Preparing the Kitchen and Prepping Dishes Ahead
Today, I finished shopping for my fresh ingredients. Napa doesn't have an Asian market, but I got incredibly lucky with the meats and seafood at a little Mexican market not far from my house. They have an old-fashioned butcher shop, and for the unbelievably low price of $15.80, I bought two pounds of shrimp, a whole tilapia fish, a pound of nicely trimmed pork loin and two whole chicken leg quarters. I definitely know where I'm buying all my meats and seafood from now on.
As predicted, there was no Taiwan Beer to be had anywhere in town, but I did find Tsing Tao at Cost Plus, along with a bag of dried mushrooms for the hot and sour soup. So...it looks like I'm good to go with all my ingredients for my Eat Drink Man Woman Taiwanese dinner.
When I got home, I set about the task of cleaning the fridge, doing the dishes and clearing the countertops for tomorrow's cooking extravaganza. Last week, I gave the kitchen a thorough cleaning, which included two hours just scrubbing the stove. So it's clean and organized in there for this month's dinner.
I also washed and prepped all my vegetables, cleaned and de-veined the shrimp, made soup stock, and cooked the San Pei Chicken in the crock pot. That's about all I can prepare ahead this time, since most of the dishes are stir-fried, and I want all the vegetables to be cooked to perfection.
As always, I'm excited at the prospect of trying my hand at another Asian cuisine, and I'm already getting an appetite for all that delicious food.