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bear by san

March 2017

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animation wallace cheese

Mystery meat. Er, veg.

So, my local Asian grocery suffers a paucity of signage, or possibly subscribes to the theory that it's good for the white-eyed devils to work a little. I went produce shopping today, and came home with a bunch of stuff I either have no idea what to do with or have no idea what it is! (Well, I can figure out some things. And some I have cooked before. But then there's the rest of it.)

This is very exciting.

Complete mysteries:
* Something that may be Thai basil. It smells and looks right, anyway.
* Some kind of dark green sprout that's a little tough/chewy in texture, with a kind of spinachy or grassy flavor overlaying the sprout flavor
* Some kind of long supple slightly leathery stalk with a pungent oniony flavor and pea-sized round-but-pointy flower buds at the tip
* Some kind of elongated yellow pear with a pointy bottom


Things with names that I will have to find recipes for:
green daikon
winter melon
bitter melon
banana blossom


Things I have cooked before, whether they have names or not:
scallions
those little round green eggplants
these mushrooms that look remarkably like flat-topped penises, but I dunno what they are called.
ginger
enoki
lemons
limes
asian pear
small flattish orange persimmons

larbalestier, they had canned mangosteens, so I got some in honor of you.

Comments

Some kind of long supple slightly leathery stalk with a pungent oniony flavor and pea-sized round-but-pointy flower buds at the tip

Flowering garlic chives. Yum.
they don't taste like garlic chives, and they're fatter--more scalliony in dimension.
Some kind of long supple slightly leathery stalk with a pungent oniony flavor and pea-sized round-but-pointy flower buds at the tip.

Those sound like garlic scapes. They're good in pesto, or treated like a sturdy sort of scallion in stirfries.
I only got part of a winter melon, for I am a single girl and they sell them cut up.

Ooo, soup.

Oh, and I got quail eggs. Gotta figure out what to do with those.
So... have you ever accidentally bought a durian? :-)
No, but I've eaten durian on purpose.

It actually tastes fine, but the belches are killer.

Salted duck eggs make me gag, though.
I don't know. That sounds like every Asian market I've ever gone to. :)

Banana blossoms taste good with sauteed pork, in my experience. No real recipe though. I come from the school of "Whatever's in the fridge + season to taste," which is not very helpful.
At least you’re just getting raw ingredients. Snackmaster 2000 gives the results of a venture into the world of Asian snack food.
I read a great cooking blog called Tigers and Strawberries; Barbara does a lot of Asian cooking, including Phoenix & Jade with Blossoms, a recipe using bitter melon.

Bitter Melon

Have a look at riceandnoodles for bitter melon recipes. She's featured one for the last two blogs. It's definitely not to my taste, but you may like it. I don't like durian, either, but lots of the other stuff you have there is definitely yummy or looks wonderful!
I tried bitter melon once.

Once was enough.

They should call it "horribly nasty unpleasant not-at-all-interesting 'melon' object that should never have been cultivated"!
Bitter melon, when cooked exactly right, can be quite pleasant. One smidge away from exactly right, and it can be impossible to eat. My wife and her sisters cook successfully with it a lot. Unfortunately, they do all of their cooking from instinct and experience, so there are no recipes I can pass on.
The question you should fear is...

...what part of the squid is that, exactly?
* Some kind of elongated yellow pear with a pointy bottom

If it's hard and smells floral, maybe quince? They usually have a pointy top rather than a pointy bottom, though.

Asian pears do come in lots of shapes, so if it smells pear-like and cuts easily, I'd probably treat it as one.

(Or maybe a large loquat, if it's smaller than the average pear, soft, very sweet, and sort of bland?)

* Some kind of dark green sprout that's a little tough/chewy in texture, with a kind of spinachy or grassy flavor overlaying the sprout flavor

Only sprouts I know well are bean sprouts and radish sprouts, and those are both common and distinctive. But I'm curious when you find out!
It's like the home edition of Iron Chef! The Bear vs. Mystery Veg! Whatever will Chairman Kaga think?
The little penis-mushrooms are often sold canned as "straw mushrooms."
If they're enoki mushrooms, I think they're better raw than cooked; if you do cook them, it should be very fast indeed.
The Okinawan way to prepare bitter melon (goya) is in a stir-fry, typically with tofu, bean sprouts, onion, and spam. I never thought I would willingly eat spam, but through some kitchen alchemy, the result is amazing. Definitely an acquired taste though-- "bitter" is, if anything, an understatement.