What’s in the Bag: We Have A Banner!

Posted by on Tuesday Aug 18th, 2009 | Print
where meals really come together: the shopping bag

Cara’s Shopping Bag: Summer Squash, Parmesan, Onion, Kohlrabi
Phoebe’s Shopping Bag: Tomato, Avocado, Cilantro, Cucumber

It’s been a long time coming, but finally, we have a banner. Quite frankly, we’ve been a little Goldilocks about the whole thing. Over the last six months we’ve tossed around many ideas and design iterations, some good, some bad, but in the end, not one until now, felt just right. For this beautiful, final version, we have to thank Tom (his website is TypeShapeColor) for being patient with our indecision, and offering the endless options and creativity that fueled it.

We would usually round out this post with some sort of tasty token of appreciation courtesy of Cara’s oven. But since it’s too hot to bake, we thought we’d try something a little different.

In the spirit of our new imagery, we got to thinking about the contents of our shopping bags—plastic, paper, or tote. In a lot of ways, our culinary livelihood as quarter-life cooks is defined and confined by the contents of those bags. Our recipes begin with what we buy, and then they evolve through an endless debate on how to use up fresh produce and supplement enough stock pantry items so that our weekly ingredients fit both within our bag and our budgets.

Resourceful strategies aside, what we choose for our bag is mainly a product of our individual tastes. Its contents say a lot about who we are as cooks, revealing many idiosyncrasies. Cara might come home with blueberries, veggie sausage, and kohlrabi, Phoebe with basil, Merguez, and cherry tomatoes. While you’ll never find meat in one, you just as rarely find fruit in the other. Our pantries and our fridges do sometimes contain similar ingredients, but it’s what we use to spice up those essentials that leads to two different, if equally delicious, approaches.

Yet sometimes, it’s a breath of fresh air to step into someone else’s kitchen and, in doing so, step away from the staples of our shopping bags and our pantries. Which is why we’ll be asking, oh so kindly, for a little assistance from all of you out there. Please open your shopping bags to us and share three or four fresh ingredients you will be working with this week. We will then, in turn, adopt some of your shopping bags (two each) to our kitchens, cooking your ingredients in our style. We’ll post the resulting recipes at the end of next week. Of course, we need to work through ours first, so please see our lists above and stay tuned for what’s been happening to them in our kitchens during these next few days.

There is no vegetable too obscure (hello, kohlrabi?) or animal part too gnarly, though if it’s meat at all, Cara is likely to take a pass. But, that said, we’d prefer not to be appalled or nauseated by what you’ve bought, so please, unless you would actually like to try tomatoes stuffed with gummy bears, be honest about your recent market finds—or any hypothetical combination you would like to pick up if only there existed the right recipe out there to guide you.

So, to recap:
•go shopping (or imagine what you’d have bought if you’d gone shopping)

•submit your list of four items in the comment section below—ones most exciting, unusual, or emblematic of your cravings

•we’ll choose two “bags” and each go at them, interpreting your ingredients with our tools

•stay tuned next week for the recipes we’ve created

Though we’ll be the ones in the kitchen, this time you supply the creativity. We so look forward to what you come home with.

From our kitchen, where it all begins with a bag, to yours,

Phoebe and Cara, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOKS

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  • Joanne

    I'll bite!

    1. beets with greens attached
    2. just picked corn on the cob
    3. smoked mozzarella
    4. cantaloupe

    Thanks for helping me plan my dinner.

    Joanne

    PS: Love, love, love your banner!

  • Jessica

    My brother and Tamar own a farm plot in CT and get fresh produce delivered to their house on the upper west side every week (http://www.chubbybunnynyc.org/ for anyone who is interested – it is cheap but a lot of food just for one person). This week Tamar is away and my brother needs help cooking, so he is bring me in. This is whats in the bag: salad mix, cucumbers, zucchini, eggplant, beets, carrots, peppers,
    basil, leeks, kale, and broccoli. I dont like cucumbers though, so lets leave that one out! What should we make?

  • Keith

    Go to town.

    1. Flank steak
    2. Napa Cabbage
    3. Shallots
    4. Jalapenos

  • Dan Mahoney

    Turkey breast
    Peanut butter
    Chocolate chips
    Strawberries

  • Alison

    From Union Square Farmer's Market:
    -local eggs
    -field tomatoes
    -kale
    -local Parmesan
    -peaches, peaches & more peaches

  • Rae Rae Rock On

    From my weekly produce share from Bull Run Mountain Farm (VA):
    - blue potatoes
    - squash (zucchini/summer)
    - hot peppers
    - ground cherries (just a handful)

    Love your blog!

  • Kate

    I would buy:
    -ground turkey meat
    -local beets with their greens
    -local cherry tomatoes
    -fresh corn
    -red onion

    (I think I must be related to Joanne…)

  • Sarah L

    marshmallows
    graham crackers
    chocolate bars
    wooden sticks

    can you guess what id make?!

  • Dan Mahoney

    I don't want to be a surly steve here, but the rules clearly called for four ingredients. Some of these people feel as though they have the right to just choose as many ingredients as they please. I know this is America, but there are rules and if we don't follow the rules then we're no better than France.

  • st. lucia bride

    Beets
    Yellow watermelon
    Black prince tomatoes
    garlic

  • Leora

    1. Bananas
    2. Fresh Figs
    3. Spinach
    4. Plain Greek Yogurt

    Fun Idea!

  • christina

    chives
    artichoke hearts
    anchovy paste (no, really)
    eggplant

  • Sophie

    mmmm my imaginary basket would have:

    1. quinoa
    2. figs
    3. greek yogurt
    4. apples

    If I could add more…
    sesame honey almonds, lime pops, cherry tomatoes, pasta

  • Alana

    Kate, that's 5 ingredients…the instructions clearly call for 4

    1. eggs
    2. black beans
    3. hot salsa
    4. shredded cheddar cheese

    What can I say, I've been craving breakfast burritos

  • Tinka

    1. vidalia onions
    2. red snapper filets
    3. fingerling potatoes
    3. capers

  • monstabruce

    Wanna look in my bag? Come over here…

    1. pork loin
    2. apricots
    3. brussel sprouts
    4. bacon

  • Calvine

    1. fresh mozzarella
    2. zucchini
    3. tomatoes
    4. watermelon

  • Sara Bennett

    Zucchini, corn, tomatoes, peaches.

  • Molly

    1. buffalo mozzarella
    2. fresh Maine blueberries!
    3. corn tortillas
    4. cilantro

  • anyswingoes

    1, Baby Spinach
    2. Goat Cheese
    3. Multi-grain baguette
    4. Mango

  • Frankie

    1. fresh sardines
    2. tapenade or black olives
    3. roast red peppers
    4. arugola

  • Constantly Craving

    1) Peaches
    2) Agave Nectar
    3) Fresh Basil
    4) Flatbread