It's a new week, and that always marks the perfect time for change. It's the first full week of Spring, so even moreso, I think.
The change our household will be seeing is a more consistent effort towards healthy eating. I know that since I got my gallbladder out I've had healthy habits that have been constantly battling the wonderful rediscovery of fatty foods. I had spent a lot of my time while I had gallstone accumulating a wealth of recipes that were too fatty for me to make then, and now it's like I've been finally granted permission to make all of them. For example, last week we had pork ribs, pork roast, stuffed manicotti and shrimp scampi. Those are the kind of fatty meals that are fine to have - but perhaps only one a week. So I'll be limiting those again and reverting back to lower-fat foods on a more regular basis. Why the more focused change now? Easy - my darling husband has expressed a desire to get healthier, and since he's my weakness (the only reason I ever buy chips, pop, pizza or chocolate is as a treat for him) if I feel like I'm doing it for him, I won't give in to temptation and make 3 baked pasta meals in a week.
In preparation for this change I did some grocery shopping and was pleased to find that my grocery store is stepping up it's produce offerings. It's the kind of grocer that carries 7 different types of apples year-round, but they've never even heard of a lychee nut. So I was pleasantly surprised to walk in on Saturday and find okra, lemongrass and rapini on their shelves. The lemongrass was too tempting to walk past (until that point I had only ever found it at the local Superstore, which is a gong show to shop at), so I figured I'd make up a coconut chicken soup this week with it. And I also figured it would be yummy to make up an asian noodle bowl at some points, so by the time I was through the produce aisle I had ginger, lemongrass, bean sprouts, and cilantro in my basket. Add to that the beautiful artichokes that I found, some yummy mushrooms for the soup and the papaya I bought just for kicks, and I had a whole bunch of things in my basket that aren't necessarily in my fridge on a regular basis. Now, ginger, lemongrass and bean sprouts may not seem at all out of the ordinary to you, but you've probably never shopped at my grocery store. When I got up to the checkout I happened to choose a line with an older cashier who had only been working there for 4 months. She was stumped. She had no idea what the difference was between parsley and cilantro (the only two fresh herbs that the grocer carries regularly), she had only rang in artichokes once before, and the lemongrass I bought was the first one she had ever seen up close. She kept commenting on how I must be planning a special meal and implied that it must be a rare occassion to be buying such strange things. Granted, I don't always have those things in my fridge, but that's moreso because I don't actually like mushrooms and cilantro except in this soup, and the fact that I can't usually find good artichokes and lemongrass, than the general 'oddity' of the produce itself. It's times like that when I wonder why I still shop at that grocer when I'm obviously not their target customer, but then I see their meat shop prices and it all becomes clear again.
I've learned to come to grips with the fact that I cannot access every culinary delight here in Small City, Alberta. I can't get sumac, creme fraiche, geoduck, fresh figs or flying fish eggs here. I'm not sure if I could even track down sushi grade tuna and I feel certain I'd never find sea urchin here - none of our local sushi restaurants even get it in. When it comes to meat and alcohol, we definitely have it somewhere around here (we have a higher per-capita of liquor stores to people than should be accepted, same with cows to people, I'm sure), but for anything that hails from another country, and particularly things that can only be used in their native recipes, tough luck.
Well, I've got to scamper and go check out some Sunday School materials at a book store today, but before I do that: Shrimp Scampi. I mentioned it in passing, but that won't do. I had never actually had Shrimp Scampi before, so I wasn't sure how I would like it, but Matt came home on Friday and woke me up from a 2 hours nap I did not mean to take, so by 6:00 I had not started dinner. That was a rather unfortunate trend last week... I was feeling badly anyway and was determined to make him a nice meal so I whipped out this 30 minute scampi recipe that I had found on Pinterest. It was divine. It's quick, it's yummy and it's a good freezer meal!
Mrs. VanderLeek ;)