A few weeks ago, Mediterranean Foods Alliance Program Managers Georgia and Erika were invited by Stop & Shop to attend a “Back to Reality” blogger luncheon. In this post, Georgia recounts all of the fun foodie facts she learned that afternoon, while I try to hide my overwhelming jealousy that I could not attend this awesome event. If I turn an unappealing shade of green, you’ll know why. - Alison


Chef David Kinkead

I’ve long had a theory that good cooks often come from big families.  All the hustle and bustle of growing up sharing the kitchen and the table and most everything else seems to inspire at least one person to take cooking seriously. To further my research, a few weeks ago, in the company of my Oldways colleague, Erika Ross, I headed over to Sibling Rivalry, a restaurant in Boston’s South End that features the contemporary cooking of two brothers, Bob and David Kinkead. They grew up in a family of 10, making them prime candidates for further investigation. We were guests of Stop&Shop, whose energetic consumer advisor, Andrea Astrachan, presided over a “Back to Reality” blogger luncheon to offer local mom and food bloggers some ideas for cooking dinners that can provide leftovers for healthy school lunches. The menu offered two entrees: roast chicken or skirt steak. We chose the Med Diet favorite, roast chicken, which was served with rice pilaf. As we ate, David demonstrated how to use leftovers from these two meals to create a tasty lunch the next day. His talk was a great reminder that we all can benefit from stretching a food budget by cooking something once and eating it twice– or, in chef talk, “maximizing what’s in the kitchen.” It also proved that there’s always something new to learn when a serious foodie talks about food. And, since everything we tasted, from the bouncy salad greens to the tiny dessert tarts, was absolutely delicious, this lunch proved my theory.

Here are a few of the tips I took home that day:
  1. To make the most of a whole roast chicken, attack it with a big, sharp knife. Cut it down the middle into two halves, then remove the drumsticks, breasts, and wings. Pull the meat off the bones and slice the biggest pieces to serve for dinner. Use all the other bits of white and dark meat to make chicken salad for sandwiches the next day.
  2. If you make chicken salad, make your own mayonnaise. “I don’t eat mayonnaise if I haven’t made it or my mother hasn’t made it,” said David. Or, instead of mayonnaise, he recommends giving chicken salad a fresh Mediterranean flavor by using extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, and diced fresh herbs–and adding flavor and texture by including grapes, nuts, sliced apples, or sliced avocado.
  3. If you like steak, try skirt steak, a cut David likes for several reasons: it cooks quickly and doesn’t get too dry; it’s affordable; it has good flavor; it’s easy to slice thinly for healthy, appropriate-sized portions; and it can be served warm or cold. Use leftovers in sandwiches or wraps.
  4. Find creative ways to use up bread that’s on its way to becoming stale. For example, turn day-old bread into Bread Salad. Remove the crusts if you wish and let it sit out for a day, or toast it lightly in the oven. Mix with diced celery, cucumber, and bell pepper. Whip up a dressing using extra-virgin olive oil, mustard, sherry vinegar, salt and pepper, mix with the vegetables and bread. (You can use the same dressing to marinate the steak.)
Following David’s talk, Andrea shared with the group some of Stop&Shop’s innovations to help parents with lunch packing. My favorites were the tiny little kid-sized apples and miniature cucumbers the chain now sells. Perhaps we’re moving away from supersized fruits to smaller versions that no one has to share?  — Georgia

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