The calm before the storm

I probably ought to be dusting the living room or something right now, but I’m taking a bit of a break. Well, I do have some ‘maters roasting away in the oven, so in a way, I’m sort of doing prep work for tonight. I didn’t sleep well again. Even the bambino told me last night that I should probably go see the doctor. I told him that if my cough is still this violent come Monday, I probably will give the clinic a call. I don’t even care about much else right now…I just want some decent sleep!

Since I was up early, I went to the store. I will admit that when I won the Gwyneth Paltrow cookbook, part of the reason for the dinner party tonight was because we like making fun of Gwyneth. My friend Erin commented that she finds her to be a pretentious snob, and I can see that. But I also think that she’s a little on the flighty side, and thinks she’s more down-to-earth & “regular people” than she really is. Not all of us have rock star husbands, or have access or resources to eat things like duck bacon or locally sourced artisanal cheeses, or have a wood-fire pizza oven in our backyards. I do think that as a mom, the fact that she wants healthy, good nourishing foods for her children is respectable and commendable. I want the same for my bambino. However, I am regular people, and while in a perfect world we would be eating nothing but organic, local foods, it isn’t always possible, both because of my income, as well as the area in which I live.

All that aside, my whole point is that basically, I dropped a 2-week grocery budget on ingredients just for tonight’s meal, and I managed to forget one item. I also need to get some placemats–We have enough for 2 (the bambino has a vinyl one for himself), or 4 guests. And we’re having 6 people over (well, 4 guests & ourselves–The bambino likely will eat beforehand and will be running around the living room or something).

It’s funny, I don’t think my fridge has ever seen this much produce all at once.


Green stuff.


2 different kinds of tomatoes, an avocado, 2 limes, and an onion.


I couldn’t decide what kinds of berries I wanted for dessert, so I just got 3 kinds. I’m not that fond of blueberries, and they were a buck more expensive than any of these.


The ever-present dairy. Smoked mozzarella was indeed much more expensive than the regular, and I figured I could just put a couple pearls on each slice of the crostini I’m making, and leave it at that. The mascarpone is for dessert. I had toyed with the idea of making a Pizza Dolce, that I’d seen on Memorie di Angelina. Simple, and could be made ahead of time. However, when I saw that the dessert I’d been eyeing in My Father’s Daughter had mascarpone in it, the Pizza Dolce went on the backburner! I’ll try that another time.


No, it’s not organic, local, free-range chicken. Again, I’m on a budget, and I’m basically doubling most of the recipes I’d picked. I figured that while I probably could just make one breast for each person, but I could also see Jay (and possibly Katie’s husband) wanting seconds or something, just because they’re guys, and me feeling like a jackass for running out of food! So I went with cheaper. Sorry Gwyneth!


And the miscellaneous items. I didn’t have balsamic vinegar–I don’t really care for it all that much. Maybe I’ve never had really good stuff, but I find it overly sweet, to the point that it’s often over-powering. I prefer my vinegars with more of a soury tang. But I went ahead and got a small bottle just to keep true to the recipes. The world’s longest baguette there is for the crostini, although I could see myself only using about half of it! Which would be fine–We do love our bread in this house, so I know it’ll get eaten. The sweet potato fries are courtesy of Foodbuzz’s Tastemakers Program. I received a coupon for a free bag, so I’m curious to see how they stack up against the Alexia ones.

And when all was said & done, the grand total:


$70 for one meal. It would’ve been more, had the fries not been free. And that’s not even including the sour cream I have to go back for, as well as some panko that I also will probably need. Nor does it include any wine–Which I’m glad I already got (even if it is über-cheap!). But the fact that all that (with the exception of the milk and the butter) is for one meal, is a bit insane. Ah well. I would say that it’s not like we eat like this everyday, and for the most part that’s true. Had I chosen to have this meal later in the summer, I could’ve saved myself some money & gotten all the tomatoes from my own garden. Who knows, maybe we will do this again!

And with that, I need to go tackle some dust bunnies!