Thursday, March 20, 2008

Confessions From an Apartment Kitchen

It's getting to the sad point where I can taste the difference between onions bought at Trader Joe's and onions bought from the Farmer's Market. Someone please help.

I'm not TOTALLY over the edge yet, though. The spinach dish I had for dinner last night consisted almost entirely of store-bought, "convenience" items, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I made this recipe from America's Test Kitchen, a pretty amazing site, and instead of washing and chopping fresh spinach, like it calls for, I USED FROZEN. And then I used PRE-CRUSHED GARLIC out of a JAR. And if that wasn't enough, I USED LEMON PEPPER IN THE PLACE OF THE LEMON ZEST. All things provided by Trader Joe's, obviously, because I worship at the feet of that store.

And I'm here to say that it doesn't matter. I used a bunch of convenience things and the dish was still pretty awesome, especially with a little fresh-grated parmesan over the top. (I have a small grater from IKEA, of all places, and a hard block of parmesan from Trader Joe's costs about four dollars and lasts forever in the fridge, an affordable luxury). In fact, it was super yummy and an instant addition to my recipe rotation.

Other things that I definitely use that you're not supposed to:

Salted butter.
I can't understand for the life of me why Real Cooks Are Only Supposed to Use Unsalted. A little extra salt in a dish surely can't hurt. However, I don't add any salt to the dish while cooking it, even if the recipe calls for it--I salt it at the end.

I have a big hunk of butter (from TRADER JOE's, obviously) that I cut off in chunks at a time and put in an old clean margarine container, which I leave out on the counter. This way the butter stays good, in the fridge, but I also always have spreadable butter.

I thought I had way more kitchen confessions than I do--they've all run away from my brain. Hope everyone's Thursday is filled with good food!

1 comment:

C said...

Eh. I use frozen chopped spinach all the time. Also, frozen broccoli florets.

That being said, I can't wait for farmers' market season out here. Heirloom tomatoes? Love.

Re: butter. I use unsalted usually, but it's not because "real" cooks use it... It's because I keep forgetting to read the label. Butter = butter. :D