A Kitchen Box : A Review

I have been following Brooke and Ang’s collaborative blog for awhile now and I love their style, their common sense approach to the kitchen and I REALLY love their story!

Then they went super awesome and created A Kitchen Box.

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I signed up because I love learning about and discovering new things, and my first box just arrived!

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I won’t give away all of the secrets but some of my thoughts and comments?

  • The box is no bigger than DVD case. I’ll be honest, at first I thought “hmph … that’s awfully teensy!” BUT once I opened it, I was more than pleasantly surprised at everything this box of goodness contains!
  • The personal touch that Brooke and Ang give to their Hatchpress blog is also evident in the July A Kitchen Box from their thank you note to their “The Art of the Cheese Plate” guide.
  • The hand letter pressed recipe? Nice touch, girls!
  • I might have to admit that I’m already looking forward to the next month’s music download.  The July music share was delicious and I’ve already created a “Kitchen Playlist” thanks to their suggestion.
  • The postcard? Again with the nice touch. (Psst, the girls put the stamp on it already for you! All you have to do is write, address and mail to cheer up a friend’s day!)
  • The quote card is already on my fridge and the flour sack towel is front and center on my towel rack and begging to be used!
  • The gorgeous cheese spreader, the porcelain place cards, the cheese paper/labels and the hazelnuts? I can’t wait for August!

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The market test subscription is already sold out, but you can get your Kitchen Box heading in your direction by purchasing the Fall Subscription here.

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Read more about the A Kitchen Box project, or become addicted to Brooke and Ang over at Hatchpress.

Thank you ladies for following your passion and your dream … I’m happy to be one of the lucky recipients of your brilliance!

Grocery Shopping in Singapore – Wet Markets

Hands down, my favorite way to grocery shop while living in Singapore!

My first experience at I.N.A. in Delhi was definitely memorable and my second post on I.N.A. pointed out to my readers that I don’t know the difference between a pig and a goat.

I have two very diverse opinions on grocery shopping.  One side of me is appalled by the 100s of flavors and brands of everything under the sun (toothpaste often takes up an ENTIRE aisle!) in a traditional grocery store.  I would rather get a limited selection but know it is fresh produce.  The other side of me is thrilled to pieces to be able to one-stop shop for my entire shopping list and I don’t mind the pesticides.

During my “settling in” program offered by Cartus (which was more like an unsettled morning out with someone who didn’t do their research), we visited a wet market, and my interest in farmers’ market type shopping was again piqued.

Wet markets are very popular in Asia and are called that because of the water used to keep the fish alive, wash the floors and keep the produce wet and fresh.  One difference in the Tekka Market and I.N.A. is that Tekka does not have live animals.  There are indeed butcher shops, some who are cleaning and doing the prep work for you (including freshly mincing the meat while you wait!).

Prices are reasonable, you’ll find some favorite vendors (and it can be such a fun experience to create a “regular” shopping day and befriend the shopkeepers!) and it makes for a fun outing and a two-birds-with-one-stone event since you’ll have dinner ingredients at the same time!

 

Olive Fried Rice … the recipe!

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I was introduced to Olive Fried Rice by Ms. Melissa and fell in love with it immediately.

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I spent hours googling “Olive Fried Rice Recipe” and was horribly disappointed to find recipe after recipe of ingredients that didn’t sound ANYTHING like what I had tasted at Uncle Louis’ shop.

The name is somewhat misleading … as it doesn’t taste like your typical fried rice in the slightest.

[If you’ve had Olive Fried Rice in Singapore at ANY hawker stand besides Uncle Louis in the Woodlands, I’d bet you money on the taste superiority of his recipe!]

It is quite fun to go sit in the open courtyard, order our drinks from the guy in all-white (you have to pay for your drinks right on the spot), place our order with one of the gals and then impatiently wait for the goodness to arrive.

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Several weeks later (and several episodes of giving into temptation and ordering meal after meal of Olive Fried Rice), Ms. Pam came to visit us in Singapore. Of course, we had to share our love of the food with her and the girls.

Afterwards, I was trying to get someone’s attention to pack our over-indulgence for take-away. Long story short, we came to learn that the guy in all white, WAS Uncle Louis!

I shared my frustration with not being able to locate a recipe that was worthy of his cooking, and he offered to GIVE ME HIS RECIPE! Holy cow, I was honored!

Later, when I returned to get the recipe (he needed some time to write it down), I was presented with this :

Awesome, Louis! I proclaimed, however that wouldn’t do me very much good, after all I don’t even know what “Olive Vegetable” is.

I returned the next week for a promised “cooking lesson” instead … I met him at the prescribed 3:00pm on a Tuesday. However, his face fell when he saw my camera. “I’m not comfortable with you being hot and sweaty and taking pictures in my small kitchen here at the food stand.”

So we arranged the next best thing. A private cooking lesson in my kitchen with some neighborhood friends!  First up, the shopping!

 

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UNCLE LOUIS’ OLIVE FRIED RICE

1 cucumber, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks

2-3 small limes, cut in half

2-3 small chili peppers, sliced

1 kg minced pork

1 package Chinese sausage (sometimes called red wine sausage), diced

1 package pork floss (best stuff ever!)

1 jar of olive vegetable (NOT olive paste, you should be able to find it in the Chinese section of your grocery store (made from olives, chopped mustard greens, oil & salt)

2 eggs

1 large onion, sliced

4 C cooked white rice

INSTRUCTIONS :

1.  Brown the pork with salt and pepper and set aside.

2.  Plate in separate small bowls the cucumbers, limes, chili peppers, chinese sausage, pork floss, onions.

3.  Using a small lightly oiled skillet, break the eggs and cook into a pancake, flipping to the opposite side when the first side is cooked.  I have no idea how long that is, but you’ll be able to tell, right?  Once cooked, roll the egg pancake and slice.  Set aside.

4.  Take 2 cups of rice and place on a large plate.  Use two healthy dollops of olive vegetable (or more if Louis is standing next to you!), a handful size helping of sausage and double that of the minced pork.

5.  Heat a large wok or skillet with approximately 2 T of olive oil.  Place the contents of the plate into the wok and stir fry until all of the olive vegetable is mixed in thoroughly with the rice.

6.  Remove from the wok and place the cucumbers, pork floss, eggs and chili around the plate, squeezing a half of a lime over the top of the rice.

7. Toss and serve.

Cacciatore & Sons

Somewhere near the corner of N. Nebraska and E. Columbus you can smell Cacciatore & Sons (3614 N. Armenia Avenue, Tampa FL).  You can smell the fine cut meats, the marinated olives and the homemade sausage (OH the sausage!).

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In 1896, the Cacciatore family came to the United States from Italy in search of the American dream. They settled in Ybor City in Tampa, FL and opened a butcher shop named Cacciatore & Sons that provided groceries and other household items. The Cacciatore family catered to the immigrants that lived in the industrial town that consisted mainly of Cubans, Italians and Spaniards.

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The Cacciatore family has been serving the Tampa community for over 100 years. As the fourth generation, their vision is to serve their local customers with quality food at affordable prices.

 

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This past summer, we took a drive around the old haunts of my Husb’s family.  I loved hearing the stories that Mimi (my mother-in-law) tells about their visits to Cacciatore’s, the bulk orders, the olives, the sausage.  Oh my goodness, the sausage.

There are some rich, RICH family history stories living within the four walls of the Cacciatore & Sons Meat Market.

If you’re in Tampa … pay them a visit.  Get some cheese, some olives, some wine and some sausage!