Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

eG Foodblog: mizducky - The tightwad gourmand shapes up

Foodblog

  • This topic is locked This topic is locked
174 replies to this topic

#31 mizducky

mizducky
  • participating member
  • 2,407 posts
  • Location:San Diego, CA

Posted 06 June 2006 - 10:06 PM

Okay--first, here's a close-up picture of two pieces of the mystery vegetable:
Posted Image
Notice that the one on the right looks totally like baby bok choy ... and the one on the left has the little flowers. So ... maybe this is baby bok choy, some of which has been allowed to go to seed? :laugh: Heck, I dunno, but I'm sure it'll taste just fine ...

Meanwhile, here's what's happened with the fish so far:
Posted Image
The hunk o' yellowtail, with some of my mise materials in the background: a couple of blood oranges, some garlic and ginger, dark soy sauce, sesame oil, and some scallions that are admittedly a little past their prime, but in good enough shape for these purposes. Also playing in tonight's game: ground white pepper, reconstituted dried shiitakes and their soaking liquid, and Shaoxing cooking wine.

The fish (rather messily) sliced into steaks:
Posted Image

Mincing the garlic (and showing off my big butch cleaver :biggrin: ):
Posted Image

The fish, resting in their marinade:
Posted Image

By the way, you will notice that the hour has grown rather late. I am a bit of a night owl--one of the advantages of working as a freelance telecommuter--so it is not uncommon for me to be cooking and eating at a relatively late hour. Think of me as working the night shift. :smile:

Still, that fish should be getting in the oven pretty soon now ...

#32 hzrt8w

hzrt8w
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,855 posts
  • Location:Sacramento, CA

Posted 06 June 2006 - 11:57 PM

Yeah. Those can be considered baby bok choy. But in Sacramento I can get some dwarf baby bok choy (baby baby bok choy?) about 1/2 to 2/3 of the height of yours. :raz:

Ooouuu... I love your cleaver! Looking *sharp*! Pun intended. :smile:
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

#33 mizducky

mizducky
  • participating member
  • 2,407 posts
  • Location:San Diego, CA

Posted 07 June 2006 - 12:19 AM

Well, that all went rather quickly.

I fished the fish out of its marinade, and placed it in a metal baking pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. (Oh yeah, this is one of my very few concessions to "diet" foods. It's just too damned useful to ignore; plus I have fat in this dish already, in the form of sesame oil, and I'd much rather spend my fat allotment on big yummy flavor than on utilitarian purposes such as lubrication.)

Then I put the pan into a pre-heated more-or-less 450 deg F oven--the "less" because my roommate must have figured someone left the stove on by accident and helpfully switched it off. :rolleyes: But it was still quite hot enough for my purposes.

Meanwhile, I took the reserved marinade and put it in a saucepan, piled a bunch of the baby bok choy thingies in, and put it, covered, on medium-low heat. In about ten minutes, everything was done and ready to go. Here's the plated meal:
Posted Image

I was pretty pleased with this as a first-time experiment. On reflection, I could go a little lighter on the ginger--I've been doing that a lot lately, overdoing it with ginger. I think my body's just craving it for healing, which is fine, but it does tend to take over the flavor of a dish. Still, the fish held its own--great dense meaty texture. Would you believe I paid 2 bucks a pound for this stuff? Another reason why I adore Asian markets--they joy my tightwad gourmand heart.

Thank you to everybody who has chimed in here so far. That just joys my heart, period. :wub:

Tomorrow--or officially, later today: we do Ba Ren. I also have a visit to a farmer's market in mind. Your suggestions for other things you'd like to see are also welcome--I might not be able to fulfill them exactly, but I'll at least find out some stuff for ya.

I'll be up for awhile, but I'll say goodnight now ...

Edited by mizducky, 07 June 2006 - 12:20 AM.


#34 therese

therese
  • participating member
  • 2,780 posts
  • Location:Atlanta

Posted 07 June 2006 - 04:34 AM

Would I be accurate in calling 99 Ranch Market California's answer to H-Mart?

View Post

I've not experienced an H-Mart in person, but to judge from your blog and H-Mart's website, I'd say that 99 Ranch is thinking similarly in terms of scale, but not necessarily aiming at the same level of cross-cultural outreach. As far as I can tell, I think they're still very much flavored by the SoCal-based Asian communities from which they first sprung. Here's their website.

View Post


The Ranch 99 here in Atlanta is smaller and less glitzy than the Super H Mart and I don't know if H Mart and Super H Mart are related), with a much more pan-Asian assortment of goods than Super H-Mart's Korean and Japanese line.

Of course, it's also located in an area that's got more Vietnameses and Chinese vendors and restaurants, so perhaps it just reflects the neighborhood.

Nice wall o' Pocky, there.
Can you pee in the ocean?

