Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong era. I know the reality of it is that I’m glad I live in the modern world. (Who am I kidding? I get annoyed if my computer is slow for a few minutes.) In terms of cooking and shopping I imagine bartering with neighbours, shopping the markets, feeding scraps to the pigs and never stepping foot in a grocery store. I like to shop f0r food on a day by day basis (even though I don’t really do that – who has the time?) I do shop around a lot though. I like my fish from the fish monger, my meat from the butcher, my eggs from a local farm, etc. etc. Now with Instacart you can actually send someone to all those stores for you if you don’t have the time or patience.
I recently attended an event with one of my favourite local chefs Jeremy Sewall of Lineage, Island Creek Oyster Bar and Row 34. It was hosted by Boston University’s Gastronomy Program (check them out they have lots of interesting classes and events for students and community members alike). It was an event put on my Stop & Shop, which happens to be one of the grocery stores I go to the least (mostly because it is not convenient for me). I do go the extra distance once a year though, because they have the most Passover foods.
I learned a lot of interesting things at this Healthy Cooking class. What really interested me was that Stop & Shop has a staff nutritionist, Julie Menounos, (based in the Chelmsford store). Julie healps people find healthy options in store, but she also writes recipes for their in store magazine. She also teaches tips and tricks for creating tasty meals while cutting out some of chef’s favourite fats and lightening that heavy handed sprinkle of salt. Next time I walk by the stack of in store magazines I’m not going to turn my nose. Even though I consider myself a fairly educated cook, there is always a little tidbit or something to learn. It’s also helpful to have little reminders about creating flavour and cutting back on unhealthy ingredients.
For our cooking class and dinner we helped make and then enjoyed the following menu:
Cucumber, Lime & Mint Mocktail
Whole Wheat Carrot Pancakes with Honey and Almond
Mixed Green Salad with Toasted Spice Vinaigrette
Slow Roasted Salmon with Toasted Barley and Fennel
The mocktail was so refreshing and light. I can’t wait for warmer weather to enjoy one on the porch while the kids are doing there homework. You can even make extra and add a shot of vodka for a pre-dinner drink.
The pancakes are so tasty and easy to make. They also have a really good consistency to freeze. I made a batch and stuck them in the freezer so I can toast one or two up for breakfast. If I want an afternoon pick me up, I top one with some of Sofra Bakery & Café’s pumpkin spoon sweets.
The mixed green salad was really something new and unexpected with the spices in the vinaigrette.
I’ve already made the slow roasted salmon twice since the dinner we had with Chef Sewall. It is such an easy preparation and the fish is cooked to perfection.
The mango pops were so creamy made with coconut milk. I am definitely going to incorporate coconut in my smoothies if I’m looking for something a bit more indulgent as an afternoon treat or a healthier version of a milkshake.
Julie provided a great page entitled “Tips & tricks to spice up your meals”. I’m going to try to track it down to share with you. They are simple tips that we can all refer to in our every day culinary lives.