Our Chef Collective delivery arrived! It’s funny how the current situation has completely changed what I get excited about—I couldn’t care less if a new iPhone dropped, but I now document the unboxing of farm-fresh produce.
I’m mainly excited because this is a new world for me. I started cooking very late, as in a few years ago, so I have a lot to catch up on. And I still have a limited range of ingredients in my comfort zone, which is why this delivery will help me explore new ingredients—especially the ones that I have trouble identifying.
Since our order included a “greens box”, which would be the first to go bad, Jen took the reins and has been using the kale, spinach, and butter lettuce for salads, which I welcome with open arms after eating mostly pantry foods since we’ve been isolated at home. Last night, however, Jen made “The Stew”—a spicy chickpea stew with coconut and turmeric, by Alison Roman. The recipe asks for full-fat coconut milk, which I had to buy for the first time. This introduced me to a section of the grocery store I typically overlook. It feels like un-fogging an area in a video game, and now it’s familiar and less intimidating the next time I go back.
While Jen made the stew, I cooked the honey mustard chicken I had marinating from the day before. This was mainly a preventative measure, in case I needed a quick and tasty protein to heat up throughout the week. I will say, however, that my chicken was a spot on addition to the stew. Using video game metaphors, we definitely “unlocked” or “equipped” a new skill in this dish.
The best part was the cocktail that followed dinner. Jen’s been really into making cocktails at night, which is greeted by zero complaints from me, so with this dish, she learned that chickpea brine (known as “aquafaba”) has the same properties as egg whites. With this newfound knowledge, she was able to make us amaro sours, which were so good that I almost felt like we were back at our favorite neighborhood cocktail bar, Clover Club.
I was excited before our produce order, and now I almost can’t stop thinking of what else we can make.