#35 Susan in FL

Susan in FL
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,838 posts
  • Location:Daytona Beach

Posted 07 June 2006 - 05:12 AM

Okay--first, here's a close-up picture of two pieces of the mystery vegetable:
Posted Image
Notice that the one on the right looks totally like baby bok choy ... and the one on the left has the little flowers. So ... maybe this is baby bok choy, some of which has been allowed to go to seed? :laugh: Heck, I dunno, but I'm sure it'll taste just fine ...

Meanwhile, here's what's happened with the fish so far:
Posted Image
The hunk o' yellowtail, with some of my mise materials in the background: a couple of blood oranges, some garlic and ginger, dark soy sauce, sesame oil, and some scallions that are admittedly a little past their prime, but in good enough shape for these purposes. Also playing in tonight's game: ground white pepper, reconstituted dried shiitakes and their soaking liquid, and Shaoxing cooking wine.

The fish (rather messily) sliced into steaks:
Posted Image

Mincing the garlic (and showing off my big butch cleaver :biggrin: ):
Posted Image

The fish, resting in their marinade:
Posted Image

By the way, you will notice that the hour has grown rather late. I am a bit of a night owl--one of the advantages of working as a freelance telecommuter--so it is not uncommon for me to be cooking and eating at a relatively late hour. Think of me as working the night shift. :smile:

Still, that fish should be getting in the oven pretty soon now ...

View Post


I love that series of photos, yum. You mentioned Shaoxing cooking wine. Usually cooking wines are such a no-no, but I hear mentions of it in Asian cooking. Is that an exception to the rule against cooking wines?
Do you already have in mind how you will use what fish is left, or will you wait and see what strikes you later?
Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

#36 MarketStEl

MarketStEl
  • participating member
  • 3,722 posts
  • Location:Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

Posted 07 June 2006 - 05:54 AM

The Ranch 99 here in Atlanta is smaller and less glitzy than the Super H Mart and I don't know if H Mart and Super H Mart are related[...]

View Post


They are. (Just like Kmart, Big Kmart and Super Kmart.)

You shop at the store at 2550 Pleasant Hill Road, Duluth, Ga.

Mine is 7050 Terminal Square, Upper Darby, Pa.

H Mart is exclusively found on the East Coast, with the exception of a store in Denver.

The home page of the Web site is still promoting the Upper Darby grand opening celebration, through this Saturday (6/10/06). (It's that graphic in the lower left with the cars.)

Their Web site is very well designed.

As for the merchandise mix, as I noted in my blog and mizducky seems to corroborate, H Mart is deliberately aiming to appeal to as wide a range of shoppers as possible while 99 Ranch Market focuses more on its core customer base. Compare the H Mart web site to 99 Ranch Market's as well--the difference soon becomes clear.
Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia
"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen
My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

#37 chow guy

chow guy
  • participating member
  • 624 posts

Posted 07 June 2006 - 06:16 AM

Mizducky,
Your title really got my attention, it describes me to a tee. I love finding great cheap places to eat, spend way too much time in ethnic/ farmers markets and am dropping pounds and counting points on the WW plan. I really look forward to your blog. You've even moved me to start thinking about blogging someday.

I was sitting and counting points at a Vietnamese Pho place yesterday. I assumed there were very few points on the Pho (there was no listing for Vietnamese food, tripe, tendon or rice vermacelli), So, I just guessed. I have a feeling I'll be upping my Pho intake exponentially in the near future.

#38 Dejah

Dejah
  • participating member
  • 3,327 posts
  • Location:Brandon, Manitoba

Posted 07 June 2006 - 10:03 AM

mizducky loose in an Asian market again?   :biggrin:  :biggrin:   

I know ... I should probably send out an advance notice: "Warning, warning! Clueless gweipo on the loose!" :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

View Post


Mizducky: No one would dare call you a "clueless gweipo", not while I'm around. :angry: You've had more varied Asian cuisine, and have greater access to Asian foods that this poor ole Chinese on the prairies!

There is nothing wrong with the labelling of the "baby bak choy sum". Choy sum just means the "heart or centre" of the bak choy.

When I had my restaurant, we used big bak choy. My mom always asked me to save the "choy sum" for her: the centre of the plant which is more tender than the outer leaves.
Dejah
www.hillmanweb.com

#39 ed davis

ed davis
  • participating member
  • 24 posts
  • Location:Currently in Yuma, AZ

Posted 07 June 2006 - 10:22 AM

Hey Ellen - good to read your blogging. What type of bun was that at Saigon? Kirk has gotten me eating bun bo hue, which is spicy with sliced beef, pig foot (sometimes) and blood (which I ask them to omit). But I've also had bun that was thin vermicelli with no soup topped with veggie stuff and wonderful things like grilled pork. One then dumps like standard Vietnamese dipping sauce (water, fish sauce, sugar, chilies, lime juice) over everything. But yours looks more like bun bo hue, but with other ingredients.

Also it is interesting to read about "choi sum." My local Cantonese place uses that term for all of the various leafy chois, like yu choi or on choi. But they distinguish between choi sum, gai lan, and bok choi. Go figure.

ed
One point . . . was his ability to recollect the good dinners which it had made no small portion of the happiness of his life to eat.

