This Little Piggie Went to Market

83. Produce at Soulard Farmers Market. Or a lovely beef tongue. Or—who can really say? The spectacle of the market’s 100-plus stands always supersedes the shopping; in its hustle and bustle, its glorious swirl of humanity, Soulard ranks as St. Louis’ closest approximation to a Middle Eastern bazaar.

Saturday morning, Bob and I got up early to visit Soulard Market because we are trying something new. We are going to try and buy our produce from the local markets to save some money and to support our local farmers/small business owners. It had been quite a while since I’ve been to Soulard and I had forgot how crowded it was. There are so many vendors selling their produce, it’s a bit overwhelming. I’m not very good at picking out the best produce or best prices so it was a daunting task. We ended up buying a week’s worth of fruits and vegetables for about $10 and some local goat cheese to try. It was pretty fun and next time, we’ll make sure to get there earlier so we can have more time to wander.

Supper Club: May 21, 2008 – Panko-mania!

In honor of Katie enjoying her vacation in the Mediterranean (SO JEALOUS), we decided that we were going to have seafood night for the next two weeks. This week, both Kim and I independently chose dishes that required panko. How random was that? Panko is a type of Japanese breadcrumb that makes for a light and tasty breading, giving a crispiness when baked. We also had Bob’s sister, Kate, join us because she is a seafood lover as well.

Appetizer: Panko-Crusted Crab Cake Bites with Roasted Pepper-Chive Aioli OMG! These are such good mini crab cakes! Really, you’re only supposed to eat 3 of them but since there were only four of us, we couldn’t let them go to waste. I would be okay just eating them for dinner.

Dinner: Crisp Salmon with Lemony Spinach and Potatoes If you want a dish in which you can impress your guests with your plating skills, then this is a dish for you. Not only was it an excellent dish, it was fun to stack. When you first taste the potatoes and spinach, you will be shocked by the lemony flavor, but surprisingly, it complements the salmon very well.

Dessert: Brown Sugar-Walnut Divinity These were a very light and tasty dessert that lives up to its “melt in your mouth” statement. The only suggestions are to make it a day ahead so it would have more time to set and to use a pastry bag so it would set up better.

A St. Louis Must

94. A Ted Drewes Terramizzou concrete or Sin Sunday (we won’t tell the archbishop) while the sun welds the backs of your thighs to the trunk of your car. Choose the Route 66 location, and make sure you back in to the parking spot. Summer’s the essential trip—although there’s a certain frisson in buying your Christmas tree there while snow’s falling and you’re sucking down a mint-chip concrete.

A few weeks back, Brandon had an out-of-town guest come and visit and of course, he showed her the sights and sounds of St. Louis. We happened to be there when he suggested a trip down to Ted Drewe’s because Becky could not leave without having the famous concrete. Hell yes! Have we ever passed up an opportunity for yummy custard? Um, that would be a no. And yes, that is exactly how I look when I eat ice cream.

Chinese Culture Days 2008

This past Sunday, Bob, Kate and I headed down to the Missouri Botanical Garden to check out Chinese Culture Days. I try to go each year so I can learn more about my culture through art, food, music, jewelry, etc. Well, Sunday turned out to be the perfect day. The sun was out, there was a light breeze and everything seemed shiny and new. We got to see the Niki exhibit in all its glory:

Quite a few of the sculptures were immense, like the skull above. They were whimsical and fun to see as you strolled through the garden. We took a spin around the Chinese garden where we tried some tea. There was supposed to be tea tasting all day but you couldn’t tell who was serving tea, not a very good set-up.

We then decided to take in a show that featured a lion dance:

(It tried to nom my head when it went by.)

There was also a display of Shaolin Kung-Fu and Drunken Kung-Fu (you totally know it from Tekken!), a straw hat dance (adorable music), stacking cups:

And finally, the crazy flexibility skills of the Shanghai acrobats:

(The Shanghai acrobats were really the reason why I wanted to go this year.)

The only complaint that I had was that the food that was served was regular, for the masses, not real Chinese food. Really? Chinese Culture Days and you come up with crab rangoon (NOT CHINESE AT ALL) and sweet and sour chicken! Seriously. Sorely disappointed.

Now, here, I’m going to be a bit loose in my take on #33 on the STL Project:

33. In the Missouri Botanical Garden, in the lantern-lit teahouse on an island in the Japanese garden. To reach the teahouse, you must obtain tickets to the tea ceremony that is conducted only during the Japanese Festival, which is held only once a year on Labor Day weekend. It’s worth it. (And don’t forget to feed the ravenous koi before you leave.)

Okay, we visited the Garden, it was not the Japanese Festival, but it was an Asian festival. And we did feed the koi (my favorite aspect of the Garden). I’m going to have this count toward the list but we are still going to try to go to the Japanese Festival and try to get into the teahouse (which, I hear, is uber-tough to get into). We are usually out of town over Labor Day weekend, though, so who knows.

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Supper Club: May 15, 2008

Entree: Parmesan Chicken and Rice Casserole I went ahead and used chicken breasts so it’s a little leaner. I thought the chicken was a bit bland and the rice had strong white wine flavor (that was due to my adding more wine to cook because I didn’t have enough chicken broth). It was easy but boring.

Side Dish: Lemony Green Beans If you are not a fan of lemons, then this is not the dish for you. Me, personally, I love the tartness of lemon juice so I was good with the green beans.

Dessert: Black and White Angel Food Cake And Katie made it to look exactly like the picture, it was awesome!