Sage Advice from Matt the Pirate

I met my dear friend Matt in New Orleans (I promise not all of my stories happen there… just maybe all of the best ones) at a pirate-themed event that was taking place in the French Quarter. I was with the Theatrical Combat Network at the time, performing some stage combat, showing off our costumes and generally playing pirate to the entertainment of onlookers, the Travel Channel, and most importantly ourselves.

Matt walked me safely to my hotel on several inebriated evenings, bought me in the wench auction (all proceeds went to helping restore New Orleans post-Katrina) and gave me a place to stay when my flight home was cancelled. Granted that place was in Texas, but any detour is a short one when the alternative is sleeping in an airport. He also endured my vegetarianism at the time, which allowed me to try many new things, but prevented me from trying other things that were New Orleans staples.

A year or two later, when I was the brokest I’ve ever been, Matt called me up at about 2am and informed me that a flight heading to New Orleans was leaving from Detroit in about 4 hours and that he’d like me to be on it.

My. Hero.

I was no longer veggie, so he immediately ensured that I tried everything I had missed the first time around, and all in all it was one of the best trips I’ve ever been on to date.

Anyway! Matt was kind enough to guest-blog for us on the wonders of the underexplored markets just around the corner. Here’s what he had to say…

So, I’m not really a blogger, so pardon my writing. Miss Molly has been nice enough to allow me a guest spot in her blog, so I’m going to do my best to say something vaguely interesting.

Now that that’s out of the way, I do want to talk about a frequently-neglected source of incredibly good, cheap, fresh food: your local Asian market.

I’m lucky enough to live in a community where we have a massive Korean supermarket, but even for those of you not in an area with a big immigrant/east Asian community, I guarantee there is at least one grocery store catering to that demographic within easy distance, if you’re in a city of any size. (Try looking for an H-Mart near you)

“But it smells like fish in there!” you say. Yes, it does, because they’re actually cleaning fish at that counter in the back in front of you. Nothing is frozen, and the prices are probably going to be around 2/3 or 3/4 of what you’d pay for fish at the regular grocery store. Red meat can go either way on price, but fish specifically is a staple for the people they’re catering to, so you’d be silly not to take advantage. Beyond fish/meat, the other big draw for me is produce. Really fresh, seasonal produce is what drives most of these places, and again, at a significantly lower price that you’re going to pay for lower-quality produce in the generic grocery stores in your neighborhood. Bigger variety, too; take it as a chance to try some new things, and you may be surprised at what all you find that you like. The other items you can find at your local Asian grocery are about what you’d expect; a variety of fresh and dried noodles (also great ramen that isn’t maruchan/ichiban, though Molly tells me we’re trying to avoid that), a massive range of both fresh and dry spices, and a surprising amount of American name-brand items at significant markdown over your normal local grocer. The short version is, consider giving a different shopping venue a shot. You might be surprised at what unexpected good things you stumble across, and how much money you could save on items you planned to buy anyway.

Thank you so much for your sagely advice, Matt! I look forward to checking out and posting up some recipes from things I’ve found once I wander to the nearest Asian market.

Guys, while you’re hanging out, check out Matt’s Etsy, on which I was given the honour of writing several item descriptions.

Thank you for reading! Remember to like/comment/subscribe/share and if you have anything you would like to contribute, let me know!

-Molly

Advertisements

Hangover Noodles – With Love from Lady Sazarac

I am very excited to announce my very first guest blogger– Lady Sazarac!

This dear friend of mine hails from the steamy south, calling New Orleans home and always dishing up the most mouth-watering recipes when she visits us here in Detroit. Her dinner parties are legendary…

And, like the rest of us, she prefers cooking on a budget.

Though none of us really need a reason to earn ourselves a hangover, there is a festival happening in her hometown that inspired the delicious dish she has so generously elected to share with us. Here is a bit about French Quarter Fest from the lovely Lady Sazarac herself:

While most people are familiar with our heavily marketed festival of debauchery and excess, Mardi Gras, only those in the know come for the Annual French Quarter Festival, a three day celebration of all things New Orleans. Dozens of stages, hundreds of musicians, food vendors lined up on every block, and thousands of people in linen, seer sucker and floppy hats roaming the streets of the French Quarter sipping tasty tasty adult beverages. And it’s all free. Best weekend ever. In honor of the festivities this weekend, please enjoy my following mini dissertation on the greatest of New Orleans traditions, the hungover, far too big a bar tab breakfast.

So, without further ado I invite you to devour her words (and recipe!)

Hi! I’m Molly Stewarts friend Lady Sazerac and I live in the butter and spice drenched world that is New
Orleans. New Orleanians are known for our love of strong beverage and rich food, and often I find that
grocery money is far better spent on a bar tab, so I’d like to share with you one of my all time favorite
hangover curing foods.

When Yankees have a bit too much, they wake up and think fish is a great idea for breakfast and
have bagels and lox. In the dirty south, we like spice and grease. One of the top traditional New
Orleans hangover breakfasts is called Yakamein, a spicy, greasy, savory stew, made out of super
cheap ingredients, and easy to cook in a crock pot. Traditionally served from corner stores or food
carts, Yakamein is such a staple of the New Orleans food world that the “Yakamein Lady” herself Miss
Linda Green was featured by Anthony Bourdain, and won the Food network show chopped. (This is her!)

You will need:

  • A medium sized, super cheap beef roast, with or without bone. You’ll be boiling this thing for hours, so go with the cheapest cut you can find, and make sure it has plenty of fat. If it’s not fatty enough add some bacon to the pot.
  • One small can tomato paste
  • Garlic (fresh if you can)chopped
  • One small onion chopped
  • Bay leaves
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Red pepper
  • Spaghetti noodles
  • A hard boiled egg or two
  • Dried shrimp and green onion,  cajun seasoning, soysauce, and a splash of vegetable oil if you like

Put the meat right in the crock pot. Don’t even brown it. Wash your hands. Pour yourself a drink. Throw
in a few bay leaves. Add the onion. Now one or two cloves of chopped garlic. A healthy sprinkle of salt.
Some black pepper. A little bit more red pepper than you think you should. Add the can of tomato paste.
Cover the whole thing in water. Turn the crock pot on. Go out drinking.

Let it cook all night. By the time you get home from the bar it will smell amazing. Stir it, but don’t eat it
yet. Wait til morning.

Wake up. Make coffee. Drink a bloody mary. Make a big pot of spaghetti noodles. Take a few forks and
stab at the meat in the crock pot until it shreds. Ladle some of that beefy spicy greasy stew over your
spaghetti noodles. Put a hard boiled egg on top. Add some hot sauce. Slurp and enjoy.

Protein, spice, carbs and grease. The sublime beauty of a complete meal in a cup, made from scratch.
Plus, this will make enough to feed you for multiple hangovers, and freezes well. (I suppose this would
also make an awesome dinner or lunch)

Thank you so much for contributing, Lady S, I look forward to many more edible entries from you! All my love to you and your beautiful city.

To those of you considering trying this– thank you for reading! Let us know how it turns out for you, and don’t forget to like/comment/subscribe/share!

If there is something that you would like to contribute to Molly Stewart Living, let me know in a comment and I will tell you where to send your stuff!

-Molly