--Nathaniel Hawthorne "The Custom House"

#40 mizducky

mizducky
  • participating member
  • 2,407 posts
  • Location:San Diego, CA

Posted 07 June 2006 - 11:04 AM

Good morning all! It's another gray, overcast morning in Paradise. And it looks like the clouds, and relatively moderate temperatures, will be staying with us the rest of the day--check today's hour-by-hour forecast. But I'm just as glad, because when the sun gets going around here I have to really watch my mid-day outdoor wanderings, to protect myself from getting zonked by the heat and sun. And I do have some outdoor wanderings scheduled for today (and I'll be taking the shades, brimmed hat, and high-SPF sunscreen with me anyway, just in case).

My breakfast this morning, as is typical for me these days, looked rather more like a lunch:
Posted Image
I swear my mandoline-gizmo was totally clean and tidy before I started slicing the roast beef on it! The meat is the remains of a nice little 2-pound chunk of rump roast that I picked up on special ($1.99/lb) at my local natural-foods grocer Windmill Farms. Very recently I decided to try and phase out pre-packaged lunch meats, even the low-fat ones, in favor of cooking my own sandwich fodder. Note also the cheap-ass kitchen scale. To my chagrin, I still am a rather unreliable estimator of portion size--I'm okay with winging it when dining out, but when it's just me at home alone, I do slap my food into the ol' measuring device just to keep myself on the beam.

Here we have 2.5 oz of lean rare roast beef, loaded into half a whole-wheat pita with some romaine lettuce and cilantro, accompanied by a big honkin' red grapefruit.
Posted Image
I go through a ton of those whole-wheat pitas--they're tasty, low in fat, relatively low in calories for a bread product, and whole-grain, plus they make a really satisfying sandwich. My little trick: I microwave them for 20 seconds to take the fridge chill off and make them easier to open--sometimes, as this monring, they tear anyway, but they still taste fine.

#41 mizducky

mizducky
  • participating member
  • 2,407 posts
  • Location:San Diego, CA

Posted 07 June 2006 - 11:33 AM

Now to try to catch up with some recent comments:

You mentioned Shaoxing cooking wine.  Usually cooking wines are such a no-no, but I hear mentions of it in Asian cooking.  Is that an exception to the rule against cooking wines?
Do you already have in mind how you will use what fish is left, or will you wait and see what strikes you later?

View Post

About the cooking wine: heh--probably not an exception. I just confronted a whole shelfful of the stuff at the 99 Ranch, went "oh hell, I dunno!", and picked one. :blush: I got into using Shaoxing wine in my cooking thanks to Ah Leung's pictorials--it does seem to add a nice note to dishes.

I was sitting and counting points at a Vietnamese Pho place yesterday. I assumed there were very few points on the Pho (there was no listing for Vietnamese food, tripe, tendon or rice vermacelli), So, I just guessed. I have a feeling I'll be upping my Pho intake exponentially in the near future.

View Post

From what my friends in Weight Watchers say, you might well be able to calculate the points in a typical bowl of pho from nutritional info such as this listing from calorieking.com.

mizducky loose in an Asian market again?   :biggrin:  :biggrin:   

I know ... I should probably send out an advance notice: "Warning, warning! Clueless gweipo on the loose!" :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

View Post

Mizducky: No one would dare call you a "clueless gweipo", not while I'm around. :angry: You've had more varied Asian cuisine, and have greater access to Asian foods that this poor ole Chinese on the prairies!

View Post

:biggrin: Thanks for the vote of confidence, Dejah! Actually, the only person who's ever called me that is myself--I'm operating on a variant of the Cyrano De Bergerac principle: nobody can effectively make fun of me if I make fun of myself first. :laugh:

Hey Ellen - good to read your blogging. What type of bun was that at Saigon? Kirk has gotten me eating bun bo hue, which is spicy with sliced beef, pig foot (sometimes) and blood (which I ask them to omit). But I've also had bun that was thin vermicelli with no soup topped with veggie stuff and wonderful things like grilled pork. One then dumps like standard Vietnamese dipping sauce (water, fish sauce, sugar, chilies, lime juice) over everything. But yours looks more like bun bo hue, but with other ingredients.

View Post

Alas, I forgot to write down the exact name of that soup--it did come from the same section of the menu as the bun bo Hue and other bun soups, as opposed to the other section of the menu featuring bun not-in-a-soup. I have had bun bo Hue, complete with the pig's blood, and loved it. Saigon does an especially nice version IMO because the little cubes of congealed pig's blood are nice and smooth, with no grainy texture whatsoever. Really great for when I feel like I need a little more iron in my diet! :biggrin:

#42 Smithy

Smithy
  • host
  • 4,048 posts
  • Location:North Shore of Lake Superior

Posted 07 June 2006 - 11:50 AM

What kind of mandoline-gizmo is that, and how do you like it? It looks as though you adjust the slot slice with that knob on the side. Is the blade pretty sharp? Was it an inexpensive investment? Do you think having a blade run straight across (as yours seems to) instead of on the slant (as mine does) or a V (as some do) makes a difference? (Yes, I'm a gearhead.)

