Married to the Empire

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Visiting the Asian Market

Steven wanted Chinese food the other night, but I didn't want to pay the $30 or $40 it would cost to eat at our favorite Chinese restaurant. And we do not do fast-food Chinese. Ick. So, we got cheap Mexican food instead, and I took a trip to the Asian grocer the next day.

I tried to take a picture of the fish market at the back of the store, which always fascinates me, but my battery was totally dead. Tons of bins just filled with whole fish, their dead eyes looking sadly at me. And big tanks swimming with live fish, which strikes me as cruel because not only are they crammed in there together with little room to move, but they're right next to all those bins of dead fish. They can see their fate. That part makes me want to cry, but that's partly because I should be a vegetarian, but I'm not. This sight pretty much destroys my fantasy that my meat is born on the styrofoam tray at the store and was never actually alive. I don't like the reminder that my food once lived. It doesn't help that the fish at the back makes the whole store smell like a dirty pet shop.

I'm really selling you on this place, aren't I?

Sad fish and bad smells aside, I really like this place, especially as they now label their produce with English and not just Chinese characters that I can't read. It's a great place to buy fresh foods you can't usually find at regular grocery stores, all at reasonable prices.

The bok choy and shiitakes I bought were fresh, but prepackaged by the store. I came home with a lot more than I could use. I cleaned it all and chopped it up, then looked online for how to freeze them. (Go here and here if you're curious.) I took a picture of the mushrooms (other camera at home with a working battery!) before I packaged them up for freezing.

I made a nice stir-fry with bok choy, shiitake mushrooms, mung bean sprouts, snow peas, baby corn, and Japanese eggplant.

Steven, who wants meat with every meal, took a look and said, "What's that? Sausage?" He was pointing at the chunks of eggplant. I said, "Uh, yeah." Ha! No. I told him honestly what it was, but we were calling it Japanese sausage after that. I cook everything in peanut oil, which smells heavenly. I stirred a spicy black bean paste into the veggies after they cooked down. Yum! Served it all over rice noodles. Quick, easy, and healthy. (Well, quick if you don't have to clean and chop a ton of bok choy, then blanch it. And then clean, chop, and cook a bunch of mushrooms. Then package it all up for the freezer. But otherwise quick.)

I buy frozen mango whenever I happen to be near Central Market, which isn't often. I'm now out of frozen mango. But the Asian store had boxes of mangoes for $5.99. I figured for that price, I can cut and freeze my own mangoes.

Doogie was very happy about the box of mangoes because it was originally covered in a criss-cross of packing tape to keep the mangoes in. This cat won't touch commercial cat treats, but he's quite the connoisseur of tape. Packing tape is his favorite, so I had to cut that all off quickly after I discovered him eating it. Have I ever mentioned that he's not my smart cat? His cuteness and sweet disposition make up for it, thankfully.


*carrie* said...

I'm impressed that you can successfully cut a mango. I tried once, and it was not pretty!

We like Asian cooking, but I confess that snow peas are the only veggie in your stirfry that I would have willingly eaten. =)

Becky said...

That's funny about Doogie eating tape! One of my cats likes to use leather shoes for cat toys. He'll lie on his side and kick it with his hind legs while trying to chew on it. Cats are so fun :)

Allison said...

Gasp! You forgot the water chestnuts in your stir-fry!

Actually, I know nothing about Chinese cooking. But I love bok choy and baby corn! And mangoes.

Carolyn Watson-Dubisch said...

Your stir-fry looks fantastic! Thanks for the tips.:)