Monday, October 6, 2008

Grocery Stores of Old

Do you remember a time when you went to the grocery store, and the meat market spanned the entire back wall of the store? Can you remember actually watching the butcher cut meat, and being able to ask him for special cuts?

Well, thanks to my good friend April telling me about Doscher's, I was able to experience that again. We walked into the store on Savannah Highway Saturday, and I was taken back to my childhood, and the small country grocery store we shopped at (that would be Casey's). There were cuts of meat that my city boy husband had never actually seen in the grocery store. Being the first of the month, there was meat piled up like crazy. My poor husband had never experienced such a thing, and I think he was a little shocked by it all.

Well, Doscher's has found a new customer in me. Can I tell you that for $27 and some change I was able to purchase enough meats to feed my family for 2 weeks. We bought enough ground beef for 4 meals, chicken tenders ($1.99/lb) for 3 meals, pork chops for 2 meals, whole chicken breasts for 3 meals. The pork chops were not separated out by center cut that cost more. They were packaged up exactly the way they came off the pig. I must say that these were the juiciest chops that I have eaten in years. The chickens breasts were not those huge ones that take an hour to cook, but rather the smaller size ones that you can remember your grandmother frying up in the kitchen.

If you live in the low country and you are not shopping this store, do yourself a favor and at least check it out. I know some of you are afraid to go there because you don't blend in, and I say shame on you. We are all entitled to shop where we choose and can get the best deals. If you are scared to go by yourself, lets make a group outing of it.

I have been known to frequent Asian markets where I can not even read the labels, and the owner's look at you like you are crazy when you walk in and are as pale as I am. Then, after they see you shop there a few times, they actually start to like you. They will point you in the right direction of what you are looking for, and sometimes throw free stuff in your bag for you to try. People of different cultures are always happy to share their culture with you, all you have to do is show a little interest.

Go buy a pastry from the local Panaderia (that is a Hispanic bakery), you might just like it. Even if you don't you are out all of maybe 50 cents. If you see the taco stand on the side of the road, don't be afraid to try it. Order tacos de lengua. I will tell you what they are after you have fallen in love with them. Just step out of your shell a little. Charleston is an awesome melting pot of different cultures, don't be afraid to get out and try new things. You may just find something that you love!

Today's recipe:


16 oz. dried macaroni pasta
½ c. butter
½ c. all-purpose flour
½ t. cayenne pepper
2 t. garlic powder
3 c. heavy cream
1 c. chicken broth
8 oz. cream cheese
8 oz. velveeta
4 c. shredded sharp cheddar

Put water on to boil macaroni according to package directions. Make sure you salt the pasta water prior to boiling the pasta. While the water is coming up to a boil, melt the butter in a medium stockpot or large sauce pan(do not allow the butter to get brown). Once the butter has melted, add the flour. Use a whisk to incorporate the butter and flour. Whisk in the cayenne pepper, and the garlic. Increase the heat to medium high, and whisk in the heavy cream and chicken broth. Continue to stir until mixture starts to thicken. Once the mixture begins to thicken reduce the heat back to medium and add the cream cheese and Velveeta (they will melt faster if you cube them up). Once the Velveeta and cream cheese have melted and are well incorporated remove the mixture from heat. Add the cheddar cheese in two batches. By this time your pasta should be done, and you should have drained it. Pour the sauce over the pasta in the pasta pan. Stir together and pour into (1) 9x13 pan or divide into up to (3) 8x8 pans. Top with crushed crackers or a little more cheddar cheese if desired. Don't do too much cheese or your dish will be swimming in oil. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. You can make the mac-n-cheese up to 2 days ahead and refrigerate it without baking. When you are ready to serve it, bake for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees if it has been chilled.

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