Re the suribachi: I have one of those, similar design, although possibly smaller, that my sister picked up for me at an art fair one year. I loove it. It's the perfect size for making a paste of minced garlic and salt, then mixing in the other seasonings before kicking them into a marinade or salad dressing. I just assumed it was a funny mortar and pestle. Thanks for providing the correct name!

I'm also a big fan of pita bread for sandwiches. As you note it's low-fat and plenty tasty. I prefer a quick heating in the toaster to the microwave; it stiffens the outside but steams the pocket open. Have you tried that?

Edited for spelling. Twice. :angry:

Edited by Smithy, 07 June 2006 - 11:52 AM.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown


#43 mizducky

mizducky
  • participating member
  • 2,407 posts
  • Location:San Diego, CA

Posted 07 June 2006 - 12:18 PM

What kind of mandoline-gizmo is that, and how do you like it?  It looks as though you adjust the slot slice with that knob on the side.  Is the blade pretty sharp?  Was it an inexpensive investment?  Do you think having a blade run straight across (as yours seems to) instead of on the slant (as mine does) or a V (as some do) makes a difference?  (Yes, I'm a gearhead.)

View Post

The gizmo's box calls it a "Super Slicer Professional Mandoline Slicer" (a name obviously conjured up by the Department of Redundancy Bureau :laugh: ). Made in China; no brand name visible anywhere on the box. I think I paid all of $15 for it at a local Albertson's/Sav-on superstore. The knob does adjust the blade position/slice size; there's another knob that raises the little perpendicular julienne blades from the bed of the slicer. It also comes with a second, wavy blade for doing ripple and waffle cuts. The thing is damn sharp! I'm still nursing a nick on one finger from using the thing a few days ago--I'm careful as hell while actually slicing, but sometimes I get distracted while cleaing it afterward. :shock: Especially considering the price, I'm pretty darned pleased with the thing--it's surprisingly sturdy and well designed. I have no idea whether another blade configuration would be easier, as this is the only manual slicer-gizmo I've ever fiddled with.

Edited to add: I've not tried putting the pita in the toaster--I kinda like how soft and pliable it gets in the microwave.

(Edited to fix at least the one typo I spotted ... :biggrin: )

Edited by mizducky, 07 June 2006 - 01:04 PM.


#44 MissAmy

MissAmy
  • participating member
  • 508 posts
  • Location:Austin, TX

Posted 07 June 2006 - 12:58 PM

Whole wheat pitas are a great thing. They also make really good chips, and it's a heck of a lot cheaper (and better!) than purchasing pita chips in a package. Just cut a pile of them in half, separate the two sides, cut into triangles, bake on a cookie sheet at 400 for about 4 minutes, or until they are golden brown and crispy. My father is on this really hard-core heart disease diet and I make them for him all the time to eat with his hummus and he loves them!
-Sounds awfully rich!
-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

#45 christine007

christine007
  • participating member
  • 442 posts
  • Location:Suburbs of Cleveland, OH

Posted 07 June 2006 - 01:14 PM

Hey Mizducky, I love to use the whole wheat pitas as "bowls" for my salads, it's awesome!
---------------------------------------

#46 mizducky

mizducky
  • participating member
  • 2,407 posts
  • Location:San Diego, CA

Posted 07 June 2006 - 01:43 PM

Hi folks--Got my camera and batteries lined up, so I'm finally ready to leave the nest for the day's round of errands and etc. I'm running a little later than I had hoped, so I'm not sure if I'll be able to hit the farmer's market I had in mind--but never fear, I have a couple of interesting alternate destinations I could substitute (plus I've got other farmer's market opportunities later in the week). And then, of course, there's tonight's dinner at Ba Ren. See y'all later--and keep the comments and questions coming, I love 'em! Cheers ...

#47 mizducky

mizducky
  • participating member
  • 2,407 posts
  • Location:San Diego, CA

Posted 07 June 2006 - 09:31 PM

I'm back! Didja miss me? :biggrin:

Just gotta go upload some photos, and I'll be right with you all ...

#48 fou de Bassan

fou de Bassan
  • participating member
  • 419 posts
  • Location:Melbourne, Australia

Posted 07 June 2006 - 10:15 PM

Mizducky, I'm so pleased you're blogging again! I really enjoyed the first blog and love the commentary.
Is this weight loss plan of your own design? Did you combine elements of others or listen to what your body was saying to you first?
What a beautiful harbor, thanks for the boat shot!
If only Jack Nicholson could have narrated my dinner, it would have been perfect.

