It was rainy and gray today. But I still had to run out to pick up chile oil for one of the recipes (baked pumpkin filled with barley and beans and chickpeas and other peculiar things -- it turned out pretty tasty), and as I had suspected, it was A LOT cheaper at the asian market than the regular grocery store. By a factor of at least eight, I think. ($5 for a little 3ish-oz bottle vs. $1.75 for a 6-oz bottle.)
It was lovely to see people, and we got to see small chilluns in various costumery and goobermunch in his borrowed stormtrooper outfit, and hang out and eat tasty food.
One of the dishes I made (from my Essential Asian cookbook) turned out so well I thought I'd share it here:
Sweet Braised Pumpkin
Take a 1.5-pound pumpkin (this is a little wee one, like for pies) and peel it and seed it and cut it into chunks.
Chop up 6 shallots and 3 cloves of garlic and grate a 1.5-inch piece of ginger. (Next time I do this, I might just toss them all in the food processor instead.) Heat up a tablespoon and a half of oil in a frying pan, toss 'em in, and cook for about three minutes, stirring plenty.
Then you add the pumpkin and sprinkle it with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar. Cook it for 7 or 8 minutes. You're supposed to turn the pumpkin "regularly", until it's "just tender", but that's harder than it sounds, so I just flipped and stirred a lot and it came out fine.
Then you add a half cup of chicken stock and 2 tablespoons of fish sauce, bring it to a boil, drop the heat and simmer it until all the liquid is gone, again with the turning of the pumpkin. Took about 20 minutes, I think.
Sprinkle it with a tablespoon of lime juice and serve it. (It actually works pretty well as an hors-d'ouvre-y kind of thing with a box of toothpicks next to it.)
It was weird and very good and totally not what you think of when you say "pumpkin". Plus, pretty darn easy. So I recommend it to your mouth.