I don't know if you've ever grocery shopped in Manhattan, but it can be a challenge. And, I use that term loosely - by challenge I mean nightmare ... of epic proportions. Have you ever been to Fairway? Their slogan is: "Like No Other Market" ... and if by that they mean your shopping experience there will be more akin to The Running of the Bulls than a trip to your average Stop & Shop, then yeah, that's about right. In a word, it sucks.
Anyone who's been on a diet has heard of "shopping the perimeter" - sticking to the outside aisles where the healthier foods can be found. Well, at Fairway there is no perimeter. Its a crazy rabbit-warren of 2 foot wide aisles, with products stacked to the rafters and danger lurking around every corner. You may think the choice of link to the Bull Running was a whimsical one, but I assure you it is deadly serious. The tips for running with the bulls on that page are much the same as I'd offer you for shopping at Fairway.
Arrive early. Never, ever go there after 4 p.m., and don't even think about the weekends. Wear comfortable and safe clothing: no open toes or exposed heels. I mean it. Look for the experts and follow them. Get in and get out of the flow quickly: if you see a stock boy or anyone who looks like a tourist - move ahead of them at all costs. Otherwise, you'll be crushed in the fray. The vegetable aisle is the most dangerous place of all. Proceed with caution. If peppers aren't on your list then for the love of God don't stop to admire them - you'll be mowed down by a double wide stroller or a geezer with a shopping cart if you do. This is a full-contact sport and there's nothin' pretty about it. This is hunting and foraging: Diva Style. Strap on your armor, leave the tiara at home.
I never go there without a list and I never go without mapping out my route ... especially my exit route. Shoppers are weary and tempers are running high by the time you reach the check-out lines. Here, its best to stick to the perimeter. Express line if you got less than 12 items, far left check-out if you've got a boat-load.
The best tip of all is to shop upstairs in the organic section. Still chaotic, but far less so, and the register lines move quickly. On a hot day like today, I'm likely to skip the "shopping" altogether and make something from what I've got on hand. Hence our friend the crazy chicken head. He's baaaack!
I know I got this recipe from my mom, but I've been making it for so long I can no longer remember its origins. Its quick, easy and delicious. Add a beautiful side salad and or a veg of your choice and its perfect for a hot night. With a little luck all the ingredients will already be in your pantry too and there'll be no need for combat-shopping.
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, pounded to @ 1/2 inch thick
- 2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- juice of one whole lemon
- 1/4 cup. water
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
- 2 tbsp. chopped, fresh rosemary (or to taste)
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup high-quality Dijon mustard - (I like Maille brand)
Pre-heat your grill, or grill pan. Grill the chicken. When it is well-browned and done on one side, turn it over. Brush the cooked side with some of the Dijon mustard and continue cooking. When the second side is browned and the chicken cooked through - turn it mustard side down, and coat the other side of the breast with the mustard. Continue cooking and turning the chicken, letting the mustard crust both sides. This only takes a minute or two. Serve and enjoy!