Gong hay fat choy! Happy Chinese New Year! And happy Valentine’s Day to you as well! I’ve got a special treat for you today as a present from me to you, with help from Valerie and Beavie over at A Canadian Foodie. When Valerie found out that I got a copy of the Momofuku cookbook by David Chang and Peter Meehan for Christmas, she had a great idea for us to pick out recipes and do them at the same time in order to compare our experiences.
A quick flip through the cookbook told me one thing – David Chang doesn’t do simple recipes. At first glance they may seem simple but this initial impression is deceptive as most of his main recipes comprise of 2+ recipes combined together. Some of them can take days.
I had first choice, and I wanted to start with something simple, so I picked fresh oysters with a pickled Asian pear and black pepper mignonette.
The book has a fairly detailed section on how to choose, clean and open fresh oysters (pages 131-133). I was already familiar with most of these rules, but I thought one rule was a great reminder for myself: smell the oyster before you serve it and see if it smells clean and fresh and sweet – of the sea but not fishy.
I chose some lovely (but small) Malpeque oysters from Prince Edward Island. I gave them a good scrub under cold water, and kept them in the fridge until I was ready to shuck them.
Freshly scrubbed oysters
Word has been going around the city about the closing of Le Gnome, one of Edmonton’s long-standing specialty kitchenware stores. They apparently couldn’t come to a new rental agreement, and will be closing at the end of the month. (West Edmonton Mall has been notorious for years for having high rental fees.)
On Friday I had to be at the mall for another reason, so I swung by Le Gnome to see if there were any deals and to say goodbye. This place was one of the first stores I went to when I started to explore cooking. It’s where I bought my garlic press (based on their recommendation), and it’s where I bought my beloved pepper mill. They were often one of the most expensive places in town, and sometimes I felt like they were being a bit condescending when I asked questions, but the range of their selection was always good and their advice was usually right.
Clearance sale signs pepper the windows. Lots and lots of people were inside. It was like Boxing Day shopping all over again. The entire store is on sale at 30% off, and shelves were rapidly emptying as people looked for deals. I picked up another Peugeot pepper mill – this time as part of a birthday present for my mother. I also picked up a few gadgets here and there including a couple of dishes. I seriously thought about buying a Le Creuset 6.75 qt or a Staub, but ultimately decided that the discount wasn’t big enough for me to justify it to myself right now. The line up to pay was long and it took about 15 minutes just to reach the cashier.
If you are planning to pick up anything at the sale, I highly recommend going as soon as humanly possible. They were almost out of pepper and salt mills, and whole sets of china were quickly disappearing.
Goodbye Le Gnome. Thanks for everything.