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Shopping tips
Some gardening
The perfect storm

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The markets

Always go shopping when you’re hungry. You will be more inspired, but stay in produce and out of the junk food aisles.

Stock your pantry with great “surrounding” ingredients from ethnic markets; so that you can whip up an exotic meal every night of the week with simple additions from the supermarket.
Shop often. Once you have a great pantry, it is simple to stop by a fish market or butcher's shop for your center ingredient and arrive home to find everything else you need. Don’t fill your freezer with meat or fish; it will never be as good as when it was fresh.

Keep a checklist on a clipboard hanging in your pantry. List all your favorite ingredients and check them off whenever you finish them. Take the list to the market and you’ll know exactly what you need.
Buy in season. This mostly has to do with fruits and vegetables, but with some fish as well. Some people say that it is always summer somewhere, but when something has to be picked hard for shipping, gas chilled, and sent halfway around the world, it won’t taste as good as what you would pick up at a roadside stand.

Get to know your fishmonger, butcher, and produce guy. Not only is it nice to visit friends when you shop, but they will know what is best that day. They may even go to the back to get you something special. The butcher will cut you steaks from the better end of the sirloin and the fishmonger will give you tuna from the eye. Do yourself a favor and put them on your holiday shopping list. It will pay off all year long.

Go to out-of-the-way ethnic markets and shops. You’ll find great things to play with in your kitchen. I love to theme a party around a trip to a Middle Eastern market, Chinatown, or Little Brazil. It is really like taking a mini-vacation.

When on a real vacation, bring back flavors from your trip to your home kitchen. Ask chefs and waiters at restaurants how dishes are prepared and take notes so you can try them at home later. I always pick up spices, prepared sauces, and spirits for later experimentation back in the States.








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