365: Day 301 – Hot pot and my new tool

We went from Seoul last night to Jianyang in Sichuan Province for some delicious hot pot. If only it were possible at the moment to travel like that. The food was delicious, but I never able to imagine myself in actual China. The outdoor mall was all too familiar to allow that to happen. The weekends are the only time available to eat out at restaurants, but I don’t mind this because I look forward to cooking a lot during the week.

In between exploring different restaurants, most of our weekends are spent buying ingredients from various grocery stores (regular, Asian, and Mexican), farmers’ markets, and an actual farm. It seems strange that I was never the person who would care about where ingredients came from, how foods were grown, or even how different vegetables were prepared. I spent a pretty penny going to the finest restaurants and never fully appreciated the fine details of how those dishes were sourced and prepared. Now that I cook far more than ever before, I find that perfectly ripened strawberry far more interesting than the most delicate pastry. It is nothing short of miraculous when you think about where that strawberry came from and what went into growth over many weeks.

Take these eggs, for example, the natural color variation is spectacular, and they come from pasture-raised chickens from a farm in Malibu. They’re supposed to be more nutritious, and it’s good to know you’re contributing towards more humane methods of raising chickens. I can’t wait to try these eggs in the coming week.

We didn’t just walk away with a dozen eggs from the farmers’ market. We also stocked up on a bunch of veggies we were unable to get from the farm. With all of these veggies, I was eager to be back at home and wait for what I ordered for myself the night before.

After watching quite a few cooking shows during the pandemic, I’ve developed some kitchen steel envy, particularly when it comes to cleavers. I have a decent set of knives, but it doesn’t include a cleaver. Last night I finally decided to order a vegetable cleaver that was highly rated on Amazon. I opened the box laid eyes upon my beautiful new knife (I removed the blade protector for the picture). I took the handle in my right arm and loved how balanced it felt in my hand and then very lightly ran my left thumb perpendicular to the blade. It felt very sharp, and when I gave it a try on some veggies…holy moly, was it sharp! This knife isn’t expensive, but of good quality for my current skills.