I have yet to explore the art of making a Quarantini, but before this pandemic is over I’ll likely get there. With Anne and I living home alone now and not getting out much, our new Coronavirus lifestyle has had a silver lining of sorts. It has begot a culinary renaissance in our kitchen. I’ve been doing the cooking around here since even before the plague struck. Back before, I would shop daily, for whatever, I felt like eating that day. It was all very spur of the moment. The amount of planning involved in designing a meal might boil down to sighting something new and scrumptious looking in the grocery aisles that very day, but I have not ventured into those aisles since March.
Instead I have switched to Instacart for my grocery shopping needs. Sometimes, especially in the early days, this kind of remote shopping led to both surprises and disappointments. I have yet to figure out how we were gifted a gallon of vinegar. It wasn’t ordered or paid for, at least not by me and even still while unpacking the latest order, I find ordered items missing, because they were out-of-stock. This was especially prevalent in those chaotic first weeks of the lockdown. Now though, things seem to be back to normal or at least the new normal and through use I have become more adept at using Instacart’s website.
The one thing that this remote shopping regimen has forced me to do is to plan ahead and surprise-surprise one tried and true tool for this endeavor is the lowly recipe. While anathema to my winging-it food prep philosophy, I have come to see the wisdom of finding and following a recipe. To date this month I have followed a NYT recipe for crispy sour cream and onion chicken, twice, what I have taken to calling panko chicken. With each iteration it get better and easier to prepare. I’ve ordered ingredients for a third try which should be better than the last. This is like my avocado toast recipe that I have made so many times that I can almost make in my sleep now and it comes out perfect every time.
Likewise, I’ve made gazpacho and pesto following recipes that I’ve found online. I’ve also ordered ingredients to make each of these again. Practice makes perfect. It being officially summertime, produce is as fine as it will every be now. Today, I’ve found a another NYT recipe to try, maque choux. It is a Cajun creole dish with Native American roots. Corn based with plenty of peppers and other vegetables, I looking forward to trying it today, after Instacart arrives.