There have been many Adventures in Domesticity on this blog, but none rival the size and effort put forth this past weekend in my kitchen. In fact, it was such a process, that multiple kitchens across the city of Los Angeles were employed. Well, only two others really, but that’s still legit. Here’s the backstory: our old college chum Malibu Judie came to town last week, and we decided that in honor of her presence, we would make fresh cocktails on Saturday afternoon. But alas, it could not be a total celebration as vital clique member IndianJones was out of town on business. We decided that in honor of him, we would whip up some jalapeÃ±o cornbread â€”Â except we’d actually make ours look good. This way IndianJones could be with us in spirit â€”Â something I know we all cherished greatly. Overall, it seemed like a relatively simple and straightforward plan for Saturday.
But then the booze kicked in. You see, we planned this all over margaritas at LoterÃa Grill in Hollywood, and the drunker we got, the more elaborate our schemes became. We wouldn’t just be having jalapeÃ±o cornbread. We’d be having jalapeÃ±o margaritas too. And jalapeÃ±o poppers! And a ceviche! With jalapeÃ±os! Yes, it was turning into an Occasion with a capital O, and thus the JalapeÃ±o Cocktail Hour was born. (We could have employed alliteration and called it the JalapeÃ±o Happy Hour, but that would have been base.)
Anyway, on Friday, Malibu Judie and I sat down and browsed both the internet and various cookbooks for noteworthy jalapeÃ±o recipes, and once we were satisfied, we compiled a grocery list. But this wasn’t just any grocery list. You see, it turns out that JalapeÃ±o Cocktail Hour happened to land on the same weekend as an Ina Garten Potluck Dinner Party â€”Â one where every guest brings a dish from the Barefoot Contessa’s deep catalogue. Cocktails? Ina? It was a perfect storm of domesticity, and as such, Malibu Judie and I not only had to shop for Saturday, but for Sunday too. It was insanity. Long story short: on Friday alone, Malibu Judie and I bought thirty-three pounds of fresh produce (and two pounds of shrimp). Being the frugal shoppers that we are, however, we only spent $40 total. How did we do it? Well, the first part of this weekend-long, monster-sized Adventure in Domesticity is after the jump…
Things started off simply enough. Here’s my humble shopping list…
It wasn’t long before it spiraled completely out of control. Note the presence of a LEGEND. (That’s thanks to Malibu Judie and her MBA efficiency). Anyway, after spending forty-five minutes consolidating six recipes down to one list of groceries, we were finally off!
But first I had to sync my iPod. Very important.
And then get gas.
Ten hours later, we arrived at the tiny Echo Park Farmer’s Market. Charming, as you can see.
We found all sorts of cucumbers, which was good because we needed six. We actually wound up getting five big’uns instead â€”Â all for about $2.
Note that at the local supermarket, Ralph’s, cucumbers are $1 a pop. Money = saved.
I’m on a thrifty high.
Further excitement as I find a healthy bundle of scallions â€”Â a far cry from the brown, withering stalks in my windowsill.
Sadly, the farmer’s market was sorely lacking in many items (limes, jalapeÃ±os); so we headed into Koreatown to check out one of my favorite supermarkets, the HK Market.
Needless to say, we found jalapeÃ±os. We got two pounds for about $1.60. Later, we concluded that perhaps we were a tad excessive.
Oh, and we found limes too.
See? Authentic Korean lettering over my head. How multicultural!
Anyway, between the margaritas, the ceviche, a shrimp salad, and a drink Malibu Judie would be making for the Ina party, we required a scant FORTY LIMES for the weekend.
Malibu Judie was quite excited about this lime action shot. All told, we purchased ten pounds of limes for about $10. At Ralph’s, limes run about 2-for-$1.00, which means we saved ten dollars. Another win for frugality!
Onto the shrimp. We needed a pound for the ceviche, and a pound for the salad. The market sold head-on shrimp for $4/pound. Yet another solid value â€”Â even if neither of us had ever dealt with shrimp heads before.
After nabbing some lemons, grapefruits, oranges, mango, and who knows what else, we were ready to roll.
Next up, we headed to Jon’s for some cheap beets, jicama, and a few other sundry items. We didn’t take any photos though because a) Jon’s is depressing inside, and b) we feared one of the many surly Russians who work there might confiscate my camera.
Two and a half hours later, we returned to my apartment. We paused a moment to sniff this mint from the farmer’s market. It proved to be the most fragrant and wonderful bundle of mint both Malibu Judie and I had ever encountered.
Our groceries (minus one bag which we accidentally left under a table during this impromptu photo shoot)
In an unfortunate turn of events, our bag of shrimp leaked some nasty-ass shrimp juice onto my carpet. Luckily, I had plenty of carpet cleaner handy. Disaster was more or less avoided.
We then brought the citrus up to jash’s apartment, on account of the juicer he has in his kitchen. At this point, however, we decided to throw in the towel for the day and get drunk. Wouldn’t you?
And that was the end of Day 1.
I would continue, but I fear this post might become a tad unwieldy. Later today, I will post Day 2, which features all the many exciting events leading up to and including JalapeÃ±o Cocktail Hour. And then following that will be Day 3 â€”Â Ina Garten Pot Luck night.
A veritable odyssey of festive apartment cooking!