Saturday, October 10, 2009

Thumbs up for food

The day after I got back, I had to turn the heat on in the apartment--it was getting into the 40's at night. This inspired another wave of cooking.

That Sunday, I had a craving for comfort food: fried chicken, mashed potatoes, pie. There are 4 grocery stores within 2 miles of where I live: Giant and Weis, which are traditional grocery stores, Wegmans, the "Central Market"-like store I've written about earlier, and Wal-Mart. Of these stores, the Weis has by far best Kosher selection, but in general, is also the least crowded. I've never had to wait in line for a cashier, and I wonder if the place turns a profit. It closes at 10pm (9pm on Sundays) while the other three stores are open 24/7. It's a good store, though, with conveniences such as a post office on the inside, and a Culligan-type water tap on the exterior (I buy bottled water by the gallon and refill). It also happens to be the closest grocery to my apartment.

Since I only wanted to pick up some fried chicken, I stopped at my neighborhood Weis. I was surprised that the deli didn't have normal fried chicken but only fried chicken wings--like hot wings, only done in fried chicken batter. I bought a bag of 10 wings, went home, stuck them in the oven while I made the sides: mashed potatoes and glazed dijon carrots. The potatoes were from a dried box, and the carrots were leftover inspired. I had a salad which called for 2 carrots, which me with the rest of the package.

The glazed dijon carrots were amazing. I am not much of a carrot person, but this could have been my entire meal. This is recipe is holiday quality. I omitted the ground ginger, since I had none, but it was still very, very good.

The last part of my Sunday lunch was baked pears--Weis had them on sale. I selected a couple of Bartletts. I put them in the oven to bake, and sat down for lunch with my chicken and side dishes.

After eating lunch, however, I grew violently ill. Lesson learned--do not eat fried chicken wings from a place that doesn't sell regular fried chicken. Especially when the wings are sitting under a dubious looking heat lamp and have been sitting there for an unknown length of time. Or, better yet, avoid this Weis's deli.

It was Campbell's soup and toast for me for the next couple of days. As I transitioned back into solids, I discovered Stonyfield Farm organic yogurt. It's yummy! It supports small farmers! It's sold at Wal-Mart! What's not to like? It does double duty, both at breakfast, and as a dessert. (And yes, I buy the large tubs instead of the individual serving sizes.)

Another discovery was Target's Archer Farms Blueberry Granola. Yummy granola, fair price, and I think the package design is very clever. The container for it is a solid-feeling paperboard canister--think of an oatmeal canister, except oval shaped. The top is scored in the middle, along the short axis of symmetry, so that you can open it by folding the lid back. I had heard about the packaging earlier but I'm here to say that it works very well in practice.

Lastly, I decided to make marshmallow rice treats, or Rice Krispie treats, if you use the brand name. You basically melt marshmallows and butter in a pot, mix in crisped rice cereal, then pour into a cake pan to cool. Only, I guess I had the heat too high when melting the marshmallows, since they caramelized a bit on the bottom. The resulting cake, however, though not as pull-apart gooey as normal, was much richer in taste the traditional stuff. Once again, repeatable for the holidays.