#49 mmm-yoso

mmm-yoso
  • participating member
  • 32 posts

Posted 07 June 2006 - 10:44 PM

Please hurry mizducky - I need to find out what I ate tonight!!!! :biggrin:

#50 mizducky

mizducky
  • participating member
  • 2,407 posts
  • Location:San Diego, CA

Posted 07 June 2006 - 10:52 PM

Attention all shoppers
It's Cancellation Day
Yes the Big Adios
Is just a few hours away

It's last call
To do your shopping
At the Last Mall

--Steely Dan, "The Last Mall," from Everything Must Go (2003)

So, due to circumstances beyond my control (involving an urgent work-related phone call), I got out of the starting gate today a little later than I had planned. Thus, by the time I finished with non-blog-related errands, I realized I didn't have quite enough time to make it all the way out to and back from the farmer's market I had originally intended to visit, and still meet my co-conspirators at Ba Ren at our appointed time of 5:30pm. Thus, it was time for Plan B.

My last errand left me pretty close to the University City area. Also known as the Golden Triangle, this neighborhood is adjacent to the main UCSD campus and the town of La Jolla, and is jam-packed with block after block of very new, very huge, very well-heeled condo complexes, interspersed with outposts of the big high-end hotel chains, and shopping centers anchored by stores such as Nordstrom's. Sounds like this neighborhood would be rather slim pickings for your typical tightwad gourmand, huh? But not if you know where, in the bowels of one of those shopping centers, to find one of the local branches of this beloved chain:
Posted Image

I hardly ever go to this Trader Joe's, mainly because it's not particularly convenient to my home, but also because the shopping center it's in (La Jolla Village Square) has one of the most bizarrely laid-out parking lots in the known universe, and I'm always afraid I'm gonna wind up in an accident there. Having said all that, though, this TJ's is one of the nicer ones I've ever been in (and I've been in several). I mean, look at how spacious this joint is!
Posted Image
That's barely 2/3 of the fresh/prepared food department lining the back wall in the above photo.

Heck, even this TJ's ladies' room is ritzier than any grocery store bathroom I've ever seen:
Posted Image

And a new feature since I was last here; this is the first TJ's I've ever been in that has one of these babies:
Posted Image
I didn't need it today, thank goodness. But even at my healthiest, I can never predict when my joints will cop an attitude and decide they ain't cooperating with me nohow noway--which of course, by Murphy's Law, must always happen at the most inconvenient moment possible. So I keep a mental list of every grocery store equipped with electric scooters for disabled customers, for those times when I must do grocery shopping regardless of whatever mood my knees are in. A TJ's with this amenity--plus, even more importantly, with aisles wide enough to navigate with the darn thing--is sure to come in really handy one of these days.

So I made my rounds and picked up a few staples I always get at TJ's because they're great products and great deals ... including a healthy snack-thing to tide me over until dinner:
Posted Image
Boy, does carrot juice taste rich! I don't think I could drink this stuff everyday, but every now and then it makes a terrific treat.

While I sipped my juice, I entertained myself by scoping these enterprising folks, almost on Trader Joe's doorstep:
Posted Image
I'm sure TJ's must love having these guys beat their produce both in price and quality. :biggrin:

By this time it was already past 4:30pm, and time for me to fight my way through the gathering rush-hour traffic to Clairemont Mesa and Ba Ren.

(continued in next post)

#51 mizducky

mizducky
  • participating member
  • 2,407 posts
  • Location:San Diego, CA

Posted 07 June 2006 - 11:54 PM

Szechuan dumplings
After the deal has been done
I'm the one--
It's a glamour profession

--Steely Dan, "Glamour Profession", from Gaucho (1980)

I was joined at Ba Ren by three of my fellow San Diego food fanatic friends: Kirk and Gayla, known here on eGullet as mmm-yoso and kalypso respectively, and Howie, of A Foodie's Eye View of San Diego Restaurants.

Kirk is the one who first turned me on to this stellar Szechuan restaurant through his food blog. He and his wife were familiar with the work of this place's chef from when they lived up in the San Gabriel Valley and this chef held forth at Chung King in Monterey Park. Alas, Kirk's wife was not able to join us tonight due to work commitments, but she helpfully phoned ahead on our behalf to put in a request for a dish that requires some advance prep.

Going to Ba Ren has been a revelation to me--prior to this, I didn't know enough to realize that kung pao chicken and similar dishes served in American Chinese restaurants were really dumbed-down Szechuan for American tastes. Ba Ren does have kung pao chicken and the like hidden away on the back page of the menu, under the heading "America's Favorites," for those who insist. But why would you, when there are over 500 other, more wonderful and authentic delights to choose from?

We started with a trio of cold appetizers from the cooler-table in the front of the restaurant:
Posted Image
I have developed a fanatical devotion to these cold dishes, so the others let me do the choosing--I went with "Husband and Wife" (thin slices of beef and tripe bathed in lots of chile oil); a salad of julienned bamboo shoots; and dried beef (a fiery Szechuan answer to beef jerky):
Posted Image

The special ordered-ahead dish was more than worth it: called "steamed whole squash with meat" on the menu, this was a cute little Japanese kabocha pumpkin stuffed with meat and other yummies--including more hot spices--and then steamed until done:
Posted Image
The contrast of the naturally-sweet, soft pumpkin flesh with the meat's fat and juices and the hot spices was absolutely out of this world. I hope to find out how to make this dish, because I expect it would totally rock the next Thanksgiving dinner I need to bring a dish to.

