On Saturday, we made soup.
It was a typical New York soup, made of ingredients gathered from the groceries of various ethnicities. It was faintly Asian in theme, but would not be immediately recognizable as Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese or Filipino. It was, like the City, a melting pot soup.
I know that some of you out there are New Yorkers, but I also know that many of you are not, so I’m going to offer three pieces of unsolicited advice, in case any of you ever find yourselves roaming our fair streets. There is a point to this, so please, bear with me.
First, and possibly the most obvious given the nature of the words you’re reading; New Yorkers love to talk about food. Should you ever find yourself stuck in a boring meeting, snowed in at Laguardia or alone at a bar, ask the nearest group of people who makes the best pizza, burger, banh mi or borscht. You’ll learn about parts of the City you’ve never heard of before, you’ll watch people swear to never talk to their best friends ever again because of their allegiance to Singas rather than L&B Spumoni Gardens (it’s a Queens v. Brooklyn thing), and if you take careful notes you’ll get some very valuable and tasty advice!
Second, if ever you’re stuck here, alone for a long time, and lonely, and really want to get to know some people fast, ask them for directions to an obscure location. Say you’re in a bar and haven’t talked to anyone in days but the obnoxious person with whom you’re sharing a cubicle at the home office in the ginormous ugly box smack in the center of Times Square and you’re dying to just have a normal conversation that doesn’t relate to the location of your cube-mate’s red Swingline stapler.
Here’s how to do it.
Wait for a lull in the conversation of a group of people and then gently say to the group in general, “Excuse me, but I’m here for work for a few days, and I’m wondering if you guys could help me get to, Wave Hill.” Everyone will be thrown off, but then one person, having wracked her brains will be able to remember something about it, will then try and explain, will be laughed at by her friends, will have her suspicions confirmed by you that, yes, indeed, Wave Hill is a botanical gardens of a sort way up in the Bronx, and then let the fireworks begin! The Brits have weather, New Yorkers have the MTA.
Lastly, and this one is slightly more dangerous, real estate. Some New Yorkers love to compare how many square feet you get for a month’s rent in Denver or Boston or Seattle and some don’t. A nice convivial chat can turn ugly very fast and in the blink of an eye when a New Yorker perceives that you’re arguing a wee bit too vigorously for why Ottoumwa, Iowa is the best place on earth. It’s not, New York is, and it doesn’t matter that you get a 100 acre farm for $1,000/month, you don’t live in Manhattan and that’s that. See how quickly that went pear shaped?
Well, sometimes it can happen between New Yorkers, too, when we’re discussing the merits of Manhattan vs. Brooklyn vs. Queens vs. Staten Island vs. The Bronx. Hackles rise, tempers flare and feelings get hurt.
And so, dear readers (I feel like Molly or Luisa saying that), I’m here to possibly piss some of you off. Before this goes any further, I have an announcement to make, and I hope you’ll still love me in the morning…
The Granny Cart is moving to Brooklyn.
After two year of living together in this one teeny apartment, and one year of blogging from here, the boy and I have decided that we need a change. We’re a little bored of the neighborhood, I’m really tired of not being able to invite people over for dinner, and we both agree we need S P A C E, so we agonized and thought and walked and discussed and finally we’ve settled on a magical space in the borough of Kings.
So, I hope you’ll join me for new culinary adventures once we’re finally settled into our new home. We’ll be within walking distance of Brooklyn’s Chinatown and a large Mexican and Latin American enclave, and very close to the most engrossing display of ethnic eats I’ve seen on one street in my life, 3rd Avenue.
In the meantime, we’ll be cooking some pretty zany stuff in an attempt to clean out the fridge, freezer and pantry (Sunday night was scallop and whole wheat gnocchi marinara!). So I hope you’ll all forgive me for losing the crux of my schtick… the tiny kitchen, but I promise, I’ll come up with something new (and I’ll even change my about page accordingly).
And as to that soup? Easier than making apple pie.
Infuse some chicken stock with lemongrass, garlic, Chinese Leeks, ginger, chili peppers and thinly sliced onions for an hour or so. Bulk up the flavor with some lemon juice, fish sauce, thick soy sauce, rice vinegar and a healthy splash of vermouth.
Toss in some baby bok choy, enoki mushrooms, firm silken tofu and edamame.
Clamp the lid on and in a seperate pot cook some Curry Japanese Noodles from Trader Joe’s (kinda like curry-flavored somen). When the noodles are cooked portion them into bowls and then spoon the soup on top.
Garnish with more fish sauce if not salty enough, togarashi if not spicy enough and a squeeze of fresh lime if not tart enough.
Slurp and enjoy!