Perusing through some cookbooks we decided to focus our menu around small plates. This would allow us to try several new recipes, most of which were from Scott Conant’s New Italian Cooking cookbook. If you’re not familiar with this book it contains both very involved recipes and some that are quick and easy, giving you a nice mix.
Menu and shopping list created; we set out to gather the few items we needed. We had no issues finding the capers and anchovies needed to make a mayo dip for the fried zucchini.
We were on a roll; or so we thought. Next on our list were the rabbit legs we needed to top the baby greens salad.
Ok, so there is nowhere in the entire city of Phoenix that sells rabbit legs. I can understand that most stores would not carry rabbit legs on a regular basis but the fact that not one butcher was willing to order them for me was kind of disturbing. So we decided to improvise. A quick google search confirmed that chicken legs were a perfect substitute. Chicken legs it would have to be.
The mussels for our green bean and mussel soup were actually easy to find.
This was surprising since my last attempt at purchasing mussels had been a disaster. I’ve since learned that mussels are only delivered to the stores here on certain days of the week and any attempt of purchasing them on an off day is fruitless.
It was midafternoon and we were down to our last ingredient: smoked mozzarella for the gnocchi.
Seems to me like smoked mozzarella should be relatively easy to find. Well it’s not. We made the rounds of all the grocery stores in our area and finally found it at our last stop (of course). But seriously this is a new store that wasn’t there a year ago. So if we had attempted this recipe last year we would’ve been out of luck. Geez Phoenix it’s only smoked mozzarella.
3 hours, 30 miles and 6 stores later we were ready to start cooking. All I could think was boy this better be good.
But we were destined to encounter one more obstacle before the night was over. As it turns out while we were busy tracking down our food items the neighbors were busy preparing their backyard for a Hawaiian Luau. Determined to go forward with our romantic evening we sat down to dinner only to be serenaded by a group of drunk men singing.
Despite all of these obstacles the food was a success. My husband and I both agreed that the mussel soup was simply amazing and so easy to make; the poached chicken legs were a perfect substitute for the rabbit legs; the smoked mozzarella added just the right zip to the fresh tomato sauce covered gnocchi and the anchovy mayo was the perfect accompaniment to the fried zucchini.