Jeremy had surgery yesterday, a fast procedure, so while he was in with the doctor, I took the kids on a little adventure to the Global Supermarket. I've passed by this shop many times and I've always wanted to see what it was like. So I took this hour-long opportunity to explore it.
And can I just say? That little Asian markets are freaking awesome? I found a huge bag of dry shiitake mushrooms for $5, and I'm definitely planning to make immune-boosting, anti-cancer tinctures with those, you betcha! I found tamarind paste for $2, fresh young coconuts for $1, and medicinal galangal and licorice for less than $1. I found black sesame seeds and rice noodles and Thai basil. And I found a giant bag of tiny bok choy for $2.
Here's a better example of how tiny it is - able to fit into a toddler's hand.
Can I just say what a sucker I am for miniature anything? Also, Chinese greens? They're packed full of nutrition and anti-cancer compounds, they hold up well to cooking, and they taste amazing. Jeremy loves bok choy, but I rarely buy it full-size because it seems that I'm mostly paying for white stalk. I often buy baby bok choy, but those are at least twice as big as these tiny plants. I was completely ecstatic to find these adorable bok choy, and I can probably get three meals out of that bag. (Why yes, I am easy to please!)
I had so much fun cruising around this little shop, I was late picking up Jeremy from the hospital. I even found a durian. Oh, and at least eight freezers full of barely-packaged animal parts like stomach and colon. (I didn't buy any of that.)
Bottom line: Chinese markets are awesome. Get thee to one. You'll find so many desperately-needed exotic ingredients for a tiny price and you'll support a local businessperson. I confess to feeling uncomfortable with the low prices given that most or all of these products are imported from countries with extremely unsavory records of safety, chemical use, and treatment of workers. What can I say? I was charmed out of my bristling social conscience.
This light spring soup was made with lots of healthful green vegetables and finished off with miso and lemon juice.
ingredients 1 shallot, peeled and sliced 5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 c. snap peas, halved 1 bunch asparagus, sliced into 1" lengths 2 c. tiny bok choy, or another Chinese green, trimmed and chopped if needed 6 c. vegetable stock
2 T. miso, any variety juice of 1 lemon
8 oz. rice noodles
instructions 1. Heat 2 T. oil in a large soup pot and add the shallot and garlic. Cook until fragrant, then add the vegetables and broth.
2. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 8 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked through but not soggy. Turn off the heat.
3. Meanwhile, bring another pot of water to a boil and add the rice noodles. Cook for about 8 minutes, until cooked through. Pour into a colander and rinse the noodles using cold water, removing all of the excess starch.
4. Remove about a cup of the soup broth and stir in the miso, dissolving it completely. Return this broth to the pot and stir in the noodles and lemon juice. Do not ever boil miso.