Short Order recently spoke with chef Dena Marino of MC Kitchen. With a six-year-old son at home, she says she doesn't keep her refrigerator stocked with a ton of specialty items.
"There's definitely some great cheddar in there and some sliced prosciutto, but nothing crazy over-the-top. I don't have caviar or foie gras. We definitely have some apple sauce jars and yogurt sticks. We're a very family-oriented fridge. We have pretzel sticks, leftover pizza from MC Kitchen. There's something for everyone in there."
Read on to find out what else is in the Bella Chef's fridge.
New Times: I see items with Publix labeling and also Fresh Market packaging. Which grocery store do you shop at most often?
Dena Marino: I guess when it comes down to it, we use all three. We use Publix, Whole Foods and Fresh Market. Publix is basically for paper goods, peanut butter, jelly, Gatorade for my six-year-old -- things like that -- and also my husband loves Fresh Market because he likes all of the different grains, quinoa, farro, all that stuff that they have, and different types of soy sauces and spices. So I think we all have our own store for our own products.
And there are regular eggs and egg whites, which do you prefer?
My son and I like egg whites, and my husband likes whole eggs. Also our babysitter tries to bake with our son. So we use the whole eggs for baking cookies, cupcakes, angel food cake, brownies, blueberry muffins, apple cinnamon muffins.
I also see a lot of condiments, and I know your favorite is Soy Vey. What do you like to use it for?
I love to marinate with it. Pork or even steak. Skirt steak or even flank steak. My husband loves it on tofu. I don't like tofu, but he loves it. And also bone-in chicken breasts.
Was that fruit salad made at home or already prepared?
We bought already prepared fruit salad from Fresh Market. We always have grapes and apples and bananas that we can throw in your bag on the way out the door. It's great for my son. But if he's home, it's a lot easier to have it already cut up.
So you're big on snacks?
Definitely. When you get home at 2 a.m., you want a little bit of a snack. I'm a big peanut butter and jelly or cheese and Triscuit fan at 2 o'clock in the morning.
I see some craft drinks and remember you mentioning you like a seasonal Dogfish Head variety. Do you have it in your fridge right now?
Those are some specialty craft beers. I can't say 100 percent if the ones that are in there right now are seasonal. There are a few great ones that you can grab a bottle at the store and just have in there. You don't need a whole six-pack. I'm not a huge drinker, but sometimes you definitely want a little something and it's easy, already cold and refreshing. There's also MIA Brewing Company iced tea. It's always great to have in the fridge.
What about the strawberry preserves from Parkesdale Farms?
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It's a local strawberry farm that one of our customers lives by. They went to the farmers market and brought me some on this cookie that they made. It was one of those finger cookies where you put your thumb in the middle and you fill it with the preserves. They were so good and I told her, and she came back next week and brought me a jar of the strawberry preserves.
Do customers bring you food often?
It definitely happens if I know them well and get into a conversation with them and talk about things. They always bring something back if we were talking about it. Like books. One lady lost a lot of weight, and I asked her how she did it. It was this diet based on eating oats, and she brought me the diet book and the oats.