we didn’t finish from the night before. When we get home for a late dinner (nearly 9 p.m.) I make a quick batch of macaroni and cheese adding sauteed leeks to the dish to give it a little grown-up taste, grill the filets and drop the duck hot dogs into a pan of water.  I watch as they plump up and take on a strange gray color.  They begin to scare me.  We slice the filets, carry out the mac and cheese to the table and help ourselves each to a duck dog.  Wow, uncured also means no taste. In fact, there wasn’t the slightest bit of flavor — duck or otherwise — in that dog.  I take two bites and leave the rest on my plate. 

All in all I got three dinners and a breakfast out of my $101.88 not to mention the fact that I left a good chunk of the pound cake, a container of strawberries and the leftover green bean salad upstate for when Nick showed up at the house a few hours after we left. 

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