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David Ross

What's new in your ethnic market

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I'm an avid shopper at ethnic markets and I find them a fascinating place to learn, find new products and products that I would never imagine would find their way to Eastern, Washington.  This past Fall I wrote a piece for a regional magazine that focused on some of our local ethnic markets.  I explored markets that cover a wide range of cuisines-Mexican, Russian and Eastern Europe, Germany Italy and Western Europe, China, Korea and Asia.  Over the Holiday season, I found another wonderful Russian market in Spokane.  I no longer have to want for all manner of sausage and smoked fish, thinking that internet ordering was my only option.  I'm thinking we all have a favorite ethnic market and special finds that we keep going back for.  I'll start by posting two delicious items I found at Kiev Market in Spokane--

 

"Tushonka" Mutton cubes.  Although it came from the Russian market, it's made by Alex's Meat Distributors of Brooklyn.  I'll be putting in a country pork terrine. 

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Caviar Cream with Smoked Salmon from Belarus. It has a very light taste.  I stirred in some chopped salmon lox, sour cream, dill and celery seed.  The original idea was to pipe it into some little choux pastry puffs, but I didn't want to take the time so just spread it on some thinly sliced rye bread I also found at this market.

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Capelin caviar...cool. For those who don't know, capelin are a sardine-ish bait fish that shoals in huge quantities along the coast of Newfoundland. 

 

When I was a teen I fished for one autumn with my uncle and father, and capelin were one of the things we caught. We'd dip a seine and corral perhaps 7,000 or 8,000 pounds of them, then sit for the next 12-14 hours and separate them by gender. The males were worth just 1 cent/lb at the fish plant, while the females (because of the roe) were worth 26 cents/lb. To put that into context, salmon (you could still catch them commercially back then) also fetched 26 cents/lb.

 

We separated the males from the females ourselves, because the fish plant hit you hard for the labor of separating them if you brought them in unsorted. And how does one tell the difference between males and females in a sardine-sized fish, you wonder? Simple...the females are the pretty ones*. :P

 

The males went back into the water to fulfil their biological role with the (very slightly diminished number of) females.

 

*Not at all facetious, believe it or not...the males have rough, grey-black skin and a ridge down their sides, while females have smooth skin with a delicate rainbow iridescence. 

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54 minutes ago, chromedome said:

capelin are a sardine-ish bait fish that shoals in huge quantities along the coast of Newfoundland. 

 

We get them here, too.

 

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Capelin

 

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Capelin Roe

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The once-a-year Hatch chile roast at our local Mexican store and café, Deleon foods.  I was very impressed this year, folks were buying whole cartons, really a huge box, full of chiles.  Step up to the counter outside under the tent and order a whole carton of either mild, medium, hot or extra hot.  Inside the store at the café they were selling pork in Hatch chile sauce, three kinds of enchiladas with Hatch chiles and Hatch chile salsa.  I was watching the roaster spin around and char the chiles when I started a conversation with a guy who was watching his carton of chiles get roasted.  He puts them in jars with a simple salt water brine then pressure cans them to have throughout the year.  He said he seeds them and cleans off the char before canning.  Not me.  I buy a gallon bag of them and freeze them, seeds and char and all.  I happen to like some of that char flavor when I use the Hatch chiles.  The photo is of the slow-braised pork in Hatch chile verde sauce.

 

IMG_0083.JPGIMG_0085.JPGIMG_0088.JPGIMG_0092.JPGIMG_0093.JPGIMG_0095.JPGPork in Roasted Hatch Chile Verde - Copy.JPG

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It's hard for me to believe it's already harvest time for those Hatch chiles, David.  Thanks for reminding me to get after some of my frozen stock from this spring's trip through the area. That braised pork looks a treat!

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So tender and delicious. They were doing big business in tamales. Folks pre-ordered them by the dozens.

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1 minute ago, David Ross said:

So tender and delicious. They were doing big business in tamales. Folks pre-ordered them by the dozens.

 

What cut of pork was that, do you think? Shoulder?

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46 minutes ago, Smithy said:

 

What cut of pork was that, do you think? Shoulder?

You know the minute I took a bite I wondered.  I think shoulder.  It was very tender, but really no fat.  Had probably been braised for hours. 

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2 minutes ago, David Ross said:

You know the minute I took a bite I wondered.  I think shoulder.  It was very tender, but really no fat.  Had probably been braised for hours. 

 

Hmm, maybe pork loin, then, because of the low fat content.  I think home experiments are in order. :)

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Hmm, or maybe it could have been pork loin, then, because of the low fat content?  I think home experiments are in order. :) Thanks again for the inspiration!

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My local Wegman's was having a Hatch chili roast today too.  The peppers were $1.99/lb and there were three levels of heat available.  I did not buy any because I don't have time to process them myself this weekend, and did not realize they were actually roasting them outside the store for customers until I had already checked out.  I had fresh fish in my groceries so could not wait.  I did notice the chili roasting smell when going up to the store but did not make the connection because I've never seen a store roasting chiles for customers here before (I'm in MA).  How I missed the roasters on the way in is a mystery.

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I have been picking up raw, unprocessed Hatch chilis from Harris Teeter grocery in Cary both this week and last. They also at some point, had or will have roasted ones, too. Mine got rung up incorrectly this time as roasted, and took forever to get corrected. I'd have let it go, but it was a difference of 3 raw ones (.50 lb @$1.29/ lb = $0.65) or 3 roasted (unknown unit, but may have been lb. @ $2.29  = $6.87). I would buy some roasted at $2.29 a pound, but not per single pepper. I didn't see any, though.

 

Be careful of these things. They are hotter than they appear in the mirror of your experiences with other peppers that don't initially seem that hot. :) I won't be touching cut ones again without gloves, as badly as I hate to wear gloves in the kitchen.

 

Harris Teeter also promised fresh figs last week but did not have any. Boo and boo!

 

I can get citric acid and Valbreso feta only at my Mediterranean market. Of course the have a lot of other interesting ingredients. I have bought some nice Turkish tea, spices, tahini, and lots of other stuff right here locally.

 

The Indian market Patel Brothers is a good source for inexpensive produce. The last time I bought dudhi/opo squash, it was 49 cents a pound. They have long beans, many types of eggplant, Korean squash they call "zuchinni", fresh methi/fenugreek leaves. They also have a bunch of other stuff that is both familiar or unidentifiable to me. I haven't found produce there that was priced higher than was available in a mainstream grocer. Many offerings are cheaper than the other grocers. I love their array of twenty something barrels that contain bulk snacks you scoop into produce bags at $4.99 a pound. My favorite is the curried deep fried flour squares. They're just a bit larger and thicker than Cheezit crackers, and I don't think they are leavened, but often puff up and flake from steam expansion from the frying. This place is a treasure trove of new experiences every time. Oh, and every Indian spice known to man! The only problem is that many of them come in multi-pound packages that I would consider restaurant size, and perhaps they are? I recently bought their smallest offering of ground fenugreek seeds and poured the pouch into an empty shake top container that used to hold 8 oz. of black pepper. The fenugreek powder fit, but barely. I like this spice, but this will last me a long while.

 

Their is Baghdad bakery where I buy samoon bread.

 

I pass African grocers, small Latino mercados (one offers tortillas calientes), and a halal meat supplier, but have yet to explore any of them. 

 

Everything I mentioned is in walking distance of a couple miles one way. We are lucky.

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