Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Shopping Trips

If you belong to the world of [slight] obsession that is food - and let's face it, if you're reading any blog like this one you do - you undoubtedly understand the special allure that shopping for anything culinary-related has. It can be quite the addiction, and if you pardon the expression, the time suck, albeit a rather enjoyable one! For instance, my family knows that if they need something from the grocery store within the time span of say, an hour or so, they don't send me by myself! I will make special trips to out-of-the-way shops of all kinds for no reason: from trawling tiny fruit sellers downtown after an acupuncture appointment, to popping into the three health food stores in town that all know be on sight, to gabbing on and on with the poor souls working at the two Bulk Barns nearby that I pretty much live in (I should even consider changing my address!), I live for anything and everything in the world of food.

I know I'm not the only one out there, either. I'm slowly converting some followers to the "foodie" mentality - including my techno-phobic mom (who still barely checks her e-mail address, let alone ever reading this blog!). I've mentioned it before (probably more than once, but it's worth repeating!) but my Mom was my first cooking teacher and is still the "queen of the Christmas shortbreads", the Challah and Brioche guru and posessor of the most perfect apple square and fresh Spy Pie technique out there. While I don't think I can ever hope to clone those talents for myself (I am coming close, but not being able to taste the end product makes perfection hard!), I've started to turn mom onto the joys of thinking about what food can mean besides just something on the table three times a day, and that making something different and "outside the box" doesn't have to be saved for Christmas! Now, we hit the grocery store every week and (even though it's a Big Bad Box kind of store) we make it almost a kind of adventure - I'll spew off all kinds of random trivia about the vegetables and new "international fare" on the shelves. The two of us are essentially herbivores too, a habit that always involves buying so much produce every week that our cart is full before we get to anything not a plant! See those photos? Yeah - those were our last two shopping trips... the bottom of the two is the result of two - yes two - grocery carts' worth of food (including 7 heads of lettuce - of which there are 4 remaining after only 3 days!). I've even convinced her to trust my judgement when it comes to trying out new, untested recipe ideas that I've passed along, either from my own imagination or from the amazing bevy of blogs I pore over.

Unfortunately, even though she's on her way to becoming a bona fide foodie, Mom just can't "get into" the mentality surrounding cooking and eating that lead me to begin writing this blog. While cooking a meal every day is treated more or less as a simple expectation on her time and energy, for me it's nothing short of therapy. Even days where I'm gone before the sun is up and don't get in the door until easily 7:30 at night, being able to crank up the stove and give myself a filling and "full" meal sends me back from the brink of burnout enough that I can focus on finishing at least a couple more tasks on my to do list before lights out. Needless to say, the majority of my "non standard" food shopping is done alone - and though I'm not in love with that reality, I was even less fond of forcing others into outings like those more than I already do.

But, here's where the awesome network of bloggers and other food-minded people out there (and especially on Twitter!) come in. This summer I was lucky enough to catch up with a couple people who I'm now grateful to call my friends - including Joel from Foodie411 - for a morning at one of the Toronto markets, and most recently the two of us along with Bon of Bon Eats scoured the St. Lawrence Market for most of a day, catching up and gleaning inspiration from pretty much everything we saw there. When we went for lunch, we all managed to come down with a serious squid craving - odd, I know, but what can I say?? We live this type of stuff! In fact, my yen for some Japanese-inspired calamari and rich mushrooms was so great that I went back to the market that day and picked up four fresh, beautiful squid along with a big handful of shiitakes that quickly became dinner!

Teriyaki Mushroom - Stuffed Squid On A Bed Of Baby Spinach
Serves 1
1 1/2 tbsp gluten-free soy sauce, divided
2 tsp brown sugar, divided
1/2 tsp rice vinegar, divided
2 tbsp water, divided
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
pinch each wasabi powder, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes
170g shiitake or cremini mushrooms, chopped
140g squid bodies (about 2), cleaned
3 cups baby spinach
  1. Preheat the broiler on HI, lightly mist a baking sheet with non-stick spray.
  2. In a small dish combine 1/2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp brown sugar, 1/4 tsp vinegar, 1 tbsp water, 1/4 tsp ginger and seasonings to taste. Set aside.
  3. In another dish combine the remaining soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, water, ginger and seasonings.In a non-stick pan over medium heat, saute the mushrooms in a small amount of water or cooking spray until brown.
  4. Stir in the larger volume of soy sauce mixture and cook 30 seconds longer. Remove to a bowl.
  5. Using a small spoon, fill the squid bodies with mushroom mixture. Reserve any remaining mixture for salad.
  6. Move the stuffed squid onto the sheet, drizzle with remaining soy sauce mixture and place under the broiler.
  7. Cook 3 minutes each side.
  8. Remove to a cutting board and slice with a sharp knife.
  9. Serve on top a bed of baby spinach along with any remaining mushroom mixture.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 216.9
Total Fat: 2.9 g
Cholesterol: 326.2 mg
Sodium: 1,494.2 mg
Total Carbs: 19.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 4.2 g
Protein: 31.2 g


  1. I'm really NOT with you on the squid (being vegetarian most all of the time), but I totally envy your shopping cart! I can't WAIT to get back to the world of automobiles and full-sized refrigerators, where you can buy this much stuff and hope to have it find a place to rest until it's used!

  2. Your stuffed squid recipe looks so good. We're always hoping to make some time to get down to St. Lawrence Market but it's been so long. Far too long! I was going to use "but we live in the suburbs" as an excuse but I see you live in Oshawa so our excuse isn't very good! ~ Belle

  3. I love your description on your grocery shopping adventures. Food shopping is my favorite thing to do--perhaps because it's the one type of shopping that allows me to have such creative fun. I wonder if the difference in approaches to food is a generational thing, as we truly have more options than our mothers did, both in careers and in how we manage our homes. Great post!

  4. thanks for following me on twitter I hear you on the shopping addiction but I spend way too much! I am an RD in the US all the best with your studies and wow what a great meal you made Rebecca

  5. I am so not a foodie, but you sure make everything look and sound so good!! I am gonna have to figure out how to follow you on twitter!



Thanks for the feedback!