Sunday, December 27, 2009

Deb, even grocery store workers deserve a day off on Christmas

I know we are all conditioned to twenty four hour a day access to grocery stores, but even they are closed on Christmas. My friend, Deb, discovered this to her dismay when she attempted to buy supplies for her Christmas dinner on Christmas morning. Quel Surprise! Well, I, the Mendon Foodie, bailed her out. In my well-stocked fridge I possessed the green beans and sweet potatoes she desperately needed. So she trekked down here to score some vittles to go along with her turkey (which she HAD remembered to get earlier in the week). And here, I will admit, she also bailed me out. Yes, I, the MENDON FOODIE, thought I had enough potatoes for fifteen people. I was sadly mistaken. Just as I was about to start calling all of neighbors, humbling myself and admitting to less than perfect menu planning, Deb bailed me out with five pounds of potatoes. The miserly amount of potatoes I possessed before that would have caused a lot of pushing and shoving amongst my guests to score an amount adequate enough to support the crispy shallot and Riesling gravy topping. But all was well, thanks to Deb. It was a mutually beneficial trade.

While she was here and we were chatting, I asked her if she needed anything else. She said she was fine, she was making a pie for dessert and she was even going to make the crust herself. Now, I have been hammering it into her head that it is not that hard to make a crust. I even showed her she could do it with very little trouble. All you need is a cuisinart and a rolling pin. And some pie flour. Yes, pie flour. If you think the only kind of flour you need in your kitchen is all-purpose, you are sadly mistaken and should beg me for the privilege of being my cooking apprentice. Really. Because you really need at least five kinds of flour.

Pie flour has low gluten and will yield flaky, tender pastry.
Bread, or high gluten, flour will give you high rising bread. The extra gluten allows more space to develop which traps the air and makes bread rise better.
All-purpose, unbleached flour. Make sure you buy unbleached.
Wondra or pan-searing flour. For dusting protein before browning and for lump free sauces. You can stir it in without mixing it with liquid and it will not clump. Awesome stuff if you have misjudged your sauce and it is too thin.
Cake flour, similar to, but not interchangeable with, pie flour. 

I will let you get away with just having those five. There is also corn flour, rye flour, whole wheat flour, and probably many more I can't even think of at the moment. But stock your kitchen with those five. Now.

So, I magnamimously bestowed two cups of pie flour on Deb and sent her home to make pie and turkey. I proceeded to make Porcini mushroom and chestnut soup with sauteed root vegetables. It was awesome. As was the rest of my Christmas dinner.

Happy New Year.


TexasHeather said...

I love it! I will try, at some point in the near future, to march myself down to my nearest grocery store and attempt to decipher the Portuguese in order to purchase the minimum five types of flour. Although the single (hopefully all-purpose) that I have took me 30 minutes wandering the store to find in the first place. -smile-

Really enjoying your blog; found you through "next blog" feature.

The Mendon Foodie said...

Wow, thanks, Heather. I might be inclined to give you a pass on lots of things like finding five different kinds of flour since you have to decipher Portuguese. Just don't let me catch you feeding your kids Brazilian frozen chicken nuggets!

Anonymous said... of my resolutions is to properly stock my pantry. I love to cook, but I have been woefully short sighted in my cooking endeavors. My children kind of killed my love of cooking...did I mention I really think you cannot cook without a glass of wine right next to the cuttingmboard? sigh...oh! and my kingdom for good knives. I still don't have those.

I'm going to want you to help me layout my kitchen properly very, very soon. I'm through not cooking for myself. If the kids don't like it, they don't have to eat it.

The Mendon Foodie said...

I will love to help you, Hope. All I demand is the proper level of obsequiousness. ;)

And of course you MUST have a glass of wine to cook. I need to post a pic of me in my favorite apron. Later today, perhaps.

And the thing about cooking for kids is that you should not limit what you cook based on their preferences. I have few exceptions to that rule. Make them taste everything. They will end up liking more of it than you think.

Marine Foodie grew up eating only about ten things until he was about 16. I vowed that would never happen to the younger ones. They still surprise me with what they like. And then they annoy me, because we go to the grocery and they taste the really expensive cheese and then they make me buy it. Sigh. I will think of a good recipe for you to start expanding their palates with. Oh, dear, I have ended my sentence with a preposition. I must go do penance by drinking large amounts of wine and eating expensive cheese.

TexasHeather said...

Mendon Foodie, you are a hoot! I answered your milk questions over on my blog - just normal milk, but cheaper and much more convenient for this one-car family.

And I promise, no Brazilian frozen chicken nuggets! Well, sometimes on very, very busy days we do frozen chicken patties.....that doesn't count, does it?? It's only once/month or boys demand better food than that!

Anonymous said...

I shall remain anonymous for safety reasons, but let it be noted that I have seen frozen mini pizza bagels and Hot Pockets jammed in next to the homemade demi glace in the Mendon Foodie's Freezer.

Anonymous said...

Yes, all is logical

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Anonymous said...

From the bilingual gal up in Ottawa: it is !

(also known as Cecilia!!)


Anonymous said...

Ok: I will try again:
is the expression!
Cecilia (: