I’m back from the (blogging universe) dead!
Today we had a busy day; it started out with my husband T not going to play airsoft outdoors because it was 25 degrees out, so he went to the gun range with his trusty friend K instead.
I had choir practice today until 4, then visited the new Penzey’s at the Bourse (Independence Hall East and Randstead)- my first time at a Penzey’s, ever! It was nice but I decided to stick to purchasing “Western” food spices, because some of the non-Western spices like Sichuan peppercorns, were not only much more expensive than I’m used to seeing, but not as high in quality. (They contained quite a few of those black crunchy seeds) My favorite aspect of the store was being able to smell all the different spices. Something that I actually would have preferred would be the ability to scoop out whatever amount you desire, instead of just buying previously portioned out amounts, like 1, 4, or 8 oz, etc. I bought 4 oz each of cayenne pepper and Hungarian paprika, and each was around $5. Not bad, considering they will last me a very long time.
If you are looking to buy spices, I have had good experiences with myspicesage.com. They also sell stuff including matcha powder (it’s from China, so I am a little skeptical- though it has good customer reviews), spinach powder, beet powder, and tons of other types of powders, if you want to use them to color your frostings naturally. Lots of spinach powder can actually make your food taste like matcha, strangely. I speak from experience- I used it to color the frosting on my mom’s wedding cake, and people were asking if the frosting was green tea!
I came home and had some chicken leftovers, but needed some vegetables. I had bought a big napa cabbage, and had soaked mushrooms already, so it was easy to think of what to make.
Braised Napa and Shiitake Mushrooms
Da bai cai xiang gu
Makes 2 hearty vegetable servings
1 Tbsp oil
8-9 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in room temperature water until flexible (~30 minutes）
6-7 dried shrimp, soaked in room temperature water until flexible, then minced (optional; I didn’t use them this time)
7-8 cups of roughly chopped napa cabbage (~20 ounces)
1) Heat oil in a pan until it’s hot.
2) Add shiitake mushrooms and shrimp, and sautee until fragrant.
3) Add napa cabbage and salt.
4) Cook until napa starts to leach out some water
5) Cover the pan with a lid and cook on low until the napa is cooked through and translucent; or, until it is soft enough for your tastes. Taste for salt again.
-My shiitake mushrooms are pretty small (almost 2 inches in diameter), so adjust accordingly if you have big, fat mushrooms
-Like most cooking recipes, measurements don’t need to be exact, but I put them here so that you can get a sense of relative proportions.