Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hunting and Foraging: Diva Style

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.

Dijon Chicken

  • 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)
Pour the olive oil into the bottom of a glass or Pyrex pie dish. Add the lemon juice and water and whisk to combine. Add the garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper - and or whatever herbs and seasonings you like. Whisk again. Add the chicken to the marinade and turn the chicken to coat. Cover and set aside in the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes.

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!


rachel said...

Actually, a note on Fairway. One benefit of not having a hampton or country home is the ability to run into Fairway for a quick pick up (food, not men) on a weekend afternoon in summer. Really pretty empty. And air conditioned. Not a bad combo.

pixelgal said...

Ah Rachel...I beg to differ. As a lifelong suburbanite I once dared to enter the wild, wooly world of Fairway, in an attempt to explore Diva world and report back to the hicks in the sticks on what it's like to be a city dweller. It was indeed fearsome for one who is used to fairly empty enormous stores with huge carriages to fill with unneeded items. The angry-looking hunters and foragers caused me to have PTSD upon finally finding an exit and I considered suing but my lawyer probably wouldn't have taken the case.....biting the hand...etc. Anyway, if there is a next time I'll use the guide for naviation. Thanks, Diva!