Lucky you! Nice cousin. Their stuff is wonderful.
It’s incredibly generous, and the postage was ridiculously expensive to Canada.
Unfortunately, I don’t like Szechuan food very much. I don’t cook it, I don’t order it apart from an occasional ma po tofu.
For whatever reason, the idea of using fermented black beans is intimidating to me.
I have been cooking more Asian food over the course of the pandemic, mostly because I haven’t been ordering restaurant food, making more Cantonese dishes, more Chinese Canadian dishes, Chinese Trini chicken, Chinese BBQ pork, Chinese BBQ duck, Thai, Vietnamese, Burmese, Japanese and Korean dishes. While I like some Shanghainese and Northern Chinese food, I don’t have the mojo to attempt to make it. With Szechuan, I feel like I don’t have the interest required.
I’ve got a dozen Chinese non- Szechuan dishes on my wishlist I want to eventually try. I feel like I’m under pressure to make Szechuan food now that I received the ingredients, when I normally wouldn’t be thinking of making it.
My cousin has a very good intentions, and she likes sending me culinary gifts that are complicated. Last year, she sent me a Posole cookbook with hominy from Rancho Gordo, which is also an amazing product and super delicious, but posole is also a way more labour intensive dish than I have the time or attention span to make, when I’ve cooked dinner almost daily since March 14th. I did make posole a few times . I started this thread due to the gift of hominy and the posole cook cookbook : Posole: chile paste help
I am very privileged to receive a nice gift, and it’s the thought that counts, but I’m probably going to be splitting up the spices and sharing it with ppl who will appreciate the ingredients more than I do.
I guess it’s a reminder, for myself, before sending an extravagant gift, that the recipient might appreciate the thought, but might not have the energy, interest or attention span during Covid to use the gift.
My cousin is extremely sensitive, so I can’t tell her the gift was generous but not up my alley, without hurting her feelings. I have a feeling her feelings will even be hurt if she doesn’t see some photos of Szechuan food I’ve made with the gift on IG or FB. This social media is a blessing and a curse. Lol. Mostly a curse
Very nice gift, IMO their products are very high quality! I’d suggest looking at the Omnivore’s Cookbook. Her recipes rock! I got the Pixian Chili Paste from the Mala Market & can’t say enough good things about it! The Mapo Tofu recipe made with Maggie’s recipe & this chili paste was outstanding, better than anything I’ve had in a resto or I made previously…
The gift also came with recipe cards for around 6 dishes. I will take photos and post them in a thread for HO ppl who want to cook more Szechuan recipes.
@Phoenikia, I’d also like to encourage you to experiment with black bean paste, because it’s so easy, and versatile to use. Please understand this isn’t pressure, or that I’m trying to make you feel guilty.
I really like the flavor of black bean paste for the incredible hit of umami it brings. It can easily be added to a marinade or glaze, and used in non Chinese sorts of ways. It’s excellent over salmon and different types of seafood too. In fact, I have a great cookbook from a Canadian resto owner that uses it a lot. Her recipes are easy and fun, but taste amazing! The name of the book is Pacific Passions. She is or was, Vancouver based, I’ve had the book a couple of decades now, at least.
Elsewise, I like your idea of splitting things up, and gifting to people who will use and appreciate more. The sad thing is when people shelf unwanted things, and then they become too old for use, or have diminished quality.
What a nice cousin, to think of you that way, even if she didn’t quite meet the mark.
ETA: my moved away BFF is quite the cook, makes a wide variety of things even, but she maintains a fairly simple pantry due to food preferences of her H and DD. Her family, knowing her reputation as a cook, lavishes her with these sumptuous gift baskets from all over. Some are extremely nice. Guess who gets many, if not most of the condiments? That would be me! And I’m glad to help take them off her hands, too. I keep her family supplied with my homemade jams and syrups, and all are happy.
These are fermented black beans. I’m not sure if they can be used interchangeably with fermented black bean paste. I will look into it.
It’s sort of a complicated communication situation with the cousin. She is generous. I had just sent her a bday gift from Zelos in mid Nov, and I had sent a gift from Mouth Fine Foods in March in the spring when we were locked down.
The online gift giving is almost feeling competitive right now, and a little like she’s going bigger and better, in reaction to whatever I sent, if that makes sense.
We have a lot of 3, 4, 5 year old jars and bottles of food gifts like onion jam, antipasto, scented olive oils, or Saskatoon berry syrup that we just don’t use. I should start marking when we receive things, to donate them on month 9 after we have received the item to a food bank.
I’m sorry I wasn’t more clear @Phoenikia, I meant the fermented ones.
I do know what you mean about the almost competitive gifting. Maybe we’re all trying to make each other feel better!
It is a trick to put things to good use, rather than in your pantry to forget about. I’ve got great intentions when I overbuy at the Asian or other markets, then tend to forget what I have. Usually I’ll find some use, but that said, I am guilty of having some pretty old stuff on the shelves. Covid has helped with this, because of me not shopping for 11 months!
Decided to put the Mala Market recipe cards here, rather than devote a new thread to them.
I took a closer look, and what I have in the kit is Pixian chili bean paste aka chili broad bean paste aka doubanjiang.
I just got that recipe for the dry fried green beans from Omnivore’s Cookbook & want to make it, but I priced the fermented Sichuan mustard greens (sumiyacai). With shipping it was going to be $20+!!! I just can’t justify paying that much for it…
Food gift question here. Do you have sources you enjoy for fruitcake and also for confectionaries that ship? On the former, many many years ago, when I was an avid food network watcher, I learned that the best fruitcakes are done by monks! I just don’t know who are the current top fruitcake monks. On the confectionary front, bonus points for caramels and for fruit flavored jelly/gummy types. I could of course go big brand amazon or something, but I’m interested in something a bit more “made with love” if you will. Thanks!
@Sasha this is the nicest small batch fruitcake I know of, but not sure how much it costs to ship to the States.
Thank you! I found this one yesterday. The Gethsemani - hard name to forget! Or at least not recognize when you see it again. Have you tried either these or the European ones above? I don’t have much experience with fruitcake. I’ve never bought it. When I worked in lawfirms, here and there vendors would send treats around the holidays including a fruitcake or two. But I like dried fruit in a cake, and I like alcohol soaked cake. I prefer the candied citrus peels to the maraschino cherries. Anyway, looking forward to some experimentation.
baking my usual complement of shortbread for friends — and others — hairdresser, manicurist, super, librarian.
for sister, nephew and his new beau, some chocolate panforte from an artisanal italian speciality shop, along with and experiment — homemade garlic salt.
I’ve bought the Toque et Tablier ones from Montreal 4 times.
I haven’t tried any of the monk- made fruitcakes from the States.
I really like Black Cake, the West Indian fruitcake, which is made from the rum-soaked dried fruit. I’ve had versions in Toronto, and made it once .
Here is one you could order online
That made me LOL.
I suppose it could be misread
Some neat baked goods to send here:
I don’t really send anything because everyone’s fairly close. I sometimes make & deliver Lemon Meltaways for my peeps. Last year I made a Charcuterie Board for my cousins down the street. They said it was one of the best meals they ever had. I overshot my mark… I was just hoping for a “Yum! Thanks.”