Our next dish was one Kirk had been turned on to on his most recent visit to Ba Ren, a dish not on the main menu but only listed in Chinese on the latest version of the restaurant's table card:
Posted Image
Thanks for this photo, Kirk! The item in question is the second from the bottom, and is a dish of beef tendon and konnyaku, stewed with chiles and spices until both are meltingly tender:
Posted Image
For me, this and the pumpkin dish were tied neck-and-neck for best dish of the evening. I just couldn't get enough of the wonderful mouth-feel of the perfectly-done tendon. And the konnyaku was a perfect match in texture.

Also starring in this night's repast was this lovely fish stew, called "Woo Jiang fish fillet" on the menu:
Posted Image
Lovely medium-spicy broth with great body, and the fish was nicely-done and not falling apart at all.

Last but not least was a yummy "Crispy Rice Crust with Three Treasures":
Posted Image
I think crispy rice crust must be what rice cakes dream of turning into when they die and go to heaven. The server presents the dish by first putting a platter full of these crispy rice squares down on the table, and then pouring over it a bowlful of yummy goodies in a light (but of course spicy) sauce. All sorts of sizzlings ensue, sort of the Szechuan equivalent of pouring milk on Rice Crispies--only much nicer. In this case, the goodies included tender slivers of chicken, sea cucumber, and squid, plus lovely big slices of bamboo shoot and other goodies.

We ate like crazy, still had tons left over, and walked out of there paying a mere $15 each. That kind of price for such terrific food definitely makes a tightwad gourmand want to jump up and down with delight. Erm, except that she's a little too full to jump up and down safely... :laugh:

Many thanks to my dinner companions for a great evening, with great food and great conversation.

#52 mizducky

mizducky
  • participating member
  • 2,407 posts
  • Location:San Diego, CA

Posted 08 June 2006 - 12:13 AM

Oh yeah--I wanted to show you what-all else I wound up buying at Trader Joe's today. Dig my handy-dandy folding shopping-bag on wheels! :biggrin:
Posted Image

Within its capacious tiger-print walls are the following items:
Posted Image
Glucosamine capsules (good for osteoarthritis); balsamic vinegar (I dunno how authetic it is, but the label sez it was aged 10 years); omega-3 fatty acid gelcaps (for heart, brain, and joint health); pure cherry juice (to ward off any gout twinges from all the animal protein I'll have eaten at Ba Ren); organic free-range chicken broth (useful in so many ways); canola oil non-stick spray (ditto--and TJ's version has no icky off-taste like other brands); peppermint tea (in case my tummy freaks out at the spicy Ba Ren food); whole wheat pitas (my "staff of life" :biggrin: ); and dried European mushrooms (because, like, you can never have too many dried mushrooms around the kitchen).

Even with the nutritional supplements, which are usually pricey items, this entire haul (including the previously-consumed carrot juice) came to something like $32. Squeezin' that dollah till the eagle grins ... :laugh:

#53 mizducky

mizducky
  • participating member
  • 2,407 posts
  • Location:San Diego, CA

Posted 08 June 2006 - 03:18 AM

Yes, I'm doing my night-owl thing ... I know there's been several requests for me to explain my whole food regimen thing, and so when I finally had a free moment I went for it. I think you'll see that what I'm actually doing day-to-day doesn't look all that different, from any "diet;" it's more in how I think about what I'm doing. So here's the deal:

