Cooking survival 

I enjoy cooking off and on, depending on my mood and the weather. I cannot cook for people I don’t like or if I’m in a bad mood.  I used to be able to get inspired by the ingredients I knew how to use and read all the labels. Now living in China I just guess and think “what the heck goes with this?!” half the time. Even the cuts of meat are so strange. The market close by sells Aussie steaks and some Canadian, all frozen. It just tastes different, almost a gamey sweetness to the beef? But I don’t want sweet steaks I just want my old NY cut. Isetan market has a nice selection  but the butcher cuts it so that there is a lot of fat in all the unusual places not at all like American style butchers. It’s impossible to get a nice melty carmalized steak with that mess. I go to the same market near my house bc I like the lady butcher.  She always remembers me and I try to talk with her in my awful Chinese language. Usually the convo ends with her opening up her secret billfold to take out a sticker and placed bc it on my meat selection saying it’s free/ of course in addition to the 2 others packs I bought at full price. I smile and squeeze her elbow in a goodbye-thx hug way and we do this funny dance about every other week. She actually makes me feel great even though I don’t understand what she’s saying so much and I get inspired to make a great meal. I highly appreciate that the lady butcher does not have a beard as most of the butchers in Portland seemed to have, I miss the steak cuts not the hairy bearded butcher(yuck).  Other foods I used to make I just cannot find the ingredients so I’m out of luck, that’s when I need to get creative. It’s also scary for my husband bc he’s the one that had to sample the experiments, poor guy. So I came across this marmalade looking jar of Korean jelly. It was in the tea and coffee aisle apparently mixed with water or added to tea? I’m still not sure the proper way it’s supposed to be used. So I decided to make muffins with the Korean jelly and it turned out not to be an awful mess! It’s super easy and delicious 😋. So another good turnout with new ingredients. I have a pantry full of ingredients I can’t read, still trying to figure it all out. Thankful I didn’t have to throw these marmalade muffins out in the garbage today. 

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