This week is all about cooking things that become ingredients in seriously wicked meals. If you have the staples down (and pre-prepped in your fridge) coming home and putting dinner together becomes a dream.
But before we talk about what we’re making, let’s talk a little bit about how to be prepared. I said last week, that I like to get all of my shopping done in one or two goes, so I don’t have to continually run to the store all week. Yes it requires thinking ahead, but there are two simple steps that make it easier not to miss ingredients.
One: Make yourself a fixed shopping list. This list should include everything you normally keep in your pantry, or that you buy on a regular basis(check out “Stocking Up.” for some ideas). Type this up, and print it off at the beginning of each week. Taking time to check the levels of these staples at the beginning of the week while meal planning will ensure that you don’t run out of olive oil at just the wrong moment.
Two: Take time to go through all of the recipes you are planning to make this week, and add any unusual ingredients to the list you already have going. Not only will you have everything you need, you’ll have at least glanced over all of your recipes ahead of time, which will help when it comes down to preparation.
I don’t have a fixed list, not in France anyway, as keeping a well stocked pantry just doesn’t make sense given I leave here in two and a half months; but I do go through all of my recipes before heading out to the open air market just minutes from my door. This, to me, is the height of luxury.
A braid of garlic catches my eye – I haven’t been able to find decent garlic since arriving in France but this is beautiful. Bright streaks of purple show through the delicate skin, and the cloves are firm to my touch. Sold. I mentally readjust my budget in my head, glad I have some extra meat in my freezer so I don’t have to purchase that this week.
A vendor waves me over, eagerly handing my a slice of an incredible succulent orange. Hardly more expensive than the normal grocery store variety, I buy four. Because when all is said and done, preplanning is great, but you also have to look at what is beautiful (or on sale) when you shop. Things like garlic and oranges always have a place in my kitchen, even if I didn’t plan to buy them.
For a prep schedule and how to get started read “Getting it Done.”