Kathy got off work at 2pm today and came home to take a, well deserved, nap. While she was sleeping, I took Lilly, (our son’s Pit-Bull) and went for a drive up to Bashas’ to get something for dinner. I’ve been collecting firewood so I drove around on the back dirt/mud roads. Lilly is a good driving companion and we spent 45 minutes driving four miles. Even though I didn’t find any wood it was great because the desert is so beautiful when it’s been raining. The air was crisp and cold and the clouds were hanging low against Black Mountain. We pulled into Bashas’ parking lot and found a space right up front. I always roll the window down a few inches to keep fresh air in the truck for Lilly while I’m shopping.
I knew that I wanted fish so I wandered back to the butchers counter. Let me point out one of my rules for becoming the best cook you can be.
wGet to know your butcher by name, and let him help you.
I went back and chatted with my butcher, John. John always takes great care of me weather it’s cutting a perfect steak, grinding my special chili meat (80/20 Tri-tip and one boneless country style pork rib) or letting me know which fish came in today or what’s on sale.
The Jumbo shrimp were on sale for $5.99/ Lb. so I had John bag up one and a half pounds. There were domestic little neck clams and I asked John about them he said they had just came in and we went through them and picked out eight that looked good (tap them if they tighten up a little they’re alive). Now I was putting a meal together in my mind. I went over and grabbed some of the European sweet butter and a bottle of Chardonnay. Next it was to the produce. On my way over the manager stopped and asked if I could go the dried chiles and explain to a customer what “Chile de Arbol” is. (This happens every now and then) I asked the nice lady what she was using them for. She explained it was a shrimp recipe. I went through heat levels and flavors of various dried chiles with her and found she wanted flavor but a medium heat. They had some very fresh (they were the texture of fruit leather) dried Chile Moritas, I explained they would give a smoky almost fruit like heat that would play very nicely against the shrimp.
The nice lady thanked me took her chiles and headed off shopping.
Back to my dinner I decided I wanted to use some of those nice Morita chiles, so I picked out some button mushrooms, garlic, shallots, Roma tomatoes, lemons, parsley and then fresh raspberries and granny smith apples. Next I grabbed a beautiful piece of Parmesan Reggaino and a box of fettuccini.
Back home I told Kathy to stay on the couch with her feet up. I poured her a nice cold glass of chardonnay and went to work. Clams and jumbo shrimp in a chardonnay, garlic, shallot butter with mushrooms, Morita chile, Roma tomato and a sprinkling of crisp bacon and parsley, over fettuccini with shaved Parmesan cheese. While the Fresh raspberry, blue berry, apple, pecan and dried cranberry, cobbler drizzled with cognac baked to a deep golden brown.
Needless to say the meal was a hit. The reason I mention this, is to remind you that food like that is within your reach. I hope that this blog will be a forum for you to grow as a cook. Kathy and love to answer cooking questions and many times I have had a nervous novice call and say my guests will be here in one and a half hours and I’m lost… Help! After calming them down Kathy and I will help them plot out a path to a successful meal. Once again I find myself reminding my readers “You can do this!”