1. My primary goal is to eat and live healthily, so as to heal my body and be well. I view whatever weight loss results as a helpful byproduct, but not the main goal. My main strategy in achieving this goal is to develop a workable food and health plan that I can live with comfortably for, ideally, the rest of my life.
2. Foodwise, so far, I've been following the plan my HMO handed me, which happens to be the American Diabetes Association's booklet--not because our group is for diabetics but because it's a reasonable basic food plan for health and gradual weight loss. It comes out at around 1400 calories a day, comprising 8 oz. protein, preferably relatively lean; a small amount of fat, preferably unsaturated; a modest amount of "starches" (basically, dense carbs); and copious amounts of fruits and vegetables.
3. I consume this daily allotment of food in several small meals scattered throughout the day, a practice which works with the body's metabolism better than the common practice of just two or three big meals.
4. My culinary goal is to take these guidelines and make food that is satisfying enough that I am genuinely contented with it as-is, and not overly missing my old meat-a-holic way of eating. One of my strategies is to avoid most ersatz and "diet" food substances, and to prefer fresh and undoctored real foods.
5. I have built into my food plan the safety valve of the occasional pre-planned splurge. Right now I do them about once a week, postponing them if my weight loss appears to be stalling. So far I've seldom had to do that. When I do a splurge, I'm not totally off the hook, but I do allow myself to enjoy moderate amounts of foods too rich to be consumed other than as these occasional treats.
6. Exercise, while technically outside the purview of eGullet, is an essential part of this health plan. So I'll just note that I have my struggles with it, and thus my goal is to gently but firmly get myself to do what I can, when I can, as regularly as I can manage. And even that little bit seems to be making a difference.
7. I apply to what I'm doing now a lot of food philosophy I learned from my brief foray into macrobiotics back in my 20s. The concept of balancing around yin and yang is really proving helpful in weaning myself off of my past dedication to animal protein and fat, and gradually acclimating myself to a significantly more yin set of foods. Briefly, my solution is to yang-ify my food in a variety of ways as needed to ease my transition. I dunno what any expert in macrobiotics might say, but so far it seems to be working for me.
8. I also apply a lot of experience from past failures in weight loss--and past successes too, for that matter. Again, going into this personal history stuff at any length would, I feel, wander outside the bounds of what eGullet is for. Suffice it to say that, yep, as someone for whom weight has been a big deal since childhood, I do have some major long-term issues about food, weight, and weight loss--pretty much all the usual suspects, you know the drill. At this point, I think I've got a pretty good handle on what things I find helpful for me psychologically, and which are guaranteed to make me absolutely batshit you-won't-like-me-like-that crazee. For instance: I have banished numerical weight goals from my way of thinking. All my goals are functional, as in: can I walk a mile without blinking an eye again? Can I dance through an entire set non-stop again?
9. And I vow not to give myself a bunch of shit if I should screw up any of this in any way, and instead to just gently pick myself up and get on with it.

I'm sure there's a bunch of stuff I'm forgetting, but that's the gist of it.

Good night, all--looking forward to chatting with y'all in the morning. :smile:

#54 Smithy

Smithy
  • host
  • 4,048 posts
  • Location:North Shore of Lake Superior

Posted 08 June 2006 - 04:04 AM

Thanks for that rundown on your diet plan. I particularly applaud the goals: forget the count, go for the function! Can you elaborate on foods that you have found *just* *don't* *work* for you? I noted that too much protein may have an immediate effect on your joints, for instance?

If you find out how to make the pumpkin dish, do let us know. It looks good. I'm forever messing with Thanksgiving traditions (and for that reason, am usually restricted to bringing "safe" things like apple pie :raz: ). Since I'm usually not much of a pumpkin fan, I'd like to find something good to do with it.

I don't envy you your location, but oh, how I wish we'd get a Trader Joe's up here! That's a wonderful store!

You continue to break new ground: yours may be the first blog with a restroom shot. :laugh:

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown


#55 therese

therese
  • participating member
  • 2,780 posts
  • Location:Atlanta

Posted 08 June 2006 - 04:23 AM

You continue to break new ground: yours may be the first blog with a restroom shot.  :laugh:

View Post


I was thinking that we may have to add a WC shot (somehow food-related) to the other more or less de rigueur eG blog shots: fridge, pets, and wall o' pocky.

Very glad to see that your joints are happy at the moment, mizducky. And also agree with the "functional" approach to your health goals.
Can you pee in the ocean?

#56 eJulia

eJulia
  • participating member
  • 220 posts
  • Location:Portland, Oregon

Posted 08 June 2006 - 04:47 AM

Mizducky:

I seem to remember from your first blog that you were a gal that liked her cocktails :biggrin: ... Can you comment on the role (or lack thereof) alcohol/wine/beer are playing in your current lifestyle?

Great blog!
"Anybody can make you enjoy the first bite of a dish, but only a real chef can make you enjoy the last.”
Francois Minot

#57 snowangel

snowangel
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 8,140 posts
  • Location:Twin Cities, MN

Posted 08 June 2006 - 08:09 AM

Dinner looked wonderful!

And, good for you for roasting and slicing your own lunch meat. That deli stuff is loaded with nasty stuff like sodium and water and other stuff. Surprisingly high in sodium. One of the things that blew me away was looking at the Subway web site. They advertise those low fat subs. Their nutrition info indicates that each one has over 1,000 mg of sodium!

Diana and I are working on re-vamping the diets of our family -- not because of weight -- but because of general health. She's been eating a bowl of Uncle Sam Cereal for breakfast and is amazed at how well it sets her up for the day. Less munching, and much less groggy in school than when she was eating a sugary cereal.

Are you going to do any more cooking for us? How is the new kitchen?
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#58 Megan Blocker

Megan Blocker
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,041 posts
  • Location:New York, NY

Posted 08 June 2006 - 08:15 AM

MizDucky, I love your couch and your new shopping cart - though I don't know that they compliment each other too well. :laugh:

And that meal looks amazing...$15 each? Ridiculous.
"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan
eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

#59 Megan Blocker

Megan Blocker
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,041 posts
  • Location:New York, NY

Posted 08 June 2006 - 08:21 AM

7. I apply to what I'm doing now a lot of food philosophy I learned from my brief foray into macrobiotics back in my 20s. The concept of balancing around yin and yang is really proving helpful in weaning myself off of my past dedication to animal protein and fat, and gradually acclimating myself to a significantly more yin set of foods. Briefly, my solution is to yang-ify my food in a variety of ways as needed to ease my transition. I dunno what any expert in macrobiotics might say, but so far it seems to be working for me.

