Sunday, November 8, 2009

My solo visit to the Chinese market

Tonight I was driving home from Richardson, drinking the last bits of a cup of coffee from the Exxon Service Station I had bought almost three hours before, and filled with a flood of memories and thoughts.

My last stop for the evening was at Jeng Chi Restaurant, a restaurant I discovered while reading a woman's blog about eating out every night for a year, and then commenting on how they handled it with kids. She had specifically mentioned this as her favorite Chinese restaurant. I think I would like to try eating out every night, sometimes, at least!

The girls had LOVED this place when we tried it and I tried to entice them to go with me to the Chinese market by promising dumplings from there as a final stop. They both told me they did not feel like going. That has me worried and had stayed on my mind the whole time I was gone.

But I was hoping that some "home cooking" or "comfort foods" would make them feel better and stopped there for an order of chicken dumplings and pork with napa cabbage dumplings, along with chicken noodle soup and two sesame balls for dessert.

If you have never had Chinese dumplings, they are not like what Mom makes for chicken and dumplings.

This is what they look like and you dip them in a sauce to eat. They are pretty tasty and can be steamed or boiled, but the girls like the steamed ones the best.

A quick note, this is how I talk too, isn't it? I get sidetracked, but want to explain as I go so it makes more sense!

While I sat there waiting on our order to be ready, the door would open with a gust of wind from the west. It looked like rain all day and the sky betrayed the warm temperatures outside. This wind made you think that you would freeze when you went outside, but thankfully it was quite pleasant.

Going to this area was so difficult a couple of years ago because I had made my maiden voyages to those markets with Jana and the girls trying to find anything that would help Grace feel at home. We ate several times at a different restaurant and I wonder if that is why I have chosen a different one for us to go to now.

I am thankful for the healing that soon to be three years has brought, as I can almost say her name now even when talking to myself. Not sure if I can as easily out loud though.

My mission at the Chinese market was to find sweet rice flour and a can of red bean paste to make a cake with!

This Saturday is the International Festival at the girls' school, one of the many reasons I love this school.

They were needing volunteers to make desserts from different countries and I have been wanting to learn to make more Chinese dishes, so I volunteered to make a Chinese dessert. Only when I googled "Chinese dessert", most resources said there was no such thing! That left me with a problem until I asked our good friends, Bob and Tina, if they knew a recipe I could use. Tina promptly had Bob send me her favorite New Year's Cake recipe which called for sweet rice flour and a can of red bean paste. Believe it or not, they did not have either at our local grocery store!

Since I have never made it, I'm not sure, but think it might look like this.

I bought double of everything in case I make a big mistake!

When we were in China adopting Annabel, she wanted us to order a cake one night with our dinner. I LOVE cake and thought that sounded great. When it arrived, it looked more like rolls with butter and chives, almost biscuity. I thoroughly enjoyed them but it was not what Annabel expected. Still not sure what she wanted. Maybe my cake will be just right!

Knowing I was headed to the Chinese market, I took time to read most of my Martin Yan cookbook that the sweet catering guys at work had autographed for me, since I missed his appearance at our hospital!

Martin Yan has a list of items that must be in your cupboard at all times to prepare Chinese food.

I tried to pick up several of them but really needed Annabel to read the labels for me. I hope I bought the right things. I want to try his recipes, but not sure what the girls will like and hate to go to that much trouble if it just ends up being dinner for the dogs!

There is also a bakery attached to the grocery store and I had my orders to buy a couple of the rolls with the dried pork on top. Grace also wanted one with the cream filling.

Driving home in the dark, with my McDonalds sack for my dinner, orders of Chinese delicacies, and my ingredients needed to open a Chinese kitchen seemed somewhat surreal. I am always hesitant on using that word as it is SO overused by the media, but I think my life has changed so much that when it is quiet I have a chance to take stock. Also last night I dreamed about the two men I dated for most of my adult life and had them on my mind.

It is so ironic that if I had been planning my life and things had worked the way I wanted them to, I have a feeling I would be miserable. This life is so much better than anything I could have planned. Glad God knows better than I do!

This has been a very busy weekend with another work day on the community garden yesterday to start. I loved the work and felt the exercise was something beneficial, rather than just walking on a treadmill. Shoveling wheelbarrows full of soil gets your heart beat up for sure! Only one wheelbarrow full took me down with it and I ended up flat on my back with the wheelbarrow full of dirt spilling to the wrong side! Makes for a very sore rest of the weekend.

Today I took some stew to a family with a new baby and left our lunch cooking while I was gone. I guess you just can't fry chicken if you are not watching it the whole time as the stuff burns pretty easily! Thankfully there was plenty and the dogs had a great dinner tonight. I am not worried about their carcinogenic intake.

Tomorrow the girls have to go back to school as they have missed a full week of school. They finally were fever free on Saturday but still have a terrible sounding cough. Hopefully the workers will be back to do the last week of work on our kitchen. I took some pictures and as soon as I find the cord to connect the camera to the computer I will attach them as well.

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