Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Zen and the Art of Grocery Shopping

Few things relax me and clear my mind more than an hour strolling the aisles of a grocery market. It's almost as good as yoga, I wander and shop while dreaming of new recipes and comparing prices and produce – and when I leave, I am calm and my mind is clear.

Today was an eventful shop because I felt obligated to check out the new health food market that opened just outside my subway stop. I am sure it will afford some convenience in the furture, but the price of a bottle of olive oil scared me. So, I bought some coffee and some really cool flowers, and moved on to my now beloved old market, Tops on the Water Front.

Check out the flowers:

Over a week ago I made a blog declaration of intent to regularly write about food, and I haven't done so since. Why? Because what happened in my kitchen last week was not much of anything. Instead, Brad and I managed to eat out at restaurants 5 separate times in one week! And no, we're not on vacation.

Here are the highlights:

Mussels and Linguine Fra Diavlo
Seared Skate with Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic, Olives and Mashed Potatoes
Pork Belly Risottoo
Scallops in Tomato Broth with Corn Salsa
Duck Leg Confit
Vermont Maple Roasted Pear salad
Roasted Pork Loin with Bean Cakes
Pulled Pork Sandwich with yummy Homemade French Fries
French Onion Soup

Yep, you wouldn't be cooking either! However, I did pick up 5 pounds of sweet, delicious apples from Upstate and after seeking out an apple peeler/corer at my new favorite store, Broadway Panhandler, Brad and I made applesauce. Soooo good. And after we ate baked "Volcanic Apples" for dessert tonight, with two apples I had set aside, Brad suggested that I title this entry "Holy Crap Baked Apples are Good". I opted not, but they were amazing.

Here are some photos of the action and simple apple recipes for your fall enjoyment:

Apple Sauce

4lbs of apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 cup of water
1 stick of cinnamon
1 teaspoons of white sugar
2 teaspoons of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of honey (if desired)

Bring all the ingredients to a boil then cover and simmer for 35 minutes, stirring frequently.
Apples should be very tender. Remove the cinnamon stick, mix in the juice of 1 lemon and mash with a potato masher.

Baked Volcanic Apples for 2

2 apples, cored with a wider mouth at the top
*gently slice the skin in a ring around the center of the apple, so the skin doesn't bubble when cooking.
6 tablespoons of museli (preferably nutty)
1 tablespoon of butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons honey

Preheat the oven to 375˚
Melt butter in a frying pan over medium heat, add museli and brown sugar. Stir and cook until museli is slightly browned. Remove from heat, stir in cinnamon and fill apple holes with the mixture – mounding at the top. Top each apple with a tablespoonful of honey and place in a baking dish with a few spoonfuls of water in the bottom. Bake 45 minutes until apples are tender when pierced and honey has formed a glaze. To serve top with additional dolup of honey and cream if desired.


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