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Japanese grocery shopping, major reorganization

September 7, 2008

School starts the day after tomorrow. I can’t believe this. Haven’t heard back yet about AP French, and I hardly know which classes I’m taking! My books don’t arrive until Wednesday, so I guess I’ll just need to rely on photocopies until then.
For breakfast I had oatmeal with buttermilk, berries, almond extract, almonds, and a spoonful of almond butter. The buttermilk made it really runny, so I had to heat it a bit longer, but after that it was perfect!
Today I went with my friend Yoko and her family out near the airport to their favorite Japanese grocery stores. We went to 2: one called Mitsuwa (sp?), and the other I don’t remember the name of. It made me realize how much I hate driving (or at least sitting in a car). It wasn’t as big as Super H-Mart, the Korean grocery store all the way in Niles, but it was still decent (there are some weird things in these photos: yes, those are fruit and chow mein sandwiches, and a scary octopus head).

I didn’t want to buy too much stuff, considering all the Japanese food I ate this summer, so I just bought a few useful (hopefully) supplies:
-Japanese sweet potatoes
-Napa cabbage (on sale)
-Umeboshi (with shiso)
-Matcha, finally… it was so expensive!
-Little frozen packets of natto, since I am DETERMINED to learn how to like it
-Some prepared seaweed salad
-Barley tea
-Bonito flakes
-White miso
While Mitsuwa had a food court, Yoko and her family liked the food court at a smaller grocery store with better sashimi. There wasn’t much choice (or vegetables). It was decent, but I’m not sure if I ordered the most fulfilling option. I was sick of grilled fish and sushi, so I decided to get tempura udon, since it was the only noodle option without meat. There was only one piece of shrimp tempura (it was good), and some flavorless fish cakes, but sadly, no vegetables! Yoko got the shoyu ramen, which was topped with egg, fish cake, pork, and lots of kombu. Her sister got ramen too, but with a different soup. All our food came with packaged (but warm) rice balls. You had to unwrap them in a specific way according to the numbers on the wrapping. You could also choose from a variety of fillings: I got umeboshi and Yoko got kombu. I basically ate the seaweed and the umeboshi, but not really the rice, since I was eating noodles and it seemed unnecessary. I have to confess that the sushi looked great– her parents split a giant Tiger Roll that came with seaweed salad and miso soup.

Next time I would still probably get a grilled fish set, though.
We stopped at Costco on the way back, and I looked for my camera battery charger and couldn’t find it.
I came home a few hours later and was hungry. Other than that little piece of shrimp, the lunch wasn’t very high-protein (or fiber). I had some cottage cheese and greek yogurt with berries, honey and wheat germ.
After I had eaten, I practiced some piano. I’m super worried for my piano lesson on Wednesday. Originally it should have been last Wednesday, the day after we got back, but thank god we realized that I would be too worn out… also, this is the first time that I didn’t practice ALL summer, pretty much, and my parents didn’t nag me at all. I think it’s because I was taking on swimming and Chinese. I’m working on the Bach Italian Concerto and that’s it. I need a piece to play for my re-audition to my Saturday program!

After that I realized how much major reorganization I had to do. My mom helped me move my computer to my vestibule/ closet area. I think this is really going to clear space on my desk and actually give me a space to work! Last year I was constantly working in the kitchen because 1) there was no room on my desk to write and 2) I got too distracted by the internet. I think I’ll also sleep better without the computer in my room, although tonight I won’t, since my room is such a mess. I also cleared out the drawers and shelves, threw out a ridiculous number of dried up pens and broken pencils, and I also plan on clearing on the closet and donating some of the clothes I never wear. Tomorrow I have to finish this! I also need to buy my camera battery and the rest of my school supplies. I also need to make sure I’m doing exercise, since I won’t be swimming at the meet on Monday and I didn’t do anything today. It’s amazing how much less I eat when I don’t work out. I think I might run tomorrow morning or go back to Ratner and swim later in the afternoon (or both!). I will be organized… I have to be. I’ve been using the same folders for the past 2 years and they’re usable but tattered. I know it’s a waste, but I’m buying new ones… it’s really discouraging to start the year with less than perfect notebooks, since they get totally trashed by the end.
One of our family friends from when we lived in Cambridge, Helen, who goes to U of C now, came over for dinner. She went with my mom to the farmer’s market this morning. Both my mom and I were exhausted from all the organization (or more like disorganization, since everything seemed to get messier by the minute), so dinner took a while and was kind of impromptu. We had one of our favorite Deborah Madison (see a pattern?) beet soups, which uses every part of the beet, including the greens and even the peels, which are used to make a stock. We also had arugula salad with a little bit of goat cheese and roasted pepper.
We debated and debated about what else to have, and decided on baked eggs over mushrooms– I’ve never had baked eggs, but I usually dislike the yolks when they’re separated from the whites. Basically, we sauteed mushrooms with a little butter (or olive oil if I’d had my way), herbs and red wine, then baked them with the eggs on top. We also sauteed cubes of whole wheat bread to make croutons for it. We were supposed to bake them for 15 minutes, but every time we checked on them, the whites still looked transparent! We took them out after 15, but we had completely overcooked the yolks. Maybe because the eggs were so fresh that the whites didn’t turn opaque as easily? I don’t know. Either way, I probably wouldn’t have eaten the yolks anyway, but it would have been better if they were runny, since the mushrooms were a bit dry. They were also a little bit too heavy on the herbs, but other than that, the dish was a great combination of flavors and textures– the mushrooms were chewy and meaty (also in their savoury taste), and the croutons were more spongy than crunchy, so that the whole dish became almost like a bread pudding. We’ll definitely try it again.
Also: corn on the cob
My mom and Helen had a little bit of the ice cream for dessert (we took it out hours in advance this time, and it still wasn’t that soft), and said that without compote, the peach flavor was stronger. I didn’t have any (just didn’t feel the need to), and I had a peach instead. It was so juicy and wonderful (great adjective, I know, but I’m falling asleep). So tired. I will now go to bed in my (computer-less) room!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. originallycliche permalink
    September 7, 2008 3:48 am

    I love Mitsuwa! The only one i’ve been to is in san jose, but i could spend hours there, or in any foreign supermarket for that matter.

    and i know what you mean with using old stuff for the new year…already i’m regretting ordering some very obviously used, tattered books for this year.

    as for the breakfast thing, i just meant that practice was too soon after i woke up to eat a really hearty breakfast (i tried a few times and my stomach got really upset when i ran). yeah i’m considering joining zesty chefs, but i’m under the impression they mostly do baking and stuff? either way, you must show teach me your amazing cooking abilities!

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