Food shopping online

July 10, 2017

Spicing up my life, I am. Peppers R Us.

I am continually amazed at what the Interwebs can bring me in the form of good eats.

There is not only what I can order online and get delivered to my door from the local Chinese takeout joint, without ever talking to a live person until the guy shows up at my door. There are the clicklists I can call up and for a mere five bucks, get my grocery shopping list picked off the shelves, bagged up, and have it waiting for me when I pull up at Kroger (and while that’s not as big a deal as it was when I was working at a not-at-home office, with kids that had to be strapped in and unstrapped and corralled in a basket, it’s still quite attractive from time to time). And there are the plethora of specialty/gourmet food websites out there, up to and including the incomparable DiBruno Brothers salumeria on Ninth Street in Philadelphia, wherein resides the best damn sausages and cheese I ever put in my mouth. God help me, I love them.

There are two or three of these I patronize on a fairly regular basis. One is Because if you live in a medium sized city in Arkansas, which would be a small city elsewhere in the south and a small town in a lot of places, and you want to make cassoulet, you’re not going to find duck confit and Toulouse sausages at your local Kroger, I’m just sayin’.

I have those in my freezer right now, never mind it’s averaging 90-plus every day out here, and one ought not make cassoulet unless and until it’s down below 50 and perhaps rainy and grey, because cassoulet is one of those that warms you up. Should we have the proverbial cold day in July, I’m ready, thanks to igourmet. In the past, I’ve ordered duck confit, along with foie gras (yes, I’m one of those heathens who still eats it) and duck breasts, from Hudson Valley Foie Gras), but igourmet is cheaper. Note that. And get a tub of duck fat while you’re about it; you’ll thank me the next time it comes to roasting potatoes.

And then there are the online purveyors of spices and spice blends, which are, I will happily confess, one of my several culinary weaknesses. Like the above batch, which arrived today from The Spice House, a close relative of Penzey’s, with which I also have a long and close relationship.

Perhaps I may have a spice problem?

Surely not. Surely everyone orders urfa biber pepper, simply to get one’s spice order up over the minimum so you get free shipping. Because, after all, that’s like getting your urfa biber pepper free, and who can pass that up?

For you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em who are wondering, urfa biber is a Turkish pepper that has, in addition to a moderate heat, some deep, fruity, smoky notes, with overtones of chocolate and cinnamon. Are we seasoning falafel or drinking wine, here? Anyway, I thought I might do some cooking from Jerusalem, my cookbook that features marvelous examples of Middle Eastern cuisine, and I got fenugreek seeds to assist in that process, and refilled my Aleppo pepper in the bargain (because I love that stuff), and hey, why not try this urfa biber pepper while I’m about it?

All this, you understand, was because I was running low on my treasured stash of pimenton de la vera, a lovely Spanish smoked paprika that elevates anything from an omelet to hash browns to a different dimension. It’s very smoky, and just a touch does marvelous things to doggoned near anything you put it in. I will not be without it. And it was six bucks, but I had only to order $45 worth to get free shipping, and I was off to the races from that point.

Perhaps I have a chile pepper obsession. As long as they’re red. They can be mild, or they can be hot; there are places for both. Just don’t be bringin’ no green peppers up in here; you let those peppers hang on the plant and get ripe, like God intended them to be, you hear me?

Now that we have that straight, I will leave you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em to perusing the igourmet and Spice House sites, contemplating what you’re going to cook next, while I go look at the next potential on my list, for once the weather cools off. Cajun Grocers. A little boudin, a few oysters, anyone?




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