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Archive for the ‘Shopping’ Category

Kabocha-Udon Winter Stew

Have cooked plenty and even taken photos of it, but lately I’ve been remiss with the blogging I’d promised myself to do. Mostly I’ve been too busy just living and cooking and eating and working and all those other things that comprise day-to-day existence. Sometimes I wonder if I’m not quite cut out for this blogging thing. Yet I keep trying. Oh well.

In my quest (which has been ongoing over more than two years) to cook every last recipe in Veganomicon I’m beginning to get to the recipes that come less naturally to me, for one reason or another. Perhaps they have ingredients I don’t have at home often, or stuff I’m less prone to eat/ like.

Anyway. A while back I decided it was time to make the Kabocha-Udon Winter Stew. Seemed to fit the season perfectly, I had some dried shiitakes collecting dust in my spice drawer, and finally freed from the fetters of a bi-weekly CSA haul I was free to shop at will at my local cheap-o Korean greengrocers. This also gave me an excuse to hit Sunrise Mart, a most excellent (and reasonably priced) Japanese grocery store in the East Village. Besides sundry Japanese speciality items, they’re also a great place to pick up tofu at about half the price of any other place I know of. Here’s my loot from there:

Sunrise Mart Loot
As for the stew, it turned out delicious. So delicious, in fact, that I ended up cooking it not once, not twice, but three times over the course of the past month. Keep in mind the recipe makes about 4 servings and I live alone. So that makes it uh… 12 times I’ve eaten Kabocha-Udon Stew in the past month. Ok, moving on…

I tend to get kind of obsessed with certain flavors and eat them like crazy for periods of time. The Kabocha-Udon adventure triggered a Japanese noodle obsession. I’m now running to Sunrise Mart every chance I get and plan to work my way through a few of the recipes in a long-ignored Japanese vegetarian cookbook someone gave me once.

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So, I haven’t posted for ages due to being overwhelmed by life. I have a huge backlog of photos, which I will save for later. For now I will just jump right back in:

I was at Sahadi’s recently. Two favorite moments:

1.) The young guy in the bulk section who couldn’t believe the amount of chickpeas I was buying. I assured him I’d get through them soon enough. He looked amazed.

2.) At the check-out line I had the fortune of being greeted by the always friendly Charlie Sahadi who told me Sahadi’s is celebrating it’s 60th anniversary and handed me a flier with a bit of Sahadi history. Turns out May 1948 was the month Sahadi’s was born. I was sorely tempted to ask about the coincidence with another historical event that happened in May 1948, but didn’t.

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Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day and I was feeling happy and healthy for the first time in almost two weeks after a nasty run in with the flu. Mondays are normally my work at home day where I get freelance work and school stuff out of the way, but in celebration of my health and the weather I decided to play hooky a little. After a failed attempt at some reporting in the city I gave up and went to Sahadi’s instead.

Sahadi's

For those who don’t know, Sahadi’s is a gourmet food store on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn that specializes in Lebanese and other Middle Eastern foods. They have a bulk section that is out of this world. Every kind of spice, nut, grain, and bean you can imagine. Pickles and olives of every description, dried bananas, strawberries… you name it, Sahadi’s has it. And, the prices are noticeably lower than most other stores, which is surprising considering the quality and range of their merchandise.

Long story short, it is my idea of a good time and I try to make it there about once a month or so to stock up on high quality staples and specialty items I can’t find elsewhere.

Yesterday I bought frozen large fava beans, mini dried fava beans to make fool mudamma, kasha at a fraction of the price of Arrowhead Mills, Italian tomato paste in a tube (can’t stand the canned stuff) vinegars, oils and more. All for little more than $10. I hope to chronicle my kitchen exploits with these items on this blog in the near future.

Then I went home and made egg-less vegan rouille to go with a soup I am planning to make tomorrow. More on that in next post.

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My favorite health food store, Northside Health Food on Bedford Avenue is closing. The owner told me he’d be selling off the inventory at reduced prices so I went there today to stock up on some basics. It was sad. They’ve been there forever. Or at least for longer than I’ve been around these parts, which is almost 10 years by now.

The reason this makes me sad, apart from the fact that the owners are friendly and that they have a nice assortment of grains, beans and nuts in bulk, is that they were selling health food in the neighborhood before anyone else was. Now they’ve been pushed out of business by all the new (heavily marked up) stores that have moved in selling ready-made foods and expensive soy products and yuppified organics.

I wish I wasn’t so alone in appreciating good old simple ingredients in bulk. I realize I’m fighting a losing battle here, but why don’t people just eat actual food as opposed to the overpriced over-processed stuff that passes for health food in some quarters? I find it particularly ironic that people thing they are being healthy when they eat stuff like soy ice cream or Tofurky sandwich meats. Not that I’ve never had that stuff, just saying. Oh well. Can’t stand in the way of capitalism. Sigh. I suppose I will be making more frequent trips to Sahadi’s from now on.

Bulk Bins

I just wanted to pour some textual beer on the ground for a store that has been part of my Brooklyn since I moved here. It will turn into a pet supply store, so I guess that’s where I will be buying my kitty litter in the future.

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