View Post

As someone who knows nothing about macrobiotics, just wondering if you can go into a bit more detail about what yin and yang are within that framework? I'm curious!
"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan
eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

#60 MarketStEl

MarketStEl
  • participating member
  • 3,722 posts
  • Location:Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

Posted 08 June 2006 - 08:32 AM

Yes, I'm doing my night-owl thing ... I know there's been several requests for me to explain my whole food regimen thing, and so when I finally had a free moment I went for it. I think you'll see that what I'm actually doing day-to-day doesn't look all that different, from any "diet;" it's more in how I think about what I'm doing. So here's the deal:

1. My primary goal is to eat and live healthily, so as to heal my body and be well. I view whatever weight loss results as a helpful byproduct, but not the main goal. My main strategy in achieving this goal is to develop a workable food and health plan that I can live with comfortably for, ideally, the rest of my life.
2. Foodwise, so far, I've been following the plan my HMO handed me, which happens to be the American Diabetes Association's booklet--not because our group is for diabetics but because it's a reasonable basic food plan for health and gradual weight loss. It comes out at around 1400 calories a day, comprising 8 oz. protein, preferably relatively lean; a small amount of fat, preferably unsaturated; a modest amount of "starches" (basically, dense carbs); and copious amounts of fruits and vegetables.
3. I consume this daily allotment of food in several small meals scattered throughout the day, a practice which works with the body's metabolism better than the common practice of just two or three big meals.
4. My culinary goal is to take these guidelines and make food that is satisfying enough that I am genuinely contented with it as-is, and not overly missing my old meat-a-holic way of eating. One of my strategies is to avoid most ersatz and "diet" food substances, and to prefer fresh and undoctored real foods.
5. I have built into my food plan the safety valve of the occasional pre-planned splurge. Right now I do them about once a week, postponing them if my weight loss appears to be stalling. So far I've seldom had to do that. When I do a splurge, I'm not totally off the hook, but I do allow myself to enjoy moderate amounts of foods too rich to be consumed other than as these occasional treats.
6. Exercise, while technically outside the purview of eGullet, is an essential part of this health plan. So I'll just note that I have my struggles with it, and thus my goal is to gently but firmly get myself to do what I can, when I can, as regularly as I can manage. And even that little bit seems to be making a difference.
7. I apply to what I'm doing now a lot of food philosophy I learned from my brief foray into macrobiotics back in my 20s. The concept of balancing around yin and yang is really proving helpful in weaning myself off of my past dedication to animal protein and fat, and gradually acclimating myself to a significantly more yin set of foods. Briefly, my solution is to yang-ify my food in a variety of ways as needed to ease my transition. I dunno what any expert in macrobiotics might say, but so far it seems to be working for me.
8. I also apply a lot of experience from past failures in weight loss--and past successes too, for that matter. Again, going into this personal history stuff at any length would, I feel, wander outside the bounds of what eGullet is for. Suffice it to say that, yep, as someone for whom weight has been a big deal since childhood, I do have some major long-term issues about food, weight, and weight loss--pretty much all the usual suspects, you know the drill. At this point, I think I've got a pretty good handle on what things I find helpful for me psychologically, and which are guaranteed to make me absolutely batshit you-won't-like-me-like-that crazee. For instance: I have banished numerical weight goals from my way of thinking. All my goals are functional, as in: can I walk a mile without blinking an eye again? Can I dance through an entire set non-stop again?
9. And I vow not to give myself a bunch of shit if I should screw up any of this in any way, and instead to just gently pick myself up and get on with it.

I'm sure there's a bunch of stuff I'm forgetting, but that's the gist of it.

Good night, all--looking forward to chatting with y'all in the morning. :smile:

View Post


I'm filing all of this for reference. Since (as I believe I've mentioned) Widener faculty and staff get to use our spiffy new Wellness Center (="fitness center") free of charge, I decided there's no excuse for me not to work off some of the 60-odd pounds I've added to my frame since you knew me as a beanpole in college. (Somewhat relevant aside: My high school classmate Karl Bricker--there's a photo of him and me together over in my post describing lunch at La Bodega while back in Kansas City for my 30th high school reunion--told me after he picked me up at MCI (Kansas City International Airport) that had I not waved to him, he would have driven right past me--he was looking for a tall, skinny fellow with a huge Afro!)

The one challenge for me will be to figure out how to adjust my diet so I can continue to have as much cheese as I care to eat in it. I do not know whether this will be possible. I do note that I'm snacking on salty stuff dipped in flavored sour cream a good bit less than I used to, and when I replace cranberry juice with Gatorade, I feel a little more energized.

Maybe you and I should compare notes on another thread after this blog closes.
Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia
"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen
My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Foodblog