On my latest dangerous mission to my local grocery store, armed with a face mask and rubber gloves, I was expecting some empty shelves, but not devoid of flour and sugar, and even vanilla extract. The only item left was a large bag of confectioner’s sugar, and, of course, I grabbed it. The fresh greens were surrounded by ladies not practicing safe social distance, so I took the celery on the aisle and quickly wheeled over to the frozen foods, thinking frozen vegetables might be a good alternative.
No crowds surrounded the frozen bins because they were empty. Only a sad looking package of chopped cauliflower sat alone inside. Of course, I took it.
What else could I not find? My favorite mozzarella cheese sticks and chocolate fudge bars – then I stopped looking, not able to bear further disappointment.
Last night I happened to hear Ina Garten, known as the Barefoot Contessa, talking from her home kitchen with a PBS interviewer. She opened a stocked freezer with homemade chicken stock, tomato sauce, cookie dough, and more, as she explained she usually tried not to go into her stash. She offered her solution to ingredients not available or not worth the trip to the store these days: Substitute ginger for garlic, onion for scallions; be creative and you might start a new dish you like better than the old. I don’t think Ina would advocate reversing the order and substituting garlic, of which I seem to have an abundance, for ginger in my cupcakes, but maybe it would be worth a try.
The interview inspired me to find her cookbooks on my shelf, and have hope that confectioner’s sugar could substitute for granulated sugar. (It can.)
You can see the interview here.
And read about how her Instagram page is saving the sanity of many erstwhile cooks in an Atlantic article – Ina Gartens’s Quarantine Playbook
And read my review for How Easy Is That? It has a recipe for my bag of cauliflower.